Associate Professor of Nursing and Pediatrics Terrah Akard, a nationally recognized nurse scientist in pediatric palliative care and end-of-life support, has been named associate dean for academic affairs for the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University.
The expanded associate dean role reflects the importance of graduate education at Vanderbilt and will enable increased communications with the various schools, departments and programs supporting graduate students.
“I am delighted to welcome Terrah Akard into this new role as associate dean,” Graduate School Dean André Christie-Mizell said. “Graduate education is at the core of our mission at Vanderbilt, and ensuring that we have a strong academic program in place to attract and support the best students in each discipline on their path to degree completion is critically important to our work.”
In her new role as associate dean, Akard will oversee activities related to the curricula for graduate degree programs, including course catalogs, academic regulations, degree requirements and academic program reviews.
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to continue to expand my role in graduate education,” Akard said. “I look forward to supporting faculty, staff and graduate students by promoting excellence in research and scholarship, and to carrying out the mission of the Graduate School to train the next generation of leaders and scholars.”
Akard, who most recently served as the director of graduate studies for the Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program, was chosen after a nationwide search by a diverse committee of faculty from across various schools at Vanderbilt that was chaired by Bunmi Olatunji, who previously served as the associate dean for academic affairs and was recently named associate provost for graduate education.
Akard joined Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing as an assistant professor in 2008 and holds a Ph.D. in nursing science from Vanderbilt University. Her research in pediatric palliative care focuses primarily on improving life and decreasing suffering for children who live, suffer with or die from serious advanced illness and for their family members.
In addition to teaching and research, Akard has received numerous awards and designations, such as Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow, March of Dimes Nurse Educator of the Year and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.