VCU Names Dean of School of Nursing

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Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a nationally recognized expert in nursing education, curricula and evaluation, has been named dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing effective June 30.

Giddens currently serves as professor and executive dean of the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico. The author of numerous journal articles, nursing textbooks and electronic media in nursing education, she is widely recognized for creating innovative teaching and learning models in nursing sciences, including The Neighborhood, a web-based virtual community used to enhance integrative approaches in nursing education.

“I am very pleased to welcome Jean Giddens to Virginia Commonwealth University as she personifies everything that makes VCU one of the nation’s best and rapidly rising research universities,” said Michael Rao, president of VCU and the VCU Health System. “Her commitments to research, education, service and student success are exemplary, and will be an ideal addition to a highly energized team committed to supporting a world-class faculty and student body.”

Giddens is the principal investigator of an Academic Progression in Nursing grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The grant involves the development of a statewide nursing education plan for New Mexico, featuring university and community college partnerships. Giddens is an executive nurse fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“This is an exciting time to be a student, faculty and alumnus as the School of Nursing welcomes a new dean and celebrates its 120th year of nursing excellence,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System. “Dr. Giddens brings a national reputation as a thought leader. She has the strategic vision and enthusiasm to build on the school’s outstanding tradition and achieve even greater heights of excellence in nursing education.”

Giddens earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University.

She succeeds Nancy F. Langston, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, who will retire this summer, leaving a legacy of significant growth in enrollment, programs, research and community outreach. Langston served as dean for 22 years.

“Our nation needs nurses who are deeply committed to caring for their fellow human beings through leading-edge practice and improving the human experience through cutting-edge research and education. VCU’s School of Nursing is nationally known for preparing alumni to be role-models in their discipline and their community,” Rao said. “I am grateful to Dean Langston for building this reputation during her remarkable 22-year tenure, and I look forward to working closely with Dean Giddens as she takes VCU Nursing to even greater heights nationally.”