|From the President and Provost
April 16, 2013,
Volume 59, No. 29
Transition at Penn Nursing
We are writing to let you know that Dr. Afaf Meleis has told us and the Penn Nursing community that—as she had planned to do when she generously agreed to reappointment for a second term as dean in 2009—she will step down as dean of the School of Nursing at the end of her term on June 30, 2014. This spring, we will name and charge a consultative committee to advise us on the selection of Afaf’s successor. From now through June 30, 2014, Afaf will continue moving ahead with her great Penn Nursing team and faculty to realize the School of Nursing’s ambitious goals.
Afaf’s transition from the deanship will mark the conclusion of 12 enormously successful and productive years that have immeasurably strengthened Penn Nursing and the University. As dean and as an important member of the University’s senior leadership, Afaf’s ambitious vision for the future of nursing science and her energetic and passionate leadership have been one of the School of Nursing’s and the University’s greatest assets.
Since her arrival at Penn in 2002, Afaf has been an outstanding dean: energetic, strategic, motivational, creative and strongly dedicated to academic excellence. Her record as a fundraiser, as an outstanding leader in the profession and as an advocate for global women’s health is simply superb. Under her leadership, Penn Nursing has established itself as one of the world’s preeminent schools of nursing. The School has distinguished itself by its commitment to the training of the profession’s future leaders and the advancement of nursing science.
Under Afaf’s leadership, the School of Nursing’s faculty, educational programs, research activities, finances and connections to its alumni have all flourished, and the School’s eminence is indisputable. Among the School’s major accomplishments during her tenure have been the creation of two decentralized academic departments within the School, the establishment of four new research centers—including a path-breaking Center for Global Women’s Health, the substantial renovation of Claire M. Fagin Hall and the launching of a groundbreaking BSN curriculum. The School’s endowment has almost tripled to $72.4 million, and its budget has more than tripled to $97 million, and it is among the top nursing schools in federal funding. Enrollment increased by 57%, the standing faculty grew by 19%, and diversity among both students and faculty was made a top priority, more than quadrupling the percentage of minority standing faculty.
Afaf’s energetic advocacy for the profession of nursing, the School and its mission; her high international profile; her dynamic personality; and her considerable accomplishments as a professional leader together have brought international visibility and recognition to the School and the University. Over the next 15 months, Afaf will continue to drive forward her ambitious plans to ensure Penn Nursing’s continued eminence as the world’s leading school of nursing science, while enabling us to plan for a smooth transition in the School’s leadership. During this period, we all will have ample opportunities to recognize and thank Afaf for her many remarkable contributions to Penn Nursing and the University, but we want also to take this opportunity to thank her and her colleagues for the exemplary excellence they have achieved and continue to demonstrate every day.
—Amy Gutmann, President
—Vincent Price, Provost