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New CONHI dean receives official welcome from UTA

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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When President Vistasp Karbhari convened a search committee for a new dean of the College of Health of Nursing and Health Innovation, he gave the members one charge: find the nation’s best next dean for the College.

Elizabeth Merwin

Elizabeth Merwin

That turned out to be Elizabeth Merwin, an accomplished nursing and health services researcher and executive vice dean of Duke University’s School of Nursing, where she was also the school’s Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing and a professor in the School of Medicine.

Merwin, who assumed office at UTA on Feb. 1, was feted at a welcome reception at UTA’s College Park Center Tuesday evening.

“She has the background, she has done the research and she has taught,” Karbhari said, noting that the college has grown not only in size but in reputation.

The college has approximately 21,000 students. It is the largest producer of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the state of Texas and the nation’s largest nursing program at a public university. Its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs are regularly ranked among the nation’s best by such evaluators as U.S. News & World Report.

UTA Provost Teik Lim said Merwin has already hit the ground running since coming on board. On her first day on the job, he said, she spent six hours with a prospective donor. 

Merwin said she was impressed with both UTA and the college when she came to town to interview.

“I am so much more impressed now after being here,” she said. “I am impressed by the commitment of the faculty and staff to figure out what the community needs, what the state of Texas needs and to think of the next opportunity and how to make it happen.”

She singled out the work of faculty colleagues in kinesiology, including one whose developmental coordination disorder lab that helps children improve their motor skills is said to be the only one of its kind in the world. Another researcher has a longstanding relationship with Arlington school district and whose strategies for helping students lose weight includes ballroom dancing.

Merwin is thrilled by the amount of creativity in the college.

“One of my goals will be to stimulate that creativity and passion,” she said. “One thing I will be spending a lot of time on is how to support teams” within the college.

She said she is also looking forward to working with colleagues from other programs at UTA and building strong ties with the community.

“Thank you welcoming me and supporting me and thank you for taking me into your community,” she said.

-- written by Lekan Oguntoyinbo