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  May 1, 2000

Alumna Appointed Dean of Nursing School

Laura Dzurec, '74, a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing and a childbirth educator, has been appointed dean of the School of Nursing. The appointment is effective Aug. 23.

Dzurec joins UConn from Oregon Health Sciences University - an institution that specializes in health care education and biomedical research - where she is associate dean. She has also served as interim director and associate professor of nursing at the University of Maine and has been a faculty member at Kent State University and Ohio State University.

"I am extremely pleased that Laura Dzurec has accepted our offer to become dean of the School of Nursing," says Fred Maryanski, interim chancellor. "She brings to the position a wealth of experience as a teacher, scholar and practitioner. I expect her to be an outstanding dean."

Dzurec was selected after a national search conducted by a 10-member committee that included faculty, students and an external representative, the dean of Yale University's College of Nursing.

"We were interested in assuring a balance in the School of Nursing between teaching and research and clinical applications of nursing," says Kirklyn Kerr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, chair of the search committee.

Kerr says in addition to ensuring the quality of academic programs, the new dean will be responsible for the school's fund raising and public relations activities.

Dzurec is enthusiastic about returning to Storrs. "I'm so impressed by all the growth the University has seen," she says.

"I hope to continue to expand the research mission of the school," Dzurec says, "and to build on the strong history that we have, the tradition of providing excellent nursing education at every level."

She says one of the challenges facing the school in the next few years is to attract more students to meet an impending national shortage of nurses and nursing faculty.

"We need to do a good job of marketing nursing in general and specifically marketing nursing at UConn," she says.

In addition, she hopes to address the coordination of nursing degrees. "We must make the transitions seamless," she says, "so that a student can go from a bachelor's degree to the graduate level without a lot of roadblocks along the way."

Dzurec, who graduated from UConn with a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1974, holds a master's degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

She has published extensively in various nursing journals. In 1999, she received a five-year $785,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a computer-based registered nurse/bachelor of science degree program for rural Oregon.

Dzurec will be take over from Kay Bruttomesso, who has served as interim dean since Dean Barbara Redman left in 1999.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu