Lang Steps Down as Dean of Nursing

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After eight years at the helm of the School of Nursing, Dr. Norma M. Lang is stepping down as the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. She will assume an endowed professorship on the nursing faculty in August, when her resignation takes effect. Dr. Neville Strumpf, the Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor in Gerontology and Director of the Center for Gerontologic Nursing Science, has been named interim dean, effective September 1. A search committee is being formed to find a permanent replacement.
    “The University is deeply grateful to Dean Lang for the record of accomplishment the school has achieved under her leadership,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, Penn’s president. “We are delighted she will be rejoining the faculty as a pre-eminent teacher and researcher in the nursing community.”
    Lang, who had served as dean of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s School of Nursing for 12 years before coming to Penn in 1992, said she was eager to get back to research and teaching. 
    “With the school in very good shape, and at the top in ratings and rankings, it’s a good time to think about what one wants to do within the University. And for me, that’s research and teaching and international leadership,” said Lang shortly after announcing her resignation on May 1. 
    There are a number of tangible ways to measure the contributions of Lang, an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Nursing who developed a system known as the Lang Model to measure nursing’s impact on patient outcomes. The school was ranked second in the nation this year (tying with Washington University) by U.S. News & World Report; its endowment increased from $5 million to $25 million during her tenure; and the $6.3 million in funds it received from the National Institutes of Health is the highest of any school in the nation. Lang said that the school receives a total of “around $10 million in research- and project-funding.”
    Noting that a recent Gallup Poll showed that the public viewed nurses as having the most integrity and trust of any profession in the nation, Lang said: “I think that nursing is viewed by the public as something that’s very important to people. And once people have had nursing care, they value it even more. And I think here at Penn, nursing is viewed as a very, very strong, science-based practice that really has an impact on people.”
    The school has a number of interdisciplinary degree programs, including a Health Care Manage-ment degree in conjunction with the Wharton School and a Health Care Technology degree with the School of Engineering and Applied Science. It also offers a distance-learning master’s-degree program in Nurse Midwifery, and has six “very, very productive research centers” in urban health; children, families and women; history of nursing; gerontological science; outcomes research; and serious illness. 
    “The research we do here at Penn,” she said, “has made enormous contributions to knowledge on how to care for people in a cost-effective way.”

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