Margaret H. Kearney, Ph.D., R.N., and Independence Foundation Chair in the University of Rochester School of Nursing, has been appointed Vice Provost and University Dean of Graduate Studies, effective July 1.
Kearney will be the 14th person to hold the post at Rochester since Charles Hoeing, a professor of Latin, first held it in 1924, one year before the University conferred its first doctoral degree. Kearney succeeds Bruce Jacobs, whose 12 years in the post made him the University's longest-serving dean of graduate studies.
As dean, Kearney will oversee doctoral studies across the University, chair the University Council on Graduate Studies, and serve as the central administration's liaison with graduate student organizations. Kearney's duties also include appointing the chair of each doctoral dissertation committee, as well as administration of the Sproull Fellowships for exceptionally qualified doctoral applicants and the Provost's Fellowships for doctoral applicants that enhance the University's diversity and inclusiveness.
Provost Ralph Kuncl said the range of work undertaken at a comprehensive research university like Rochester means that graduate education is inevitably decentralized. But that decentralization also can make it difficult to harness economies of scale and assure some consistency in areas that are common, including health benefits, the development of family friendly policies, and other student support services.
"Providing an environment of consistent support, given the decentralized nature of our programs for graduate students, requires wisdom, innovation and leadership. I am delighted that someone possessing all of those traits has agreed to serve as our next dean of graduate studies," Kuncl said.
"Maggie brings great motivation and passion to the challenges of graduate education," Kuncl said. "She has participated in more than 40 doctoral committees at Rochester and previously at Boston College, and she is a respected mentor. She is a highly regarded scholar whose rigorousness, sound judgment, and devotion make her an ideal choice for this leadership role."
Kathy Parker, dean of the School of Nursing, credits Kearney with "numerous interdisciplinary contributions, which highlight the expanding role of nursing in research and research education. She is a model of diversity of thought and professional maturity and is most certainly an excellent choice for this role."
Kearney, who joined the University in 2005 to head the School of Nursing's Ph.D. program, began her professional career as a maternity nurse and women's health nurse practitioner. She said she decided to move into research "to answer clinical questions and contribute to building better nursing practice." Her early research involved analyzing in-depth interviews with pregnant drug users for her doctoral dissertation at the University of California at San Francisco.
Today, Kearney is a nationally recognized expert in such qualitative research methods – naturalistic approaches to the study of behavior and communication, often involving systematic analysis of open-ended interviews and observations. The author of more than 70 scholarly articles, books, and chapters, she presents workshops regionally and nationally and collaborates with other investigators as a qualitative methodologist.
Nurses enjoy a broad perspective on issues of health and illness that is reflected in their research, she said. That breadth will be an asset as she oversees graduate studies in the more than 50 graduate programs at the University.
Kearney is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, with bachelor's degrees from Marlboro College and Columbia University, master's degrees from Plymouth State College and Boston College, and a doctorate in nursing from the University of California at San Francisco.