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President and CEO - Deb Carlson, PhD


"Our faculty and staff invest daily in our students as evidenced by the exceptional pass rates on licensing/registry exams and outstanding student retention and graduation rates."

Dr. Carlson joined Nebraska Methodist College in 2004. She is the third president and CEO of NMC since the school became a degree-granting institution in 1985.

In her previous role as the Executive Vice President, she provided direction for the college's strategic planning, operations, accreditation, effectiveness, leadership development and succession planning, facility management, engagement and wellness.  In addition, she provided oversight and strategic guidance over Compliance, Institutional Research, the Division of Professional Development and Community Partnerships, Business Office, Financial Aid, Food Services, Bookstore, Student Health, Facilities, Student Housing and Library Services.

Prior to NMC, Carlson taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was a research professor for the Center for Instructional Innovation. She started her career in teaching at Wayne State College.


PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
MSE, Wayne State College
BS, Wayne State College 

Professional Service/Recognition/Charitable Boards

Dr. Carlson serves as the Overseer of NMC's Institutional Review Board, member of the Lean Committee and the Value Analysis Team (VAT) for the Methodist Health System and on the Board of Directors for the WELLCOM (organization committed to worksite wellness). She is a Quality Trained Evaluator for the Edgerton Nebraska Quality Program and a peer review for the Higher Learning Commission. She was Faculty Senate President and received the NMC Collaboration Award and a UNL Teaching Award given by the UNL Parent Group. Recent awards include the 2014 Light of Wellness Award for leadership.

Outside of her profession, Carlson is a wife, mother of four amazing children and grandmother of two grandchildren. Her interest include, reading, learning, horses and being a facilitator, presenter, author and statistician for a Cancer survivorship program (A Time to Heal).

Notable Publications/Presentations

  • PytlikZillig, L., Horn, C., Bruning, R., Bell, S. Xiongyi, L., Siwatu, K., Bodvarsson, M., Doyoung, K., Carlson, D (2011). Face-to-face versus computer-mediated discussion of teaching cases: Impacts on preservice teachers; engagement, critical analyses, and self-efficacy. Contemporary Educational Psychology.
  • Carlson, D. (2009). Resilience- Chapter in A Time to Heal Training manuals.
  • DeAyala, R., Vonderharr-Carlson, D., Kim, D. (2005). Assessing the reliability of the Beck Anxiety inventory scores. Educational and Psychological Measurement.
  • Horn, C.A., Bruning, R.H., Carlson, D.J., & Finney, S. (2002). The impact of problem solving tasks on learning in large science courses. Journal of Educational Psychology.
  • Horn, C.A., PytilkZillig, L.M., Carlson, D.J., Finney, S. J., Bruning, R., Glider, W.V. (2002). Fostering Achievement in Introductory College Biology: Exploring the Role of Structured Engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Evaluated texts in development for Houghton Mifflin Company. Most notable was Chaffee (1995), The Thinkers Guide to College Success.
  • Carlson, D. (September, 2010). Resilience. Oncology Symposium: Excellence in Cancer Care through survivorship and Technology. Avera McKenna Education Center, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Carlson, D., & Rogan, L. (May, 2010). Use of standardized, computerized progression testing as an early
    warning system to identify at-risk students. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Institution Research, Chicago, IL
  • Carlson, D., & Gross, A. (May, 2010). Assessing Student Learning and Program Outcomes. Association of
    Institution Research Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL
  • Carlson, D., Lusby, M.L., & Curley, G. (January, 2010). Maximizing the Use of Idea: Faculty Evaluation and
    Beyond. AAC&U, Washington, D.C.
  • Quinn, L. & Carlson, D. (May, 2008). Impacting Organizational Culture by Building Collaborative Skills.
    Higher Learning Commission, Chicago, Ill.
  • Carlson, D. (July, 2006). The Power of Relationships in Resilience. National Wellness Conference, Stevens Point, WI.
  • Selected Funded Grants:
    • 2005-2008 Grant Manager: "Inspire". DOE Mentoring Grant. Grant Total: 1.3 Million.
    • 2001-2002 Co-Principal Investigator: " Meeting State Standards with Curriculum for a Large Hispanic Population." Eisenhower Professional Development Program. Grant Total: $53,023.
    • 2001 Grant Coordinator: " Online Tools for Enhancing Student Learning and Extending Resources In Large Enrollment University Courses." Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Initiative on the Cost Effective uses of Technology in Teaching (CEUTT). Grant Total: $300,000, for three years.
  • Evaluation activities:
    • 2002-2004 Co-Evaluator: "Summer Bridge Program." Excellence in Education Grant. Grant Total: $300,000.
    • 2000-2001 Principal Evaluator: "Exploring Story Lottery Grant." Excellence in Education Grant. A three-year Arts-Are-Basic infusion program in all 12 middle schools in Lincoln, NE. Grant Total: $300,000.

College Leadership

Nebraska Methodist College is led by a dynamic group of senior administrators who focus on identifying opportunities for growth and improvement consistent with the college's strategic plan, mission and values.

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