New Nursing Dean to Focus on Teaching, Research and Community Collaboration

Deborah Chyun, dean of the School of Nursing
Deborah Chyun, dean of the School of Nursing

The School of Nursing welcomed new dean Deborah Chyun in January. She brings deep experience in nursing, teaching, and research to the position, as well as a reputation for collaboration.

Chyun comes to UConn after a decade as executive associate dean of nursing at New York University, and 21 years at Yale before that. She has also worked in Boston and Bristol. Her Connecticut connections made UConn feel close to home. The School of Nursing’s reputation for both academic excellence and a warm, collegial environment were strong draws as well.

“There’s real generosity and community among the faculty and staff” at UConn, says Chyun. The school has a strong clinical faculty dedicated to teaching the next generation of nurses, and the admission statistics to prove it: this year the School of Nursing received more than 1,900 applications for 100 slots in the incoming freshman class.

The School of Nursing pairs that clinical focus with cutting-edge research. Chyun plans on bringing in more research faculty and doctoral students, and more money for pilot projects to provide preliminary data that help faculty win grants from federal agencies. Nursing research faculty were awarded $1.1 million in grants from NIH in 2017, with a ranking of 35th. Hiring a new assistant dean for research in the coming year is part of her plan, as is strategically supporting the Center for Advancement in Managing Pain, which is gearing up for renewal and possible expansion.

Chyun’s primary goals for the school are to help address the national nursing shortage by educating future nurses; increase the research dollars the school brings in; and increase the school’s visibility in the state of Connecticut so that residents are aware of the important work done by students and faculty. Funding is being sought to continue projects such as the Got Care! Project at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut where students in nursing, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, physical therapy, social work, and public health attain knowledge and experience in the care of vulnerable older people. UConn faculty and students work with hospital staff to help seniors with multiple chronic conditions reduce their use of the emergency room and improve their health and quality of life.

Collaboration with other schools and colleges within the University are also a priority for Chyun. Earlier this year the School of Nursing announced it would collaborate with the School of Business on the Graduate Certificate Program in Long-Term Health Care Management. The program has been offered by UConn’s School of Business for more than 40 years; the new collaboration with Nursing will bring a clinical care perspective to the program.

Chyun is also working closely with UConn Health. She is particularly intrigued by the possibility of offering educational opportunities interesting to nurses currently working at UConn Health, in addition to UConn Nursing students gaining experience at the hospital.

“I am delighted to have Dean Chyun work with me and my team to build on the current relationship UConn Health Nursing has with our School of Nursing,” says Ann Marie Capo, chief nursing officer at UConn Health. “We have many opportunities to add to our current educational model, as well as nursing research, to name just a couple of the many advantages we have working together.”

Says Bruce Liang, UConn’s dean of the medical school, “I would like to welcome Dean Chyun as a new colleague and look forward to working with her.”