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Dr. Rosemary Smith

Nurse, Educator, Dean: Touching the Future

Dr. Rosemary Smith

Dr. Rosemary Smith, who will retire in January, created a scholarship to help nursing students pursue their goals.

What motivated Dean Smith to support UW Oshkosh nursing students?

Short answer: Satisfaction and pride in having a role in the teaching and learning process of thousands of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

"Early in my career, I received a gift of a coffee mug that had the following motto, 'I touch the future, I teach'," Dr. Smith says.

That motto became the mantra of Dr. Smith as she progressed through her career at UW Oshkosh.

Initially, Dr. Smith was inspired by the student transformation that occurs throughout the teaching and learning exchange in the classroom and skills laboratory. Witnessing the student's aha moments that occur both individually and in groups while teaching clinical classes, Dr. Smith was hooked, and knew the life of a university professor was for her.

Ultimately, she learned role modeling is powerful, and that teaching and learning is a lifetime affair. Dr. Smith has since become an effective nursing educator.

As she grew into a variety of leadership roles, Dr. Smith communicated the importance of the CON vision to faculty, staff and students, the importance of achieving the CON vision of "developing caring and scholarly leaders" and living the CON Values in Action.

Dr. Smith will retire in January 2015 as Dean Emeritus of the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing after ten years of service as dean and more than 27 years as an educator.

Under Dean Smith's leadership, the College of Nursing achieved a number of state, regional and national distinctions, including full 10-year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); implementation of the innovative and highly regarded 12-month Accelerated Online BSN program; UW Oshkosh's first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which was awarded CCNE's five-year accreditation in 2012, the best outcome possible for a new program; and expanded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) advising and course offerings for registered nurses with associate degrees.

She empowered faculty to transform both Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) emphases to online formats, which allowed students to meet clinical expectations in their home communities.

The clinical excellence of the nursing program is an underpinning to its success, which is evidenced by the annual undergraduate student pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is among the highest in Wisconsin. Its students graduate industry ready, secure employment quickly, and receive positive feedback from employers.

After careful thought and deliberation, Dean Smith and her husband, Dennis, recently created the Rosemary Smith Health Promotion Graduate Nursing Scholarship, which will be augmented by a future estate gift.

Throughout her career, health promotion was a major teaching and scholarly focus for Dean Smith.

While serving as the dean of the CON, she recognized the importance of role modeling a healthy lifestyle. She believes an essential aspect of nursing practice is restoring people to the maximum level of wellness possible, regardless of chronic conditions, with considerations for culture and developmental stage.

Through this scholarship, the Smiths hope to assist students who are focused on studies, and help them reduce their commitment to jobs beyond what is reasonable during the academic year.

She knows scholarships of all sizes have an impact, often resulting in a student's decision to go to college full time, instead of part time or not at all.

Dr. Rosemary Smith touched countless lives as a nurse, educator and dean. During her years, she observed the energy, excitement and satisfaction experienced by donors as they created scholarships and supported student and college initiatives.

Dr. Rosemary Smith reached a time in her life where she, too, was able to create a scholarship through which she will touch the future now and beyond her lifetime.

Contact UW Oshkosh Foundation at (920) 424-2178 or foundation@uwosh.edu if you would like to make an impact on students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

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625 Pearl Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54901 • Email: foundation@uwosh.edu
Phone: (920) 424-2178

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