Nancy Kropf becomes new Dean of Nursing and Health

Nancy Kropf Photo courtesy Angela Arnold Go| Director of Communications
Nancy Kropf Photo courtesy Angela Arnold Go| Director of Communications
Nancy Kropf
Photo courtesy Angela Arnold Go|
Director of Communications

Georgia State Associate Dean of Research and Strategic Initiatives Nancy Kropf has accepted the position of Dean of the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, according to a press release.

The previous dean, Dr. Margaret Wilmoth, resigned to pursue opportunities in research and teaching.

Andrew Butler, Interim Dean of Nursing and Health Professions, will serve until August 10, 2015, according to the press release. At that time, Kropf will formally take the position to preside over various activities that begin in the fall semester, which include recruiting new faculty and initiating a new occupational therapy program approved by the Board of Regents.

Kropf was selected by a national search after the previous dean resigned, according to Risa Palm, Georgia State’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Palm said she, President Mark Becker and the search committee were looking for someone to lead the school to higher levels of academic achievement and to promote the university’s strategic plan.

Georgia State’s strategic plan has five goals, which includes significantly growing and strengthening the base of distinctive graduate and professional programs that assure the next generation of researchers and societal leaders.

Kropf’s background in gerontology includes working with older adults and families. She was a program director for a YMCA residential girls camp, successfully integrating foster grandmothers’ involvement into the group.

Prior to Georgia State, Kropf was also a social worker in Detroit, helping families with disabled children to receive respite care and long-term care planning for for their children. She is currently a member of the Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Institute

Kropf said she is excited about her upcoming Deanship.

“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of a really solid school here at Georgia State in an area where there are more graduates needed to fill positions in both nursing and the health professions,” she said.

She also said she holds no degrees in nursing or health professions, but is undeterred from pursuing the position.

She said she believes the deanship is a good opportunity for her to bring administrative experience, strategic perspective and an inter-professional lens to her new position.

“As a gerontologist, someone who studies aging, I’ve been very involved in healthcare-related issues through my lens of aging research and practices since I was a doctoral student,” she said.

Kropf cited her administrative background as her greatest asset to her new position, and her immediate plans include filling vacancies in the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

“A major priority is to be able to fill vacant positions, because there are so many needs nationwide for faculty members that we really have to look at how we can attract faculty that fit with what we do, are well-qualified and can add to our research and our educational missions,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of attracting Nursing and Health Profession majors.

“A second priority is to take a critical look at how we’re able to attract our majors, and people that don’t go further, especially in nursing, help them have good careers,” she said.

She said she wants students to find a discipline that suits them.

“The issue is attracting people to our disciplines but the other part is people who think they want to major in these areas who are not able to be accepted, how we help those people make good career choices,” she said.

Kropf said she was sad about leaving her current position and spoke fondly about the Andrew Young School of Policy Work.

“It’s a great school. As an Associate Dean, I get to work with people in all four disciplines [of Policy Work],” she said. “It’s been a great learning experience and a way to make [partnerships with] colleagues and I hope to take those relationships to the School of Nursing and Health Professions and forge some additional partnerships between those units.”

President of Student Nurses Responds

Jordan Reynolds, President of the Nursing Students at Georgia State, said she is excited for the new dean and thinks the dean seems competent and highly qualified for the position.

“I think hiring from within the university is a really cool idea, especially with someone as experienced as Dr. Kropf does, working with multiple health professions in the healthcare industry,” she said.

She said she feels Kropf should focus on creating a stronger presence for the Nursing and Health Professions students on campus and being accessible to students.

“A big focus is to make sure we stay really connected with the university. We’re looking to have a bigger presence on campus, like [doing more] community service because we’re so small and closed off,” she said.

Reynolds is excited to meet with Kropf, and hopes she will facilitate closer work environments among the different majors of the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

“I think she leads the way for us to start focusing on an integrated type of education. It’s all teamwork,” she said.

Georgia State Respiratory Therapy major Pedro Zavala admitted he wasn’t well-informed about the new dean, but said she should focus on securing funding for the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

“I know there’s a lot of focus on nursing, and it’s a great program, but [she] should help other programs that are small and need more funding like nutrition and respiratory therapy,” he said.

Zavala also said he thought having practical experience as a healthcare professional and an administrative acumen is essential for deanship.

“Hopefully she has some clinical experience in the hospital, and business administration, knowing how to handle a lot of stuff at once,” he said.