Outstanding Leaders: Our Deans

Lulu Wolf Hassenplug, Rheba de Tornyay, Mary Reres, Ada Lindsey, Marie J. Cowan, Courtney Lyder, Linda Sarna


imageLulu Wolf Hassenplug

At historic moments, people of vision emerge. Through their exceptional leadership skills, they hasten the flow of events and facilitate changes more rapidly than would ordinarily unfold. They are the right people at the right place at the right time. If anyone deserves the title of "visionary" in the nursing profession, it is Lulu Wolf Hassenplug, the first dean of the UCLA School of Nursing.

Lulu Wolf was born in 1903 in Milton, Penn., near the Susquehanna River. The Wolf family was a traditional one. Frederich, Lulu's father, and Hattie, her mother, raised their three children in a large home with a spacious yard. Lulu was four years younger than her sister, Margaret, and sixteen months younger than her brother, Fred.

In the small town of Lulu's youth, life was somewhat idyllic. Her childhood years were a happy foundation for the formation of her confidence and intellectual growth. She attended school in the winter and swam and boated on the river in the summer. All of the neighborhood children played in the Wolfs' yard, including Harry Hassenplug. Lulu would marry him many years later. From childhood, Lulu asserted her independence and made her own choices. She initially wanted a career in the theater, but was discouraged by her father, who encouraged her to be a teacher. She finally decided on nursing, a profession that was then associated with long hours and menial tasks. Lulu's first exposure to nursing had come when she was twelve and in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. She saw the way a nurse treated the children on the ward, and decided there was considerable room for improvement.

In the early 20th century, women attempting to combine marriage with a career found little societal support. With that in mind, Lulu set aside her desire for marriage and family to pursue her nursing career. It wasn't until 1953 that she married her childhood sweetheart, Harry Hassenplug. Harry became an asset on her international trips. Together, they broke ground for a nursing school in China, and he charmed her nursing colleagues in Japan. Harry's death in 1983 was devastating for Lulu, but she continued her life with dignity and energy. She was active in her local community of Palm Desert and became a member of the ;advisory board of the College of the Desert.

Lulu's visions of the nursing profession became realities during her years as dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. Her contributions can be seen through her publications and speeches, through the memories of her friends and associates, and through the impact of the school's grad¬uates on nursing practice and education.

Lulu's vision for nursing embraced the dignity of each human being and emphasized compassion for the sick. She had the foresight to recognize that nursing's emergence as a profession was dependent on the development of a knowledge base that would enable nurses to assist indi¬viduals, families and communities in achieving optimal levels of health.

She understood that nursing must work in partnership with other health disciplines toward this goal, but she also believed that nursing had its own unique role, a role that had to be more clearly defined. Above all, she was convinced of the paramount importance of university education of nurses through the graduate level, in order to prepare qualified professionals to practice at the bedside and to contribute to the growing body of nursing research.

While these ideas have become well accepted in the nursing profession, it wasn't that way when Lulu began as a student at the Army Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1921. It wasn't long before she began to question traditional methods of nursing education. Why were students being used to service the hospitals? Why were poorly prepared nurses used as teachers? Lulu's ideas of what nursing education should be became clearer when she moved through her own teaching experiences, first at the Jewish Hospital in New York City, then at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth, and finally at Vanderbilt University. She took time away from her teaching role to earn a master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University, and subsequently traveled to London and Europe after she was awarded the Florence Nightingale Nursing scholarship. These experiences enhanced her understanding of nursing education and practice outside the United States. From the time of her student public health nursing experiences at the Henry Street Settlement House in New York City, Lulu appreciated the interdependence of individual, family and community health. She valued preventive health actions as much as curative health actions.

Lulu accepted the appointment as dean of the UCLA Department of Nursing in 1948, having been recruited by University of California Provost Clarence Dykstra.

With Dykstra's support, and aided by her own outgoing personality and sense of humor, Lulu began to implement her dream for nursing education. She knew what she wanted when she carne to UCLA, having formulated her plan through many years of nursing education and practice. Before accepting the position, Lulu told Dykstra that she intended to introduce a university-based program for baccalaureate preparation of nursing students. She made it clear to the provost that she would return to the East Coast if she could not achieve this goal by the end of her first year. The system of hospital-trained nurses was outdated, she told Dykstra. The provost agreed, and Lulu accepted the position. She first sought to eliminate obstacles to progress. There was an ongoing struggle among female-dominated professions to be recognized as professional colleagues by male-dominated professions. Lulu was criticized by some for her direct, confrontational style, but no one could deny her honesty or her purposeful actions to improve the profession of nursing and the quality of health care. She used the power she had earned through her education, talents and experiences to empower nurse educators and practitioners of nursing.

