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Gift to fund first nursing faculty chair at UW-Eau Claire

| Julie Poquette

It’s been 45 years since Jane Webert Moore earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but she has not forgotten her alma mater.

In fact, as UW-Eau Claire’s nursing program seeks to make the most of promising opportunities for faculty-student research collaboration, Moore and her husband, Jim, have stepped up to help.

Jane and James Moore 2018

Jane and James Moore

The UW-Eau Claire Foundation today announced the creation of the Jane W. and James E. Moore Chair in Nursing Research — the first donor-supported faculty chair in UW-Eau Claire’s department of nursing.

Through the Foundation, Jane and Jim Moore have committed $700,000 ($70,000 a year for 10 years) to enhance the base salary for a nursing faculty position to be held by an individual with an established program of research and expertise in securing external grant funding, among other qualifications. The holder of the Moore chair will foster a culture of research and scholarship among UW-Eau Claire nursing faculty and students and within the wider university community. The university will cover the base salary and benefits for the chair holder. The Moores also have committed to endow the faculty chair through an eventual estate gift to the Foundation.

Dr. Linda Young, dean of UW-Eau Claire’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, noted that a robust research program provides an enhanced learning environment for students and demonstrates to them how the practice of nursing is improved over time by the knowledge gained through research.

“We are so fortunate and grateful for the Moores’ generosity,” Young said. “As a university, UW-Eau Claire has been recognized in the UW System and at the national level as a leader in undergraduate research. The Moore chair will ensure that our nursing faculty and students can remain active participants in our university’s long-standing culture of excellence in faculty-student research collaboration.”

Focus on the future

The Moores have previously supported nursing education at UW-Eau Claire, making past gifts for the development of the program’s simulation lab.

Just as simulation technology now has become an integral part of nursing education at UW-Eau Claire, the Moores’ vision for the new nursing faculty chair is that it will have a “ripple effect” for the future of the university’s nursing program and its students.

“This chair is all about that future,” Jane Moore said. “The focus of this chair is the promotion of faculty excellence, recruitment and retention. At the heart of the future of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is a faculty committed to research and teaching. However, limited funding sources and an anticipated shortage of faculty require a creative approach to expanding faculty skills.”

The holder of the new chair will provide leadership in expanding collaborations between UW-Eau Claire nursing researchers and other health care partners, Moore said. For example, a new collaborative research agreement between the university and Mayo Clinic Health System is one avenue through which the Moore chair will facilitate new joint scholarly ventures.

“We believe that this chair will provide the recipient the opportunity to ‘think outside the box’ and help UW-Eau Claire’s nursing program ensure a strong future in the most effective way possible,” Moore said.

Tapping alumni expertise

Nancy Fugate Woods

Nancy Fugate Woods

Another UW-Eau Claire nursing alumna, Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods, will help her alma mater’s nursing program to prepare for implementing the Moore chair and assist in conducting the nationwide search for the position.

Woods retired in 2017 from a more-than-50-year career as a nurse, professor, researcher and academic dean at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

Woods, who was a member of the UW-Eau Claire nursing program’s first graduating class in 1968, is a respected researcher in the field of women’s health. She has had nearly 300 journal articles, book chapters and books published and was awarded several millions of dollars in grant funds over the years from the National Institutes of Health. In 2017, she was designated as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing.

“I will be providing consultation about ways in which working with the new faculty member recruited to the Moore chair can leverage the excellent network of relationships that UW-Eau Claire has built in this community and beyond,” Woods said of her role in helping to facilitate implementation of the new faculty chair.

Woods said the key point of the Moore gift is promoting and supporting faculty research, which is foundational to supporting student inquiry and research.

“Scholarship to guide practice and education in nursing is a major challenge, especially in an environment of dwindling state funding to support higher education,” Woods said. “When scholarship is not supported, either administratively through organizational structure or funding, the quality of education we offer undergraduate and graduate students erodes.”

Woods recalled an undergraduate research course in which she and other students collaborated with a faculty mentor, Dr. Carol Lindeman, to study the effects of preoperative teaching on patients having surgery at a local hospital.

“That experience transformed my vision of what was possible in the nursing discipline and profession and prompted me to go to graduate school and spend my career as an educator and researcher,” Woods said. “That could not have happened without the collaboration that the School of Nursing had with the local hospital and without the administrative support for Dr. Lindeman to lead this research project. Transformative leadership was and will be key to the success of this venture.”

Young said the first Jane W. and James E. Moore Chair in Nursing Research should be named by spring 2019.

Jane Moore is eager for the selection of the first research chair and the impact it will have on the nursing program.

“Under the guidance of Dean Linda Young and the leadership of Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods, Jim and I look forward to learning and participating in this next important phase of the future of nursing education at UW-Eau Claire,” she said.