Dean Hill to Step Down in 2013

Dean Hill to Step Down in 2013

Editor’s Note: On Monday, September 10, 2012, at a Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Town Hall Meeting, Dean Martha N. Hill announced her plans to return to her faculty role as a tenured professor. Johns Hopkins University President Ron J. Daniels joined her in making the announcement. Following are the e-mails distributed by them to colleagues throughout Johns Hopkins and the nursing and higher education communities. You can also watch Hill’s farewell address at

Dear School of Nursing Colleagues:

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 preeminence, 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.

Dean Hill to Step Down in 2013
Martha N. Hill, Dean, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

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 percent, despite challenges in government funding and in the economy.

These achievements provide the base for the promising road ahead. This is the era of healthcare 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 your 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
Dean, Johns Hopkins University
School of Nursing

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Fewer than 30 years ago, this University did not have a nursing school. Today, by any measure — undergraduate, masters, and doctoral education programs; research; and service to our communities locally and around the world the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is one of the best anywhere.

The School’s astonishing leap to national and international prominence is due in part to our ability to build upon the remarkable tradition, history and excellence of nursing education at Johns Hopkins, including the hospital-based nursing training program that began in 1889.

But it is also attributable to the extra-ordinary contributions of dedicated faculty and staff, beginning with its leaders. And no one has contributed more throughout the School’s history than its current dean, and one of its original faculty members, Martha Hill.

It is with deeply mixed emotions that I share that Dean Hill plans to conclude her service as dean at the end of this academic year, remaining a member of the faculty and returning to her research. While I am delighted for her that she will embark on this new chapter, I will truly miss her leadership of the School and her counsel on University-wide matters.

Dean Hill to Step Down in 2012
Ronald J. Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University

Martha Hill embodies the very best of Johns Hopkins. She earned her nursing diploma from The Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing and her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University. She was one of the first four faculty members to join founding dean Carol Gray when the School of Nursing was established as a standalone division of the university. She later became director of its Center for Nursing Research.

She helped to advance broader university goals through joint appointments in the schools of Medicine and Public Health and service on important university bodies. In all her endeavors, from championing urban health initiatives to increasing the School’s commitment to global health, Martha has been a passionate and effective advocate for nurturing the excellence of individual faculty, students and staff. She also has passionately and effectively advocated for fostering interdisciplinary connections across our departments and divisions that ensure our ability to better educate our students, care for our patients, and effect change in our communities.

Her internationally recognized scholarly work has brought considerable prestige to Johns Hopkins and made her a transformative leader in her field. She is known worldwide for devising and proving strategies to overcome healthcare disparities and improve hypertension care and control among urban, underserved African-Americans. She was the first non-physician to serve as president of the American Heart Association. She serves on the Council of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She also is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and vice chair of the board of Research!America.

Martha became dean of nursing in 2002 after a year of service in an interim capacity. Since then, the School;s advances have been nothing short of remarkable. She has overseen growth in the size and stature of the faculty and the student body. She has led a growth in research funding of more than 440 percent. She has revised an already robust undergraduate curriculum and built superb graduate programs, recruited outstanding faculty, initiated important new research efforts, and greatly reinforced the school’s finances.

We will honor Martha’s work in part by finding a successor capable of building on the foundation she has established and leading the school to even greater levels of excellence. Details of a search will be announced soon.

There will be ample opportunity before next summer to more formally celebrate Martha’s tremendous success. For now, let me join her many colleagues in expressing gratitude for her great friendship and for everything she has done and will continue to do to ensure the success of Johns Hopkins Nursing and our entire University.


Ronald J. Daniels
President, Johns Hopkins University

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