After the departure of former Dean Catherine Gilliss, the Yale School of Nursing — in conjunction with Yale officials — has appointed a replacement and is in the process of searching for a new permanent head of the school.

Last week Yale President Richard C. Levin appointed Katherine Jones as Acting Dean of the School of Nursing. Jones, whom Levin called “highly esteemed” and the unanimous choice of the faculty, replaces Gilliss, who had held the position since 1998. Gilliss left last spring to head the Duke University School of Nursing, where she received her nursing degree. She will take over responsibilities as dean on Oct. 1.

Jones, who joined the faculty last year as a professor of nursing, said the search for a new dean is expected to last about a year. The search committee — the members of which have not been announced yet — will consider candidates both from Yale and from across the country.

“We’re going to be looking for someone who can provide leadership to the school, both to the young research program and to the more mature clinical program,” Levin said.

Jones said she is not a member of the search committee herself and will not be considered for the permanent position. She will participate in the interview process, she said.

“I actually accepted this acting position with the understanding that I would not be seeking the permanent deanship,” Jones said. “There may be other integral candidates, but I won’t be one of them.”

Jones, who is also director of the Yale Program for the Advancement of Chronic Wound Care, will remain dean until a permanent replacement can be found. In the meantime, she will continue the programs developed under Gilliss.

While at Yale, Gilliss focused on strengthening the school’s programs of research and doctoral education and recruiting a more diverse student body.

“There are a lot of exciting programs and we’ll just keep that going until we have found a new dean,” Jones said.

Ilya Sverdlov, spokesman for the Yale School of Nursing, said the school has a plan in place — formulated by tenured faculty with input from Yale officials — which projects into 2012. The plan dictates areas of the school to be further developed.

“The strategic plan has a lot to do with building and maintaining our strong foundations in cooperation with the rest of Yale, and our excellence in clinical affairs, education and research,” Sverdlov said. “It includes continuing to attract the best students, and expanding our community affairs here in New Haven, and our international affairs. All of those expanded over Dean Gilliss’ tenure, and Dean Jones plans to continue building on that strong foundation.”

Levin said the transition period should not affect current students because each master’s program and doctoral program has its own adviser.