Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, announced on March 16 that Gloria Donnelly, PhD, will conclude her service as dean of Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. Donnelly will remain on the faculty and continue teaching and she will also lead special projects with a focus on strengthening online education at Drexel through Drexel University Online. The University will undertake a nationwide search for a new dean, according to Blake.
“Dr. Donnelly and I have been in conversation for some time about her desire to retire from the deanship after what has been a transformative career in the leadership of the college,” wrote Blake. “I understand her desire to chart her next chapter, personally and professionally. But it’s clear that this will be a major transition for the University.
“It’s impossible to overstate Gloria’s accomplishments as dean, or the impact she has had on health education at Drexel and on the nursing profession in Greater Philadelphia and throughout the United States.”
Donnelly founded a new school of nursing at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in 1996 and that school became part of MCP Hahnemann University after Allegheny’s bankruptcy. When MCP Hahnemann merged into Drexel in 2002, Donnelly was named the founding dean of Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. The college grew from 153 faculty and professional staff members and 1,390 students to 347 employees and 4,846 students today.
Donnelly advanced the college’s position in online education and she taught an online course every year since 1999. The college enrolls more than half of Drexel’s online students and more than 20 percent of its graduate students. Its research portfolio has grown and the college has also supported Drexel’s civic engagement mission through the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, a national model of nurse-led care delivery for underserved populations and through extensive work in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.