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CThe University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s dean of the College of Nursing will retire at 2014’s end, closing out 10 years of service as dean and more than 27 years as an educator.

“I cannot imagine any long-term career more stimulating and satisfying,” Dean Rosemary Smith told UW Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns in her retirement announcement. “My CON (College of Nursing) colleagues comprise a remarkable group of professionals whose creativity, work ethic, caring and scholarly spirit rival all in the UW System.”

In the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing, Smith is known as an extremely strong leader and advocate.

“Dean Smith has been a relentless advocate for faculty and she has championed countless efforts to support professional development of faculty and staff. Under her leadership, our programs grew in number and quality, and our faculty, staff and students have achieved great outcomes,” said Sharon Chappy, assistant dean and professor in the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing. “She has built tremendous community partnerships through the trust that area healthcare leaders and providers developed in her as she led the College of Nursing.”

With Smith’s leadership, the College of Nursing has achieved a number of state, regional and national distinctions, including:

  • The 2010 achievement of full, 10-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Development of the innovative and highly-regarded, 12-month Accelerated Online BSN program.
  • UW Oshkosh’s first doctoral program, the CON’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which was awarded CCNE’s five year accreditation in 2012, the best outcome possible for a new program. The program’s first graduates earned their degrees in 2012.
  • An undergraduate student pass rate in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that, annually, is among the highest in Wisconsin.
  • Expanded Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) advising and course offerings for registered nurses with associate degrees in the lakeshore region and Janesville.
  • Empowered faculty to transform both Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) emphases to totally online format, which allowed students to meet clinical expectations in their home community.


Smith earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. She continued her education in primary care and as a family nurse practitioner at Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis. Her specialty includes those fields along with community health nursing. She earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in higher education administration with a minor in nursing research.

“I am proud of the synergistic teamwork in the CON that produces high quality student outcomes,” Smith said. “As a Dean Emeritus, I will continue to advocate for the college, University and especially our students.”

The timeline for the search and screen process to seek and select a new CON dean is currently being developed. It is expected that a search committee may be formed and charged this spring and proceed with a search shortly thereafter.

“While Dean Smith will be greatly missed as the dean upon her retirement, she will continue to be an unyielding advocate for UW Oshkosh, the College of Nursing, primary healthcare and everything else we stand for,” Chappy said.

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