Important Announcement from Dean Gitlin
June 27, 2022
Good afternoon, College of Nursing and Health Professions community,
I am writing this message to share important news. I have made the difficult decision to step down as dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions as of January 31, 2023, which is the end of my fifth year. It has been an immeasurable honor to serve our incredible community. To each and every one of you, I extend my deepest gratitude for all of your hard work, dedication and sense of purpose.
Throughout my career, I have sought to make a difference and have an impact on the health and well-being of older adults, families and communities. Advocating for and advancing the quality of life of those who are most at risk due to social and structural determinants has been a significant part of my life’s work. The pandemic has further highlighted the need for comprehensive and equitable care for all people and has revealed deep-seated racism and ageism which permeates our health systems. At this moment in time, I am pulled back to my research and am stepping down as dean to devote all my efforts to advancing the science of care.
Drexel’s ongoing commitment to civic engagement, bringing knowledge to action and deriving practical solutions to societal challenges based on evidence are shining examples of how the University is leading at a national level. Our College’s commitment to creating new knowledge, contributing to care and service and supporting students to become global leaders, across counseling and family therapy, creative arts therapies, food and hospitality management, health administration, health sciences, nursing, physician assistant, nutrition sciences, and physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences, is impressive.
My time as dean has been marked by significant change as we navigate a global pandemic, global economic shifts, war and racial injustices. Despite these challenges, we have come together, to support each other, our communities, and the University at large. We have moved critical priorities forward, including the forthcoming Drexel University Health Sciences Building, which will transform education, research, interdisciplinary engagements and student life when it opens in September 2022. We have launched research programs and labs, designed new academic programs and have recruited phenomenal students, faculty and staff. We have also stood together as a University community to demand an end to the racism and discrimination in our country and to work towards and strive for inclusive excellence.
It has been a great privilege to work with and learn from President Fry, Provost Jensen and my fellow Drexel deans. My colleagues in the College, alumni, donors, internal and external collaborators and research partners have all offered important insights, direction and support. For this and for all the sacrifices you have each made to make our community stronger, safer and more just, I extend my heartfelt gratitude.
I understand that changes in leadership can cause uncertainty, but please know that senior leaders at the College are all active thought partners and collaborators. We share the same vision for a successful future. Transition planning and additional details will develop over the coming months and will be shared accordingly. A search for the new dean will begin with the provost’s office later in 2022.
Preparing health and service professionals for a rapidly changing landscape with a focus on equity has been an objective during my time as dean. I look forward to the important discourse and work ahead in the remaining months of my deanship. This year offers new opportunities and ambitious aspirations, which I know we will meet with renewed purpose.
Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FGSA, FAAN
Distinguished University Professor
Dean, College of Nursing and Health Professions
Executive Director, AgeWell Collaboratory