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College of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at ArlingtonCollege of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at Arlington


Touching Lives. Transforming Health Care.


Located in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, UT Arlington is a modern 420 acre campus a few blocks from downtown Arlington. In addition to campus activity, the area provides a full range of interests including museums, concerts, ballet, theater, family amusement parks, and professional baseball, basketball and football.

The University of Texas School of Nursing (now the College of Nursing), established in 1890 as the John Sealy Hospital Training School of Nurses, is one of the oldest schools of nursing in the Southwest. It was originally organized as an independent school under a board of lay managers. In 1986 it was transferred to The University of Texas and became the School of Nursing, one of the divisions of the Medical Branch with the diploma granted by the University. In 1932 the name of the school was changed to the John Sealy College of Nursing. A curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing was established in 1923 in cooperation with the College of Arts and Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin.

Through the financial assistance of the Texas Graduate Nurses Association, courses for graduate nurses were first offered in 1930 in the Department of Physical and Health Education of the School of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1940 a complete curriculum was established leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education. Funds for the support of this program were given to the University of Texas Graduate Nurses Association in the form of a scholarship fund to be used for Texas nurses. In 1945 this curriculum was transferred to the Medical Branch administration, bringing both the John Sealy College of Nursing and the newly-created Department of Nursing Education together to form the School of Nursing with its own Dean. In September 1949, a curriculum leading to the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing for graduates of diploma programs was established.

Through the generosity of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, a program leading to the Master of Science in Nursing with a major in Nursing Service Administration was offered in 1952. Participating in the program of the Southern Regional Education Board for Graduate Education in Nursing, the School of Nursing first offered additional specialization in 1955.

In 1957 the School of Nursing admitted the last class to the diploma program. Since that time it has offered one basic program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

In the fall of 1960 Austin became an extension campus of the School of Nursing which was still headquartered in Galveston, and nursing courses were offered on the Austin campus for the first time.

Class of 1974
Class of 1974

The School of Nursing was reorganized in 1967 as The University of Texas Nursing School (System-wide) and administrative offices were moved to Austin. As The University of Texas Nursing School (System-wide) developed, the system administration, Tarrant County Hospital District officials, and the Medical Committee of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce explored the possibility of a University of Texas Nursing School campus in Fort Worth. In May 1971 the Chamber of Commerce introduced a bill in the State Legislature to authorize a baccalaureate school in Fort Worth. By July 1971 a school was authorized with plans to start nursing courses in September 1972. The John Peter Smith Hospital School of Nursing was phased out in favor of The University of Texas Nursing School. In the fall of 1972, sixty-seven students were admitted to The University of Texas (undergraduate) Nursing School in Tarrant County. In October 1972 the name of the School was changed to The University of Texas School of Nursing at Fort Worth. At the same time, the (System-wide) Nursing School was renamed The University of Texas System School of Nursing.

In March of 1976, the Board of Regents of The University of Texas made each of the System Schools a part of the nearest University of Texas institution. Thus, as of the first of September 1976, the Fort Worth campus became The University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing (UTACON), and in September 1977, the School of Nursing physically moved from Fort Worth to the UT Arlington campus and into the Business Building. In Fall 1982, the school moved into a 12.4 million dollar, 154,000 square foot Nursing Building. In 1995 the building was renamed Pickard Hall to honor the founding dean, Dr. Myrna Pickard.

Renaming Event
Renaming Event

The PhD in Nursing program which enrolled its first students in Fall 2003, prepares nurse scientists to meet the health needs of a rapidly changing, culturally diverse society. Students select focused study in either: Clinical Research or Academic Role Development. With the Fall 2006 semester, the school introduced the BSN to PhD entry option.

Since 1995, Dean Elizabeth Poster and the team of Associate Deans, Program Directors, faculty and staff have continued to build on the college’s history of innovative growth and development. Within an environment of collegiality, faculty have embraced new technologies to enhance classroom and clinical teaching. The full array of academic programs, BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, Post-MSN, Certificate, DNP and PhD have provided the community with resources to meet the growing needs of the metroplex and beyond.

Smart Hospital Opening 2007
Smart Hospital Opening 2007

In January, 2010 the University of Texas System and the Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a change from 'School of Nursing' to the College of Nursing, effective immediately.

In a press release announcing the change:

“UT Arlington Provost Donald R. Bobbitt said that when a school grows to the point that it has multiple departments and grants several different degrees, the school can apply to the Coordinating Board to be designated as a college.“It was a logical progression for nursing,” Bobbitt said. “Their growth over the past few years has been simply phenomenal.”

UT Arlington College of Nursing enrollment climbed by 79 percent since 2004 to more than 3,100 students in 2010 and a spring 2012 enrollment of over 7,500. The College of Nursing offers programs ranging from the bachelor’s degree through the doctoral level. We have grown to become the country's largest public nursing program.

Over nearly four decades, the UT Arlington College of Nursing has grown and developed into a nationally recognized program. The nursing’s 14,000 alumni attended UTACON as their first choice to prepare them for their nursing careers as professionals with baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees.

Many programs in the College of Nursing have continuously maintained national accreditations, many since the programs were established. For information about current accreditation status, please refer to the program pages and the University Catalog.

June 1, 2013 marks a change in leadership for the University and the College. Two outstanding Mavericks have entered a new phase of their lives as both James Spaniolo and Elizabeth Poster step out of their leadership positions. Dr. Vistasp Karbhari becomes the 8th president of The University of Texas at Arlington and Dr. Jennifer Gray is the Interim Dean of the College of Nursing.

Dr. Anne Bavier was named Dean of Nursing in the summer of 2014 ushering in a new academic year under her leadership as she takes her place August 1.

In the fall of 2014, the Department of Kinesiology became part of the newly created College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

The CONHI has and will continue to be relied upon as a leader in nursing education in each of its undergraduate and graduate programs. We look forward with great pride to a future that is built on a strong foundation.