School of Nursing Dean Kathy Rideout to Step Down at End of Academic Year

Sep. 23, 2021

Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, who sparked a period of growth and renewed prominence at the University of Rochester School of Nursing in more than a decade as dean, will step down as the school’s top leader effective June 30.

A member of the UR School of Nursing faculty for more than 35 years, Rideout was officially installed as the school’s fifth dean in 2012 after serving in an interim capacity the previous year. She was named a vice president at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in 2013 and was appointed to a second five-year term as dean in 2017. She will return to her role on the faculty as a professor of clinical nursing and pediatrics at the conclusion of the academic year.

A committee led by Eli Eliav, DMD, PhD, director of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, will soon launch a national search for a new dean.

School of Nursing dean Kathy Rideout smiling on stage at pinning

“Kathy’s leadership will be sorely missed by faculty, staff and students across the University,” said UR President Sarah Mangelsdorf. “She’s been unflinching in her commitment to diversity and inclusion, has recruited record numbers of nursing students, and has forged invaluable partnerships with the University of Rochester Medical Center. The school, the University, and greater Rochester are all better for her service.”

“Kathy Rideout took charge when our nursing school needed fresh leadership, and fostered an educational environment that produces graduates ready to elevate the role of nursing and improve the delivery of patient care,” said Mark B. Taubman, MD, CEO of URMC and Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Among her many accomplishments, she can take exceptional pride in the growth and success of the Center for Employee Wellness under her leadership. As deans we strengthened collaboration between the Medical Center’s nursing education and physician training programs in a way that enhanced both schools and today serves as a national model. I deeply value Kathy’s professional partnership as well as her personal friendship.”

“I’m extremely honored and blessed to have been able to serve as dean of the greatest nursing school in the world,” Rideout said. “It was a very tough decision not to return for another five years.”

Carrying on in the tradition of the school’s founding dean, nursing icon Loretta Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, Rideout has been an influential voice in national discussions on nursing leadership and education. Closer to home, she has overseen a period of substantial growth in all three missions of the school: research, education, and nursing practice. She has also been a strong advocate for more diversity and inclusion at the University and in the nursing profession, while continuing to practice clinically as a pediatric advanced practice nurse at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Rideout’s commitment to the school’s students, staff, and faculty is legendary. Approachable and informal, she is on a first-name basis with practically every one of the school’s students. She also holds frequent get-togethers with scholars and faculty, and delivers a cheerful email message to the school community every Monday that celebrates individuals and their accomplishments, large and small. She has personally mentored countless students over her tenure as dean and makes time to to meet individually with each new faculty and staff member who is hired.

“When you see her in the hall and she says, ‘Good morning’ to you, you never had to address her as ‘Dean Rideout’ or ‘Dr. Rideout.’ That really leveled the playing field,” said Yvette Conyers, ’07N, the president of the Rochester Black Nurses Association, who earned her bachelor’s degree at the UR School of Nursing and later served on the faculty at the school. “To me, that never took away from her as a leader or as a dean. It just made her more approachable.”

“She is a quiet leader, not flashy. She is very good at developing personal relationships and creating an environment where people are treated with respect, regardless of their status in the hierarchy,” said Ford, who led the school from 1972 to 1986. “And she’s a strong leader, quite strong. You can underestimate that strength sometimes to your dismay.”

Kathy Rideout with nursing students

Among the major accomplishments of Rideout’s tenure:

  • An overhaul of the approach to nursing education that supplements the personal touch of nursing with a more sophisticated use of technology and experiential learning techniques, preparing student nurses for long careers in a rapidly changing profession;
  • A return to prominence in national rankings. The school has consistently ranked in the top 25 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health over the past 10 years and ranks 26th among master’s programs, according to U.S. News & World Report;
  • The creation and expansion of the UR Medicine Center for Employee Wellness. The nurse-run program, operated out of the School of Nursing, started as a pilot program for the University of Rochester in 2013 and now serves more than 55 companies in the greater Rochester area;
  • The development of groundbreaking diversity initiatives, such as the enhancement of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness, and creating Staff and Student Diversity Officers that led Rideout to be honored with the UR Presidential Diversity Award and the school to be recognized nationally as a four-time winner of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award;
  • Steered the school through a robust period of financial growth, culminating in the $15 million vertical expansion of Helen Wood Hall. The new addition will provide technologically-enhanced learning and simulation areas when it opens in the spring of 2022.

A native of Pittsburgh, Rideout began work as an advanced pediatric nurse at Strong and joined the School of Nursing faculty in 1986. She earned her doctorate from the Warner School of Education and Human Development in 1995. She completed her ostomy nurse specialty education program in 2000.