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State of the College Adress

University of Colorado College of Nursing State of the College Address 2022

minute read

CU Nursing leadership presented a videotaped State of the College Address during today’s All College monthly meeting -- providing an update as to where we currently are and plans for the future.

Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP

It’s been a while since I last presented a State of the College address. The last one was right before the outbreak of the pandemic.

So, it seems appropriate to circle back and provide an update as to where we’ve come from, where we currently are, and plans for the future.

A lot has happened during this past year and a half. I am so proud of our faculty, staff and students for their courage and flexibility during this time.

With an upcoming in-person graduation in December (our first in nearly two years!), as well as the advent of vaccines and new therapies that have made it possible for staff and faculty to return to campus on a part-time basis -- we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Through this time when the majority of our workforce has been working remotely, we have remained extremely busy. Throughout it all, our staff and faculty have been awesome.

We had some major challenges, including helping our students graduate when hospitals and clinical partners closed their doors to students.

Our faculty, as well as our experiential and clinical teams were instrumental in coming up with innovative solutions that provided our students with hours they needed to fulfill graduation requirements.

Pivoting and thinking on our feet, providing telehealth opportunities, as well as simulation activities, allowed our students the necessary hours to graduate. What an accomplishment!

But that’s not all!

In a time of turbulence, the College came together. We all took a temporary reduction in pay for a few months while we evaluated the impact of the pandemic on our bottom line.

Fortunately for the College, we bounced back and there was no need for further budgetary adjustments.

In fact, this year was our best year in terms of fund-raising for the College including scholarships, estate gifts, and clinical grants.

We nearly quadrupled our fundraising from $1.5 million in 2018 and 2019 to an all-time high of nearly $7.5 million in philanthropy, including critical funds to support mental health at the College of Nursing in 2021.

When our nurse-led clinics limited in-person visits, they swiftly moved to seeing patients via telehealth.

Clinic leaders also saw opportunities for funding sources and wrote numerous grant applications that provided funding to CU College of Nursing Sheridan Health Care Clinic – a federal qualified health care center – to conduct COVID testing and be the first to provide vaccines and much needed health services to our communities.

During this time, we’ve also undertaken a reorganization which has enabled us to hire key positions that will assist in maintaining and elevating our College’s status while ensuring faculty success and support.

Our new organizational chart shows the depth of our enterprise from research to education to faculty and student success and patient care.

While our vision and mission remain the same our priorities are focused in the areas of research and scholarship, faculty and staff development and support, student development, clinical placement, and clinical practice excellence.

Our goals are:

  • Attracting and educating the “best and the brightest”
  • Providing exceptional patient care and clinical training
  • Leading the way with impactful, collaborative research and scholarship
  • Increasing engagement in the community

Increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of our CU Nursing community

Now it’s time to turn this address over to the leaders of each of these priority areas to update you on their work.

First up is Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Students Dr. Amy Barton.

Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF - Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Students

Thank you, Dean Eli. It’s my pleasure to highlight some of the accomplishments of the Office of Faculty & Student Success and some of our plans for the future.

The shift of the College from siloed enterprises has been to a more collaborative environment, intentionally working together in new ways to achieve better outcomes.

An excellent example of this focus has been the establishment of regular meetings that our Faculty Academic Collaborative is hosting to discuss cross cutting topics that are important to the success of the College as a whole.

We’ve also been hard at work creating an infrastructure to support faculty success, including building a professional development program in addition to Grand Rounds; a faculty orientation module for new employees to become better acquainted with the College and its processes to ensure success; as well as purchasing and utilizing technology where faculty can report all activity in one place, rather than duplicating reports in multiple platforms.

Thereby allowing the College to collect and use metrics to facilitate decision making in our hiring processes and program offerings.

While I know this doesn’t sound too exciting, laying the foundation with these types of programs will lead to the success of the College as a whole.

And I’m truly eager to reduce reporting burden and pull data from one program to describe the GREAT work that happens here – freeing up faculty to pursue research, scholarly works, and teaching requirements.

Another area that is undergoing a rebuilding and development phase after a change in leadership is the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. With the addition of Kristi Rodriguez in the director role, there’s a new energy and excitement surrounding the recruiting and admissions process. We’re truly excited by what she will bring to this area.

And new leadership in our Academic Programs with the addition of Dr. Kelly Stamp will allow us to analyze our programming and ensure we are providing the best education possible for our students, all while keeping up with the times.

We are so grateful to Dr. Noreen Nicol for her interim leadership role in that arena while we conducted a national search to fill the position. Thank you, Noreen.

Teri Hernandez, PhD, RN - Associate Dean for Research & Scholarship

Similar to Dr. Barton, the Office of Research and Scholarship has been hard at work.

