Dear Alumni and Friends,
We are welcoming our students to Fall Quarter and the 2020-2021 academic year! This has been a heart-wrenching year. Over six-months into a world-wide pandemic, continued health disparities, social injustice and structural racism plaguing our nation, as well as the repudiation of science, the challenges will continue. Additionally, dealing with the continued threats of the California fires, it has taken courage and resolve to keep our focus on advancing excellence in nursing education, scholarship and service. As a School of Nursing, we stand at a critical moment, in solidarity with those who are oppressed, overlooked and outcast in hopes of facilitating the changes we want to see in the world. This is a critical time for higher education as we have had to adjust to the demands of remote learning, reframe our research, as well as working from home.
It has been tough, but there have been some bright spots, including the expansion of access to nursing education and science due to virtual access. In the words of the amazing, late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune." I wonder if we might reflect on the many impediments caused by the pandemic differently as we go forward. The new, virtual resource room for CCNE accreditation which houses the many academic contributions of our faculty and the work of our students exists today because of the need to develop virtual solutions. This historical archive will be available for generations to come, more easily accessible than a dozen binders. In the future some faculty might reimagine their courses and offer more hybrid instruction. And, some of our staff may be able to accomplish some aspects of their job remotely. The one issue that we are not concerned about now is lack of space!
As we prepare to welcome our students, I want to say how much I appreciate each and every one of you for your unwavering commitment to excellence: for this school and for our students. I’m so honored to be the dean. This will be a year of transition as we search for the 8th dean of the School of Nursing, a new associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and two new faculty positions. Additionally, we will apply for the opportunity to secure one of five faculty positions focused on the black experience as part of the chancellor’s “Rise to the Challenge” initiative. I am working with some faculty now on a letter of intent as well as establishing connections with other deans in the life and health sciences with a focus on health equity. Thank you to the faculty and Associate Dean of DEI Deborah Koniak Griffin and Director of DEI, Anita Bralock on the efforts to make our goal of an anti-racist curriculum a reality.
As you know, the challenges of remote learning continue. We don’t know yet for how long - but ours is a profession built on being prepared for the unexpected. I applaud the dedication of our faculty and staff in delivering the highest quality instruction, mentorship and support to our students as well as developing creative approaches to scholarship. Thank you to our program directors who have persevered with developing clinical practicum during these times.
I’m so proud of the accomplishments of our remarkable team, and look forward to seeing how you all raise the bar this year as we plan for the future. Research grants will be critically important in efforts to address the constraints of the anticipated budgetary shortfall. Thank you to Associate Dean DeVon for supporting the faculty in these efforts. Thank you to Associate Dean Doering and her team who are helping to position the school for a successful virtual CCNE review.
Preparing for this year wasn’t easy. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize how we are adjusting to this time of uncertainty. I especially appreciate the efforts of the Tech Team led by Dottie Wiley in providing additional online support for virtual education, and for Vice Dean Sheila Davis for her unwavering support for our staff.
Thank you for this honor. As we kick off my final year as dean of the School of Nursing, I want to thank you for all for your support of me and the school. I am excited about our efforts to augment our strategic plan, led by Faculty Chair Eunice Lee, which will provide more opportunities for reflection about the future of nursing education, enhancing DEI, advancing sustainability, expanding community engagement and growing our scholarship. We could not do what we do, at the level at which we do it, without each and every one of you. I am moved by your tenacity of spirit, commitment to compassionate care and your important contributions to this profession.
Our students are ready. As are we. This year will be challenging, but it will also be an opportunity for innovation and creativity. It will be a time to convert impediments to “great, good fortune.”
Dean and Distinguished Professor