School of Nursing’s founding dean to leave post

The top leader for the School of Nursing, a small but growing college that has accelerated enrollment and research since forming in 2010, said Wednesday that she will step down at the end of the next academic year.

Jean Johnson’s announcement will set up the second dean search for the University during the next academic year. The GW Law School will also be searching for its next leader.

Johnson will return to the faculty once she steps down. A GW release did not detail why Johnson was stepping down.

“I have had an incredibly rewarding career,”  Johnson said in a release. “I have always enjoyed telling people that there is nothing that I was passionate about that I haven’t been able to do at George Washington.”

The nursing school has developed into a steady growth engine as medical professionals demand more advanced degrees from nurses looking for expertise and career advancement. Johnson helped form partnerships with Virginia community colleges and saw the college earn top rankings for its online programs.

Enrollment in the school’s graduate programs grew from 281 to 439 over the past three years, leading to an undisclosed budget bump by the University this year, which will help hire five new full-time professors. The University also invested about a half-million dollars two years ago in funding a clinical skills laboratory for nursing students on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

GW’s top leaders praised Johnson, who has been at GW since 1981, for her ability to innovate.

“Her ability to envision new programs for the school in its startup phase has been extraordinary,” Provost Steven Lerman said in a release. “She has been a strong partner and leader who has engendered enormous trust from her faculty and students, which has been a great positive for the school and the university as a whole.”

The school will continue to try to develop new programs as it searches for its next leader, including a leadership program with the GW School of Business.

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