Letter to Alumni

Fall 2014

Dear Nursing Alumni and Friends:

Greetings to all from the School of Nursing! With the promise of spring around the corner, I wanted to share with you some news and excitement on behalf of the faculty, staff and students.  For starters, we are immensely enjoying our new home in the Health and Social Sciences Building, located on the corner of Broadway and Wilder Streets. Nursing faculty offices are on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, floor with the 2nd Floor the Main Suite for Nursing. Research project room space is available on the first floor, as well as a variety of fully-equipped smart classrooms. Each of the floors has open sitting areas and atrium space for students to gather and study individually and in small groups.  The Nursing Laboratory now hosts three Advanced Health Assessment Labs with 4 examination tables each, while the Nursing Fundamentals and Skills Laboratories total three with four beds in each – accommodating eight students per lab. The four Nursing Simulation Laboratories, and accompanying debriefing conference rooms, have been a highlight for the integration of high-fidelity human simulation technology and case scenarios for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Enrolled and prospective students alike are impressed with the state-of-the-art opportunities these laboratories provide. We have dedicated nursing faculty and professional staff who are expert clinicians and highly knowledgeable in simulation teaching.

The demand for Nursing continues, and our enrollments have increased dramatically. Baccalaureate program growth has seen a 28% increase in 2 years, while the Graduate MS NP program growth has increased by 41%. Another major growth area has been the RN-BS degree completion option; we currently have 77 RNs enrolled.

As a result of this enrollment growth, we are fortunate to have been able to hire five new full-time faculty effective September 2013, and we are actively seeking faculty for two tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professors. New to the faculty are tenure-track Assistant Professors: Lori Keough, Margie Laccetti, Anya Peters, and Yuan Zhang, along with Visiting Faculty, Kay Patch, a board-certified Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurse. If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in a full-time faculty position, we encourage all interested individuals to explore these job opportunities on the UMass Lowell Human Resources website.

Our Ph.D. in Nursing with a Health Promotion focus is preparing for its Academic Quality Assessment and Development (AQAD) review, while the DNP Program is transitioning this Fall 2014 to a weekend/blended hybrid model and accepting nurse administrator as well as advanced practice nursing applicants. Individuals interested in learning more about the PhD Program may contact Barbara Mawn, Ph.D. and for the DNP Program, Angela Nannini, Ph.D. Our entire Nursing Program is preparing now for the 2016 Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) re-accreditation visit.

Current research funding for the School of Nursing includes:
  • U.S. DHHS, HRSA, Nursing Workforce Diversity, Bring Diversity to Nursing (2012-2015) funding, D19HP09221, funded in the amount of $996,584. 
  • Mass. Department of Public Health, Health Disparities Reduction Grant, Bring Diversity to Nursing, funding through June 30, 2014, $22,546. 
  • U.S. DHHS, HRSA, Advanced Nursing Education, DNPs Caring for the Underserved (2013-14), no-cost extension year. 
  • Mass. Department of Public Health, Health Disparities Reduction Grant, CLAS (Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services), Peer Mentoring Mini-Grant, through to June 30, 2014
  • Several other federal, state, and private foundation grants have been submitted and/or are under review.

Dissemination results from prior funding, including the Mass. Department of Higher Education’s Nursing and Allied Health, Clinical Education Redesign Grant (2011-2012), have described innovative clinical education models and academic-practice partnerships between the University of Massachusetts School of Nursing and D’Youville Life and Wellness Community, Center for Advanced Therapy, Lowell, MA.  You can read more in Provider Long-Term and Post-Acute Care magazine (Prendergast & Melillo, 2013), and through Catholic Health World. A peer-reviewed article describing the pilot feasibility study of developing a Dedicated Education Unit in Long-term Care has been accepted for publication in Geriatric Nursing as well (Melillo, Abdallah, Dodge, Dowling, Prendergast, Rathbone, Remington, Shellman, & Thornton, In Press).

UMass Lowell School of Nursing is again co-sponsoring with Massachusetts Senior Care Foundation the 4th Annual Faculty Institute in Gerontological Nursing, August 11-14, 2014. More information on this outstanding opportunity and application process (deadline April 1, 2014) can be found online

There are currently 12 endowment opportunities for alumni and friends to consider donating to:

  • Dr. May Futrell Scholarship Endowment for Graduate Nursing Students
  • Robert and Donna Manning Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Bruce Z. Arakelian Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Shalin Liu Award for Academic Excellence
  • Dr. Susan M. Reece Graduate Nursing Scholars Diversity Fund
  • The Bring Diversity to Nursing Endowed Fund
  • Dr. Gertrude Barker Memorial Endowment Fund
  • Shirley M. Cyronis Nursing Scholarship Endowment Fund
  • Solomont Family Nursing Endowment
  • Madonna J. Schromm Nursing Scholarship Endowment
  • Jacqueline Puliafico Endowed Scholarship for Music and Nursing
  • Eileen C. Bean, R.N. Memorial Scholarship Fund 

More information can be found on the UMass Lowell Alumni website. Additionally, several naming opportunities for the Nursing Laboratory as well as named Professorships are available. If you would have an interest in learning more, please feel free to contact Demetra Gys, Advancement’s Major Gift Officer, or myself at 978-934-4417 or Your generosity and gifts have been instrumental to the success of our School of Nursing and to the quality graduates who have benefited with scholarships and state-of-the-art learning environments that have been enhanced because of alumni and friend giving. 

As always, I feel honored and privileged to be able to present to you, our Alumni and Friends, an update of our School of Nursing achievements and accomplishments. We value and appreciate the positive reputation our School of Nursing enjoys, thanks in good measure to you, our distinguished nursing alumni and friends. Thank you for all you do to promote UMass Lowell Nursing as a destination for yourself and others to continue their educational pursuits.

Best wishes,
Karen Devereaux Melillo, Ph.D., ANP-C, FAANP, FGSA
Professor, Interim Dean;