Sarah Shannon

Sarah Shannon, professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Nursing, was named dean of the MSU College of Nursing after a national search.

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An administrator and professor from Oregon Health and Science University will become the next dean of Montana State University’s College of Nursing.

Sarah Shannon, professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at OHSU’s School of Nursing, was hired after a national search. She’ll begin work July 24 and earn a salary of $180,000 a year.

“Providing a quality nursing program for our students and the state is a key element of our land-grant mission, and Dr. Shannon’s background and experience in nursing education, advanced nursing programs, rural health care needs, clinical partnerships and research are congruent with the mission and the vision of nursing at Montana State,” said MSU Provost Robert Mokwa. “Dr. Shannon has the right skill set, and I am confident she will be an inspirational and thoughtful leader.”

At OHSU, Shannon was the chief academic officer with responsibility for developing, implementing and evaluating the school’s teaching and learning programs.

Shannon previously worked for more than 20 years at the University of Washington, where she was a faculty member in the School of Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, as well as an adjunct in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities in the School of Medicine. She was also chief of the ethics consult service for Northwest Hospital and Medical Center and an ethics consultant for University of Washington Medical Center. She has also worked as a nurse in critical care and medical and surgical settings in Seattle and Juneau, Alaska.

Her research focuses on improving communication between health care teams and patients and their families around ethically challenging issues, specifically end-of-life decisions in the intensive care setting, error disclosure and inter-professional conflict.

Shannon earned a doctorate and a master’s degree in nursing science from the University of Washington. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Arizona.

Shannon said she is honored to be the next dean of the MSU College of Nursing.

“After more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, I am delighted to be returning to Montana, where I spent my childhood,” Shannon said.

“Health care is rapidly evolving. In turn, the education of health care professionals, including registered nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse leaders and nurse educators, needs to respond with equal innovation and agility.”

Shannon said she looks forward to partnering with the MSU nursing faculty and students, the university leadership team and clinical agencies across the state to ensure that MSU nursing graduates “are prepared to meet the health care and workforce needs of Montanans today and tomorrow.”

Shannon succeeds Helen Melland, who is retiring in June after serving as dean since 2009.

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