School of Nursing History
A New Dean
Sister Mary Teresa Noth
In 1966, Sister Mary Teresa Noth (at that time Sister Mary Stephen) succeeded Sister Geraldine as Dean. Sister Teresa had recently completed studies for the Doctor of Education Degree at Teachers College of Columbia University. She brought strengths in curriculum and administration and a commitment to teaching.
Her extensive goals and accomplishments include:
- A realistic increase in enrollment in light of resources.- a study of faculty workload and salaries to expand student services including the appointment of the first coordinator of student services.
- A curriculum re-design
- Merging of the two baccalaureate options as one program; the basic option and the registered nurse option.
- Faculty recruitment to establish financial assistance through funding to supplement the fixed allotted budget. By 1975, funding for nursing programs totaled $740,219 and then began to taper off.
Sketch of the "NEW" School of Nursing
Ground breaking! 9/24/76
In addition to the above list, a goal dating from the 1950's from the past fell to Sister Teresa, that of finalizing plans for and realizing the construction of a school of nursing building. Sister was granted a sabbatical to work on the project. She, along with faculty representatives completed the task and the project moved ahead. Ground breaking took place on September 24, 1976, with three deans, Sister Geraldine, Sister Agnita Claire and Sister Teresa in attendance. The new building opened its doors in February 1978 and was dedicated on October 13, 1978. The year coincided with the school's fiftieth anniversary.
The school at that time had two departments - nursing and allied health. Because of restrictions through the funding from United States Public Health Service, the building was limited to use for nursing education.
The appointment of a coordinator of student services enhanced student life by bringing a center to the School of Nursing for the first time. By the mid 1960's, more and more students were living at home or in off campus housing and the center in the school of nursing greatly facilitated their securing needed assistance.
Early in her tenure as dean, for the first time in the history of the School, two faculty were promoted to the rank of full professor of nursing. The first associate dean for the division of allied health was appointed, and the assistant department chair for the graduate program in nursing was created.
The University had adopted a plan known as "Project 21" to revitalize all departments through creation of innovative, distinctive, and dynamic curricula centered on man and his environment. The dean and the faculty of the School of Nursing studied and followed the intent of Project 21 taken from the University's institutional philosophy. Programs that met the needs of the times and blended humanities, ethical, and theological considerations from general education with professional expertise were designed and resulted in a pattern of leadership in nursing education. Numerous programs and services were developed by the dean and faculty of the School of Nursing as a result Project 21 efforts.
Following are the Project 21 programs and services developed:
- A cooperative educational endeavor between the School of Nursing and community agencies known as "Faculty- Agency Day" was designed to enhance the clinical laboratory for student learning in the agencies and to lend faculty assistance and expertise to the practice setting. The program led to the "clinical appointment".
- In 1967, Continuing Nursing Education with six states and thirteen universities participating was formed. The program was expanded in 1976 and continues to serve the profession today.
- A modified baccalaureate curriculum pattern known as the accelerated option in nursing began to take shape during 1969-70. It was designed to allow individuals who possessed degrees from other disciplines to complete a degree in nursing in one year. Those accepted into the option were required to have had or to complete prerequisites to nursing courses before admission. The program was the first in the country, grew in popularity, and in later years became the model for schools of nursing in other universities wishing to offer the same opportunity. In 1971-72 ten students were admitted as the pilot group. By 1977, forty students were admitted out of one hundred seventy-eight applicants.
- A decelerated undergraduate curriculum in nursing was initiated and developed through the collegiate assistance program for disadvantaged students. The modified program reflected the University's commitment to serve mankind more fully. In keeping with that same commitment an evening division was created for registered nurse students leading to a bachelors degree in nursing, allowing many working nurses to pursue and complete a degree in nursing.
- Around the same time the thirteen-state Western Commission on Higher Education was charged with studying the need and utilization of nurse manpower. Saint Louis University School of Nursing served as a regional office.
- Nursing research had gained a high level of importance in the nursing curriculum. It was introduced as an elective course at the undergraduate level early in the 1970's. Later it became a required course for undergraduate nursing students. Growing emphasis on clinical nursing research at the graduate level prompted the establishment of a department of nursing research in the school of nursing in 1976. Saint Louis University School of Nursing led the way in establishing an annual event - Nursing Research Conference. Notices of the event along with an invitation to present research findings were sent to university schools of nursing throughout the country.
- Re-design of the undergraduate curriculum at the senior year began in 1975 with the revised design starting in the fall of 1976. Three theory components - leadership, research, and issues in nursing were synthesized into a clinical nursing core. The twelve credit hour nursing semester was designed to provide students the opportunity to simultaneously apply concepts from the theory components to clinical practice.
- Another effort was underway to assure a uniform approach to the teaching of nursing content throughout the curriculum. A representative group of faculty formulated a curriculum conceptual framework based on the concept of adaptation that was adopted and applied throughout both undergraduate and graduate curricula.
- In 1970, the Nursing of Children graduate option funded by a Health, Education, and Welfare project grant began. The first national conference on the classification of nursing diagnoses was presented during the same year, and by 1972, Saint Louis University School of Nursing was named the official clearinghouse for classification of nursing diagnosis.
- In the fall of 1971, the nurse midwifery component of maternal-newborn nursing became a separate entity in the masters program. By 1972 the school of nursing media center was formed to enhance student learning and faculty teaching.
- In 1974, the School of Nursing entered into a formal agreement with the Veterans Administration Hospital of St. Louis. A faculty representative was appointed to facilitate the interest of the School as well as to lend support to the hospital' nursing department. Benefits of the agreement remain mutual.
- In 1975, a new director of the undergraduate curriculum for generic students was appointed. Dr. Joan Hrubetz served in the role until becoming dean in 1982. In 1977, an Associate Dean for nursing curricula and faculty was established to assist the dean with the expanding growth within the School. Also in 1977, the new business manager position was created to assist the dean on financial matters.
- In 1978, a Health, Education and Welfare project grant funded a maternal-child health teaching option for masters prepared nurses who wished to pursue teaching positions in the areas of nursing of children or maternity nursing.
- In 1980, the Delta Lambda Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing was established at Saint Louis University School of Nursing. Since then the chapter has continued to grow and has provided an avenue for the School to showcase the research accomplishments of the faculty and graduate students through presentations of their projects at the organization's international conferences.
Sister Teresa announced her retirement for the end of the 1981-82 academic year following sixteen highly productive years of service to the school of nursing. Sister continued to serve in health care through ministry in the spiritual care departments in the Sister's hospitals in Chicago and in St. Louis. Her retirement marked the end of a long succession of Sisters of St. Mary in the position of dean at Saint Louis University School of Nursing.
Compiled by: Helen DiCroce, Associate Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Nursing