URI College of Nursing fellowship attracts $1.7 million to help prepare nurse educators

Dr. Donna Schwartz-Barcott and Dr. Hesook Suzie Kim Nursing Fellowship aims to boost ranks of nursing faculty

KINGSTON, R.I. — Jan. 13, 2023 — A University of Rhode Island College of Nursing fellowship has topped more than $1.7 million, after $600,000 in recent contributions triggered a $500,000 match from an anonymous donor. The Dr. Donna Schwartz-Barcott and Dr. Hesook Suzie Kim Nursing Fellowship works to attract nursing faculty members to help address a nationwide shortage.

The endowment aims to develop the next generation of nursing faculty, and recruitment is underway for qualified students interested in a career as nurse educators.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of these anonymous donors to a fellowship that will make an enormous impact on the future of nursing across the country,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara Wolfe, former College of Nursing dean. “The Barcott-Kim Fellowship will expand our graduate nursing program and help increase the number of expert faculty members to train the next generation of nurse leaders.”

After a small group of donors committed $600,000 to support the fund last year, an anonymous donor issued the $500,000 match, with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2022. A large number of supporters exceeded the goal, raising an additional $600,000 to trigger the match.

Nursing schools across the country turned away 80,407 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2019, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, with most schools pointing to faculty shortages as a top reason.

The Barcott-Kim Fellowship will build the faculty pipeline by selecting and supporting registered nurses whose research interest stems from their area of practice. Candidates for the fellowship must demonstrate a commitment to research and teaching, and maintain a 3.0 grade point average. Students on the Ph.D. track are preferred, but doctor of nursing practice candidates will also be considered.

“I am absolutely thrilled to learn that the match was made. I feel an enormous sense of gratitude for all those who made this fellowship possible,” Schwartz-Barcott said. “The fellowship is important in so many ways. It will increase access to full-time study and address the nursing faculty shortage. These nursing scholars will be able to take insights from practice, generate and synthesize new knowledge and bring this back to the classroom and practice. And lastly, it will help ensure the programs continuity into the future.”

The Hesook Suzie Kim Graduate Nursing Fund was established in 2002 by a former graduate student to honor Professor Kim for her 30 years of service. The donors of the recent gift, in conjunction with Dr. Kim, requested the fund be renamed to honor another highly regarded faculty member, Professor Emerita Donna Schwartz-Barcott, who retired in 2021.

Professor Emerita Kim was a College of Nursing professor from 1973 until her retirement in 2004, and dean of the College from 1983 to 1988. She also was a professor at University of Oslo in Norway from 1992 to 2003. She has been an international researcher and leader in nursing theory development with an emphasis on the nature of nursing practice.

Schwartz-Barcott has more than 20 years of experience in guiding graduate students, assisting them in building programs of study and mentoring faculty in teaching and scholarly activities. Schwartz-Barcott collaborated internationally with researchers in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Korea. Her research focused on pain, anxiety, and other central phenomena experienced by patients across nursing care settings; community health; inductive approaches to theory development; and sociocultural influences on health and illness.

The URI College of Nursing has made a concerted effort to expand and enhance the College’s capacity to impact health care, health education and health research, resulting in a significant jump up the national ranks. The College’s Master’s degree program has drawn particular attention, rising from a rank of 130 just six years ago to the top 50 in the country this year. Similarly, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and undergraduate offerings have soared into the top 80 and top 100, respectively.

For more information on the Fellowship, contact Timothy Babcock at tbabcock@uri.edu.