McNelis to lead nursing science PhD program

Angela M. McNelis, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, CNE, has been selected as the new Vanderbilt School of Nursing assistant dean for its PhD in nursing science program. McNelis comes to Nashville from her role as professor and associate dean for scholarship of innovation and clinical science at George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. She brings more than two decades of experience in academia, postdoctoral research, admissions, curricula development and clinical research. 

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Angela McNelis

“Educating PhD in nursing science students is an important part of VUSN’s mission. Dr. McNelis’ background will help assure that this vital program continues to grow and thrive,” said Dean Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH. “Dr. Mariann Piano has done a wonderful job as interim director of the program. I thank her for her leadership of the Vanderbilt PhD in nursing science program and for all that she does to support our nursing research students and their careers.” 

Like other Vanderbilt PhD programs, Vanderbilt’s PhD in Nursing Science degree is conferred by the Vanderbilt Graduate School, under the direction of Andre Christie-Mizell, PhD. In her new position, McNelis will also work closely with him and his team. 

“As assistant dean of the PhD program, I hope to continue the long tradition of preparing scholars who make substantive contributions to nursing science and the profession,” McNelis said. “Moreover, I want to increase the already productive research and scholarly work of the PhD students during their time in our program to create an even stronger foundation on which to launch their careers.” 

To further strengthen the program, it will now be incorporated under the school’s academic umbrella rather than that of research. 

“When Dr. McNelis joins us on July 1, the PhD program operations will move under academic affairs to align with our other academic programs, the MN, MSN and DNP,” Jeffries said. “Because admissions and academic affairs work with our PhD students, this is a natural fit. The alignment will serve us better from an operational and structural perspective.” 

McNelis earned a BSN from DePauw University and completed an MS, PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at Indiana University. She has served as part of institutional review boards for more than a decade, which expanded her research expertise in methods and designs and will be of assistance as she works with new researchers. McNelis is also a recognized leader in nursing education, having published more than 70 articles and eight book chapters, and having given numerous presentations on nursing education across the globe.