UNT Health Science Center Fort Worth Names Founding Dean for College of Nursing

Following a nationwide search, Dr. Cindy Weston has been named as the founding dean of the new College of Nursing at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

Weston will begin as dean of the College of Nursing on July 1.

“Among a slate of impressive candidates, Dr. Weston stood out,” Dr. Charles Taylor, HSC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said in a statement. “As the leader of one of the state’s most accomplished nursing programs at Texas A&M University, she brings a wealth of experience in developing curriculum rooted in real-world experience, prioritizing student success and driving innovation.”

Weston will lead the strategic planning, recruitment of personnel, and development of partnerships for the college, which was approved by the UNT System Board of Regents in February.

According to the Health Science Center, Weston and other HSC leaders will continue the work already underway to engage with regional stakeholders via listening sessions to better understand the unique regional workforce opportunities and needs.

That understanding will be important for the college as it determines the exact degrees, both undergraduate and graduate, that it will pursue. The college plans to enroll its first students in fall 2024, HSC said.

Weston comes to the HSC from her role as associate dean for clinical and outreach affairs and associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Nursing.

‘Meaningful experience in both clinical and academic settings’

Weston has been a co-recipient of more than $20 million in funding to implement nurse-managed care delivery models, innovative simulation, integrated behavioral health care models and improving health outcomes in vulnerable populations, HSC said.

Her research focused on cardiovascular disease, health and wellness, innovative pedagogy in family nurse practitioner curriculum, access to healthcare in vulnerable populations, patient safety, and interprofessional education.

The UNT System board of regents created the College of Nursing with the goal of addressing the statewide nursing shortage.

“At a time that Texas and the nation are facing a critical nursing shortage, I am humbled and honored to join the HSC family to launch a college of nursing, which will produce professional nurse leaders equipped to address complex health issues and create healthier communities,” Weston said in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity to design a new college of nursing aligned with HSC’s values and culture of excellence.”

A longtime registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Texas, Weston serves as president of Texas Nurse Practitioners, an organization she has been a member of since 2000. Other professional memberships include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, International Association for Clinical Simulation in Nursing and more. She was recently selected as a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

HSC president Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams also has a background in nursing. Before joining the U.S. Public Health Service, Trent-Adams was a nurse officer in the U.S. Army and a research nurse at the University of Maryland.

“History will show that when residents of our great state were in need, HSC stepped up to fill a crucial gap,” Trent-Adams said in a statement. “Dr. Weston is exactly the type of dynamic leader the state needs to steer this transformative institution. She has meaningful experience in both clinical and academic settings, and I look forward to witnessing firsthand the impact that experience will have on our community.”

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