When Christine Pacini entered University of Detroit as an undergraduate student in the 1960s, she had no idea how intertwined her life would become with the institution.
After a 40-year affiliation with the University that has included positions as a professor and administrator, Pacini ’70, ’74 became dean of the College of Health Professions in 2010. She recently announced she would step down from that role. Pacini will stay with the University until a replacement is hired and transitioned into the position, which she expects that to be sometime before 2018.
After graduating from University of Detroit, Pacini enrolled at Mercy College of Detroit, with the goal of becoming a nurse. She graduated in 1974 and worked at Mt. Carmel mercy Hospital as an RN. She completed a master’s degree in Nursing from Wayne State University in 1979, then began teaching at Mercy College in the fall of 1979. Her career has included nursing education in the academic and private sectors, much of it with University of Detroit, Mercy College and University of Detroit Mercy.
“I love the place,” she said.
“What I think my legacy is—if you want to use that big a word—is that I brought stability to the infrastructure at the College of Health Professions and the McAuley School of Nursing. And with that infrastructure, we have the right people doing the right things. We’re more collaborative and we work together to make the program stronger.”
The benefit of having the right team in place is that it makes it easier to attract and retain new, highly qualified faculty and staff, Pacini said.
“I feel very secure about the leadership we have in the McAuley School of Nursing,” she said. “We have the highest level of doctorally prepared, tenured and continuously employed staff that we’ve ever had.”
This stability, in turn, leads to changes and growth, including the addition of a Health Information Management program during her tenure as dean. Changes and growth bring better outcomes for students, which is the ultimate goal, she added.
The expanded CHP facility is another benefit of having stability and structure in place.
Even after she steps down, Pacini says she will continue to advance the profession by working with professional organizations. She is currently the chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s task force on the future of nursing education. She also plans on catching up on some scholarly writing she has been putting off and wants to pursue personal interests like traveling.
“I’m very proud of this school and the great things we are able to accomplish here,” she said.