Leadership Transition Plans for UF College of Nursing
David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health
Anna M. McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and visionary leader of the University of Florida College of Nursing, has shared with me her decision to step down as dean effective July 1, 2023.
In 2013, Anna became the college’s fifth dean, leading the college to many firsts and expertly navigating the unknowns of academic nursing through a pandemic. Under her leadership, the college experienced tremendous growth, as well as national and international recognition. Most notable was the rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for the Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, degrees — both of which are now ranked top in Florida — as well as National Institutes of Health research funding, which has increased 12-fold since 2014.
During Anna’s nine-year tenure, the college made significant strides to improve its education, research and clinical areas. She led the recruitment of many world-renowned clinicians and researchers, as the faculty increased by 50% in nine years, from 44 to 63, with plans to hire 18 more over the next year through recurring state funding. The college also completely transformed its BSN curriculum by incorporating innovative concepts from the college’s tri-part motto: Care, Lead, Inspire.
Some of the other major accomplishments under Anna’s leadership included:
- BSN and DNP programs are ranked No. 1 in Florida; BSN is ranked No. 5 and DNP is ranked No. 15 among publics nationally
- Expanded the Accelerated BSN program — for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field — to the UF Health Jacksonville campus, increasing undergraduate enrollment by more than 20%
- Exhaustively renovated the Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Lab at the Pettengill Nursing Resource Center to provide a realistic and technology-enriched simulation space for students to learn and practice skills
- College was designated a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in recognition of its role as a national leader in nursing education and teaching
- Partnered with UF Health Nursing leadership for joint strategic planning to develop shared research agenda
- Increased annual NIH research funding from less than $500,000 in 2014 to nearly $5 million in 2021 and an advancement in ranking from No. 57 in funding in 2014 to No. 18 in 2021
- Created the EMBRACE program, which is now a national model, to provide research and leadership opportunities to underrepresented BSN students
- Closed a successful Go Greater Campaign, raising $23.5 million for the College of Nursing
Under her leadership, the college strengthened the collaboration with UF Health Shands’ division of nursing, grew the college’s research portfolio, expanded the baccalaureate program and streamlined the DNP curriculum. In addition to her leadership as the associate vice president for academic-practice partnership at UF Health Shands, Anna served as the chair of the Florida Association of Colleges of Nursing, as a reviewer for professional journals and scientific meetings and as an ad hoc member of NIH review panels in her areas of research expertise.
After her departure as dean, Anna plans to return to the College of Nursing as a faculty member and continue with her research and teaching. In the coming months, I will work closely with Anna and UF Health leadership to plan for a smooth transition and will share details to launch a search for a new dean as plans are finalized.
David R. Nelson, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, UF &
President, UF Health