Upon her arrival at UCLA, Lulu began to carefully select master's-prepared faculty, and together they started to lay the foundation for a unique program. This task involved many people. The university administrators and faculty in the behavioral and physical sciences were highly supportive of the fledgling school. They collaborated with Lulu and her faculty in the development of the basic science and humanities curriculum for nursing students. Lulu believed nursing students should be integrated into the life of the university like all other students. She and her small faculty made trips to Sacramento to gain the support of the California legislators and to work with the Board of Registered Nursing in adapting hours required for licensing nurses to the realities of a university-based program for nursing students. Lulu and her faculty interfaced with local nursing leaders and hospital staff to plan clinical experiences for students. Soon, the UCLA dean was recognized throughout the country as a nursing leader. She began to collaborate with deans of other university-based nursing programs. She co-founded the Western Council for Higher Education in Nursing (WCHEN), and was instrumental in facilitating the appointment of Eleanor Elliott, one of her faculty, to the chairmanship of this organization.

In these early years, Lulu's innovative ideas for nursing education at the university level were accepted and encouraged by university administrators. Her national reputation and intelligence were appreciated. In the western United States, a region that proved most open to change, Lulu was able to remove the shackles of preceding nurse educators. Students were no longer obliged to wear the caps that, in the past, had been closely associated with the persona and practice of the nurse. Lulu felt that a nurse should be recognized by her skills, not her apparel.

At that time, there were two programs leading to a bachelor's degree, one for registered nurses and one for undergraduate majors in nursing. The dual UCLA programs combined the experience of the registered nurse with the enthusiasm of the mostly youthful undergraduate students, resulting in an enriched learning environment. Lulu and her faculty applied to the National League for Nursing and the California Board of Registered Nursing for accreditation of the UCLA School of Nursing. Both accreditations were granted.

Initially, there was no hospital at UCLA. Students were driven many miles by faculty to clinical affiliates allover Los Angeles County. Faculty and students got to know each other on these long car rides. Class size was small. The first three undergraduate classes admitted fewer than 20 students each, and the first class graduated eight students. Students lived where they chose. They were, as Lulu had wanted, part of the student body at UCLA. Some of the students held campus offices and were members of university academic and service honoraries.

An overwhelming feeling of optimism for the future of professional nursing permeated the school. Faculty encouraged students to think and form thoughtful judgments. Students were motivated toward graduate education. Much of the credit for this optimism can be given to Lulu, who was a trend setter and a talented administrator. She delegated authority and inspired colleagues and students to do their best, communicating a sense of trust in their abilities. She negotiated with humor and persevered until she achieved her goals. Lulu encouraged her faculty to be involved with decisions made about nursing on the local, statewide, national and international levels. Faculty played consulting roles for developing nursing programs: Dorothy Johnson traveled to India; Agnes O'Leary went to Egypt; Lulu consulted in Japan and China. Students from other countries were encouraged to come to UCLA and enroll in the nursing program. Statewide, Lulu became one of the main facilitators in networking with other collegiate nursing programs in the western United States. These organized efforts for the improvement of nursing education in the West were realized through the organization of WCHEN.

To support her innovative ideas, Lulu sought funding resources. She succeeded in obtaining research grants for faculty. The Rockefeller Foundation and Commonwealth Fund supported the groundwork for the doctoral program in nursing at UCLA. This support helped to promote the creative atmosphere for the scholarly work of Dorothy Johnson that led to the development of her theory for the Johnson Nursing Model, an internationally recognized model for nursing practice. Progress, creativity and exploration were key elements that characterized the school from the beginning. Lulu worked with other disciplines on the UCLA campus to plan a solid general education foundation for nursing students, integrating science and the humanities into the curriculum.

The School of Nursing had originally been housed on the ground level of Royce Hall, one of the first buildings on the UCLA campus. When the UCLA Medical Center building was completed in 1954, the school moved to new space reserved within that structure. Space acquisition and retention required politic acumen and perseverance. Lulu's eventual goal was to have the School of Nursing housed in its own building, a goal that was achieved during the tenure of Dean Mary Reres. Lulu and her faculty set the stage for this achievement.

