Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano, who has led the school for 13 years, announced in August that she will resign at the end of the fall semester to become dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A member of the faculty since 2014, Norris is an internationally recognized nursing scientist, specializing in sexual and reproductive health, particularly the role of culture and other social influences on behavior, as well as statistics and measurement.
“As a renowned nurse, educator, and scholar, Dr. Norris is an outstanding faculty member to fill this important role while we conduct the search for a new dean,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost. “She will help ensure continuity of the school’s excellence during this transitional period.”
The author of more than 90 scholarly publications, Norris was inducted earlier this year into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. This highly prestigious distinction recognizes her pioneering research, in which she frequently incorporates cutting-edge technology, and her mentorship of nurse educators and scientists. She is the 2011 recipient of the Mary Cash Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Diversity in Nursing and Health Care and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
“I’m looking forward to building on Dean Peragallo’s legacy,” Norris said.
Norris earned her Ph.D. in nursing and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held faculty and leadership positions at The Ohio State University, Boston College, and the University of Central Florida. She is the principal investigator for JUEGA! (PLAY!), a study funded by a $3.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health that is testing the efficacy of her Mighty Girls program in 20 Miami-Dade County public middle schools. Mighty Girls combines classroom sessions with an avatar-based computer game to teach adolescent girls about choices, consequences, and assertiveness in risky situations.