Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing names new dean

President Barbara R. Snyder announced today that Mary E. Kerr will become the new dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, effective July 18. She comes to Case Western Reserve after five and a half years as Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health.

Kerr will also be the inaugural holder of the May L. Wykle Endowed Professorship in Nursing.

“Mary Kerr possesses the experience, knowledge and passion required to lead our nursing school to even greater levels of excellence,” President Snyder said. “She appreciates the importance of engaging stakeholders in strategic planning – and in keeping them involved throughout the individual steps of those plans. She sets high goals and, working with others, she achieves them.”

While at the National Institute of Nursing Research, Kerr oversaw an annual budget of more than $140 million. She has played a leading role in the development of the agency’s strategic plans, and has advocated for increased interdisciplinary research. A key attraction of this position, she said, was the opportunity for nursing faculty and students to collaborate with peers at other schools within the university.

“The depth and breadth of Case Western Reserve’s strength in the health sciences is extraordinary,” Kerr said. “I am impressed with how faculty, staff and students all recognize the immense value of working together in both research and teaching. I look forward to being part of these efforts to advance innovation in the best interests of patients, their families and the community at large.”

Before joining the National Institute of Nursing Research, Kerr spent nearly 14 years at the University of Pittsburgh, ultimately receiving the UPMC Health System Endowed Chair in Nursing Science. While at Pitt, she also spent seven years directing the school’s Center for Nursing Research; in that time, grant funding more than doubled. Kerr also maintained her own research portfolio, publishing dozens of articles on strategies to maximize the blood flow in brain in individuals with severe brain injury. During her last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, she also held a secondary appointment as a professor of neurological surgery and was the associate director of the Clinical Core of the Brain Trauma Research Center.

“Mary Kerr came to nursing out of a deep commitment to help others,” said Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III. “In every position she has held, she has continued to pursue this goal – through her own research, through mentoring and advising others, and through organizational leadership that supported key objectives. I am confident she will bring this same focus and commitment to her work as dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.”

Kerr is an alumna of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, having earned her doctorate here in 1991. During her studies, she also served as a research assistant and project director on several NIH-funded projects within the School of Nursing. Her appointment as dean is contingent upon approval by the university Board of Trustees.