School of Nursing History
First Lay Dean
Dr. Joan Hrubetz
Dr. Joan Hrubetz's appointment as dean became effective on July 1, 1982. She brought to the already strong academic programs, her outstanding and unique interpersonal skills that fostered renewed esprit de corps among administrators, faculty, and students. Her sophisticated negotiating skills enhanced relationships between University administration and the School of Nursing. Her strong interest in students and in their ongoing participation in school governance leaves an extraordinary legacy.
During her administration, the time was right to incorporate the expanding technology into the everyday operation of the School. This she provided for at all levels from administration to clerical support staff. The endeavor expanded the responsibilities of the business manager, and the position title was upgraded to the rank of assistant dean in keeping with corresponding positions in other schools of the University. Eventually, all offices from administrators to student work-study spaces were equipped with up-to-date computers. Updated printers, copy machines, and fax machines were installed in key positions making them accessible for all School-related work.
Dr. Andrew C. Mills, Coordinator of Computer-based Learning
The enhanced technology brought about curriculum innovations and changes in the form of distance learning and enhancement of classroom teaching. A new position, coordinator of computer-based learning, was created to develop and direct a distance learning option at the graduate level. It is one example of how Dr. Hrubetz worked to stem the tide of lowering enrollment that had resulted from both population contraction and the expansion of competing programs. The resulting competition for students was felt nationwide and many university administrators found themselves under fire to meet the challenge.
Recruitment of qualified faculty who met the then emerging requirement of doctoral education for positions in University schools of nursing became a priority of Dr. Hrubetz. The director of nursing research position took on added importance and emphasis on publishing was stressed. Both became important issues for faculty retention and advancement in rank. Dr. Hrubetz strongly encouraged all faculty who were without doctoral preparation to pursue necessary means to meet the new standards. Throughout the world of nursing there was a new realization that the profession could and would occupy an important position in meeting the complex health needs of society and that the roles required to do so meant that greater sophistication was needed in the conduct of research and its dissemination - a hallmark of doctoral education.
Dr. Irene Riddell with two doctoral nursing students
Along the line of the expanding role of the profession, faculty from the School of Nursing designed course offerings for students in other schools of the University. It had become apparent that the impact of health issues became highly important in the academic preparation of students in social work and teacher preparation.
The traditional curricula also expanded during Dr. Hrubetz's administration. Most notably was the offering of a Ph.D. in Nursing, the first in the state of Missouri. The first students were admitted in the fall of 1990. At the master's level, new clinical options were developed and offered. The office of nursing research expanded as the research requirements of the new offerings increased.
Fr. Lawrence Biondi, S.J.
Father Lawrence Biondi, S.J., President of the University no doubt recognized the importance of the School of Nursing when he announced the establishment of the first endowed chair position in the School. It was a great step forward for the stance of nursing in the University, and a tribute to its administration.
Endowed Chair Medallion
In support of the profession, Dr. Hrubetz established a state wide Tribute to Missouri Nurses Event to be hosted annually by Saint Louis University School of Nursing. It was a formal event during which an outstanding nurse in each of three categories was honored. The categories were clinical practice, teaching, and nursing research. Heads of nursing departments in health organizations and schools of nursing throughout the state were invited to nominate worthy individuals for the awards and an independent group was then formed to review the nominees and select the honorees. It was an event that put Saint Louis University School of Nursing in the forefront and was lauded by many. Dr. Hrubetz retired in December 2004 after more than 22 years of tireless efforts on behalf of the School of Nursing.
Tribute to Missouri Nurses Award
Compiled by: Helen DiCroce, Associate Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Nursing