Our goal is to foster an environment where research, inquiry and scholarship support the overarching mission of the College of Nursing. To do that, our priority in 2021 has been to establish a support infrastructure for the entirety of our faculty and staff, including our academic, clinical and community partners.

A key component to this infrastructure will be the establishment of a Center for Nursing Inquiry to support faculty, students, and staff in their efforts obtain grant funding and to publish their work.

Pulling together and assembling a support staff to assist in reviewing and submitting grants and papers is an essential ingredient to ensure important research is published.

It also allows faculty to maximize their time in research, teaching, and in the clinic to help pursue other research avenues with colleagues at the College and across the campus at-large.

This in turn elevates the College on the research landscape and establishes CU Nursing as one of the top research nursing programs in the country.

We are on our way to moving the needle.

We have hired and continue to recruit talented new research faculty. These faculty colleagues are working collaboratively in our communities, regionally, and internationally. We have secured $19.3 in grant funding in the last two years alone. This includes funding to support our students, including from the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

We have also been building a campus nurse scientist collaborative and have established a unique relationship with Children’s Hospital Colorado through which we are developing a shared research strategy for nursing research focused on pediatric and family health. Setting the stage for future relationships across campus including with UCHealth and University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health, and the Veterans Administration.

We’ve also seen collaboration across our enterprises to support grant submissions on the clinical front and have seen a tremendous expansion into this arena with 9 new grants submitted and approved for funding. Dr. Rosario Medina will further highlight our clinical enterprise and how it has flourished during this time.

Rosario Medina, PhD, FNP-BC, ACNP-CNS, FAANP - Associate Dean of Clinical & Community Affairs

Thank you, Dr. Hernandez. It is my pleasure to present an overview of what’s been happening in Clinical and Community Affairs.

The pandemic offered many opportunities for the clinical enterprise including increased grant funding, student engagement, the development of telehealth services, and increased awareness of our nurse-led clinics as community care providers. We have had to be agile and nimble in order to navigate continuous changes and leverage the opportunities provided.

As mentioned by Dean Eli, during the COVID shutdown the clinic enterprise quickly stepped up and helped place our students into rotations to assist them in earning their clinical hours necessary to graduate.

While facilities shut down services for our students, we were able to provide over 16,000 clinical hours for our students (APRNs, RNs, iLEAD, DNP) in 2020.

As many of you are acutely aware, clinical placement challenges are a dominant theme nationwide with many schools decreasing enrollment or delaying graduation due to the lack of experiential opportunities. And the ebb and flow of the pandemic keeps this theme in the forefront of our collective minds.

Also, during the pandemic as Dr. Hernandez highlighted, we saw an increase in extensive grant funding particularly for Sheridan Health Care Services, our FQHC. We received over $3 million dollars, which allowed the clinic to build and support community health care COVID needs, to propose expansion of faculty practice, and boost the clinical placement of our students.

With plans to provide integrative primary/psychiatric services for the Anschutz community, Campus Health has changed focus from students to community and is moving to a new facility beginning in 2022. This will help position the center as a primary care clinic for the Anschutz community at-large including staff, faculty, students, and their families.

And finally, our midwifery practice continues to grow and thrive even in the midst of the pandemic, offering placement to our midwifery students all while helping to serve thousands of patients and babies each year.

We’re excited by what the future holds and are committed to increasing healthcare access to patients, providing faculty practice settings, and growing clinical experiences that are not found in any other university setting nationwide.

Anthony Airhart, MBA, CPA - Associate Dean Finance & Administration

As Dean Eli mentioned in his introduction, the College started the year with a large unknown in how the pandemic would affect enrollment and other aspects of our operation.

We discovered over the course of months that the pandemic did not have as great an effect as originally thought. And have been able to have a positive financial outcome, which is proof of our ability to be flexible and achieve many operational efficiencies.

One area that truly excelled was IT. With only three staffers to handle all the needs of the College (especially when we moved to remote work), it was truly remarkable. How the team responded to the new landscape.

Even though we were extremely concerned about the budget, it is actually back to pre-pandemic levels, which is a testament to the people at the College.

Our future focus will be reviewing and implementing operating efficiencies in all administrative areas and processes.

Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP

Thank you for your time today. You’ve done a great job and I couldn’t be prouder.

We’re in the building phase for our College and I am so excited what we can accomplish together in future years. By building a sound infrastructure to double growth at our College to meet the needs of our community and profession.

In closing, I will leave you with this final thought – we have proven we can come together, overcome unexpected hurdles, and we will emerge stronger, boldly transforming and shaping the future of healthcare.

Thank you.

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