Texas Wesleyan University is realigning its current health care professional programs to create the new School of Health Professions set to open this fall.
The new school paves the way for the development of a nurse practitioner program, which the university hopes to launch by fall 2017.
Heidi Taylor, Ph.D., has been appointed as the dean of the School of Health Professions. In addition to overseeing the university’s graduate nurse anesthesia program and graduate counseling program, Taylor will lead the university’s initiative in developing new health care professional programs such as the nurse practitioner degree.
Taylor has more than 26 years of experience in higher education. Previously she served West Texas A&M University as a faculty member, division head for nursing, founding dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and founding associate vice president of learning outcomes. She is a board certified nurse coach and holistic nurse.
Allen Henderson, senior vice president and provost, said that the new school is part of Texas Wesleyan’s 2020 Vision to grow its academic program offerings and will help fill a gap in the shortage of nurse practitioners in Texas.
“President Slabach and I met with CEOs from hospitals across North Texas to find out where they see a shortage in health care professionals,” Henderson said. “The resounding answer was ‘nurse practitioners’ because over the next 10 years, nurse practitioners are expected to start playing a major role in primary care delivery.”
Texas Wesleyan’s nurse anesthesia program is the largest in the United States and the counseling program, with more than 120 students, serves more than 1,500 clients from Tarrant County each year.