Pace Magazine

A Legacy of Hope and Inspiration: Dean Harriet R. Feldman

By
Jillian Gorry '11, '21
Posted
June 1, 2021
older group of people at a table

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When does a career become passion? When you’re able to use your skills, talent, and education for the greater good. It’s something Harriet Feldman has been doing for more than five decades, starting from her graduation from a diploma nursing school.

For 28 years, College of Health Professions (CHP) and Lienhard School of Nursing Dean Harriet R. Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, has served the Pace Community in innumerable ways. She was instrumental in reshaping the Lienhard School’s undergraduate and graduate programs, expanding the Family Nurse Practitioner and Accelerated BS programs to the New York City Campus, establishing two doctoral programs in nursing; developing the BS in Health Science program, adding five additional academic programs new programs in the College of Health Professions, and establishing a 5-year academic plan that includes the MS in Health Informatics program (in 2021–22) and Master of Public Health (in 2022–23).

During her time at Pace, she also raised nearly $25 million in external funding; securing two federal “earmark” grants to address the nursing faculty shortage as well as sparking interest in healthcare careers in middle school students (one of whom recently completed a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia!), and so much more. Through her dedication and leadership, she’s touched the lives of countless students, and in 2005, Dean Feldman and her husband, Ron, endowed a writing award for students in the Nursing program. Not to mention the fact that she has also served as interim provost and interim dean of the School of Education, proving herself ever ready and willing to step up when Pace students, faculty, and staff needed her guidance and expertise.

“Students who go through our programs develop meaningful mentor-mentee relationships with our faculty…and I am proud to be a part of their journeys and even more so proud of our faculty and school for their ongoing respect for so many important professions and community.”

That’s quite the resume for one person—and it’s still only a partial one! Her dedication to Pace is clearly undeniable, but few know that Dean Feldman started out where most of us do, as a high school student uncertain about the future. “In those days, women were typically encouraged to pursue just a few options,” she says. At the time, Dean Feldman was in advanced placement mathematics classes and worked in the department, even as a student. “I thought that I might want to be a math teacher,” she explains, “However, I was painfully shy, so the thought of standing up in front of a class to teach was very scary. Pretty funny when you consider that it is not unusual for me to present to groups sometimes in the hundreds and even thousands!”

It was her brother who would inadvertently open the door to what would become Dean Feldman’s storied career. He was dating a nurse at the time, and she spoke highly of a rewarding profession with potential to grow. “Little did I know I would fall in love with nursing in all of the paths I pursued,” says Dean Feldman. From bedside nurse to public health nurse to faculty member to administrator, her upward trajectory has benefited all those who she has served and worked alongside.

Before coming to Pace, Dean Feldman held faculty and administrative positions at Fairleigh Dickinson University, State University of New York at Farmingdale, and Adelphi University. She boasts a proven track record of leadership as well, as board member and board Chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and board member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She testified before the US Congress to convey issues surrounding the nursing faculty shortage and worked with Rep. Nita Lowey’s staff to craft legislation to address the shortage. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and the New York Academy of Medicine, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society in Nursing. She is also a member of the Edward J. Mortola Heritage Society at Pace.

“Little did I know I would fall in love with nursing in all of the paths I pursued,” says Dean Feldman.

Dean Feldman further played a critical role in navigating the Pace Community through the COVID-19 global health crisis, serving as a member of the various COVID committees, and dedicated her time to mentoring CHP faculty through tenure and promotion and students eager to lend their skills in service to the school. “It is one of the highlights of our roles as educators that we can see the impact our programs and instruction has provided toward students entering the healthcare professions,” she said. “Students who go through our programs develop meaningful mentor-mentee relationships with our faculty…and I am proud to be a part of their journeys and even more so proud of our faculty and school for their ongoing respect for so many important professions and community.”

In Spring 2020, Dean Feldman shared words of encouragement and support for the Pace Community and shared the project she was working on while in quarantine: crocheted hats for critically ill babies.

Recently, Dean Feldman received a “Changemakers in Healthcare Award,” an honor recognizing accomplished Pace alumni and friends in the healthcare and health services sector who exemplify the Pace ethos of success in their daily and professional lives by being at the forefront of creating opportunity for all. In addition, her exemplary career at Pace will be marked by a scholarship—the Dean Harriet R. Feldman Nursing Scholarship—which will aid doctoral students in the PhD in Nursing program who may need financial assistance in the pursuit of their education to be scientists, educators, and healthcare leaders.

And yet, her role in uplifting the Pace Community doesn’t stop there. As she looks to a new future of possibilities, Dean Feldman continues to express a desire to support Pace students, faculty, and staff. To the CHP community, she wrote a touching email that spoke to her pride in their work, and signed off not with a goodbye, but with a message of aspiration: “I look forward to the next phase of my career, hoping to continue to make additional contributions to Pace and professionally in the years to come.”

Dean Harriet R. Feldman will be stepping down from her position on June 30, 2021, but she will continue her legacy as a healthcare changemaker, and for that, we are ever indebted to her endlessly giving nature.

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