Of course, there were crises as well as successes, and Lulu did not win every battle. Fortunately, her leadership and her supportive faculty helped weather threats to the existence of the School of Nursing in 1967-68. Strong alumni, university and community support also played a part. The school had support from some leaders in the University of California system, and some state legislators. Lulu retired in October 1968, during the crisis precipitated by the UCLA administration's proposal to terminate the School of Nursing and create an Office of Nursing Education within UCLA Medical Center, which would have restructured the School of Nursing under the School of Medicine. Lulu hoped the School of Nursing could resolve the threat, reorganize and get on with the business of educating nursing students. She envisioned a new beginning for faculty and students under the leadership of a new dean.

Lulu's outstanding contributions to nursing education were recognized. She received many honors and awards, including the Mary Adelaide Nutting Award from the National League for Nursing, the Jessie M. Scott Award from the American Nurses Association and "Woman of the Year" from the Los Angeles Times in 1958. Her collection of memorabilia is housed in the Southern Regional Library at UCLA, and viewings can be arranged for nursing students, colleagues and friends through the Biomedical Library at UCLA. This inspirational collection provides a sense of hope for the nursing profession.

Lulu Wolf Hassenplug is remembered as a role model for nurses through her personal and professional life. Her driving force was a compassion for the human race. She continued to travel allover the world. She attended the 40th commemoration of the founding of the UCLA School of Nursing in 1989 as honored guest, and went to the 45th-anniversary celebration in the spring of 1995, where she greeted many old friends who surrounded her with respect, warmth and smiles. She died in August of 1995 at the age of9l. 
People from diverse countries and walks of life have paid tribute to Lulu. The UCLA School of Nursing Alumni Association established a scholarship fund in her honor, from which deserving students continue to benefit each year. The Chironians, an affiliated nursing alumni group, began a drive in 1989 to establish a Lulu Hassenplug Chair to support the work of a distinguished faculty member in the School of Nursing. The drive was successful in receiving donations from numerous alumni and friends of the School of Nursing, and culminated in the chair becoming a reality. The University of California Oral History Program, through the efforts of the History Committee of the UCLA School of Nursing Alumni Association and the cooperation of the School of Nursing, has preserved for posterity, in a leather-bound book in the UCLA Southern Regional Library, the remarkable life and accomplishments of Lulu Wolf Hassenplug.


imageRheba de Tornyay

To follow the administration of Lulu Hassenplug would be a hard act for anyone. Rheba de Tornyay, Ph.D., came to UCLA in July 1971 as the School of Nursing's second dean. Acting Dean, Agnes O'Leary had succeeded Lulu until Rheba's arrival.

Dr. de Tornyay received a doctorate in education from Stanford University. When she arrived at the UCLA School of Nursing, she found a small number of tenured faculty, frequent faculty turnover and very few faculty members with doctoral degrees. In her opinion, the prestige of the school depended on the excellence of the faculty. She succeeded in raising funds to recruit faculty, and brought several excellent assistant professors with doctoral degrees to UCLA. She also discovered that the publication record of the faculty had declined from third place in the nation to 17th place, and there was very little research in progress. Without research, the School of Nursing could not obtain grants from the federal government. Among other things, the lack of federal grants lessened the support of the university administration.

UCLA was trying to become a research institution, and the administration prioritized its professional schools. The decision was made that the School of Medicine and the School of Law should be retained, but the School of Nursing could be eliminated. At this time, some of the powerful people in the School of Medicine, as well as in university administration, viewed nursing in the old, conventional way, that nursing was handmaiden to medicine. They did not subscribe' to the need for nurses to get bachelor's degrees, nor did they see nursing as an autonomous profession. Dr. de Tornyay found herself building bridges for the School of Nursing with the medical school, and with campus faculty. The UCLA School of Nursing had earned national recognition as a leading nursing program through the development of innovative nursing curriculum and nursing theory. Dorothy Johnson was one of the first nurses in the country to postulate that nursing should be grounded on a workable theory. Professor Johnson's work and Lulu Hassenplug's reputation as a leader in nursing contributed to the School of Nursing's respected national and international reputation.

Dr. de Tornyay also found that the School of Nursing was badly in need of space. Dr. Betty Dambacher, who was acting dean following Dean de Tornyay, said that during Rheba's tenure, the School of Nursing had one-third of the space it needed to function. There was one classroom, cramped faculty office" and an audiovisual room converted out of a janitor's closet. Betty said that if funds were not provided, the viability of the nursing program would be at risk. Rheba found that she could not attract quality research faculty to work in such limited space.
Dr. de Tornyay and Professor Harriet Moidel, as well as other faculty members including Dr. Donna Ver Steeg, worked diligently with the political structure on campus, in the community and in Sacramento to get a building for nursing.

