Marianne Baernholdt
School of Nursing

As the nursing profession faces myriad challenges in the era of COVID-19, Marianne Baernholdt returns to the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing as its new dean beginning Aug. 1.

Marianne Baernholdt Sanjay Suchak

Baernholdt—who was on UVA’s nursing school faculty from 2005-14—said the pandemic made it clear to the public how hard the working conditions are on all essential health care workers. 

“We really have to think about how we deliver learning these days, and we can’t just go back to how it was,” Baernholdt said. “We have to learn from what happened during COVID-19, keep what went well but keep being innovative to a much higher degree than we have before in education.”

In addition to her deanship, Baernholdt will have responsibility over the UVA Health System’s nursing staff, a dual opportunity that inspired her to apply. It presents the opportunity for preparing future nurses and also improving life for the working nurse.

“To me, the chance to influence both education and practice was just amazing,” she said. “My prior work has been both in education but also in my research, looking at quality and safety and how we can improve that. 

“The clinicians and the health care workers who are doing the quality and safety with COVID, obviously, they have been hit hard—traumatized, some people will say, and I agree. So being able to help improve that is very important to me. 

“Being in the School of Nursing, the focus will very much be on the nurses, and the shortage that we have is going to be catastrophic. We already have nurses leaving or quitting and us not being able to educate enough nurses. We shouldn’t just keep adding nurses; we have to improve and figure out why are they leaving and how can we make it better?”

Stephanie Johnson Rowley (Grad ’95, ’97)
School of Education and Human Development

Alumna Stephanie Johnson Rowley (Grad ’95, ’97) returned to the University of Virginia with a vision of both preparing future teachers to focus on equity and innovation, and continuing the holistic support for students.

Stephanie Johnson Rowley Dan Addison

“There are so many issues facing teachers, and I want to make sure that teachers who are going into the workforce are really well-prepared,” said Rowley, who became dean of UVA’s School of Education and Human Development on July 1. “Nationwide, there’s a struggle to make sure that teachers are getting the best educational preparation to deal with the issues around basic academics and civic education and the nation’s schools that are highly racially and economically segregated.”

Virginia’s education school has grown steadily with its comprehensive approach to developing well-rounded educational leaders in a wider range of disciplines, Rowley said. Her experience as a tenured professor of psychology and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she fostered interdisciplinary collaboration, prepared her to continue nurturing that growth.

“One of the things I love about the School of Education and Human Development is that it takes a very broad approach to thinking about human development,” she said. “Think about any child in the classroom—their emotional and academic success is going to be a combination of the wonderful teachers that they have but also all of the support services, the counselors, the speech pathologists, the psychologists, the people who are doing physical therapy, occupational therapy, reading intervention, etc.

“The thing about this school here is those fields are all represented in one school in a way that means that we can really think about the whole person’s development and think about what’s happening in the classroom.”

Rowley earned both a master’s degree and doctorate in developmental psychology from UVA. She served as provost, dean and vice president for academic affairs at Columbia’s Teachers College.