AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has appointed Eun-Ok Im as dean of the School of Nursing. Im, who was recently the senior associate dean for research and innovation and the Edith Folsom Honeycutt Endowed Chair in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, will begin her appointment on Sept. 1. She succeeds Alexa Stuifbergen, who will step down after 14 successful years as the school’s dean.
Im is an internationally recognized researcher with groundbreaking contributions in nursing science and oncology nursing. Her work focuses on the use of technology-based interventions to provide innovative care, and she is a leader in global, cross-cultural women’s health research. From 2007 to 2011, she was the La Quinta Motor Inns Inc. Centennial Professor in Nursing here at UT Austin.
“Nursing plays an important role in health care, and our School of Nursing is positioned to drive innovation and excellence by training future leaders, conducting cutting-edge research, and collaborating across our medical and technology disciplines,” said Jay Hartzell, UT Austin president. “As the University builds a health care innovation hub and a destination for world-class specialty care, Eun-Ok brings the teaching and research expertise and imaginative vision for the future of nursing that will help us improve health outcomes and change lives. I welcome Eun-Ok back to the Forty Acres as dean of our School of Nursing and look forward to her leadership transforming the health care landscape in Austin and beyond and equipping our nursing students to change the world.”
Im’s research career highlights include 74 funded studies totaling $190 million over the past 25 years, including serving as principal investigator on several major National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies. Her research results and expertise have been shared in over 450 publications, editorial review boards and research review panels, including the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the NIH and the American Heart Association.
Im has received multiple national and international awards for her work, including the 2014 International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award from Sigma Theta Tau International, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science 2020 Outstanding Nurse Scientist Award, the Southern Nursing Research Society Distinguished Research Award, the 2022 Faye Glenn Abdellah Leadership Award from the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the 2023 Oncology Nursing Society Distinguished Researcher Award. In 2019 she took part in the NINR Director’s Lecturer Series, which brings the nation’s top nurse scientists to the NIH campus to share their work and interests with a cross-disciplinary audience. Im is also the editor-in-chief for Advances in Nursing Science.
Im is also a globally recognized role model in doctoral education, receiving the 2019 Global Mentor Award from the International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing and the 2021 Duck Hee Kang Mentor Award from the Global Korean Nursing Foundation. She has taught courses on nursing theory, nursing philosophy, critical literature review, research methods and global women’s health issues. Since 2018, she has served as president-elect, president and past-president of the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association.
“UT Austin was my home institution from 2002 to 2011, and I am thrilled about the opportunity to return to further champion the mission and success of one of the top nursing schools in the nation. I am also looking forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues from my time at the University,” Im said. “Through my role as dean, I know we will strengthen our research efforts and opportunities to advance nursing science and raise future generations of excellent nurses — ultimately providing better care for all.”
Prior to her tenure at Emory University, Im was an associate dean for research development and regulatory affairs, University Distinguished Professor and the Mary T. Champagne Professor in the School of Nursing at Duke University and the Marjorie O. Rendell Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania.
She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in public health from Seoul National University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco.
“Eun-Ok is a global leader in nursing science who brings a renewed focus on cross-campus collaboration and community impact to our University and the School of Nursing,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost. “The excellence of both the School of Nursing and Dell Medical School, combined with the emergence of Austin as an innovation hub for health care, presents UT with an extraordinary opportunity — and Eun-Ok is the right leader at the right time to move us forward.”
Im will succeed Stuifbergen, who has served as dean since 2009 and had a significant impact on the University. During her tenure, Stuifbergen secured over $56 million in new commitments to support scholarships, renovations, faculty and community-focused initiatives, including the establishment of 66 new endowments that have greatly enhanced the school’s mission of education, service and research.