Rheba was affected by the struggle to keep the School of Nursing at UCLA, the efforts to raise needed monies and the fight for essential space. These issues diminished the energy she needed to make progress in the development of the School of Nursing. She felt discouraged in communicating to university associates the importance of collegiate education for professional nursing. Repeatedly, she was advised that the Master Plan for Universities in California relegated undergraduate nursing education to the community colleges and state universities. The Master Plan for Higher Education in California established policies that had impacted the university system since 1960.

In 1974, the Dean's Search Committee at the University of Washington offered Rheba the position of dean of its School of Nursing. She did not want to leave UCLA and the faculty with whom she worked. Chancellor Young asked her not to leave, but told her that the building funds would probably not be obtained. She decided to accept the position of dean at the University of Washington, although she stayed another year at UCLA because of her loyalty to the School of Nursing. Her tenure as dean at UCLA ended on July 1, 1975.


imageMary Reres

Dr. Mary Reres, the third dean of the School of Nursing, came to UCLA in 1977 and remained until 1985. Her teaching and clinical experiences were lengthy and well rounded. Her publications, research, awards and honors were numerous. How could anyone expect this small, soft-spoken, intelligent woman to be such a terrific negotiator? Mary Reres came to the School of Nursing at a time when the qualities she possessed could help the School of Nursing move forward.

During the eight years of her tenure, Dean Reres reached many mile¬stones. She was instrumental in increasing the number of faculty with doctorates. from 13% to 55%. During that time, the university tenured five nursing faculty and advanced one to full professor. A completed doctoral program proposal for the School of Nursing was approved by the Academic Senate Legislative Committee. Following this, significant approval came from the system-wide Coordinating Council on Graduate Affairs, the Academic Council, the Academic Planning and Review Board, the California Post-Secondary Education Commission and finally the Regents of the University of California. These successful events displayed the strong qualities of Dean Reres as negotiator and leader. They also brought to fruition her ardent belief in advanced nursing edu¬cation. In her years at UCLA, Mary Reres devoted herself to advancing the quality of nursing in practice and through nursing research. It was her firm conviction that nursing should be in the forefront in developing research in the rapidly developing technological age. It is no wonder that with her leadership in the School of Nursing, faculty nursing publications advanced to third place nationally.

Dean Reres believed in combining nursing science with nursing care. She felt there should be an emphasis on clinical specialization and nursing administration. She felt that faculty, including herself, should have as much clinical expertise as anyone else. She was thrilled that the first licensed UCLA Nurse Clinic, housed on Skid Row in Los Angeles, became a reality during her tenure. She strongly encouraged students to see poverty and its ramifications in order to understand the health care needs of the poor and to render services based on the needs of this population.

Mary emphasized that curriculum development was the challenge and responsibility of all of the faculty members, with the focus on the mission of the School of Nursing and prospects for the future of nursing.

Some wonderful events took place during the tenure of Dean Reres. Ground was broken for the Louis Factor Building, the future home of the School in Nursing, in 1977. It was dedicated in 1981; the School of Nursing finally had a home. Classes in the past had been held in many different areas.

Also in 1981, the School of Nursing faculty co-hosted the first UCLA School of Nursing International Seminar on "The Care of the Aged." Co-hosts included UCLA Medical Center and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. This seminar was conducted under the auspices of the International Congress of Nursing, and participants from 89 nations came as representatives of their countries. The seminar provided another opportunity for the School of Nursing to continue to expand its efforts to learn and understand the health care of other cultures. The faculty incorporated the knowledge it gained into curriculum and clinical practice. A transcultural thread continues to be woven today as the nursing faculty consults in other countries, and international students continue to enroll in the UCLA School of Nursing.

A very significant event occurred in 1984. The School of Nursing received its first major endowment. The estate of Audrienne Moseley, a nurse, granted $4.5 million to the school. Audrienne Moseley had never been affiliated with the UCLA School of Nursing, but she felt the quality of its educational programs was outstanding.

Mary Reres faced a crisis during her tenure. In 1981, California was hit with a funding deficit that affected the university. The university administration supported the reduction of the School of Nursing budget, which led to cuts in the number of undergraduate students admitted to the program. This was another difficult time for the School of Nursing, and Mary had the strong support of the alumni, faculty and staff, student body and community. Dean Reres was able to guide the school toward continued progress in its programs.

