Dr. Eva Skuka, a renowned scholar with a unique academic background and experience as a medical doctor, has been appointed dean of the College of Health Sciences at UNC Pembroke.
Skuka comes to UNCP from Berkeley College, where she currently serves as associate provost and dean of the School of Health Studies. She began her career as a medical doctor, practicing for seven years, and later turned her focus to higher education, where she has served for the last 17 years.
Following a competitive national search, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept the search committee’s recommendation of Skuka.
“Dr. Skuka is joining UNCP at a pivotal time for the College of Health Sciences. With the workforce needs identified through a legislatively mandated health study in 2018, planning for new programs and offerings is already underway that will strongly impact and advance the health outcomes of this county and region. I am confident she will bring the experience and knowledge needed to lead the college as we further develop programs in the coming years,” said Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.
Skuka, a proven leader, is looking forward to joining the university’s academic administration and has a comprehensive vision for the college and its future.
“I’m extremely excited and honored to join a group of excellent faculty and administrators as we look to build and improve the existing programs within the College of Health Sciences and explore new programs that can be offered,” Skuka said.
The opportunity to serve underrepresented students at UNCP stood out, adding that she has experience working for institutions that serve similar student populations of students. The college offers practitioner-oriented programs, which checked another box for Skuka.
“I believe that education empowers people to be change agents for themselves and for the society. I am committed to enriching and expanding the student experience in ways that set them up for success,” Skuka said
“I believe in establishing a range of resources that enable students to overcome outside obstacles that may be impacting academic or professional performance. I believe these types of programs make a positive impact in the lives of the students, who in turn, will make a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
Provost Marsha Pollard said she is pleased that Dr. Skuka has been selected as the next dean of the College of Health Sciences.
“As provost, I look forward to working with Dr. Skuka on providing transformative learning experiences for our College of Health Sciences students and on ensuring the successful enrollment and retention of students in our health studies and human services programs,” Pollard said.
Physicians Foundation CEO Robert Seligson also weighed in on Skuka’s appointment and the need for health care workers statewide to address the constantly increasing workforce demands and needs of our growing and aging state.
“This need is especially acute in rural North Carolina and has been greatly exacerbated by COVID,” said Seligson, former executive vice president and CEO of the NC Medical Society.
“The growth of UNCP’s College of Health Sciences is a key response to this labor shortage, especially in southeastern North Carolina. The college is recognized for educating professionals who are highly likely to remain and practice in this area of North Carolina. Dr. Skuka’s record speaks to action and accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing the innovative opportunities and programs she will bring to the college,” Seligson added.
Dr. Skuka joined Berkeley College in 2013 and was promoted to dean three years later. As dean, Skuka provides academic oversight for several degree and certificate programs. In 2019, under her leadership, Berkeley College’s LPN to BSN program earned full accreditation––the only such course of study in New Jersey.
Skuka has taught health science and healthcare administration courses at Berkeley College and served as an evaluator for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. She is a member of the American Medical Association, Medical Group Management Association and American College of Medical Practice Executives and American College of Healthcare Executives.
Dr. Skuka earned her medical degree at the University of Tirana School of Medicine in Albania and a Ph.D. in Human Services and Healthcare Administration from Capella University.
Before Berkeley, she served as the founding dean of Allied Health and special advisor to the senior vice president for Nursing and Allied Health at Swedish College.
The College of Health Sciences at UNC Pembroke was established in 2018 and is comprised of the Department of Kinesiology, Department of Social Work and the McKenzie-Elliott School of Nursing.
Dave Richard, deputy director of Medicaid for North Carolina, commented on UNCP’s College of Health Sciences and its impact in the region.
“UNCP is working to improve the health of folks in Robeson and all of southeastern North Carolina. Establishing the College of Health Sciences a few years back was a transformational step toward this effort. Identifying a dean with Dr. Skuka’s education and experience to direct the college is a great move toward a healthier population in that region of the state,” Richard said.
Skuka is passionate about health care education and the development and advancement of future nurse leaders and realizes the critical role of all health care professionals in communities.
“Both my doctorate degrees and the medical experience have helped to understand and strengthen the ties with a lot of health professions that are offered at CHS and understand how we all fit together,” she said.
“My vision for the College of Health Sciences at UNCP is to work collaboratively with the faculty and program administrators to strengthen the programs currently offered and look for opportunities for new programs that will align with the student’s needs, community needs, workforce trends and industries within the university’s service area. I’m highly committed to instilling in the students through the curricula that as health and human services professionals we all have a professional obligation to help improve the lives of the people and communities you’ve pledged to serve” she said.
Skuka begins her new post on July 18.