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Message from Leadership

Dear College of Nursing Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Like many within our College, we are angry about the racial violence against black Americans, and deeply concerned by adverse social determinants of health that contribute to higher COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality, layoffs, housing, food insecurity, and other disparities for persons of color.

Systemic racism and bias conflict with our values and ethical principles as healthcare professionals. As Interim Dean, Chair of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach Committee, and named Dean, we are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion; and pledge to work to dismantle the systemic racism and bias that we acknowledge exist within the College of Nursing (CON).

Although we do not have all the answers, we commit to seeking to understand, taking action, and working towards a long-term goal of fostering healing and reconciliation. In the next week and months, we commit to:

  • Listen to CON faculty, staff, students, and alumni regarding topics such as, but not limited to, systemic racism, privilege, and white supremacy.
  • Name systemic racism.
  • Obtain feedback from students and alumni regarding the student experience and culture within the CON.
  • Dialogue about racism as well as prejudice and bias directed at groups of people.
  • Identify hiring, promotion, curriculum development, teaching, research, and patient care practices by which we perpetuate institutional racism or bias.
  • Prioritize strategies to combat racism and bias.
  • Explore options to serve diverse communities within the local area.
  • Promote individual and collective accountability.
Systemic racism prevents a healthy and diverse educational environment needed to recruit and retain diverse students, staff and faculty. It limits our ability to achieve the full potential of our mission to educate professional nurses, gerontologists, social workers, and scientists. We are committed to effecting change, and fostering an inclusive culture within the College. We have much work to do; the above actions are simply first steps. Together, we can create impactful and lasting change.

Barbara L. Wilson, PhD, RN
Interim Dean and Associate Professor
Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Nancy A. Allen PhD, ANP-BC, APRN

Associate Professor, College of Nursing
Chair, Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach Committee

Marla J. De Jong, PhD, RN, CCNS, FAAN

Professor; Chair, Acute and Chronic Care Division
Named Dean

Our Commitment

The College of Nursing welcomes and values diversity in students, faculty, and staff. We believe a diverse learning community brings greater respect, understanding, and appreciation of the richness of human differences. We create a diverse learning environment both in the classroom, and clinical setting through student networking and support groups, student recruitment and services, financial resources, community engaged learning, community partners, and diverse student clinical placement sites.

Our faculty and staff are committed to supporting students whose uniqueness may present particular challenges. We want to foster a safe learning environment for students where their unique, diverse backgrounds are appreciated, respected, and welcomed.

Contact Us

For further information, contact:

Ana Sanchez-Birkhead, PhD, WHNP-BC, APRN
Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair

Nancy Allen, PhD, ANP-BC 
Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair

Melanie Hall
Student Success Advocate