Even small events gave Mary Reres pleasure, and she considered them special and important. She was very proud that UCLA Nursing, the school's magazine, was started during her tenure. She talked with fondness of her initiation of the Dean's Tea for students, a monthly event she thoroughly enjoyed. High on her list of gratifying experiences was the introduction of computers to the School of Nursing, with the appointment of Dr. Betty Chang as computer chairperson.
It is hardly surprising that such an active and vibrant person did so much during her tenure. The energy and enthusiasm of Mary Reres continue to be seen in the successes of the School of Nursing. As in the past, the capable leadership of this dean made its own indelible impression on a progressive and outstanding School of Nursing.


imageAda Lindsey

The search for a new dean for the School of Nursing began after the resignation of Mary Reres. Ada M. Lindsey's tenure as the fourth dean of the School of Nursing began July 1, 1986. She was welcomed by the students and faculty with great anticipation and expectations.

Dr. Ada Lindsey left her distinguished post as professor and chair of the Department of Physiological Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, having been in that position for seven-and-a-half years. It was not easy to leave friends and colleagues of long standing and move to a new school and environment, but Dr. Lindsey was a person who accepted and met her challenges with determination and perseverance. This hallmark in her character served her well in the ensuing years of her tenure as dean, especially when called upon to deal with major budget cuts and proposed restructuring of the School of Nursing within the Center for Health Sciences.

Prior to her arrival at UCLA, Dr. Lindsey had already established a reputation as a nationally respected nurse researcher and educator through her publications. She also had experiences in establishing Ph.D. programs at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Maryland. Ada had interrupted her nursing career prior to her appointment at UCSF to return to school to earn her Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in Baltimore. She learned to be an independent thinker, a trailblazer and a consensus builder. Few nurses had pursued a course of study in physiology, much less within a School of Medicine. Dr. Ada Lindsey, in her quiet, yet firm and determined way, managed to survive and succeed.

Over the course of her life and career, Ada developed several outlets to give her balance and stability as a person. She was interested in diverse cultures, and with her husband, George, she traveled to many places. She visited countries and learned about particular cultures and their antiquities. Whenever possible, she photographed the ruins of cultures both past and present. Ada also enjoyed swimming, snorkeling and hiking to maintain physical fitness. She nourished her creative nature by reading and going to theater productions.

When Dean Lindsey arrived at UCLA, she established some initial goals. She hoped to increase the vitality and visibility of the School of Nursing nationally and internationally. She hoped to enlarge the School of Nursing's sphere of friends and donors. Dean Lindsey also wanted to increase support for faculty research. She established a visiting scholars program, inviting renowned nurse lecturers to UCLA. With the cooperation and assistance of the Nursing Alumni Association and its affiliated Chironian group, she succeeded in establishing the endowed Lulu Hassenplug Chair.

During her first years as dean, the new doctoral nursing program was established. It was an exciting time of growth for the school. Dean Lindsey played a vital role in supporting and assisting the faculty with the reorganization of the sections within the school. The previous five sections were merged into three in 1988. They became maternal-child health/primary ambulatory care; medical surgical/physiological nursing; and psychiatric mental health nursing/nursing administration. This represented a major change, and called for readjustments and reorganization for faculty and students.

In addition, Dean Lindsey reorganized the administrative structure of the School of Nursing. The previous structure included an associate dean for student affairs, an associate dean for academic affairs and a one-third position for an associate dean of research. Ada's restructuring increased the associate dean for research position to one-half and added the associate dean for administration. The directors of nursing services at UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Institute and Harbor-UCLA Hospital were appointed assistant deans for clinical affairs. As a result of the severe nursing shortage in 1987-88, the undergraduate enrollment was increased from 50 students per year to more than 100 students per year by the fall of 1989 through Dean Lindsey's negotiation. Admission of the additional 50 students was made possible by a financial subsidy authorized by Dr. Raymond Schultze, director of UCLA Medical Center. It was indeed significant to have the enrollment restored to pre-1982 levels.

However, another reduction occurred in 1993 with new budget constraints within the School of Nursing and UCLA Medical Center. The State of California continued to support 50 undergraduate admissions per year, and UCLA Medical Center 40 students. Dr. Lindsey worked hard to provide the faculty with ancillary support, space and equipment to pursue their research. She also provided the forum and opportunity to exchange ideas and research results with other faculty in the United States and internationally. Her efforts in creating a supportive and flexible environment resulted in increased grants to 43 faculty for the academic year 1991-92, a 100 percent increase over the academic year 1987-88. Through her efforts, external financial support increased. This resulted in the faculty's ability to receive more than $4.5 million in extramural research grant funds. Dr. Lindsey's own research background gave her the expertise to assist her faculty. Among other areas, her research examined problems in nutritional intake, functional status and weight changes in cancer patients. She also studied overall health status and social support of cancer patients in the United States and other cultures.

