Penn State faculty member named interim College of Nursing dean

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A University faculty member and nurse has been named the new interim dean of Penn State’s College of Nursing. Janice Penrod is scheduled to begin her appointment on July 1.

Penrod succeeds Dean Paula Milone-Nuzzo, who will leave Penn State for a position as president of the MGH Institute of Health Professions, effective August 2017. Penrod will serve as interim dean while a national search for Milone-Nuzzo’s replacement continues.

Penrod, currently a professor of nursing and humanities at Penn State, specializes in geriatrics, caregiving and end-of-life care. She is the co-director of Penn State’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute KL2 Program and former associate director of the University’s Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. She conducts clinical research through a variety of ongoing projects with the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, among others.

“For more than 20 years, Janice has been an innovative and respected member of the University community, working continuously to advance health and nursing education at Penn State and around the world,” said Nick Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost. “We are of course grateful to Paula Milone-Nuzzo for her outstanding guidance as the School of Nursing became a college, and as the College of Nursing grew and flourished. We also are grateful that Janice will be able to also lead the College of Nursing as it continues to establish itself as a premier academic and research unit within Penn State.”

As a proponent of interdisciplinary collaboration, Penrod helped found and is the former director of the College of Nursing’s Center for Nursing Research, which helps boost research-related activities and provides faculty and graduate students with support throughout the various stages of their research projects. 

In 2016, with Penrod’s leadership, Penn State received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to develop networks for community-based nursing research throughout Pennsylvania. She currently is the project director of the contract, which extends the College of Nursing’s Research Nurse Initiative that trained professional nurses to conduct clinical research.

Along with this work, Penrod’s current projects include research on enhancing care of the aged and dying in correctional institutions, improving end-of-life planning in patients with life-threatening disease, understanding efficient approaches to delirium identification, and preparing family caregivers for end-of-life decision-making.

“Under Dean Milone-Nuzzo's leadership, the College of Nursing has emerged as a strong academic unit, and I hope to continue this dynamic work by fostering new approaches and ways of thinking,” Penrod said. “Over my years of service, the University has afforded me countless opportunities, and my goal as interim dean is to continue to support students and faculty in our quest for excellence.”

In addition to her research efforts, Penrod has taught undergraduate nursing courses in dying and death, as well as several graduate nursing courses at Penn State. She has served as coordinator of the University’s nursing doctoral program and as the graduate officer of graduate nursing programs. Before joining Penn State’s faculty, she taught at St. Francis College, Altoona Hospital School of Nursing, and Mount Aloysius Junior College.

Throughout her career, Penrod has promoted end-of-life and palliative care standards as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America, as well as through her work with the Geriatric Interest Network of the Blair County Region and as a visiting professor in China and Taiwan.

In 2015, Penrod was honored with an award from the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium, a national education initiative to improve palliative care, for her contributions to the advancement of palliative care education, research, practice and advocacy. She also is a past winner of the John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Research Award and the Beta Sigma Excellence in Scholarship Award.

As a registered nurse, she has served in various roles at the Altoona Hospital, Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital, and Mount Aloysius Junior College.

In 2001, Penrod became the first student to receive a doctorate in nursing from Penn State. She also earned a master’s degree in older adults and family nursing from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Last Updated May 11, 2017