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Nursing dean to step down in '04

After 13 years as the top dog in the School of Nursing, Mary Champagne will not seek another five-year term to continue her reign as the school's dean.

"It's a great job, [but] the School of Nursing is currently in a very strong position and well-poised for its next stage of development," Champagne said, adding that she has been proud to watch the growth of the nursing school "in every way."

"During her tenure, [Champagne] has overseen the rebirth of Duke's School of Nursing and secured its place as one of the premier graduate nursing programs in the country," said Dr. Ralph Snyderman, president and CEO of Duke University Health System, in a statement. "She exemplifies the best of her profession."

The nursing school has grown in terms of recruitment of faculty and students, developed a new bachelor's degree program and promoted an interdisciplinary relationship with other divisions of the medical school such as community health in the department of community and family medicine.

Dr. Susan Yaggy, chief of the division of community health, said Champagne has been "magnificent" to work with and that she's leaving "giant shoes" to replace for her successor.

"The neat thing about [Dean Champagne] is that it's not only her wisdom and clarity, but that she's also willing to do the nitty gritty," Yaggy said. "She has a core understanding of community organizing.... Coupled with everything else she brings to the table, she has been invaluable."

Champagne hopes to take a year-long sabbatical during which she will "refocus on academics," particularly in the field of elderly care, and then return to the Medical Center faculty.

"I'm looking forward to spending time with scholars in the field and devoting time to getting my research back on track," she said.

Although her decision to step down largely has to do with her "personal interest" in having more time to focus on scholarly pursuits, Champagne said she will miss the challenging work of being dean.

"One of the things I will miss the most is helping chart a path and work with faculty to achieve goals," Champagne said.

Before she steps down from her post, however, Champagne is working to ensure that several current initiatives on the school's table will be continued.

"A new building and the establishment of the doctoral program is critical to the Nursing School," Champagne said. "I'm going to be working very hard to do all that I can to raise the funds needed to break ground for the new building, build the interdisciplinary research in the faculty and make sure future initiatives are pursued by the school."

The search committee for Champagne's replacement will be appointed at a later point, and the final hiring will be made after a new chancellor has been found to replace Snyderman.


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