45th Anniversary Celebration Lights the Way

College of Nursing alumni, faculty/staff, students and friends marked the school’s 45th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 2.  The day's activities included afternoon tours of Cunningham Hall with former and current faculty and staff, and a reception, dinner and awards ceremony in the Union's Wisconsin Room.

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As part of the festivities, the College kicked off a “mini-capital campaign” to raise money to improve and upgrade facilities to support the outstanding clinical teaching strategies that the faculty and staff have already adopted,” says Dean Sally Lundeen.

A key goal is to raise money to renovate the Nursing Learning Resource Center (NLRC), which provides a learning environment that supports much of the hands-on clinical education  for beginning nursing students through with equipment, “simulated” patient/manikins’, and other technology. The campaign will focus on alumni and friends of the College – “nurses giving back to nurses,” Lundeen says. However, she adds, the College also is hoping for community support from those who recognize the importance of good healthcare. “As the population ages, the nurses and advanced practitioners we’re preparing will be the ones taking care of us,” she says.

While the UWM College of Nursing is “fairly young” compared to other nursing education institutions,” says Lundeen, it is building toward the 50th year with a strong foundation of research, teaching and community outreach.

The College research portfolio has grown significantly in the past decade.  The College has one of only two National Institute of Health P-20 research centers on campus, the Self-Management Science Center, and has numerous other funded research projects underway. Most recently, the College received funding from the Wisconsin Genomics Institute for pioneering research that will look at ways to foster the involvement of culturally and racially diverse communities with genetics and genomics research.

A high percentage of the faculty members have achieved the FAAN (Fellow of the American Academy of Nurses) designation. Over the past few years, three faculty members – Aaron Buseh, Julia Snethen and Elizabeth Devine – have been honored for their outstanding teaching by the campus and the UWM Alumni Association. Norma Lang, professor and former dean, received the first-ever President’s Award from the American Nursing Association this summer and will be honored as a “Living Legend” in November by the American Academy of Nursing.

Lundeen is equally proud of the College’s teaching success. The College has also pioneered online teaching. It was among the first in the country to offer an online doctoral program, for example, says Lundeen, and currently offers both the PhD in Nursing and the DNP (doctorate in nursing practice) online.

UWM’s College of Nursing has also increased its ties with the international community in the past eight-to-ten years with the increased numbers of students studying abroad, ties with nursing programs in other countries and a significant faculty involvement in research, particularly in the African nation of Malawi, according to Lundeen. Recently, faculty members consulted with a healthcare team from South Africa that is building the Mandela Children’s Center. The group told Lundeen that what they learned from College of Nursing faculty caused them to re-think their whole approach to the center and to children’s healthcare.

And, for more than 20 years, the College of Nursing has operated community nursing centers which provide healthcare to underserved groups and learning/research opportunities for UWM students and faculty under the aspices of the UWM Institute for Urban Health Partnerships.

Those deep and continuing connections with the urban healthcare community were, in fact, a factor in the success of the WGI grant application, notes Lundeen.

The 45th anniversary celebrates this wonderful foundation, says Lundeen, and offer an opportunity to explore ways to invest in a new NLRC and support forward- looking strategic planning.

“By the 50th anniversary, we want to have taken this wonderful foundational work and take it to the next level.”

For more information about the mini-capital campaign, contact Jennifer Clearwater at jenwater@uwm.edu, 414-229-5617. To participate in the planning of the 50th Anniversary, email welsh@uwm.edu.

To see more pictures from the event, go to Facebook