Cynthia L. Fenske, DNP, RN, CNE

Clinical Assistant Professor Emerita
Room 2160 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 763-0002
Fax: (734) 936-5525


  • Clinical judgment
  • Delirium
  • Innovative teaching and learning strategies

Dr. Fenske’s professional and academic career focuses on advancing the science of nursing education through the development of innovative educational strategies and techniques.  Her research is in the area of simulation and its impact on clinical judgment development in both pre and post licensure nurses. She is also researching perception of performance compared to actual performance in students and practicing nurses.  In her practice area she has developed educational programs aimed at changing nursing practice in nurses in the acute care setting related to the assessment, prevention, detection and treatment of delirium.

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • Living with diabetes, an experiential learning experience
  • Improving nursing practice around the detection, prevention, and treatment of delirium
  • Using innovative teaching methodologies to enhance learning in practicing nurses


Dr. Fenske has been involved in the creation and use of innovative teaching strategies including the use of problem based learning, teaching with a virtual community, and creating various types of simulation to enhance clinical judgment skills in students and practicing nurses. She assisted the faculty in the Clinical Learning Center to develop a variety of simulations for use in the undergraduate program. She received several education grants which she has used to develop a program of teaching innovation and evaluation that supports her program of both scholarship and teaching.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member, State Board of Nursing, 2013
  • Member, State Board of Nursing Education Committee, 2013
  • Member, By-Laws Committee, INASCL, 2013
  • Member, Sigma Theta Tau, 1983
  • Member, Society for Simulation in Health, 2011
  • Member, INASCL, 2011

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan State Board of Nursing, 2013
  • Collegiate Lecturer Award, 2012
  • Sigma Theta Tau Excellence in Nursing Education Award, 2011
  • Mae Edna Doyle Teacher of the Year Award, 2006


  • DNP, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 2013
  • MS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1983
  • BSN, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 1979

Publication Highlights

  • Gonzalez, L., Fenske, C. (2012). The Use of a Virtual Community to Contextualize Learning Activities for Nursing Education. Journal of Nursing Education, 51(1), 38-41.

  • Fenske, C, Harris, M., Aebersold, M. & Hartman, L. (2013). Perception Versus Reality: A Comparative Study of the Clinical Judgment Skills of Nursing During a Simulated Activity. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 44(9), 399-405.

  • Gonzalez, L., Aebersold, M., Fenske, C., (2014). Diffusion of Innovation: Challenges of Igniting Passion and Maintaining the Flame. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 32(5), 201-204.

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