Hill's Side

Dean Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN '64, FAAN“Where in the world is Martha?”

It’s a question frequently asked of my office staff and one that reflects the increasingly external role of a dean at a top-ranked school in a major research-intensive, international university.

In today’s fast-paced academic environment, the driving mantra for deans is “visibility, networking, involvement, and virtuality”—a list of characteristics that create the very model of a modern dean (with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan!).

If I’m not in my office or within the walls of the School of Nursing, the assumption is my location is “out-of-the-country.” In reality I could be involved and working on a committee at the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., in a meeting at the Hopkins Homewood campus, or at the School of Medicine serving on a search committee for the new chair of the Kimmel Cancer Center and the Department of Oncology. I might be networking at board meetings of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or Research!America. I could be visible at a ceremony honoring new Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing or one celebrating the achievements of a retiring Johns Hopkins Hospital nurse leader. Or, I could be taking the rare occasion to work (think and plan) at home and truly be that very modern model, a virtual dean who is in touch with her school anywhere, anytime via the Internet.

These characteristics—visibility, networking, involvement, and virtuality—allow not just me, but all outstanding faculty and our administrative leadership, to maximize our time while reaching outside the bricks and mortar of the school. All allow us effective avenues for establishing relationships that strategically position the SON, expand the brand of Johns Hopkins Nursing, and above all, carry out the missions of the school and the university.

Throughout this issue of the magazine, you will see how we have used these characteristics in our relationships, positioning, and branding to achieve very successful and strategic outcomes. Our global outreach has resulted in myriad international experiences for our undergraduate and graduate students, (“Where in the World is the Hopkins Nursing Student?”). Before we can send our students to these locales, it is essential that we visit the hosting organizations to build relationships and programs and confirm goals for the students’ experience. We have to be there, see it, and meet the people. Once there, our global presence and that of our faculty and students helps to attract the funding we need to expand our reach (GANM/Kentrik article).

“Partners in Learning”, illustrates the outcomes achieved through close partnerships with other schools—both here at Hopkins and elsewhere—and other disciplines. Our networking and visibility have worked effectively in bringing many of the newer programs to fruition and ensuring that nursing is at the table when innovative global programs are launched (“Glass Joins Trio of Leaders of Global Health”).

In “Class Acts”, you’ll read how our relationships with Johns Hopkins Hospital have enabled us to create innovative learning forums and educational options for the practicing nurse and to offer unique graduate and post-graduate experiences for nurses from throughout the world.

This summer, my role as a modern and virtual dean will be heightened as the reality of “Where’s Martha…” does change to a more international focus. As I write this, I have just returned from a trip to Uganda. While there we learned of incredible teaching, learning, and research opportunities for our students and faculty. Next I’ll travel to Beijing and Xi’an to review current School of Nursing partnerships and examine future collaborations. In July, I’ll be a visiting professor in Australia and also will explore the possibility of a new partnership for the school. Then it’s on to New Zealand for a keynote address at the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Scientific Meeting.

When I return in August, and share the outcomes of my meetings and travel—and our faculty relate similar experiences—we’ll begin to reap the rewards of these very purposeful trips and determine how our modern models and our visibility, networking, involvement, and virtuality have brought new and meaningful opportunities to Hopkins Nursing. Stay tuned.


Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN ’64, FAAN
Dean and Professor

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