A Note From Dean Swanson

I’m pleased to be able to share with you two significant announcements that will shape the future of Seattle University and the College of Nursing.

On October 22, the Board of Trustees announced that Eduardo M. Peñalver will become the university’s 22nd president. He is the first Latino president and the first layperson to take the helm since Seattle U was founded in 1891. Peñalver will begin his official duties on July 1, 2021. President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., previously announced he will step down in June after 24 years leading the university. Please join me in welcoming the president-elect to the Seattle U community.

October 22 was also a great day for the College of Nursing, because we received the official announcement from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) that both the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Post-Graduate Certificate ARNP programs have been re-accredited for 10 years! This is the maximum number of years a program can receive, extending our accreditation to December 31, 2030. It is a true testament to the excellence of our graduate programs, dedication of our faculty and staff, and the high quality of our students and graduates.

As difficult as this past year has been for all of us, I continue to be inspired by our student’s grit and commitment to making a difference. Not only have they kept up with their studies during a year unlike any of us could have ever predicted, but they have also balanced the challenges of home, work and life. All this against a backdrop of tumultuous politics, global warming and the long overdue national awakening to the suffering rendered by pervasive racist policies and practices that lead to inequities in all parts of life.

In 2020, a bright spot was celebrating the graduation of 156 BSN and 15 DNP students who joined the ranks of our alumni. Soon to follow are the 19 Diagnostic Ultrasound students who are on track to graduate with their BS at the end of fall quarter.

Among the 2020 DNP graduates is Dr. Mary Field who received the Provost’s Award for Graduate Student Excellence. This is an award given to a Seattle U graduate student who has maintained the highest grade point average throughout their program and also demonstrated outstanding leadership. While completing her DNP, Field received a grant from Seattle Children’s Hospital to fund a research study evaluating nursing use, quality, and satisfaction with the electronic medical record (EMR), which will continue until 2022. Her research is giving nurses a voice in evaluating a tool that is essential to completing their day to day work. 

Even in the flurry of preparing for fall quarter three weeks earlier than planned, I have seen on a daily basis how focused our students are on achieving their academic goals, with many receiving awards, scholarships and grants. You will read about some of them in this newsletter. It is such a joy to acknowledge our student’s accomplishments, especially in these times.

I am very proud of the determination and flexibility shown by our new students who began their studies in a very different way than anyone could have imagined. Our nursing and ultrasound students are participating in a combination of remote and in-person learning. Being health professionals, it was essential they return to the Clinical Performance Lab to acquire the skills for safe practice. Kudos to the CPL team for putting in place safety guidelines. In addition, we are so grateful to our many clinical partners who continue to precept and teach our Redhawk nursing and diagnostic ultrasound students.

Our BSN students are on the forefront of keeping our campus safe with 14 of them participating in a nursing practicum at the campus Safe Start Health Center as part of their Public Health Internship. The center, which opened on the first day of fall quarter, is a health and safety resource for campus community members and visitors. When people arrive on campus, they are likely to be greeted and health screened by an SU nursing student.

After a successful launch of virtual simulations over the summer, the CPL continued to be transformed to ensure the safety of in-person teaching. In the weeks leading up to fall quarter, PPE was acquired, a safe workplace plan was approved by public safety, and all lab spaces were rearranged and taped off to assure appropriate physical distancing. Our ability to adapt and meet the challenges of these times is due to the dedication of our faculty and staff, as well as to the generosity of donors who saw the need to augment the safety of the CPL, provide virtual learning opportunities and contribute to the CPL and Dean’s Emergency Fund. Through their generosity 95% of students remain on-time to graduate. To all who have donated, thank you for your support of our mission and our students.