Schuer appointed PA Program Director; Woltenberg nominated as Director of Graduate Studies

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2022) — Two faculty members in Physician Assistant Studies are assuming new leadership roles, the chair of the department announced today.

Kevin Schuer, DrPH, PA-C, has accepted the position of PA program director, while Leslie Woltenberg, PhD, will become the new Director of Graduate Studies, said Virginia Valentin, DrPH, PA-C, and chair of the Physician Assistant Studies department.

Valentin had been serving a dual role as both chair and program director since she was hired Jan. 17.

“As I surveyed the landscape, noting the department organizational structure, number of students, number of staff and faculty, two campuses and a growing postgraduate program I became keenly aware of the administrative demands of the department chair and PA program director roles,” she said in her announcement.  

The PA program director will be charged with overseeing the day-to-day management of the PA Master’s program while the department chair will remain intimately engaged in the PA program, she said. Additionally, with the announcement of David Fahringer’s retirement in June 2023, Valentin said she will begin the transition of taking over the role of Program Director of the Academic Residency program.  

Prior to joining the UKPAS program faculty in 2008, Schuer served as Fellow with the National Center for Patient Safety in Ann Arbor, Mich. He also completed a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health where his work focused on Health Management and Policy.

Within the UKPAS program, Schuer has administrative and curricular responsibilities that include course and program evaluation/development. He has been the primary course director for multiple courses offered during the program’s didactic curriculum. He also has interprofessional education responsibilities within the University where he advises and instructs students from a variety of health professions colleges. His scholarly interests include healthcare quality, patient safety as well as interprofessional education and practice. Dr. Schuer also provides clinical services in the University of Kentucky’s outpatient Internal Medicine Group where he works as a practicing Physician Assistant.

“I can think of no one more suited to lead the PA program than Dr. Schuer,” Valentin said. “Dr. Schuer has been faculty in the PA program for 14 years and served as the academic coordinator and director of graduate studies. In addition to being a practicing PA, Dr. Schuer has a doctoral degree in public health with a focus in health management and policy. Dr. Schuer is known nationally for his service on the PAEA national PA education board and as an instructor to new PA educators through PAEA basic skills CME workshops.” 

“This is a very special time to be involved with the UKPAS department,” Schuer said. “I’m humbled to be able to work alongside very gifted faculty and staff members who work hard to make this department exceptional.”  

With more than a decade of experience in education, Woltenberg has served the UK and the greater Lexington community in a variety of teaching, assessment, and administrative capacities. Prior to joining the College of Health Sciences as a faculty member, she served as Associate Director of UK’s Center for Interprofessional Health Education and was instrumental in the redesign and evaluation of the university’s nationally recognized interprofessional curriculum. Her background also includes extensive experience in student services and enrollment management.

Woltenberg teaches in the PAS Department didactic curriculum as course director for the Research Methods and Masters Research Project courses. She also provides service through program evaluation coordination, student advising, and committee membership at the Department, College, and University levels. 

“Leslie Woltenberg, PhD has been faculty in the PA program for five years and brings her extensive experience in academia, assessment and policy to this role,” Valentin said. “I have no doubt that Dr. Woltenberg will bring her student-centric lens to this position and be significant support to both students and faculty in this important role.” 

“It is an honor to serve the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies as the Director of Graduate Studies,” Woltenberg said. “The opportunity to work alongside such exceptional colleagues and share a classroom with the most remarkable students is such a gift. UK PA is an established and respected program with a clear commitment to collaboration, innovation, and a student-centered approach. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to support our team and students as DGS.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.