Susan S. Gunby, R.N., Ph.D., dean of Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing for more than 20 years, will retire from the post effective July 1, she announced today. Dr. Gunby holds a professorship in the College and will return to full-time teaching upon her retirement as dean.
“One of the things I’m most proud of when I look back over the 40 plus years I’ve been here is that we’ve been able to continue our heritage of educational excellence, first as a School, then as a College and as a part of the University,” Dr. Gunby said. “That heritage is important to us, it’s important to our alumni and it’s certainly important to the people who hire our alumni, that we’ve maintained that tradition of excellence. I’m also very proud of our students and our graduates. Everywhere I go, without exception, I run into some of our more than 6,500 graduates, and it makes me proud to know of all the lives they have touched through the years.”
Dr. Gunby earned her diploma of nursing from Georgia Baptist School of Nursing in 1968, and became an instructor in the School. Her roles expanded along with the institution and, in 1986, she was named director of the School and dean in 1987. Dr. Gunby led the school’s transition to a free-standing college in 1989 – the first independent college of nursing accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1991, she was named president and dean of the Georgia College of Nursing and served as president of the College from 1998 to 2000. In addition to guiding the College through the transitions in nursing education, she also led the College through its merger with Mercer University, which was completed in 2001. Most recently, she oversaw the College’s development of a Ph.D. in Nursing degree program, which will launch in Fall 2009 and help meet the growing need for nurse educators in the state.
“Over the course of her long and effective tenure, Susan Gunby has established the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing as a leader in nursing education,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Most recently, she has led bold initiatives to address the critical need for more nurses in our state by helping forge an educational partnership with Piedmont Healthcare and by leading our nursing faculty to design and launch a new Ph.D. in nursing. I am very grateful for her many contributions to Mercer University and the nursing profession.”
“Dean Susan Gunby for more than 20 years has provided extremely strong leadership for the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. As a leader, she is innovative, forward-looking, solicitous of faculty and staff, and committed to service,” said Mercer Provost Wallace L. Daniel. “While she has been the guiding voice behind the College of Nursing, she has throughout these years seen her primary task as the development of students, and she has had a profound influence on so many of them, an influence that goes much beyond the boundaries of the university.”
Dr. Gunby is also a leader in the nursing field. She is a member of several prominent committees and nursing organizations, including: the American Nurses Association Task Force on the Scope and Standards of Practice for Nursing Development, the planning committee of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Executive Development Series, and the Georgia Board of Nursing’s Education Committee.
In addition to her own research and publications, she serves as a member of the editorial review board for the International Journal for Human Caring and past member of the board of directors and chair of publications for the American Association for the History of Nursing. She is a charter member of the Georgia Baptist School/College Hall of Honor and in 2006 she received the “Leader of Leaders Award” from the National Student Nurses Association.
Currently, she is a member of the board of directors for the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education and serves on two international committees for the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
After earning her diploma from Georgia Baptist, Dr. Gunby went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgia State University, a Master of Nursing from Emory University and a Ph.D. in nursing education from Georgia State.
The national search for a new dean will begin immediately, Dr. Daniel said, and the University has appointed a search committee, led by Dr. Linda A. Streit, a professor and associate dean of the College’s graduate program. Other committee members include:
- Dr. Shirley R. Rawlins, professor emeriti and former associate dean of the College, who is serving as an adjunct clinical faculty member for the College this academic year. Dr. Rawlins is also an alumna of the College and is president-elect of the Alumni Association board.
- Dr. Dare R. Domico, a professor in the College and an alumna.
- Elaine Grier, assistant professor in the College and chair of the faculty for 2009-2010.
- Dr. H.W. "Ted" Matthews, dean of Mercer’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and vice president for health sciences.
- Dr. Priscilla R. Danheiser, professor of psychology and dean of Mercer’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies.
- Jenny McCurdy, director of development for the College.
- Dr. James S. Netherton, executive vice president for finance and administration, who will serve as an ex-officio member.