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UT Arlington nursing dean to step down, return to teaching

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan

News Topics: faculty, nursing

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Elizabeth C. Poster, dean of The University of Texas College of Nursing since 1995, has announced that she will step down from her administrative position this spring and return to her faculty position in 2014.

Elizabeth C. Poster

Elizabeth C. Poster

Poster, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology, is credited with developing one of the most successful academic nursing programs in the nation though a blend of traditional, campus-based and online degree programs.

The College of Nursing boasts a 94 percent graduation rate. Enrollment has mushroomed from about 1,900 students in fall 2008 to nearly 8,000 students this spring. More than 90 percent of nursing students pass state licensure exams on their first attempt, and more than 95 percent of master’s level nurse practitioner graduates pass national certification exams.

Poster has earned national recognition as an advocate for leveraging technology to improve the student experience and has been lauded for her work to increase student access to UT Arlington’s College of Nursing. Today, the College of Nursing partners with more than 350 health care institutions to advance nursing education across Texas and beyond.

“We thank Dean Poster for her remarkable leadership over the past two decades and her unwavering commitment to ensure that our nursing graduates continue to be hired by prestigious healthcare organizations,” UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said. “Dean Poster and her team have firmly established our University as a leader in online education and nursing education while helping meet increasing demand for highly educated nurses in the workforce.”

Jennifer Gray, associate dean of nursing and chair of M.S.N. and Ph.D. programs, will serve as interim dean. A national search will be conducted to recruit Poster’s successor.

In a letter to faculty and staff this week, Poster said that the College of Nursing is poised to expand its global influence.

“Our faculty and staff have worked together to develop a rich, collaborative environment,” Poster said. “That has made the College of Nursing a place that others want to join as they pursue their academic and professional goals. I am proud of all that we have achieved, even as I look forward to the rewarding experience of interacting with our students as a member of the faculty.”

Poster earned her undergraduate nursing degree and a master’s in child psychiatric nursing from Boston University before earning her Ph.D. from Boston College. She also is a graduate of the Harvard University Management Development Program.

She served as director of nursing research and education at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Hospital for 11 years before joining UT Arlington. She also has served as editor of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing since 1992.  She was appointed to the Texas Board of Nursing and elected as president of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, among her many state and national service commitments.

Among Poster’s UT Arlington achievements was the 2007 opening of the Smart Hospital, a state-of-the-science, virtual hospital and learning and research laboratory that serves as a model for simulated learning.

In 2011, Poster worked to establish a new geriatric nursing research program made possible through a $1 million endowment gift from the Moritz family, namesakes of Arlington-based Moritz Dealerships. During her tenure, nursing faculty members also have garnered significant support for research, particularly in the areas of independent living for aging populations, the use of simulation technology in education and inter-professional collaboration for patient safety.

Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Poster has positioned the College of Nursing to attract top talent among students, faculty and staff.

“Our University, our region and our state have benefited from the strength of the UT Arlington College of Nursing and Dean Poster’s pursuit of excellence,” Elsenbaumer said. “She has been a mentor to many and the kind of colleague who inspires others to innovate and reach their full potential.”

For more about the UT Arlington College of Nursing, visit

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,200 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.