A new dean will lead the continuing efforts at the University of Houston-Victoria to help solve the national nursing shortage.
Kathryn Tart will begin Sept. 1 as the first dean of the School of Nursing.
"It's very exciting to be the first dean." Tart said. "I love my profession of nursing, and I am just absolutely honored to be able to hold this position."
The school is playing a key role in improving healthcare in this part of the country.
"My vision for the school itself is to grow the number of students because we have a severe nursing shortage in the state of Texas and this country," she said. "We need more nurses, and we need more nurse educators."
While there are plenty of eligible nursing school applicants in the state, there simply aren't enough people to educate them.
That's why UHV is in the process of forming a master's degree in nurse education that allows graduates to teach in registered nurse programs. The program is expected to have final approval in the fall semester. Several students are taking classes as part of a pilot program and plan to begin teaching at area community colleges after they graduate.
The school also offers baccalaureate degrees for registered nurses with associate degrees and master's degrees for those seeking to be nurse administrators.
In her current post, Tart serves as the baccalaureate coordinator for the nursing program at Texas Woman's University at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Tart has been in the nursing field since 1981, when she started her career caring for patients. She began her career as a nurse educator teaching at The Victoria College from 1991 to 1998.
She holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, a master's degree in nursing from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio and a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston. She noted she started her last degree at UHV through a program offered by UH.
"I'm kind of a UHV alumna," she said with a laugh.
UHV leaders praised the contributions she brings to the new position.
"Dr. Tart's exceptional experience in nursing education and passion for her profession will help make this school into a leader in the world of nursing," said Suzanne LaBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs.
"Nursing is a field that will touch each and every one of us at some point in our lives. That means our university has the opportunity through this school to touch thousands upon thousands of people," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "I'm glad we've found a top-notch leader to spearhead our efforts, and I welcome Dr. Tart to the UHV family."
Co-Interim Directors Denise Neill and Linda Dune will return to full-time teaching and advise the new dean on different administrative issues at the Victoria and Sugar Land campuses.