Montana State University

Administrator and experienced professor named dean of MSU’s College of Nursing

May 17, 2017 -- From MSU News Service

Sarah Shannon, professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Nursing, was named dean of the MSU College of Nursing after a national search.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN — An administrator and experienced professor currently at Oregon Health and Science University has been selected to be the next dean of the Montana State University College of Nursing.

Sarah Shannon, professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at OHSU’s School of Nursing, was named dean after a national search. Shannon will begin at MSU on July 24.

“I am pleased to welcome Sarah Shannon as the new dean of the College of Nursing,” said Robert Mokwa, MSU Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “We had many excellent candidates apply and interview for this position, and I thank the members of the search committee for their hard work and commitment to conducting a thorough search that involved all five MSU nursing campuses.

“Providing a quality nursing program for our students and the state is a key element of our land-grant mission, and Dr. Shannon’s background and experience in nursing education, advanced nursing programs, rural health care needs, clinical partnerships and research are congruent with the mission and the vision of nursing at Montana State,” Mokwa added. “Dr. Shannon has the right skill set, and I am confident she will be an inspirational and thoughtful leader.”

Since June 2016, Shannon has served as professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs in OHSU’s School of Nursing. In this position, she serves as the chief academic officer with responsibility for the development, implementation and evaluation of the school’s teaching and learning programs.

Shannon previously served for more than 20 years at the University of Washington, where she was a faculty member in the School of Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, as well as an adjunct in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities in the School of Medicine. She was also chief of the ethics consult service for Northwest Hospital and Medical Center and an ethics consultant for University of Washington Medical Center. She has also worked as a nurse in critical care and medical and surgical settings in Seattle and Juneau, Alaska.

Her research focus is on improving communication between health care teams and patients and their families around ethically challenging issues, specifically end-of-life decision-making in the intensive care setting, error disclosure and interprofessional conflict. Shannon has taught clinical and professional ethics for more than 20 years and has been an investigator on multiple National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded grants focused on improving communication between health care teams and patients and their families. She is a frequent speaker on ethics and has served on multiple institutional ethics committees.      

Shannon earned a doctorate and a master’s degree, both in nursing science, from the University of Washington. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Arizona.

Shannon said she is honored to have the opportunity to serve the state of Montana as the next dean of the MSU College of Nursing.

“After more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, I am delighted to be returning to Montana, where I spent my childhood,” Shannon said. “Healthcare is rapidly evolving.  In turn, the education of health care professionals, including registered nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse leaders and nurse educators, needs to respond with equal innovation and agility. I look forward to partnering with the MSU CON faculty and students, the university leadership team and clinical agencies across the state to ensure that MSU CON graduates are prepared to meet the healthcare and workforce needs of Montanans today and tomorrow.”

Shannon succeeds Helen Melland, who is retiring in June after serving as dean of the MSU College of Nursing since 2009.

The MSU College of Nursing educates students on five campuses – Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula – to be professional nurses capable of working in a variety of settings. It is also Montana's sole provider of graduate nursing education and offers a rural-focused master of nursing clinical nurse leader program and a doctor of nursing practice program that prepares students for certification as family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. More information about the college is available online at http://www.montana.edu/nursing/.

Contact: Robert Mokwa, MSU Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, (406) 994-4371 or provost@montana.edu