Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing Dean Gail W. Stuart, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, will retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after dedicating 16 years as dean, 33 years to the medical university and 47 years to the nursing profession.
Since her appointment as dean in 2002, the MUSC College of Nursing has cultivated a leadership role among the state’s nursing programs. In addition, the school has achieved top national rankings in the areas of education and research. Over the past 15 years, Stuart has raised the school’s profile by increasing its research funding by more than 470 percent to become a top tier school for nursing research. The school also landed the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report for online graduate nursing programs in 2015 and continues to be a bright spot for the university as it has been consistently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the country for the past four years. And it continues to graduate some of the most highly sought after nursing professionals as bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing faculty. 
Before her role as dean, Stuart led the college’s effort to address the nation’s nursing shortage by being one of the first nursing schools to take nursing courses online in 1997 when she was the director of doctoral studies and coordinator of the psychiatric mental health nursing graduate program at MUSC. In 2006, the entire Ph.D. program went online to serve nurses across the country who were interested in a career as a research scientist or educator. In 2009, the school launched another online graduate program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, a program that remains highly in demand today.
Stuart came to MUSC in 1985 first to develop as masters degree program in psychiatric-mental health nursing and then became the administrator and chief executive officer of the Institute of Psychiatry, where she was responsible for all clinical, fiscal, and human operations across the continuum of psychiatric care. She then went on to be the co-director of MUSC’s new Center for Health Care Research. Today, she is a tenured professor in the College of Nursing and a professor in the College of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. 
Stuart is a 1971 graduate of Georgetown University. She went on to receive a master’s in psychiatric nursing from the University of Maryland in 1973 and a doctorate in behavioral sciences from what is now the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (formerly the Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health) in 1985. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, past-president of the American College of Mental Health Administration, past president of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and is currently the President of the Board of the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce. She has also been a van Ameringen fellow at the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research and a visiting professor at King’s College, Institute of Psychiatry, at the Maudsley in London.
Coincidentally, as the college honors Stuart’s impact, it will also celebrate its 135th anniversary in 2018. A gala will be held at the South Carolina Aquarium February 23 to recognize the college’s achievements, outstanding alumni, and many friends and peers who have crossed paths with Stuart.
The recruitment of a new dean under way. A university-appointed search committee is beginning the process of soliciting and reviewing candidates. Tyler & Company, an executive recruiting firm, will assist with this national search. The plan is to identify and recruit a new nursing dean who will be poised to assume the leadership role by July 1, 2018.