Dear faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends:
I write to you to share my intention to step down as dean of the UF College of Nursing on June 30, 2023. This will mark the completion of my 10th year as dean. Serving the students, faculty, administration and citizens of the state of Florida for nearly 10 years has been my proudest achievement. Gator Nursing is much more than a name; it is an indelible bond between a community and a commitment to Care, Lead and Inspire in everything that we do. It has been both an honor and a privilege to work with the incredible faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the college. Together, we have accomplished much in the last nine-and-a-half years, and while there is always more to do, I think this is the right time for me personally and professionally to step aside for a new leader of the college.
My time at the College of Nursing has been filled with many memorable moments and accomplishments, and I am confident I leave the college in a strong position to carry the momentum forward into the future. A few of the major achievements include:
- BSN and DNP programs are ranked No. 1 in Florida; BSN is ranked No. 5 and DNP is ranked No. 15 among publics nationally
- Expanded the Accelerated BSN program to the UF Health Jacksonville campus, increasing undergraduate enrollment by more than 20%
- Exhaustively renovated the Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Lab at the Pettengill Nursing Resource Center to provide a realistic and technology-enriched simulation space for students to learn and practice skills
- College was designated a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in recognition of our role as a national leader in nursing education and teaching
- Partnered with UF Health Nursing leadership for joint strategic planning to develop shared research agenda
- Increased annual NIH research funding from less than $500,000 in 2014 to nearly $5 million in 2021 and an advancement in ranking from No. 57 in funding in 2014 to No. 18 in 2021
- Created the EMBRACE program, which is now a national model, to provide research and leadership opportunities to underrepresented BSN students
- Closed a successful Go Greater Campaign, raising $23.5 million for the College of Nursing
After stepping down as dean, I plan to return to the College of Nursing as a faculty member and continue with my research and teaching. I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband, children and grandchildren upon my retirement. My husband and I also plan to do quite a bit of traveling, which has been put on hold during the pandemic. There are so many more adventures we are anticipating!
David Nelson, MD, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, is expected to announce plans to identify a new dean in the coming months.
It has been a true honor to serve as dean of the UF College of Nursing for the last nine-and-half years. While I had not set out in my career with a vision of being a dean, it has undoubtedly been the most rewarding — and the most challenging — role I have had in my nearly five-decade career. I am grateful for having such an amazing group of faculty, staff, alumni and friends to share this journey, and I look forward to finishing my final year as dean on a high note.
With much thanks and appreciation,
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Chair