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Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao awarded the VCU Medallion for Endowed Chair Honors to Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the VCU School of Nursing, at an investiture ceremony this week. The award was presented during the School of Nursing’s annual convocation for faculty and staff, held at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Giddens was recognized for her appointment as the Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair. An endowed chair is the highest academic award that Virginia Commonwealth University can bestow on a faculty member. It is both an honor to the named holder of the appointment and also an enduring tribute to the donor who established it. Endowed faculty chairs are critical in recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty. Recognizing the continued contributions of senior-level faculty as well as providing funds to push the frontiers of their scholarship are key functions of the endowed positions.

The Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair is named after and created by a former dean who served the school from 1958 to 1981. Doris B. Yingling, Ph.D., RN, was responsible for the School of Nursing’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Southern Colleges and Secondary Schools. She also served on the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education that was responsible for the merge of MCV and Richmond Professional Institute (RPI). Yingling, who passed away in 2002, was known for her pride in the School of Nursing, her encouraging attitude and her commitment to nursing education.

Katherine Bobbitt, Ed.D., an associate professor emerita (B.S. ’56/N) and former colleague of Yingling, was very instrumental in helping to establish the Yingling chair.

“There could not be a better star appointed to this important position than our current dean,” Bobbitt said. “One distinguished trait that both Doris and Jean have is leadership.”

Rao also noted several common traits of Yingling and Giddens.

“They are visionary leaders who have a very clear sense of the future and where they are headed,” he said. “Both have made tremendous marks in helping to elevate the school of nursing at our university. Both have also made a difference individually and collectively in the lives of human beings.”

Giddens, a nationally recognized expert in nursing education, curricula and evaluation, joined the School of Nursing in July 2013. A Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Nurse Executive Fellow alumna, she is the author of numerous journal articles, nursing textbooks and electronic media in nursing education. Giddens is widely recognized for creating innovative teaching and learning models in nursing sciences, including The Neighborhood, a Web-based virtual community used to enhance integrative approaches in nursing education.

Dr. Katherine Bobbit, Dr. Jean Giddens and VCU President Michael Rao
Dr. Katherine Bobbitt, Dr. Jean Giddens and VCU President Michael Rao
Categories Awards, Faculty and Staff
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