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Nissen to Lead USD Occupational Therapy Department

Ranelle Nissen, headshot Ranelle Nissen has been named chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at USD.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Ranelle Nissen, Ph.D., O.T.R./L., has been named chair of the University of South Dakota’s Department of Occupational Therapy.

Nissen joined USD in 2011 as a faculty member and as academic fieldwork coordinator within the Department of Occupational Therapy. She also serves in several leadership roles at national and state levels regarding the occupational therapy profession, including service on the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators for the national Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

Nissen earned an M.S. in occupational therapy from USD in 2006 and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University in 2017. Her special area of expertise is the use of telehealth for occupational therapy. She is a board certified occupational therapist and has worked in multiple care settings including hospital and nursing homes.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News