The current deans of the two schools—Bill Chameides of the Nicholas School and Catherine Gilliss of the School of Nursing—each announced last Fall that they would be stepping down after the 2013-2014 academic year. Townsend and Broome will step into their roles this summer.

Townsend is currently an ecosystem ecologist and professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In the past, he has served as the director of the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation and been named a Google Science Communication Fellow. His research centers on the ways in which ecosystems interact with the changing global environment.

"Alan presented an exciting vision for the future of the Nicholas School that will build on the strong foundation built by Dean Chameides and his predecessor, and encompasses all divisions of faculty and students," Provost Peter Lange said in a Duke News release. "We are confident he will solidify the Nicholas School as the preeminent place for the study and teaching of environmental issues on the national and global scale."

Townsend was chosen after an international search that examined 270 candidates. He will assume the position of dean July 1.

Broome currently serves as the dean of Indiana University School of Nursing. In addition to dean of Duke's School of Nursing, she will also become the associate vice president of academic affairs for nursing at Duke University Health System.

“Marion Broome is one of the foremost leaders in nursing in this country, and we are delighted she will be joining the Duke School of Nursing and the health system at a time of exciting challenges in health care education, research and care delivery, and the need for better integration of these missions,” Dr. Victor Dzau, CEO and president of DUHS and chancellor for health affairs, said in a Duke Medicine News release.

Broome has published five books and is editor-in-chief of Nursing Outlook, the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing and the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science. Her research focuses on pain interventions for children.

She will assume her new positions August 1.