Envisioning the future
of the University of Rochester
School of Nursing

With input from faculty, staff, and students in the School of Nursing, we’ve identified these four overarching priorities to focus our planning and decision-making through 2024:

  1. Emerge as a national leader in academic innovation to transform nursing education for 21st century health care.
  1. Accelerate knowledge generation and dissemination in nursing and health science from discovery to implementation.
  1. Be the exemplar of outcome-driven wellness and preventive health services in Upstate New York.
  1. Create a culture of wellness in which our School of Nursing community functions optimally, finds joy, and thrives.

It was the work of Loretta Ford, founding dean of the School of Nursing, which brought together nursing services in the University of Rochester Medical Center with nursing education and research, and became a national model for other nursing schools. This Unification Model is not only a philosophical approach but an organizational structure that operationalizes the interdependence among education, research, and practice, forging a critical link between scientific discovery and improved health care outcomes.

Today, the School of Nursing’s missions of education, research, and practice are realized through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our constitutional core principles of Innovate, Engage, Lead, Excel, inform the creation of strategic planning strategies, tactics, and metrics related to our four overarching goals.

To reflect this new approach, we have updated our graphic of the Unification Model, below:

SON Unification Model

1. Emerge as a national leader in academic innovation to transform nursing education for 21st century health care.

Objectives and strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Establish center organizational structure including roles and responsibilities, resources, and services, foci/specialty areas.
  • Incorporate NLN Center of Excellence designation requirements in center development.
  • Develop Center of Excellence philosophy/goals.
  • Work with communications to develop branding/website development – media plan.
  • Identify dedicated area in SON for Academic Innovation Center footprint.
  • Work with Dean’s office and advancement to explore creation of a named center.
  • Create interprofessional innovation team to develop IPE/IPC implementation plan.
  • Create innovation think tank for faculty (fosters culture of creativity, experimentation, consultation).
  • Support special projects and curriculum development (microcredentials, advanced certificates).
  • Cultivate innovative collaborations within the university- within SON (across programs), with URMC –SMD/SMH, Warner, ASE (iZone- Design, UR AR/VR Center), UR Health Lab.
  • Develop external innovation networks (ADS network, Apple Academy (formerly AACN Digital Boot Camp), AEFIS- assessment/ePortfolio, community.
  • Create a faculty development plan to foster innovative teaching/learning approaches.
  • Develop a comprehensive competency assessment plan in all academic programs.
  • Employ evidence-based teaching methods for diverse learners (frameworks, alignment, and pedagogy).
  • Create and nurture psychologically-safe learning environments that foster a transformative learning community.
  • Leverage digital technology, student-centered approaches, and experiential learning to foster engagement and demonstrated competency achievement.
  • Create IT infrastructure to support implementation of innovative curricula and assessment of student competencies (learning analytics).
  • Identify opportunities to conduct educational research.
  • Seek collaborative scholarly inquiry opportunities with SON research and practice missions.
  • Develop internal funding mechanisms (innovation mini-grants) to advance academic innovation initiatives.
  • Pursue external funding (HRSA, foundation, organization, other) for innovative education and workforce development programs
  • Support dissemination of faculty/student scholarship and teaching/learning innovation in local, regional, national, and international outlets (publications, presentations, other).

2. Accelerate knowledge generation and dissemination in nursing and health science from discovery to implementation.

Objectives and strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Recruit senior investigators along with their junior colleagues in the field.
  • Build visibility in aging, maternal-child health, cancer & palliative care, and HIV prevention & sexual health.
  • Develop seminar series with invited nationally-renowned scientists in the targeted areas that crosscut groups (behavior change, DEI, implementation science, mixed methods, big data, integration of technology, wellness, health promotion across the lifespan: diet/nutrition, exercise physiology, sleep, stress, social connection, stigma, social determinants of health, intersectionality, age friendly).
  • Create explicit group infrastructure needed to stimulate, enhance and reward the work of clusters and promote leadership opportunities for early career faculty members.
  • Increase the quality of mentoring of research trainees by faculty.
  • Support editorial assistance for grants and manuscripts.
  • Develop Postdoctoral Program (started with Director appointed 2021).
  • Increase national postdoctoral applicant pool by aggressively marketing traditional and post-doc to tenure fellowship programs.
  • Targeted marketing to insure diverse and inclusive applicant pool.
  • Increase national PhD applicant pool and improve enrollment rates.
  • Benchmark doctoral stipends and scholarships to ensure Rochester has competitive edge.
  • Facilitate the BS to PhD program.
  • Develop competitive pilot funds for doctoral students.
  • Better incentivize NRSA submissions (pre and post) and other competitive awards.
  • Implement a mock review process for all new investigator NIH grant submissions.
  • Enhance opportunities for students/faculty/post doc interaction through informal ‘works in progress’ brown bags throughout the year.
  • Develop and make visible our in-house implementation science expertise.
  • Identify 1-2 faculty members for advanced methods training in implementation science.
  • Recruit mid- to senior- level implementation scientist.
  • Coordinate with practice and education to participate in University (or URMC) level implementation community level implementation programs.
  • Develop community advisory board.
  • Pilot implementation planning grants in partnership with clinical colleagues (within SON, CTSI, and practice settings).
  • Develop targeted implementation grants that address health equity.

3. Be the exemplar of outcome-driven wellness and preventive health services in Upstate New York.

Objectives and strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Improve access to services for employees by expanding and enhancing communication vehicles.
  • Engage organizations to more effectively understand the demographic characteristics of their employees and their culture. Identify potential barriers and corresponding solutions.
  • Implement the comprehensive marketing and sales plan for Center for Employee Wellness and Passport Health, adapting to successes.
  • Respond to population specific health risks with evidence-based program development and expansion of services (emotional health, stress, gut health and arthritic pain).
  • Expand vaccination offerings and services.
  • Assure that all programs and offerings are flexible and adaptable to meet the changing landscape of wellness and the needs of clients.
  • Expand portfolio of brokers invested in our programs.
  • Advocate for reimbursement of “wellness” services.
  • Build partnerships with additional payers in region; Buffalo and Syracuse.
  • Expand on coordination of services within Center for Employee Wellness and Passport Health business lines.
  • Cross training of staff between service lines.
  • Expand and improve tools providing visualization of performance metrics.
  • Explore specialization within clinical practice to reflect advancement of wellness (Partner, where appropriate, to deliver wellness services).
  • Identify and pursue funding opportunities to enable wellness resources are within the reach of at-risk, vulnerable /underserved population.
  • Develop strategies to reach and engage individuals with health risks into health and wellness coaching personalized to their needs.
  • Promote health equity and reduce health disparities.
  • Develop partnerships with community providers and advocates to fully engage in promoting healthy lifestyle.

4. Create a culture of wellness in which the entire School of Nursing community functions optimally, finds joy, and thrives.

 Objectives and strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Compile data from 2021 Wellness task force (& OBS) surveys of faculty/staff.
  • Survey students across programs.
  • Establish focus groups to deepen understanding.
  • Establish mechanisms for ongoing data collection.
  • Provide a supportive environment.
  • Promote emotional and physical well-being.
  • Support professional/academic development and success.
  • Encourage students, staff, and faculty to engage in wellness activities.
  • Appoint “UR School of Nursing Chief Wellness Officer” or the like.
  • Create wellness team including invested staff, faculty, and student representatives.
  • Develop wellness champions and liaisons across missions to promote integration and evaluation/inquiry.