Marjorie A. Isenberg

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building
Higher Education
Nursing Science

Honored By

Honored by: The University of Arizona College of Nursing Faculty, Staff and Advisory Board
Date submitted: May 14, 2008
Gift: Engraved Paver, Large

Marjorie A. Isenberg, DNSc, RN, FAAN
Dean Emerita

Marjorie A. Isenberg, DNSc, RN, FAAN, joined the University of Arizona in January of 2001 as the 5th dean of the College of Nursing, coming from Wayne State University College of Nursing in Detroit, Michigan, where she served in various capacities, including Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Director of International Programs. A major focus of her administration at Wayne State was the development of partnerships to create interdisciplinary initiatives for the preparation of health care providers dedicated to serving underserved communities. She is an international leader in nursing and an outstanding academic administrator, educator and scholar.

Her illustrious nursing career began in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1959. After completing a hospital RN diploma program, she immediately enrolled in the BSN program at University of Pittsburg. Soon after graduating, Dr. Isenberg sought out nursing preparation at the graduate level enrolling full time at Boston University where she earned both her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc). With her DNSc in hand, she began her journey from nursing leadership in an acute care setting and instructor of medical-surgical nursing to nurse scientist, scholar and master teacher in academia.

Dr. Isenberg set the standard for doctoral nursing education throughout her career in academia. She has chaired and served on doctoral committees of students from around the world who are among today's top nurse leaders. She has an extensive record of publications and presentations and is a long standing Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of numerous nursing societies, including Sigma Theta Tau International.

Dr. Isenberg became internationally-recognized as an expert in Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory and related research with individuals experiencing chronic illness. She was a founding member and first president of the International Orem Society for Nursing Science and Scholarship. She has consulted with nurse scientists and scholars throughout Europe, Asia, Latin and South America on the topic of advancing nursing science by means of programs of nursing theory-based research. She has served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands (Conceptualization of research problems within a nursing perspective); University of Kuopio in Finland (Development of Nursing Theory and Theory-Based Research); Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (Research based on Self-Care Theory); and at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. Her teaching and mentorship of the first PhD prepared nurse in Mexico lead to her consultation in the development of Mexico's first PhD in Nursing program offered at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon.

Since assuming the Deanship of the College of Nursing she has implemented several strategic initiatives to create a research enhanced environment at the College. Significant outcomes of these initiatives are: a 200% increase in grants and contracts budget over the last several years and a 50% increase in the submission of research grants by faculty, and an overall increase in faculty productivity in terms of research and scholarship activities.

Dean Isenberg's vision for the College encompasses faculty initiatives that have resulted in multiple academic program innovations. At the graduate level, the College of Nursing was recently ranked among the top 6% of nursing programs nationally. The PhD program now benefits from technological advancements of an e-learning environment and was recognized with a WOW award from WICHE. The College has prepared an exceptionally high rate of PhD students, graduating over four times the number of PhD students as the rest of the nation's nursing colleges. Prospective scholars from around the world seek admission, resulting in the most robust and competitive applicant pool of any doctoral program in nursing in the nation.

The Master's programs to prepare nurse practitioners are also available online. Accessibility to advanced practice nursing education is vital to the health and well being of Arizona citizens, especially those in rural locations. In March 2006, the Doctorate in Nursing Practice was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona College of Nursing was the first in the State to offer the DNP. National attention has also been focused on a UA initiative at the baccalaureate level. In 2002, Dean Isenberg led the faculty in the creation of an integrated curriculum for a 14-month Accelerated BSN Partnership Program for College Graduates. This innovative program exemplifies the College's strong commitment to address the nursing shortage in Arizona. The partnership between the University of Arizona College of Nursing and four Tucson-based health care agencies is now a national model. Furthermore, she has created a research-enhanced environment in the College that has escalated the research and scholarly productivity of the faculty. Within a relatively short period of time, Dean Isenberg has provided the leadership for the University of Arizona College of Nursing to become one of the nation's elite environments for teaching and research.

Dean Isenberg's advancement of nursing science through international collaboration continued at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. She has established international partnership agreements with Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Mexico. She recently completed an international partnership with the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

She has the following professional and academic memberships: National Nursing organizations: American Academy of Nursing; American Nurses' Association; American Nurses' Foundation; American Organization of Nurse Executives; Arizona Nurses' Association; International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing; International Orem Society for Nursing Science & Scholarship; Nursing Education Exchange (NEXUS) Partnership; Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Mu Chapter; Tucson Nurse Executives; and Western Institute of Nursing.

Dean Isenberg served on the Advisory Board of the Healthcare Institute (HCI), the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), and the Governor's Nursing Shortage Task Force Education Subcommittee. She is a member of the University Physician Healthcare Hospital at Kino, the Greater Tucson Economic Council Health Care Task Force, and the Tucson Regional Town Hall Research and Resource Partner.

Marjorie A. Isenberg's vision and achievements as a nurse, educator, scholar, scientist, and administrator for almost five decades are a wonderful legacy to the profession and The University of Arizona College of Nursing as she enters retirement July 1, 2008. Her passion and dedication to nursing science continues to make a difference in the lives of nurse colleagues and friends from around the world.