Our History & Impact of Our Graduates

30 years of pride and accomplishment

A 2013 survey of the School of Nursing's PhD graduates revealed extraordinary accomplishments. Eighty-eight of the school's 153 PhD grads responded. 

  • I - International Reach – 13% of alums report international activities as their greatest accomplishment.
    “Establishing, developing and starting the MScN degree in Pakistan for the first time”
    “Contributing and developing infection control resources in global settings”
  • M – Mentorship/Teaching – 40%
    “Advising graduate students in their graduate research and scholarly projects”
    “Mentoring undergraduate and graduate research students
    “Becoming a very good teacher”
  • P – Policy Development/Leadership – 34%
    “Developing and implementing the MN Statewide Healthcare
    System Preparedness Program”
    “Participation in changing rules governing pre-licensure nursing programs for the MN Board of Nursing”
  • A – Advocacy – 3%
    “Advocacy for families in rural areas”
    “keeping the most vulnerable at the center of my concern”
  • C – Care/Collaboration – 19%
    Making a difference in the lives of patients by systematically improving care for populations”
  • T – Theory & Research Development – 42%
    “My sustained and innovative program of research”
    “Conducting research through continuing collaborations with clinical partners, faculty colleagues and undergraduate students”  

Nursing PhD graduate employment in 2013: 68 percent academic, 20 percent health care delivery, 12 percent health care administration. Excludes retirees. Percentages are approximate. Respondents asked to check all that apply.

More than 30 years of extraordinary reach and achievement

More than 30 years ago the University of Minnesota School of Nursing enrolled the first three students in a new PhD program that has since had broad impact on nursing education and research in Minnesota and around the world.

The founding faculty of the School of Nursing’s PhD program overcame great challenges before the program was launched. The pioneering spirit continues unabated among the program’s 45 current students and 153 graduates.Linda Lindeke, PhD, RN, PNP, director of graduate studies

Prompted by the state’s growing need for nurse scholars and educators, the school secured private and federal planning funds in the late 1970s, and ushered its proposal through a series of required program approval steps at the University and finally with the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“Interestingly, at the time, the University’s Health Sciences Policy Council had concerns about whether nursing had a significant enough body of knowledge to support and justify a PhD program,” said Mariah Snyder, PhD, RN, professor and director of Graduate Studies at the time.

Once approved, the program became the 23rd nursing PhD in the nation. Building a strong program became a top priority for the School of Nursing, according to Snyder. Graduate assistant positions were funded to attract talented students.

Our program continues to be the only nursing PhD program in Minnesota

Today the PhD in nursing continues to be the only PhD program in Minnesota. The program’s students and faculty have had a profound impact on nursing research capacity and productivity in Minnesota and worldwide. The School of Nursing’s seven centers of excellence engage PhD students in a range of research and leadership opportunities. Today the school is powered in part by more than $6 million annually in research grant funding from the federal government and other sources (annual, average, direct costs).

Impact of Nursing PhD Graduates

The School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota surveyed PhD graduates to learn more about their varied career paths. Here is a sampling of the survey results, to which 88 graduates responded (63%). 

What are your most proud accomplishments since completing your nursing PhD? 

Common Themes

  • Being recognized for excellent teaching and mentoring
  • Seeing my research and published work help advance and   inform practice and the research of others
  • Receiving NIH-funding for my work
  • Leading and engaging in a national nursing association
  • Receiving one or more prestigious national awards
  • Being promoted to associate or full professor
  • Establishing a new and lasting program

Nursing PhD graduates attending the 30-year celebration in 2013

Nursing PhD graduates attending the 30-year celebration in 2013.

Standing from left: Karen Monsen, Kathleen Niska, Mary Dierich, Diane Treat-Jacobson, Mary Benbenek, Marilyn Loen, Mary Chesney, Miaofen Yen, Kris Talley, Rhoda Hooper, Mark Kirschbaum, Martha Turner, Denise Remus, Mary Tanner, Laura Kirk, Susan Moch, Melissa Avery.

Seated from left: Mary Rowan, Margot Nelson, Cheryl Robertson, Mary "Casey" Hooke, Ann Marie Dose, Miriam Cameron, Diane Holland, Pamela Nelson, Sonja Meiers

Award-winning PhD alum

Sarah StoddardSarah Stoddard, PhD, RN, CPNP, exemplifies the quality and breadth of the nursing PhD program. Stoddard completed her master’s in nursing in 1999. After working for several years as the adolescent consultant for the Minnesota Department of Health she enrolled in the nursing PhD program and completed it in 2009. She became an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. 

In 2013, Stoddard was the only recipient of the Robert H. DuRant Award for Statistical Rigor and Innovation in Adolescent Health Research presented by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. The award recognizes Stoddard’s research: “Predicting Violent Behavior in Emerging Adulthood: The Role of Violence Exposure and Future Orientation During Adolescence.”

Director of Graduate Studies Linda Lindeke, PhD, RN, PNP, is proud of the program’s history and of the scholarship of its graduates and current students. “The founding faculty of the School of Nursing’s PhD program overcame great challenges before the program was launched. The pioneering spirit continues unabated among the program’s 45 current students and 153 graduates,” she said.

Sampling of extraordinary achievements of Nursing PhD graduates

  • Making integrative therapies a part of the required curriculum at my university
  • Building a study abroad program in South America for undergraduate nurses
  • Helping develop required education for all our health system employees
  • Becoming dean of college of nursing
  • Contributing and developing infection prevention and control resources in global settings
  • Initiating and directing the Advanced Public Health Nurse graduate track at my university
  • Advocating for families in rural areas
  • Holding chief nursing officer role
  • Establishing and starting the first Master of Science in Nursing degree in Pakistan
  • Co-founding a global, public-private initiative that delivers more than 7,000 journals for free or nearly free to health researchers and personnel in 113 developing countries
  • Bringing nursing, public health and research perspectives to pastoral work
  • Sampling of Extraordinary Achievements
  • Making integrative therapies a part of the required curriculum at my university
  • Building a study abroad program in South America for undergraduate nurses
  • Helping develop required education for all our health system employees
  • Becoming dean of college of nursing
  • Contributing and developing infection prevention and control resources in global settings
  • Initiating and directing the Advanced Public Health Nurse graduate track at my university
  • Advocating for families in rural areas
  • Holding chief nursing officer role
  • Establishing and starting the first Master of Science in Nursing degree in Pakistan
  • Co-founding a global, public-private initiative that delivers more than 7,000 journals for free or nearly free to health researchers and personnel in 113 developing countries
  • Bringing nursing, public health and research perspectives to pastoral work