Early this spring, I made the decision to step down as your dean at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.
As I approached my 12th year leading this amazing institution, I realized I could achieve what many leaders hope will be a highlight of their career: Taking an organization to a place of pre-eminence, then leaving on a high note with that organization in excellent shape.
When I met with President Daniels recently to discuss my decision, I shared that realization with him and assured him the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is in good shape. Ron did not agree with me. His response was, “No Martha, it is not in good shape. It is in fantastic shape!”
It has been an extraordinary opportunity to work with all of you to achieve that “fantastic” status and to lead this school.
Since its beginning, Johns Hopkins has held a prominent place in nursing education, known throughout the world for its scholarship, practice, service, and teaching. It was the great dream of all Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing alumni to continue that position of prominence within the University. With their help, the University School of Nursing was launched 28 years ago. Since then, we introduced a full curriculum, built a building, and achieved today’s success: An excellent faculty and administrative team, incredible students, high rankings, and a balanced budget.
When President Brody asked me to accept the deanship, he outlined his expectations. Being an energetic optimist, I embraced them as opportunities and am pleased—and relieved—that they have been fulfilled. We have created new and lasting relationships. We attract the brightest and the best among faculty, students, and staff. We share the number one U.S. News & World Report ranking among graduate schools of nursing and their top-ranking for Community and Public Health programs. The National Research Council lists our PhD programs among the best. Our size has doubled, then tripled. Our research and sponsored projects have increased by 441%, despite challenges in government funding and in the economy.
These achievements provide the base for the promising road ahead. This is the era of health care reform and nursing is positioned as never before for leadership and influence. The new focus of the Johns Hopkins Health System on primary care provides even greater opportunities for faculty, even as we continue to address our mission and fulfill our mandate for excellence in scholarship, practice, service, and teaching.
President Daniels is deeply committed to finding the best leader for our continuing success. He has joined me in making this announcement today to assure you that his goal is to achieve a smooth transition by working with all of us.
As we begin this search and transition, I ask each of you to help: Everyone is now a recruiter. I hope to hear your comments and ideas and will forward you suggestions on to President Daniels.
In closing, I too want to assure you that I will remain committed to the School. On stepping down, and following a sabbatical of approximately six months, I will return to a faculty role as a tenured professor. I look forward to becoming more fully engaged in the school’s outstanding scholarship, practice, service, and teaching.
And, as always, my closing to you remains: Onward!
Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health