Fahrenwald named one of most influential deans

By Abby Schoenwald Reporter

Nancy Fahrenwald, dean of the College of Nursing, was recently named in the top 30

most influential deans of nursing the United States according to Mometrix Test Preparation.

Mometrix Test Preparation is a privately owned company that researches, develops, produces and retails test preparation materials internationally.  

The deans were judged on a points system based on National Council Licensure

Examination (NCLEX) passing percentage, an exam required to obtain a nursing license in the United States and Canada; National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding; awards and more. According to the rankings, SDSU’s College of Nursing boasts around a 90 percent NCLEX passing rate.  

Mometrix ranked Fahrenwald 13th on the list of influential deans in the nation. Mometrix stated that Fahrenwald “has been the recipient of numerous school, state, regional and national awards and honors, and had had her hand in more than 10 publications just in the last two years.”

Other deans on the list come from schools including University of Michigan, Kent State, University of Iowa, Columbia University, Duke University and Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

Fahrenwald graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from SDSU in 1983 and later received her master’s degree in nursing in 1988 from the University of Portland. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

According to John Schmidt with The Collegian in 2013, Fahrenwald spent time in Malawi, Africa educating the public about AIDS while serving in the Peace Corps. Fahrenwald told Schmidt that it was something she wanted to do since she was 8 years old.

Before Fahrenwald served as dean of the College of Nursing, she served as associate dean for research in the SDSU College of Nursing from 2009 until 2013.

Fahrenwald said that it is an honor to be recognized as one of the top deans in the


“The people who ended up in that top 30 category of the deans are people who I

have admired for years,” Fahrenwald said.

In addition to Fahrenwald receiving high ranks, the recognition has given some nursing students more confidence in the program.

“Her [Fahrenwald’s] success feeds into our program, and it’s an honor to have such a

distinguished woman guiding our program,” said Emily Swihart, a sophomore nursing student with the SDSU Rapid City campus.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the College of Nursing at SDSU. According to Fahrenwald, the College of Nursing has around 8,000 alumni that have attended SDSU to pursue a nursing degree. Since 1935, the nursing program at SDSU has gone through some changes to become the competitive, recognizable program it is today.

“The nurses that are teaching us in our clinicals trust us because of SDSU’s great

reputation,” said junior nursing major Mariah Roth.

According to Swihart, the success of the College of Nursing has been a reminder of what SDSU offers to its students.

“Our university is known for various outstanding programs and nursing is consistently one of them,” Swihart said. “If we weren’t known for our success then we wouldn’t have such a competitive program.”