Barbara Jean Flynn Sideleau

mem_sideleauDr. Barbara Flynn Sideleau, Professor and founding faculty member of Fairfield's School of Nursing and founding member of the Mu Chi Chapter of The Honor Society of Nursing, passed away April 30th, 2009 after a long struggle living with the effects of a stroke suffered following open-heart surgery in the fall of 1991.

In the late 1960s the University began preparation for adding a department of Nursing. Mrs. Elizabeth Dolan, its first Dean, appointed Dr. Sideleau as the first full time Nursing faculty member in September of 1970, the first year women were admitted to Fairfield University. Starting with an initial enrollment of 19 students in the new nursing program, Dr. Sideleau spent the year intimately involved with the planning and development of curriculum for a four year nursing program. She actively served on the Ad Hoc Accreditation Committee that led to the first accreditation of the program by the National League of Nursing, Department of Baccalaureate and Higher Education in 1974. Eventually the Department was given status as a separate School in the University and Dr. Sideleau was instrumental in gathering data, reviewing curriculum and preparing voluminous reports for two additional visits to renew the accreditation of the School of Nursing, for which it received the highest rating possible. Dr. Sideleau was also involved with the planning of the SON building and was thrilled to have office windows overlooking the picturesque brook that ran beside it.

Dr. Sideleau taught Mental Health/Psychiatric nursing courses to students in both the sophomore and senior years and was especially highly regarded for the excellence of her teaching and her unending capacity to advocate on behalf of her students. Aside from her classroom teaching responsibilities she spent many hours in a clinical setting supervising her students at Hallbrooke Hospital each fall, as well as countless hours in her office meeting with students. Her door was decorated with a variety of Peanuts comic strips relevant to the material taught in her classes. Her students all knew that the absolute deadline for process recordings and papers was prior to her departure to St. Thomas each December.

During her time at Fairfield University, Dr. Sideleau completed her Doctorate in Education at Columbia University, published a number of scholarly papers on such topics as substance abuse, birth order, and wandering behavior in the elderly. Dr. Sideleau co-edited and wrote numerous chapters for what became the definitive Psychiatric Nursing textbook, Comprehensive Psychiatric Nursing, through four editions, a book that twice received the NLN Book of the Year award and was translated into several languages. She also served as editor of a companion quarterly publication Issues in Mental Health Nursing. Dr. Sideleau maintained a private practice as a family therapist, wrote questions for the Connecticut State Nursing Board examination and served as a consultant in the corporate sector for stress management and team building. Shortly before her stroke Dr. Sideleau was to have attended a meeting in Orlando where she was to receive the charter for the Mu Chi chapter of The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, which she was instrumental in bringing to the School of Nursing.

Born in Bridgeport, CT Dr. Sideleau held a diploma from St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing, a B.S.N from the University of Bridgeport, an M.S.N from Yale University and an Ed.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Sideleau leaves behind her husband, Robert C. Sideleau, and children Robert J., Brian, Gregoire, a 1978 Fairfield graduate and Michelle, a 1979 Fairfield graduate, as well as seven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.