New dean positive about College of Nursing’s future

Kira Meixner

Appointee brings experience, enthusiasm to program

Laura Cox Dzurec, new dean of the College of Nursing, begins this fall semester hoping to continue enhancing the flexibility of the nursing program, she said.

Dzurec, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, joined the Kent State College of Nursing June 5, 2006, replacing Dean Julie Johnson. Dzurec isn’t really sure how she ended up at Kent State, but is happy she did.

“It just kinda happened,” she said. “The pieces lined up and here I am.”

Searches for nursing deans are especially challenging because nursing is a highly competitive field, Provost Paul Gaston said in an e-mail. However, Dzurec’s credentials made her stand out from the other nominees.

“Dr. Dzurec’s experience, her credentials and her enthusiasm for the opportunity at Kent State made her a particularly attractive candidate,” Gaston said. “I believe that we are fortunate to have made this important appointment.”

The search process began with a meeting among Gaston, faculty and the College Advisory Council to understand the priorities of the search. The group then created a search committee, advertised the position and looked for well-qualified nominees. Those who were selected visited the campus and met with different groups before Gaston was given a recommendation and carefully considered extending an offer, he said.

Dzurec, who previously worked as a professor and dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Connecticut, said there are a couple of differences between the two university programs. Kent State’s College of Nursing is one of the largest in Ohio, ranking in the 98th size percentile in the United States, according to the College of Nursing Web site. Dzurec said the excellent internal infrastructure of the university and its colleges makes handling the size much easier.

Dzurec is also very happy with the people in the department, and Barbara Yoost, Fundamentals Level Coordinator in the nursing program, said the people are happy with their new dean.

“She’s very enthusiastic and congenial,” Yoost said. “She really reaches out to students and faculty.”

Yoost hopes Dzurec will continue to build on the college’s strong points in both undergraduate and graduate studies. As for the nursing students, Yoost said that it’s early for them to know about their new dean and generally there is not a lot of interaction between the dean and students.

As the new dean, Dzurec has entered a position facing important issues such as the demand for nursing and the resources available.

“Our goal is to be flexible and create alternate programs,” she said. “We need strategies in place to streamline education and introduce new paths for access.”

Contact health and medical reporter Kira Meixner at [email protected].