Through Dr. Lindsey's considerable support, and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the School of Nursing was able to maintain the nurse-managed health center in downtown Los Angeles, where care was provided by nurse practitioners to homeless individuals. The health center was one of a very few that was recognized nationally by the National League of Nursing as a model nursing center. During Dean Lindsey's tenure, another nurse-managed health center was established by faculty with funding support from the Division of Nursing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This, too, was a model center providing primary health care to mostly Hispanic women and children in the Garment District of Los Angeles. These centers are exemplary examples of community outreach and service.

Dean Lindsey initiated and facilitated international exchange opportunities for both faculty and students. This, too, expanded the school's sphere of influence. The establishment of the first endowed chair, the Lulu Hassenplug Donations for the Chair exceeded $325,000 after the culmination of a four-year fund-raising campaign spearheaded by Jane Ryan, an alumna of the master's program. Contributions came from School of Nursing alumni, faculty and friends.

The Hassenplug Chair brought additional distinction to the School of Nursing as well as to the university. Dr. Ada Lindsey worked successfully with the faculty to see the school achieve a ranking of fifth in the nation, as reported in the March 1993 issue of US News & World Report. It was the first time the magazine included schools of nursing in its ranking of professional schools. These rankings were arrived at through the use of a survey methodology sent to nursing colleagues across the country in schools with graduate programs. Dean Lindsey successfully saw the school through the crisis of June 1993: when once again, the school's nursing program and autonomy were threatened as a result of budget cuts. Dr. Lindsey, the faculty; alumni and nursing colleagues throughout the country fought hard against Chancellor Young's proposal known as the Professional Schools Restructuring Initiative (PSRI). Through the political and problem-solving process, a compromise was reached. The school was preserved as an autonomous unit but was to be reduced in size. After much consideration about what would be best for the future of the UCLA School of Nursing, and having served more than eight-and-a-half years as dean of the school, Dr. Lindsey accepted. a new position as dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She left the UCLA School of Nursing February 28, 1995, in a viable position and in the capable leadership of Acting Dean Donna Vredevoe.


imageMarie J. Cowan

Dr. Marie J. Cowan's tenure as the fifth dean of the School of Nursing began January 7, 1997. She was attracted to the school by its outstanding research-focused faculty; its rich clinical base in the nursing graduate programs, and sophisticated students at a premier university.

Her nursing career began in San Francisco in 1957, in a three-year diploma program at Mary's Help College, with all the letters and science courses taken in a junior college. The school was considered progressive in its curriculum. Previously, Cowan had completed two years of college work in liberal arts at St. Louis University in Missouri and the University of Maryland extension program in Munich, Germany. She moved to California when Joe, her husband-to-be, transferred to UC Berkeley to work on a master's degree in engineering. Long-distance telephone calls were becoming costly and not conducive to their courtship. Marie was advised by her mother to go into nursing instead of medicine, since her intentions were to get married. In the 1950s and early 1960s, of course, women were generally expected to get married and raise a family; having a career was secondary and not encouraged. Marie and Joe married after Marie completed her diploma program in nursing. She worked as a nurse at Herrick Memorial Hospital's intensive care unit in Berkeley while Joe completed his coursework in engineering. With a colleague, Joanne Sulley, Marie embarked on starting an intensive care unit at Herrick, though neither of the women had any training or experience in this area. Within two years, they both developed protocols for critical care, and learned to read monitors and operate the "Byrd Machine," a respirator and forerunner of the ventilators used today. This ultimately led to the establishment of an eight bed intensive care unit at Herrick Memorial Hospital.

In 1962, after Joe completed his master's degree in engineering, the couple moved to Seattle, with the idea of "trying it out" for a year. After all, they wanted to attend the World's Fair in Seattle. That one-year hiatus turned into 34 years. While Joe worked on his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Marie decided to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She was able to do this in nine months, taking into account her two years of liberal arts courses at St. Louis University and the University of Maryland, as well as credit for courses taken in a junior college while attending the diploma nursing school in San Francisco. She worked in public health for one year, and then worked for about six years at the University of Washington Medical Center in the cardiothoracic surgical critical care unit.

