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by John Howser | Posted on Friday, Jun. 7, 2013 — 1:00 PM
Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., who for 22 years has spearheaded curricular innovations at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), will become the school’s new dean pending Board of Trust approval, effective July 1.
Norman, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and senior associate dean for Academics, will replace Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., CNM, who is retiring from her longtime role at the end of June.
Recognized as a national and international leader in nursing and health profession education, Norman has led curricular innovations in blended learning, interprofessional education, quality improvement and doctoral distance learning. She has been responsible for setting and implementing the strategic direction for all of the School of Nursing’s academic programs.
The appointment comes during a key transitional period in academic health care as the School of Nursing, which celebrated its 100th anniversary five years ago, continues its upward trajectory. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the school 15th in the nation in the magazine’s Best Graduate Schools-Nursing.
Within the School of Nursing nearly 1,000 students are pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees across a diverse array of specialties, continuing a decades-long tradition for training nursing leaders.
“I am delighted Linda is assuming this highly visible and strategically significant role. Having worked closely with her for many years, I know she will be an outstanding dean, bringing to this new opportunity extensive experience along with the respect of the School of Nursing’s faculty and students,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
“I want to again acknowledge Colleen’s many contributions. She steps down at a time when the School of Nursing is in an enviable position with a stable faculty and leading academic programs in practice, research and informatics. I also want to thank Dr. Dittus and the members of the interdisciplinary search committee for their outstanding work to identify Linda as the school’s new leader.”
During her time at VUSN, Norman has helped assure the academic programs are innovative, on the leading edge of advanced practice nursing, meeting the needs of the health care industry at large and achieving national recognition.
“I am tremendously honored to be chosen for this position and look forward to the future,” said Norman. “The school is strong and as part of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, we are poised to become a national leader in interprofessional health care education.”
Some of the transformational initiatives Norman has led include:
• Transition of the Master of Science clinical majors from the clinical nurse specialist to nurse practitioner.
• Initiation of six new MSN specialties and three combined specialties.
• Development and implementation of the blended distance learning options.
• Implementation of the Ph.D. in Nursing Science and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.
The School of Nursing is known for its innovative educational approaches, multiple entry options, flexible scheduling and distance learning options. It has one of the most extensive nurse faculty practice networks in the country and offers the latest informatics technology woven throughout all of its programs.
Robert Dittus, M.D., MPH, associate vice chancellor for Public Health and Health Care and senior associate dean for Population Health Sciences, led the interdisciplinary search committee. The search committee was supported by David Raiford, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs, and staffed by Suzanne Alexander from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
Other members of the search committee included: Leanne Boehm, School of Nursing Ph.D. candidate; William Cooper, M.D., MPH, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and professor of Pediatrics; Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., executive chief nursing officer; Thomas Elasy, M.D., MPH, Ann and Roscoe Robinson Chair and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health; Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics; Joan King, Ph.D., MSN, professor of Nursing; Melanie Lutenbacher, Ph.D., MSN, associate professor of Nursing; Morgan McDowell, School of Nursing master’s candidate; Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D., Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health and Society; Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education; Lorraine Mion, Ph.D., MSN, Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing; Sandra Moutsios, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine; Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Adult Health Affairs and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; and Clare Thomson-Smith, J.D., MSN, assistant dean for Faculty Practice.
Dittus said Norman is ideal for the role.
“The search committee was flooded with a national outpouring of extraordinary support for Linda; she is held in extremely high regard among her peers. Nominators noted she is kind yet firm, fair and easy to work with, has a collaborative leadership style, is insightful and a visionary, and has a clear passion for developing the critical interprofessional solutions to today’s health care problems,” said Dittus.
Norman has been involved in establishing interprofessional academic programs since 1993 when she first served on the Institute for Health Care Improvement’s (IHI) national advisory team that coordinated a national multi-site project involving nursing, medicine and health administration programs to integrate quality improvement and patient safety into health professions education.
She is currently the co-leader of the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning with Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and a member of the Southern Education Consortium for Interprofessional Education, both funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
Inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2004, she currently serves as director of evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Northwest Health Foundations Partners Investing in Nursing Initiative.
Norman has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters. A popular presenter, she delivers speeches and academic presentations on far-ranging topics within the field of nursing across the country and around the globe.
“I am delighted to welcome Linda as a partner as she assumes the role of Dean for the School of Nursing. She is perfectly positioned to lead the School and collaborate with the Medical Center as we develop innovations in clinical practice, education and research,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N, executive chief nursing Officer.
Norman earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and her DSN from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has received many national and local awards, and this year was named to the Nashville Business Journal’s Women of Influence list.
Her visiting professorships include those at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland and the University of Hong Kong.
Conway-Welch, the Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing, will continue to serve as a member of the faculty, working with Norman and Balser in support of the School of Nursing.
John Howser, (615) 322-4747
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