Fairfield University's School of Nursing Dean Jeanne M. Novotny announces her decision to step down at the end of the academic year



Image: Jean NovotnyAfter nine years of fostering tremendous growth at Fairfield University's School of Nursing, Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, has announced her decision to step down from her position as dean at the end of the academic year, effective June 30, 2011.

In announcing Dr. Novotny's decision, Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., senior vice president for academic affairs, said that during her tenure, "Dean Novotny has rallied her colleagues within and beyond the School of Nursing around a number of significant programs and projects that have led to changes and successes, transforming the school into the national leader in Master's I Nursing education that it is today."

Dr. Novotny's legacy at Fairfield will be that of an administrator and educator who supported faculty and students and built nursing programs - both on the undergraduate and graduate levels, including the Nurse Anesthesia and Clinical Nurse Leader programs. Under her guidance, the School of Nursing launched the University's very first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Her well-known spirit of collaboration has resulted in the School's strong community partnerships that have increased the size and quality of the School's undergraduate and graduate student population, and made the School a valuable partner and a great community resource. There are many collaborations to note, from the "VA Nursing Academy" federal pilot program to clinical placements at St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport Hospital, and Norwalk Hospital, as well as articulation agreements with local community colleges. The School's Partnership Council is composed of community members who have spent time with faculty each year reviewing curriculum and considering new directions in nursing education.

Dr. Novotny has overseen public health initiatives that benefitted many elderly and low-income individuals in the Greater Bridgeport area. It was during her tenure that the School of Nursing opened the Robin Kanarek '96 Learning Resource Center, a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory where students are learning to care for patients.

Calling Dr. Novotny "an inspiration to all her colleagues," Fr. Fitzgerald commended her for "modeling superb intellectual rigor, personal ethics of the highest degree, and an ever-attentive readiness to be of service to others in the truest spirit of generosity. She is recognized by her colleagues as a leader who sets the bar for excellence very high and encourages everyone to achieve their potential, both academically and professionally."

Prior to coming to Fairfield in 2001, Dr. Novotny held academic appointments at the University of Virginia, Case Western Reserve University, and Kent State University. She brought to Fairfield her considerable expertise in the area of international nursing, having worked on projects in Mexico, Chile, and Zimbabwe.

During her first six months in office, Dr. Novotny called her faculty together to apply for an American Association of Colleges of Nursing/John A. Hartford Foundation grant; the $90,000 grant was the first of many major awards to support teaching and research in the School of Nursing and to introduce and advance the use of the latest technologies, especially in the area of clinical simulations. Significant recent grants have supported cutting edge faculty research and student learning, as well as important health projects in the local and regional communities. Under her mentoring and guidance, faculty have continued to grow and develop professionally, gaining numerous citations, awards, and fellowships during the past decade. Also during that time, several million dollars have come in under Dr. Novotny's stewardship from a combination of government, private foundation, and corporate sources.

Dr. Novotny has worked to form and inform a nationally recognized Advisory Board for the School of Nursing where alumni, parents, and friends have been cultivated as ambassadors to the broader alumni community and the larger field of Health Care. Their extraordinary success was celebrated with the dedication of the Robin Kanarek '96 Learning Resource Center, which opened in 2008, having received ninety percent of the funding from Advisory Board members.

Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Dr. Novotny's deanship is the excellence of the School's academic programs, including the fostering of international academic collaborations on the undergraduate and graduate level.

One key measure of the quality of programs is that of nursing students at the time of graduation, when they demonstrate an unparalleled level of achievement. In recent years, the pass rate by Fairfield's School of Nursing graduates on licensing exams is typically at or near 100%.

A search will be launched in the fall to find her successor.

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 22, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 9