Dr. Cowan describes herself as having been in the right place at the right time. She did not have a specific goal to obtain a master's degree, much less a PhD. But, after her husband completed his PhD, she quit working for one year to stay home and take care of their two children. It wasn't long before she became bored playing bridge and cleaning house. When the children started pre-school and elementary school, she decided it might be a good time to pursue a master's degree part-time. She went for a consultation at the University of Washington. Within an hour, Marie Cowan left with an offer for a five-year stipend to get a Ph.D. as a nurse scientist in physiology and biophysics.

The federal government, in an effort to educate more nurse scientists, made available generous funding in the 1970s for nurses to pursue Ph.D.'s either in physiology, psychology, sociology or anthropology. Previously, most of the nurses who went on for their doctorates pursued their degrees in education, as this was one of the few options available to nurses at the time. Most of the doctoral degree programs in nursing science in the United States started in the 1980s.
In the course of her seven-year Ph.D. program, Dr. Cowan was able to complete all of the courses toward a master's degree and doctoral degree. She was told it would not be necessary for her to do a thesis in nursing, so she graduated with a master's degree in physiology and biophysics, She then went on to complete an interdisciplinary degree in physiology, biophysics, and pathology. Although she immersed herself as a researcher, Dr. Cowan felt she was never far from nursing. She was able to connect and transfer what she learned in the physiology and pathology courses she taught to her students.

After completing her PhD. degree, she was offered a joint position at the schools of nursing and medicine in the Department of Pathology and the Division of Cardiology within the Department of Medicine. She spent the first 12 years of her tenure doing basic science research as a faculty member, and three years conducting research in nursing science. The idiom, "once a nurse, always a nurse" certainly applied. Dr. Cowan's passion was research. She started to do it, found that she liked it, and it soon became a part other faculty role to help others write grants for research. She has successfully obtained National Institutes of Health funding for research continuously since 1977.

Dr. Cowan indicates it was never her intention or goal to be a researcher, nor was it her goal to be in administration. Yet, once again she found herself in the right place at the right time. Dean Rheba de Tornyay appointed her Associate Dean for Research and Practice at the University of Washington School of Nursing. The school had just started a research program, and Dr. Cowan was given the opportunity to further develop and organize the program. She remained in that position for 12 years, during which the University of Washington School of Nursing rose to No.1 in the nation in nursing research.

In 1996, Dr. Cowan was approached to submit her curriculum vitae for consideration for the position of dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. She was happy and content doing what she was doing, and did not pursue the invitation. But the first round of candidates reviewed and interviewed at UCLA did not result in an appointment. Dr. Cowan's name was once again nominated, and she reiterated she wasn't looking for a change. She was asked by Dr. Mary Ann Lewis, professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, to do a consultation on the newly refurbished master's program and on the ongoing work to change the D.N.Sc. program to a Ph.D. program. Dr. Cowan had previously consulted on these programs when Dr. Ada Lindsey was dean. She was impressed with how much had been accomplished by the school's faculty in the three years since Dr. Lindsey's departure. The faculty had completely refurbished the master's program to focus on the preparation of advanced nurse practitioners, and had changed the doctoral program from a D.N.Sc. to a Ph.D. In addition, most of the tenured faculty had become certified nurse practitioners and were receiving NIH-funded research. They had held firm during the crisis of 1993 and in the absence of a dean.

Dr. Cowan was able to negotiate favorably with Chancellor Young on the terms of her accepting the deanship. She asked for and received the restoration of nine ladder-track, full-time equivalents (FTEs) that had previously been abolished, $500,000 in permanent funding per year, and funds for computers to enable the school to proceed with distance learning and virtual reality programs in students' clinical courses.

Dean Cowan considers it a privilege and a challenge to be at UCLA. She plans to work with the faculty to implement the accepted strategic plans for the school. Dr. Cowan, who reports directly to Chancellor Albert Carnesale, views the current climate with upper campus to be very supportive. She has an outstanding relationship with the provost and dean of the medical sciences and with the leadership of UCLA Medical Center. Chancellor Carnesale suggested having a third provost for the 11 professional schools at UCLA. The deans of these schools voted not to have a provost; rather, they selected Dean Cowan to chair the Professional Deans Council and to represent them at the Chancellor's Executive Meeting. This position enables her to have access to the regents' and budget reports, and gives the professional schools a voice in the decision-making process.

