Faculty stay silent on search for new nursing dean

Media Credit: Courtesy of Ronna Halbgewachs

Faculty at the School of Nursing have remained tight-lipped about their progress on finding a replacement for outgoing Dean Jean Johnson. Johnson will step down in about two months.

GW’s newest college has about two months before its founding dean steps down, but professors are remaining tight-lipped about who her successor could be.

The School of Nursing’s faculty have kept quiet about the search, which has lasted about a year. Christine Pintz, the associate dean for graduate students who is leading the search, said she had no comment about what phase the search is in.

Kate Malliarakis, director of the nursing leadership and management program, said the committee is interviewing candidates and had “excellent candidates.”

The school hosted a going away party for its current dean, Jean Johnson, at the Four Seasons Hotel last week, with more than 100 colleagues, friends and family attending to recognize her work. Colleagues gave her a quilt with supportive messages on the back, said JoAnn Conroy, a clinical instructor.

“I think she has a tenacity to accomplish what a lot of people have felt was the impossible,” Conroy said. “She achieved national recognition for the school in a really short period of time.”

Johnson announced about a year and a half ago that she would step down and take on a teaching and research role, after leading the school since it was founded in 2010. In less than a year, she transformed the nursing department in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences into its own college, which has seen its enrollment increase and has climbed in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of top online nursing programs.

More than a dozen professors did not return requests for comment about the dean search.

Search committees typically do not disclose the names of candidates to protect those vying for the position: Many candidates do not want their current employers to know they are considering leaving their institutions.

Committee members will typically interview semi-finalists off campus, before inviting five to 10 finalists to campus to meet with faculty, students and top administrators.

When Johnson announced she would step down, she said she planned to serve one more year as the nursing school’s dean while the University searched for her replacement. Last year, still without a successor, she agreed to stay on until a replacement was chosen.

Last month, University President Steven Knapp announced Johnson would officially leave her post at the end of this semester.

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