Dean’s Welcome

Welcome to the UConn School of Nursing!

For 80 years we have served the citizens of Connecticut and the world by educating nurses dedicated to advancing the health of individuals and communities.

Home to five nursing degree programs – the Bachelor of Science (BS), the Certificate Entry into Nursing (CEIN/BS), the Master of Science (MS) (Adult Gerontological Acute Care and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner tracks), the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – our interprofessional curricula stress innovation, leadership, scholarship, evidence-based practice and research. Online certificate programs in Holistic Nursing, Pain Management, Health Professions Education, and Healthcare Innovations, Life Story Practice and Research, and our Long-term Healthcare Management Certificate, in partnership with the School of Business, provide other avenues for study and professional development.

Here you will find a rich environment for your professional growth. While innovation and a focus on learning science are at the heart of our mission, we remain true to the vision of service and leadership instilled by our founding dean, Carolyn Ladd Widmer. The School and the University offer unparalleled opportunities for you to develop as an innovator and an entrepreneur. At the only public, research-intensive institution in the state, our students have unrivaled opportunities to work with researchers in the areas of pain, maternal-child health, aging, and chronic disease prevention and management, including exploration of the genetic basis for disease and the role of the microbiome.

Our Center for Advancement in Managing Pain and our National Institutes of Health-funded P20 Center for Accelerating Precision Pain Self-Management (CAPPS-M) are supported by a new biobehavioral lab that offers unique educational experiences for students across all levels of study. We recently relocated the International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice (ICLIP) to Storrs. Our commitment to advancing nursing practice and scholarship is supported by our Innovation and New Knowledge activities.

Here you will find opportunities for Experiential Global Learning, as well as work within our local communities through the Urban Service Track, a unique interdisciplinary program where students in the Schools of Nursing, Social Work, Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Pharmacy, work with underserved populations. Strong clinical partnerships, across the state and beyond, including John Dempsey Hospital at UConn Health in Farmington, provide exceptional learning opportunities, including internships for our students. A recently funded HRSA grant, “Primary Care NPs Caring for Underserved Populations – An Innovative Clinical-Academic Partnership to Enhance NP Preparation for Practice (PCNP CUPS)” will enhance expertise for managing the behavioral health needs in the primary care setting through collaboration with Generations Connecticut, and Community Health Centers, Inc. These clinical sites are an integral part of our team of 67 full-time faculty, 22 staff, and 9,000 alumni who are dedicated to your individual growth and professional excellence.

We invite you to join us on a nursing journey of caring, innovation, and advocacy.

DeborahC-081617-106 final (cropped)

Deborah A. Chyun, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
Dean and Professor
P: 860-486-4887

Former Deans

2016-2017: E. Carol Polifroni

The ninth dean of the School of Nursing, serving from 2016 to 2017, Carol Polifroni has been a presence at UConn over the course of four decades. Outside of her numerous roles at UConn, including acting dean, coordinator of various programs and director of the Office of Public Engagement, Polifroni has engaged in numerous hospital consulting roles over the past 30 years and has contributed to the existing body of nursing education research. She has been prolific in securing program grant funding to advance nursing education and has led important community partnerships to prepare future nurses. During her distinguished career, Polifroni received more than $5 million in grants from federal agencies and foundations to enhance the diversity of the nursing workforce and the preparation of tomorrow’s educators, and advised 25 doctoral students who are now leaders and educators. For her many contributions in research and education, she has been named a Fellow of the Academy of Nurse Educators by the National League for Nursing, and awarded the Josephine Dolan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nursing Education and the Mary Jane Williams Lifetime Achievement Award by the Connecticut Nursing Association.

2000-2006: Laura Cox Dzurec ’74

Dean Dzurec holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from UConn, a master's degree from Ohio State University, and a PhD. from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Dzurec is a clinical specialist in Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and a childbirth educator. Before her deanship at UConn, Dzurec served as the Associate Dean at Oregon Health Sciences University. Dzurec has published extensively in various nursing journals. Her leadership highlights include the restructuring of Academic Advising to improve efficiency and management of rising enrollment, tripling the amount of scholarship dollars awarded annually, and successfully leading the School trhough the process of obtaining a full 10 year CCNE accreditation.

