Dean, School of Nursing
Mary Lee Pollard, PhD, RN, CNE
Dr. Mary Lee Pollard is the dean of the School of Nursing at Excelsior College. In this role, she assures that a high quality, affordable and accessible education is provided annually to approximately 21,000 undergraduate and graduate nursing students nationwide. Under her direction, Excelsior’s School of Nursing graduates an average of 1,900 students per year, advancing healthcare throughout the U.S. Dr. Pollard is an expert in competency-based nursing education, and in recognition of her skillful program management has served as a panelist in forums hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning, and has provided presentations on the topic at national conferences.
Dr. Pollard came to lead this nontraditional program through a more traditional career path, earning a BS in nursing from Syracuse University and accepting a position as a staff nurse in New York’s Capital Region which remains her home today. She pursued graduate education in Medical Surgical Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Education at Russell Sage College in Troy while continuing to work full-time in a variety of medical surgical positions at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. She began her career in nursing education at the Ellis Hospital School of Nursing and became the school’s Director in 1999 at which time she began an evening and weekend program, earned initial NLNAC accreditation, and relocated the school to a larger, more modern facility. During this time she earned a doctoral degree in Educational Theory and Practice: Curriculum Development, Instruction and Evaluation and also assumed her first position with Excelsior, serving as a Clinical Examiner for the Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination, a multi-day capstone examination conducted in a hospital setting.
Advancing a diverse population of nurses along a career ladder is a priority for Dr. Pollard. She is a member of the New York State Associate Degree Council of Nurse Educators, the New York State Council of Deans of Baccalaureate and Higher Programs, the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, the National League for Nursing, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and serves on the board of the Tau Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. She is a past board member of the New York State Nurses Association District 9 and the New York State Associate Degree Council of Nurse Educators, and also served on the steering committee for the Helene Fuld Health Trust initiative for the New York State Coalition for Nursing Educational Mobility to develop a statewide LPN to RN articulation model.
A strong believer in utilizing research to inform both nursing education and practice, she is a board member of the Capital District Nursing Research Alliance. She recently served as the primary investigator for a study titled, Assessment of Quality and Safety Education in Nursing: A New York State Perspective. Her areas of expertise are nontraditional nursing student attrition, competency assessment, and adult education.
Dr. Pollard also serves her community as a Board member and volunteer nurse at the Schenectady Free Clinic, ensuring care and access to medication for over 10,000 uninsured county residents.
- Distance education
- Non-traditional working adult nursing students
- Associate degree nursing education, competency-based assessment education models
- Workforce and education trends
- Dean, Excelsior College School of Nursing, 2011-present
- Associate Dean, Excelsior College School of Nursing, 2007-2011
- Clinical Examiner, Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination (CPNE), Excelsior College, 2004-2007
- Director, Ellis Hospital School of Nursing, 1999-2007
- Prior experience: adult critical care nursing, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and adult medical surgical nursing. Served on the statewide committee to establish the NYS LPN to RN articulation model and hosted pilot of the transition course and initial implementation of the model.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Theory and Practice: Curriculum Development, Instruction and Evaluation, University at Albany, Albany, NY, 2004
- Master of Science, Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing, Education, Russell Sage College, Troy, NY, 1989
- Bachelor of Science, Nursing; Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 1982
- NLN Certified Nurse Educator
Awards and Recognition
- Tau Kappa Research and Leadership Award, 2011
- Nursing Excellence Award in Administration/Management, Capital District New York State Nurses Association, 2009
- Employee Recognition Award for Distinction in Leadership, Excelsior College, August, 2009
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing Academic Leadership Institute, 2007
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing Academic Leadership Institute, selected participant, 2007
- Capital District New York State Nurses Association Nursing Excellence Award in Education, 1999
- “Assessment of Quality and Safety Education in Nursing: A New York State Perspective,” primary investigator, presented at the national QSEN conference, Denver, COP, June 2010, and at the Capital District Nursing Research Alliance annual conference, April 2011. A paper for publication is now in development.
- “An Examination of Nontraditional Nursing Student Attrition,” doctoral dissertation, University at Albany, 2004
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
- American Nurses Association, Capital District Nursing Research Alliance
- District Nine, New York State Nurses Association, Board Member
- National League for Nursing
- National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing
- New York State Associate Degree Council
- Sigma Theta Tau, Omicron Chapter
- Sigma Theta Tau, Tau Kappa Chapter
- Schenectady Free Clinic