Dr. Debra J. Barksdale: New Dean of the School of Nursing

Posted on March 31, 2021

March 31, 2021

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Debra J. Barksdale will be the next Dean of the School of Nursing and Professor in Family and Community Nursing. She begins July 19, 2021.

Currently, Dr. Barksdale is Professor of Nursing and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. In her five years at VCU, she has grown undergraduate and master’s students enrollment and has led the development of a revised Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science concentration and a new Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Innovation.

She spent 13 years at UNC Chapel Hill leading both the Family Nurse Practitioner Program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (as its inaugural director). She was the first Black faculty member to achieve the rank of Full Professor in Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing.

Dr. Barksdale is a nationally recognized scholar, teacher, and practitioner. Her extensive credentials and honors include selection as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Primary Health Care Policy Leadership Program, the Wharton AACN Executive Leadership Program, and the prestigious American Academy of Nursing. In 2010, Dr. Barksdale was appointed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office under the Obama Administration to the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She has been quoted in the New York Times and appeared live on the national news program “Al Jazeera America” regarding the salary gap between male and female nurses.

Dr. Barksdale is a first generation college student, which has informed her lifelong commitment to student success and to equity, diversity, and inclusion. From her nursing practice history to her scholarship and service, she is a proven leader in EDI.

She holds a PhD in nursing research from the University of Michigan, an MSN from Howard University, and a BSN from the University of Virginia. In addition, she obtained a post-master’s certificate in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and is a certified family nurse practitioner and nurse educator.

Interim Provost Terri Shelton and I would like to thank the search committee and search chairs Carl Mattacola, Dean for Health and Human Sciences and Pamela Johnson Rowsey, Professor and Department Chair for Adult Health Nursing, whose efforts and expertise saw us through the search to this very successful conclusion.

I would like to thank Associate Dean and Professor Heidi Krowchuk, who has graciously served as interim dean since the passing of former Dean Robin Remsburg in December. Dr. Barksdale’s breadth of experience, accomplishments, and expertise makes her the ideal leader to build on Robin’s legacy and guide our world-class School of Nursing forward in this new era.

Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.