In addition, Dr. Donna Vredevoe was selected to chair the Academic Senate Committee for the academic year 1999-2000. Dr. Mary Ann Lewis was appointed to serve on the campus Committee on Committees and Dr. Linda Sarna on the executive committee of the Academic Senate. Nineteen faculty members in the School of Nursing are serving on committees within the Academic Senate. These are important and influential committees on campus, and have given the school a continued visible profile and input. Dean Cowan believes the school's future is promising and positive. During the first two years of Dr. Cowans term, the school has
undergone many changes. There was administrative restructuring into the sections have direct line supervision of all faculty and some staff. The associate deans of academic programs, research and student affairs, in addition to the directors of development and administration, have indirect lines of supervision.


imageCourtney Lyder ND, ScD (Hon), FAAN

A respected researcher in patient safety and geriatric nursing and a leading advocate for health diversity, began his tenure as the sixth Dean of the School of Nursing August 1, 2008.   He was the first black dean at UCLA and the first minority male dean of a school of nursing in the United States

Under Lyder’s leadership, the School of Nursing underwent successful accreditation reviews by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2010 and by the California Board of Registered Nursing in 2011.

During his tenure as Dean, Lyder reorganized the school, recruited new faculty and staff members, established new international partnerships and exchanges, and oversaw the much-needed remodeling of facilities in the Factor Building.  He raised the visibility of the School locally, national and internationally. 

In his first year as Dean, the School of Nursing partnered with the David Geffen School of Medicine to introduce a pilot program to integrate advanced practice acute care nurses and third year medical student with a goal to develop team building s kills, increase their awareness of each other’s roles and get used to working together in making decisions to improve patient outcomes.

Mentoring was another very important issue to Professor Lyder. He had a special interest in increasing the number of men and minorities enter nursing.

Lyder’s research focuses on gerontology and chronic care issues affecting older adults. He has addressed pressure ulcer prevention, identifying erythema in darkly pigmented skin, wound healing, quality improvement in skilled nursing facilities and elder patient safety.

He came to UCLA from the University of Virginia, which he joined in 2003 as an endowed professor of nursing and a professor of internal medicine and geriatrics. He led the UV School of Nursing's acute and specialty care department. He also designed and directed the school's geriatric nurse practitioner program. He also served as director for diversity initiatives for UV's School of Nursing and medical center.

Professor Lyder is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 2011, he was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research. In 2012, he was presented with the National League of Nursing President’s Award and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Saint Xavier University for his significant contributions to advancing nursing and health.

In July 2015, Professor Lyder stepped down as dean and returned full time to faculty until July 31, 2018.


imageLinda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN

An internationally recognized scholar in promoting the role of nursing in tobacco control and oncology research focused on patients with lung cancer, became the school’s seventh dean November 15, 2016 after serving as Acting Dean (2014-2015) and Interim Dean (2015-2016). Having earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from UCLA, she is the first UCLA alumna to serve in this position. She received her doctorate from UC San Francisco. She holds the Lulu Wolf-Hassenplug Endowed Chair.

With a long and distinguished career in research, leadership and advocacy, Sarna worked to create one of the first oncology nursing specialties in the country. She has mentored generations of master’s, doctoral, postdoctoral and novice researchers in oncology nursing across the U.S. as well as abroad.

As the principal investigator for the Tobacco Free Nurses (TFN) initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she initiated the first nationwide program in the country to help nurses quit smoking. To promote the role of nurses in tobacco control, she inaugurated an award-winning TFN website. She has led translational research projects to increase nursing interventions to treat tobacco dependence among hospitalized patients in the U.S., China and Eastern Europe, using Web-based educational programs and resources.  On World No Tobacco Day 2017, she was designated as an EdgeRunner by the American Academy of Nursing for her work on tobacco cessation education.

Sarna has collaborated with national and international nursing organizations on policies related to nurses and tobacco control, including the American Academy of Nursing, the International Societies of Nurses in Cancer Care and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In 2013, she chaired the committee that led to UCLA’s distinction as the first tobacco-free UC campus.

Sarna is committed to growing inter-professional education and activities with campus partners in medicine, dentistry, engineering and other fields. She was a founding member of the National Clinician Scholars Program, an interdisciplinary collaboration launched in 2015 to provide nurses and physicians the opportunity to work together to eliminate health disparities, invent new models of care and achieve higher quality health care. In June, she was elected as the first national board chair for the program.

In addition, she served as chair of the UCLA Academic Senate during the 2012-13 academic year.

Professor Sarna is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, recognized as a distinguished research professor by the Oncology Nursing Society, inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Nurse Research Hall of Fame, and the Western Academy of Nursing.  In 2018, she received the Oncology Nurse Society 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.