Mary Alice Donius Named Dean of College of Nursing
Mary Alice Donius has been named dean of the College of Nursing at Sacred Heart University. Donius, a resident of Scarborough, N.Y., came to Sacred Heart one year ago, having previously served as dean of the School of Nursing at the College of New Rochelle for seven years. Her prior experience includes director of Medical Center Education for Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle, N.Y. A graduate of D’Youville College with a bachelor of science in nursing, Donius holds a master of education and doctor of education from Columbia University Teachers College, and a post-master’s certificate in holistic nursing from The College of New Rochelle. Her previous experience also includes a faculty practice at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle and clinician and educator positions in a variety of hospital settings and at the Columbia University School of Nursing, where she was director of the undergraduate program.
Donius will lead the University’s new College of Nursing. “The nursing faculty members have been very important to the way the nursing program has grown in its educational offerings, and commitment to the profession. Their commitment to the advancement of this institution has been so significant that it’s been upgraded to a College, and that’s a huge accomplishment, for SHU,” she said. “The decision to transition the University’s School of Nursing into a College of Nursing not only reflects the program’s steady growth over the past 35 years, but it is also a a response to the the growing need for health care professionals as people live longer and the baby boomer generation continues to age.”
For the fall semester, the College of Nursing will have approximately 500 undergraduate and close to 900 graduate nursing students. About half of the 1,400 students are online students. The College will employ 30 full-time faculty members.
Donius was initially attracted to SHU because of its mission. “I felt it was very congruent to what I believe nursing education and practice is all about,” says Donius. “SHU prepares students to successfully enter an increasingly competitive work force, but also compels them to grow intellectually, morally and spiritually. The focus is on educating the entire person while emphasizing social justice and community service. For the University, it’s not just about developing future employees, but rather citizens prepared to lead satisfying and meaningful lives in a global community. This is a mission that’s founded in the Catholic intellectual traditions, and one that I’m proud to serve.
“The one thing I love about nursing is being engaged with others. It constantly feeds and renews your own humanity,” she says. “You find that as much as you are able to help a patient who is suffering, your engagement with that patient, community or family is reciprocal in nature and you receive so much more from them than you give. It is exciting to see our students as they develop. You see their individual growth and contribution to the caring-healing essence of the practice, profession and discipline of nursing.”