Message from the Dean


“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” ~ William Pollard

 The most urgent inevitable change we face today is the changing landscape of the health care system. In the 85th Anniversary Year of the School of Nursing, we are facing this change head-on with our own growth in creativity and innovation. As I transitioned into my role as dean, I identified a focus on three key areas I describe as TLC:

  • Transforming Education
  • Leading Together
  • Cultivating Innovation

 And the image of TLC providing tender loving care is not to be overlooked. As we move through launching a new BSN curriculum focused on population health and wellness, rolling out the new simulation program in the redesigned state-of-the-art Simulated Health Center, and beginning a wonderful journey with the new Integrative Health and Wellness program, we are mindful of continuing to foster the caring and supportive culture our students must have as a foundation for their education. The health and wellness of students today leads to well-being for tomorrow of our health care system and the populations we serve.

 We are transforming education in developing true partnerships with our health care system collaborators to inform nursing and health care education. During listening sessions with our practice partners to inform the new BSN curriculum, there were central themes identified to develop in students:

  • Understanding of the impacts of nursing practice on quality and safety;
  • Experiences in the full scope of nursing practice beyond acute care; and
  • An innovative approach to practice and quality improvement.

 These are not necessarily skills assessed by licensure examinations, but they are skills that are required to lead health care teams of today and in the future. Faculty are building on the most current evidence and emerging best-practices for concept-based teaching and learning with maximum impact of simulation.

 “If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” ~Steven Johnson

We are creating nursing curricula that will provide students with an unparalleled opportunity to be fully prepared for the health care system of the future. Through innovation and leadership, we are able to deliver realistic simulations with trained actors (standardized patients), deliver primary care through a nurse-managed clinic to the most vulnerable in our community, and embed telehealth and emerging technologies into our undergraduate and graduate programs. These innovations in nursing education make a tremendous difference in our work to inspire students to be influential leaders of tomorrow.

Casey R. Shillam, PhD, RN

Dean and Professor