HOUSTON - (Jan. 11, 2012) - Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N., R.N., senior vice president for community affairs at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and dean of the UTHealth School of Nursing, has been elected to The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education, an organization of distinguished scholars recognized for their teaching excellence. She is the only UTHealth honoree out of 12 new members named this year, and she will join more than two dozen current and former UTHealth faculty members already inducted to the prestigious academy.
“The entire UTHealth community joins me in congratulating our ‘dean of deans’ on this well-deserved honor. Dr. Starck is a true pioneer who has made many invaluable contributions to the field of nursing throughout her career,” said UTHealth President ad interim Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D. “She is also an outstanding leader and mentor, and we are so grateful for all that she has done – and continues to do – for this university.”
Her official nomination commended Starck for “the exceptional quality of her leadership and the important legacy of her work on nursing education throughout the state and the nation.” She is internationally known for her commitment to alleviating the nursing shortage through innovative educational programs that have contributed to UTHealth’s standing in the 2012 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools among the top five percent of U.S. nursing graduate schools and the highest ranked in Texas.
Among her recent innovations are the “Patricia L. Starck Accelerated Ph.D. Scholars Program” and the “Pacesetter” degree option, in which Bachelor of Science in Nursing students may use their final 16 weeks to do full-time clinical rotations in the Texas Medical Center, “living the life of a nurse” while still completing their degrees.
Starck, the John P. McGovern Distinguished Professor, received her doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing in 1979. In 2010, she was named one of “60 Visionary Leaders” out of UAB’s 11,000 graduates. She also holds the new Huffington Foundation Chair in Nursing Education Leadership.
Last summer, Starck took on additional leadership responsibilities as senior vice president for community affairs, in which she works with the Office of Advancement to raise UTHealth’s profile and enhance philanthropic giving to the university.
In 2008, Starck marked her 25th anniversary as dean of the UTHealth School of Nursing. The school’s total number of nursing students has increased from 443 in 1984 to the fall 2011 enrollment of 963 students. The nursing school now graduates an average of 180 new nurses and 140 nurses with graduate degrees each year.
Over the years, Starck has raised millions of dollars to support nursing, from funds for the construction of a new $58-million building to the creation of 33 endowed scholarships, nine distinguished professorships, seven professorships, seven research project endowments and two endowed chairs. The PARTNERS community support group currently holds a $1-million endowment to fund projects on behalf of the school.
An induction ceremony for the Academy’s 12 newest members will be held in conjunction with the 8th annual Innovations in Health Science Education Conference, Feb. 23-24, in Austin.
“These honorees bring their exemplary scholarship to the classroom, the bedside and the laboratory as to enrich health education in Texas,” said Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, UT System executive vice chancellor for health affairs. “We are very proud of their accomplishments.”
Since 2005, more than 100 UT System educators have been inducted into the Academy. Members represent a diverse group of educators from the many disciplines in health science education who fulfill the strict criteria set by the Academy. Among the criteria on which prospective members are judged are: direct teaching; curriculum development; counseling and mentorship; leadership; and educational scholarship and research.
Nominations for membership in the Academy may come from the president, dean or vice-dean and the faculty senate at each of the six University of Texas health institutions.
Written by David Bates, Director of Communications, UTHealth School of Nursing
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