UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May has appointed Deborah Ward interim dean for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Ward, a clinical professor and former associate dean for academics at the school, will assume the school’s top leadership position Aug. 1, when Founding Dean Heather M. Young steps down after 10 years of service.
“I am delighted that Dr. Ward has agreed to serve,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hexter. “Dean Young leaves the school well-positioned for success and I am confident that Dr. Ward will maintain the forward momentum of the school during this period of leadership transition.”
Young announced in March her plans to complete her ten-year term at the end of July and return after a sabbatical to contribute to the School of Nursing in a new way — championing research that aligns with her interests in family caregiving and healthy aging for older adults.
As the first faculty member recruited to the School of Nursing in September 2008, Ward served as associate dean for academics from 2009 to 2015. She played a critical role in the development of the school’s graduate-degree programs, including the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, of which she now serves as chair. From the founding of the school, she has worked diligently to connect it to the Davis campus as well as with the larger communities it serves. Chancellor May appointed her as a representative of UC Davis Health on the steering committee of the ongoing campus strategic planning effort.
“While on a personal level we are very sad that Dean Young is leaving, we recognize that leadership transitions are a sign of a healthy organization,” Ward said. “I’m eager to serve in the interim role and position us for the next stage of leadership and partnership.”
“Dr. Ward brings extensive academic leadership experience to this role,” added Thomas S. Nesbitt, interim vice chancellor for human health sciences. “She has demonstrated leadership by fostering many effective partnerships with colleagues across our campus and is a highly respected faculty colleague.”
In January, Ward received the 2017 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award, the UC Davis Academic Federation’s highest honor. The award committee cited Ward’s career and leadership as exemplifying the spirit of the award. Ward has performed extensive service to the school and UC Davis Health overall, including membership on the School of Nursing’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the School of Medicine’s Internal Curriculum Review Subcommittee and, at the university level, the Faculty Advisory Committee for the UC Davis Engaged Scholarship and Engaged Learning initiative.
“Dr. Ward’s influence is all over the School of Nursing, from the original courses she conceived to the faculty she mentored and the students she has inspired,” Young said. “She is a true leader and citizen of this university and will continue to contribute her energy, wisdom and deep commitment in this new role at the School of Nursing.”
Hexter anticipates consulting with the incoming vice chancellor for human health sciences to determine the appropriate time to launch the national search for a permanent dean for the School of Nursing.
Since its founding in 2009, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing graduated 271 alumni, established 48 endowed scholarships and nurtured more than 200 community and clinical partnerships. Currently, there are 302 students in the school’s five programs: Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Health Services ― Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Science ― Family Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science ― Leadership and Master of Science in Nursing. For more information on the school and its programs, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.