1979-1987: Marlene Kramer

Dean Kramer earned her baccalaureate in nursing front St. Louis University, a master’s from Case Western Reserve, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She was nationally recognized for her scholarship, research, and publications. One of her best-known works is the series of books she published which made Reality Shock a household word in nursing. During her tenure as Dean, the school expanded its research mission and revised the curricula for undergraduate and graduate programs. Under her leadership, the Alumni Association became an important force in the life of the school.

2011-2016: Regina Cusson

Regina Cusson served as dean of the School of Nursing from 2011 to 2016. She came to Storrs as a professor and director of the neonatal nurse practitioner track in 1998. Before her appointment at UConn, she was a professor at both the University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania. Outside of her professorship activities, she is a UConn site coordinator for the Program for the Study of Health Care Relationships and a coordinator for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Faculty Special Interest Group of the Neonatal Advanced Practice Nursing Forum.

1995-1998: Barbara Redman

Dean Redman earned her baccalaureate in nursing from South Dakota State University, then her master’s and PhD from the University of Minnesota. As a professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing she wrote The Process of Patient Teaching in Nursing, a hallmark book currently it is in its eighth edition. Before her deanship at UConn she held many distinguished positions including Dean of the School of Nursing for the University of Colorado in Denver, Executive Director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Executive Director of the American Nurses Association. Under her term as Dean the primary foci were increasing funded research and recruitment of internationally known faculty.

1967-1979: Eleanor Keating Gill

Dean Gill received her baccalaureate degree from Brown College in 1935 and her master’s from Yale University School of Nursing in 1938. She also received a MS from Boston University in 1960. Before coming to UConn, Dean Gill had taught in the School of Nursing at Boston University and pioneered the role of the clinical nurse specialist at Boston University Medical Center. The UConn School of Nursing expanded dramatically during her deanship, with the consolidation and innovative revision of the undergraduate curriculum on the Storrs campus, and the establishment of the master’s program, the first in a public university in the state.

2007-2011: Anne R. Bavier

Anne R. Bavier earned her bachelor’s in nursing from Duke University in 1970, her master's in nursing from Emory University in 1973 and her Ph.D. in Nursing from Duquesne University in 2003. Bavier served as assistant dean for development, alumni and external relations and then assistant dean for planning and external relations at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, one of the leading schools of nursing in the country, from 1999 to 2003, before assuming the deanship at St. Xavier University in 2004. Bavier became dean of the University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing in August of 2007. Bavier also had leadership roles at federal health care agencies, including being the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health. She taught on the faculties of St. Xavier University, Emory University, Yale University and Georgia State University. Under her leadership the School of Nursing earned the designation of Center of Excellence in the Nursing Education, a distinction given by the NLN to the top nursing schools in the nation. While at these schools, Bavier also worked towards increased grant funding and financial aid for economically disadvantaged students.

1988-1993: Beverly Koerner

Dean Koerner, an honor graduate of the undergraduate program at UConn, was a member of the first class of graduate students in nursing, earning her MS degree in 1973, followed by a PhD from the School of Education in 1979. She served on the faculty at UConn before becoming the Chair of The Department of Nursing at the University of Hartford, where she served for several years before returning to UConn as the fourth Dean of the school. Under her leadership, the PhD program was further developed and faculty research continued to expand. The School of Nursing buildings were renovated and space for the School was enlarged. Following her term as Dean, Dr. Koerner returned to the faculty to teach, practice, and conduct research. As of 12/31/2007, Dr. Koerner retired.

1942-1967: Carolyn Ladd Widmer

Dean Widmer was the founding Dean of the School. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College in 1923, she earned her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Yale University School of Nursing, graduating in 1929. After her graduation she organized public health nursing in Bogotá, Colombia. In 1932, she became the Dean of the School of Nursing at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, then known as Syria. With the threat of war in Europe, she returned to the US with her two small children in 1940, and in 1942, opened the UConn School of Nursing. She received her MA at Trinity in 1951.