UHV nursing professor chosen for Johnson Foundation endowment

A University of Houston-Victoria professor of nursing has been named the M.G. & Lillie A. Johnson Foundation Endowed Professor of Nursing.

Victoria Thomas

As the award recipient, Victoria Thomas, UHV clinical professor and interim director of the nursing program, will hold the endowed professorship in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years and will receive a $5,000 stipend for each of those years. Thomas learned she was chosen for the professorship when she received a letter from UHV’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“I’m extremely honored and grateful to receive this prestigious award and to be a member of the UHV organization, which I hold in high regard,” said Thomas, who joined UHV’s faculty in 2020.

The foundation limited consideration for the award to full-time UHV faculty members with excellent faculty performance and a commitment to advancing the nursing profession. Additionally, only doctoral-prepared registered nurses who have a master’s degree in nursing and were recommended by the dean of the UHV College of Education & Health Professions could be considered.

Thomas, who was named the interim director of nursing last June, is well-deserving of the recognition, said Rachel Martinez, interim dean of the college.

Rachel Martinez

“Dr. Thomas is deserving of this incredible recognition for her efforts in the health and medical professions,” Martinez said. “In her work at UHV and within the community she has shown dedication, intelligent direction and skillful execution. She has been instrumental in helping our nursing students through her strong vision and determination.” 

In her role as interim director, Thomas has led efforts to expand UHV’s nursing program and strengthen community partnerships. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chamberlain College of Nursing in Downers Grove, Ill.

Her nursing career began with earning an associate degree in nursing from Mercer Community College in New Jersey, which she says enables her to understand and empathize with today’s aspiring nurses at community colleges.

“After I earned my associate degree, I wanted to make a difference and realized that I needed to further my education,” Thomas recalled. “Now, when I see students coming into my program with their associate degrees, I know where they are coming from because I was there. I can identify with the students, including working moms going to school full time.”

Today’s students, however, have the added challenge of the pandemic, Thomas said, noting that the pandemic has revealed gaps in health care that need to be addressed.

“It will require collaboration between nursing education and nursing practice,” she said. “Nursing needs innovative ideas and processes to move us ahead.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.