Karen Rae Clark


W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (2013)
Indiana University East
School of Nursing


Distinguished service has been the hallmark of Karen Clark, who has overseen the nursing program since she joined the faculty on the Richmond campus more than 25 years ago. But her commitment to service dates back to childhood days, when she could often be found helping elderly relatives or tutoring friends who might be struggling with schoolwork.

As Clark grew older, she also volunteered in the school library and helped backstage with theater productions. "Activities such as these and my beliefs regarding my role in service continued to flourish and became the foundation for my program of service today," Clark writes in a paper describing her views about service. "It is my belief that as university members, we have a responsibility to connect the university with the wider community through public service. Once at IU East, I saw multiple opportunities for involvement within the campus, School of Nursing, the nursing profession, and the community. I was eager to get started and quickly got involved." One colleague who wrote a letter in support of Clark's nomination for the W. George Pinnell Award says it was easy to do because of the "incredible depth and breadth of Karen's service to east central Indiana, the Richmond community, IU East, and the nursing profession. She has made a measurable and real impact in each of these areas."

Clark joined the School of Nursing in 1987 as a lecturer. From 2004 to 2010, she served as an assistant professor of nursing as well as dean. Since 2010, she has been an associate professor of nursing and continued in her role as dean. Her research interests focus on the scholarship of teaching, increasing the number of registered nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in nursing, community health, and cultural competency. She is the president of the Indiana League for Nursing and is a member of the governing board of Reid Hospital and Health Care Services. Clark is a recent recipient of the IU East Distinguished Service Award.

Within the community, colleagues say, Clark's focus has been on improving the health of residents. To this end, she has worked with the East Indiana Area Health Education Center, the United Way Health Visioning Task Force, and the Wayne County Health Vocations Advisory Committee, and she has served on the Reid Hospital Board. And that's just since 2005. She also enjoys having an impact on the lives of young people and opening a world of opportunity to them through education. Clark even helped develop a charter school to meet the needs of children falling through the cracks of the local school system.

Although she has served the nursing school as a dean since 2004, she continues to have a substantial teaching load and provides the leadership and vision that are credited with attracting more students, faculty, and staff to the school. Clark extends that same level of service to the campus as a whole. A colleaque says, "Dr. Clark's continued involvement and leadership in university service surpasses all others. It has been my observation over the years that Dr. Clark not only serves when tapped; she also provides the leadership and vision toward that particular entity, accomplishing the ascribed expectations and charges."