Dr. Vicki Conn has had an illustrious career spanning 32 years since her initial appointment as an assistant professor to the MU School of Nursing. She is a graduate of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, first with a Masters in Adult Nursing in 1981, followed by a PhD in Social-Psychology of Health and Aging. Conn served as the Distinguished Potter-Brinton Professor since 1995 and as Associate Dean for Research since 2002. Evidence of Conn’s impact on the University of Missouri, the Sinclair School of Nursing, and beyond, is found among many sources, including successful funding of millions of dollars in faculty and school support for research, her nearly 230 peer-reviewed publications (Scopus), her leadership as editor-in-chief of WJNR, and her successful mentoring of students and faculty who are now having their own impact in the world.
On Monday, August 13 after faculty and staff lunch, the School of Nursing had a retirement celebration for Dr. Conn. Greg Alexander, Interim Associate Dean of Research compiled a list of remarks from Conn’s colleagues, junior researchers and friends. Here are just a few of the comments submitted about Conn:
1. “Vicki has been an outstanding mentor. She has helped form the foundation of my experience as a nurse researcher. When I was first applying to PhD programs so long ago, I received lukewarm responses to my emails. But Vicki was so quick to respond and was genuinely interested in hearing about my ideas and my goals. This connection attracted me to the Sinclair School of Nursing and brought me to this institution that is so dedicated to developing the next generation of nurse clinicians, scholars, leaders. And thank goodness, because I had such a fulfilling experience at this school! I often look back at those first emails and phone calls between teacher and student and think about how lucky I was to meet and be mentored by Vicki. I carry that experience with me because it defines the critical impact of mentorship that has helped to shape my career today. I hope that I, too, can excel as a mentor for future students.”
2. “I have been lucky to work with Vicki for so many years – first as teacher and student, and as a colleague, but all the while as mentor and mentee. I appreciate her wisdom and guidance when building my research program. I know I can always receive an honest appraisal of my work that will lead to an improved finished product. I have received sage advice from her over the years, and I really cannot thank her enough for working with me. I have enjoyed our conversations, whether it be about research, career development, or even beer choices and travel! I will miss our regular conversations, but am so glad that I had the opportunity to work with her as our relationship has evolved over the years.”
3. “During Vicki’s tenure as the associate dean for research the school of nursing acquired a national reputation in terms of the research productivity and quality. Vicki was an excellent mentor to faculty as they developed their programs of research and achieved national funding. She became an international traveler during her time at MU. I remember the trip to Belgium which was one of her earlier international trips. The dean at that time said to her, ‘Oh, you’ve never been anywhere’, that certainly isn’t the case any longer.”
4. “Another one! After 40 it’s just ‘Patch, Patch, Patch!!!!’ Also reflective of her humorous approach to keeping life and health in perspective!! Enjoy retirement with your family, Vicki, you deserve that!”
Look for an extended interview with Conn in the upcoming fall issue of Mizzou Nursing magazine.