Aspirations high for Fahrenwald, College of Nursing


 Before accepting the position of College of Nursing Dean, Nancy Fahrenwald worked for two years with the Malawi government to educate the public about AIDS prevention. She began research in the realm of public health in 1996 and received her Ph.D. in 2002.

John Schmidt Web Editor

 Recently appointed College of Nursing Dean Nancy Fahrenwald has big plans for the future of health care education at SDSU.

Fahrenwald’s office walls are covered with photos of her past, like most offices. Her diplomas, photos from her Peace Corp trip and posters from her work with the Living Kidney Donation program all tell different stories about Fahrenwald’s life work. However what is not up on the walls are her goals and intentions of the College of Nursing with her new position. 

A 1983 SDSU alum, Fahrenwald practiced and taught public health at Presentation College and obtained her master’s degree in 1988 from the University of Portland, then finally her doctorate degree in 2002 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center on Omaha Neb. In between her education, Fahrenwald spent some time in Malawi, Africa where she worked as an AIDS coordinator. 

“I knew I wanted to be in the Peace Corps since I was 8 years old,” Fahrenwald said. 

Fahrenwald worked for two years with the Malawi government to help educate the public about AIDS and AIDS prevention while her husband taught secondary school there as well. 

While in Africa, Fahrenwald’s husband talked her into coming back to SDSU.

“I was still in Africa while I was being interviewed,” Fahrenwald said. 

After her time in the Peace Corps, Fahrenwald took a position at the SDSU College of Nursing where she taught community health and in 1996 started her Ph.D. program. She started research in the realm of public health and educating the public about how to avoid health issues later in life.

“I’m an upstream thinker,” Fahrenwald said. She likes to educate to avoid rather than tend to an issue at hand. 

In order to increase health awareness of the public, Fahrenwald plans on doubling research funding and is a part of the College of Nursing’s strategic plan. 

“In order to improve health we have to work as a team,” Fahrenwald said. 

With the idea to improve health comes with having people who are as eager to change it as Fahrenwald. With that in mind she plans on doubling the number of scholarships nursing students receive. She plans on looking to alumni for fundraising to fulfill this goal. 

“We have great students and we want to help them financially,” Fahrenwald said. “Working in [health care] is a perfect career.” 

With SDSU expanding as rapidly as it is, Fahrenwald is excited to be a part of the myriad of programs the Impact 2018 plan is launching. 

“Impact of 2018 is a great marker for President Chicoine’s leadership,” Fahrenwald said. 

When she was attending SDSU, Fahrenwald said she “never got lost,” but now with the new residence halls and academic buildings, it makes things more difficult. 

Fahrenwald claimed she didn’t always know she was going to come back to SDSU, however she’s back now and plans on making a huge impact in the things she loves most.

“[SDSU] is home for me,” Fahrenwald said.