Hiram College
Steven Merrill, Ph.D. Photo

Steven Merrill, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nursing

A.D.N., Lansing Community College
B.S.N., University of Michigan
M.S.N., University of Wisconsin
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Sample syllabi: Nursing 20100; Nursing 31000

Dr. Steven Merrill joined the nursing faculty at Hiram College in 2009, coming from Lake Superior State University, where he served as Associate Professor, Dean of Nursing, and most recently Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.  In addition to his experience as an educational administrator, Dr. Merrill has many years of experience teaching nursing students as an Instructor at Lansing Community College and Viterbo College, as Assistant Professor at Grand Valley State University, and as Associate Professor at Grand Valley State University and the University of Southern Maine.  His clinical experiences include emergency and medical/surgical nursing, coronary care, and on a medical respiratory unit and burn unit.  He is recognized for his numerous publications and presentations highlighting various aspects of professional nursing.  His professional memberships include Sigma Theta Tau Kappa Epsilon Chapter, RN Association of Michigan, American Assembly for Men in Nursing, and Lake Superior State University Nursing Honor Society.  He was honored in April of 2001 with the Excellence in Nursing Education award by the Kappa Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.  Throughout the years, Dr. Merrill has served on numerous academic and nursing councils, committees, and task forces, and has been an exemplary representative of, and asset to, the nursing profession.

Teaching Philosophy

Learning is an active process that occurs when a person gains new knowledge, skills, or insights into a situation. As a faculty member, I recognize that I cannot force anyone to learn, but I can create opportunities for learning to occur and can recognize, reinforce, and reward learning.

When I approach a classroom topic, I try to envision the total scope of knowledge available on that topic, and then determine what portion of the material is appropriate for the specific class. This determination is based on professional judgment, the curriculum, standards of nursing education, and what has been or will be taught by others. Then I look at the material available through the textbook or other readings. What is there and well explained I don’t repeat in class. Therefore I focus the information portion of the class on material not covered by other sources, and proceed to work with the students to help them learn how they can apply this material in clinical practice.

To plan a class in this manner requires that students be prepared before they come to class. I have tried many approaches over the years to promote pre-class preparation. My current approach is to have something due or give a short quiz in each class that is based on the readings. In the adult acute care course I taught for many years, assignments (either individual or group) were due at the beginning of each class. These assignments were designed to allow the students to analyze and apply the information in the text in a relevant manner. For example, for the topic of Environmental Health, a group of students assessed a home for environmental hazards and developed a plan for remediation.

In the classroom I also work to draw in students. I use photographs for the topics of History or Environmental Health for example. The pictures help the students visualize the topic and engage both sight and hearing. I also bring in current local issues for all of the topics so that students can see the relevancy of the information to their life and practice. In addition, I use clinical examples whenever possible so that students can see how they can apply the material to their nursing.

I believe the majority of learning in nursing occurs outside of the traditional classroom. Working with real people who have real problems in the clinical setting is inherently engaging for nursing students. In addition, the flexibility and variability of the clinical setting allows for the use of a myriad of individualized teaching strategies to help students learn and use the knowledge they have gained. Further, I make myself broadly available for informal discussions with students through office hours, individual appointments, telephone conversations, and so on. Learning doesn’t stop when class is over and neither does teaching.

I am also aware that I represent my profession and my university in all of my public interactions. I actively promote both and a number of people have either come to the university or into nursing because of my encouragement.

Classes Taught

  • Voices in American Healthcare (Freshman Colloquium)
  • Health Promotion Through the Life Span
  • Professional Nursing II – Co-taught
  • Nursing Research
  • Applied Nursing Research Practicum
  • Acute and Chronic Illness Adult Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing

Instructional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Hiram College. 2009-Present.
  • Dean, Nursing and Health Sciences, Lake Superior State Univeristy. 2007-2009
  • Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Lake Superior State University. 2007-2008
  • Dean of Nursing, Lake Superior State University. 2005-2007
  • Associate Professor, Lake Superior State University. 2003-2005
  • Associate Professor, University of Southern Maine. 2001-2003
  • Associate Professor, Grand Valley State University. 1999-2001
  • Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University. 1985-1999
  • Instructor, Viterbo College. 1985Instructor, Lansing Community College. 1980

Clinical Experience

  • Staff Nurse (summer), War Memorial Hospital. 2003-2005
  • Staff Nurse (summer), St. Mary’s Hospital. 1998-2001
  • Staff Nurse (summer), Blodgett Memorial Medical Center. 1986-1995
  • Staff Nurse, LaCrosse Lutheran Hospital. 1981-85
  • Patient Care Coordinator, LaCrosse Lutheran Hospital. 1981
  • Staff Nurse, St. Lawrence Hospital. 1978-1981
  • Staff Nurse, Ingham Medical Center. 1977-1978


  • O’Shea, M.P., Merrill, S.E. (2008 September) International Clinical Experience. Advance for Nurses. http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Article/International-Clinical-Experience.aspx
  • Merrill, S.E. (2004, December). Christman advocates educational reform and increased diversity for nursing. Michigan Nurse.
  • Merrill, S.E., (2002). Developing a health partnership with a Native American community (abstract). Interaction, 20(4), 11
  • Merrill, S.E., Zapeda, P., (2001-2002, Fall/Winter). The Nicaraguan Nursing Project. The International Nurse, 15(1), 6.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1998) Luther Christman: Professional reformer. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1991) An Interview with Luther Christman. Unpublished manuscript University of Michigan
  • Merrill, S.E. (1993, September). Nineteenth-Century men in nursing. Interaction
  • Merrill, S.E. (1993, March). The co-ed program that wasn’t. Interaction
  • Merrill, S.E. (1993, March). Meet your new treasurer, J. Keenan Casteel. Interaction
  • Merrill, S.E. (1989, Fall). Nursing: A career in science – a career for men. Science & Mathematics Update, Grand Valley State University.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1986, January). Master’s Thesis: Miscarriage and the fathers: The need for and availability of social support. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1986, October). Miscarriage and the fathers: The need for and availability of social support. Forum for Death Education and Counseling Newsletter.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1986, September). Fathers seek information. Resolve Through Sharing Counselor Connection.
  • Merrill, S.E. (1982, July). Lawn mower injuries. Emergency Medical Trauma Update.

Honors and Awards

  • Excellence in Nursing Education, Kappa Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, April 2001

(View full curriculum vitae)