UT Arlington selects new dean for College of Nursing

The University of Texas at Arlington selected a nationally recognized healthcare leader to be the new dean for the College of Nursing, nearly a year after the former dean stepped down.

Anne Bavier, who served as dean at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing for four years, will begin her new role Aug. 1. She replaces former Dean Elizabeth Poster, who returned to teaching in the fall.

Bavier previously worked as dean of nursing at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, as program director at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and as deputy director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health in the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Bavier will lead us into a new era of national recognition and influence as we work together to improve health and the human condition across Texas and around the world,” UT Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari said in a prepared statement issued Friday.

As dean at UT Arlington, Bavier will oversee a program that has about 12,000 students on campus and online combined. She will oversee the merger of UT Arlington’s Department of Kinesiology into the College of Nursing during the 2014-15 academic year. The combined college will include nearly 350 faculty members.

Bavier, who is president-elect to the 39,000-plus National League for Nursing and has worked in the nursing field since 1970, said in an interview that she was drawn by UTA’s high standards in scientific research and educational offerings.

“I think the thing that drew me in the most was President Karbhari’s wonderful vision that includes the relevancy of helping human conditions,” Bavier said. “I am really emphasizing as we go forward the importance of good, rigorous resources to advance the human condition.”

She is especially excited about working with the kinesiology department to help everyday people as the Department of Kinesiology and College of Nursing merge during the next school year.

“I think that it [UTA] is exceptional because the quality of everything they have done with research, online classes, face-to-face teaching and retention rates,” Bavier said. “I’m a real believer in, ‘You plan your work, and you work your plan.’ ”

The College of Nursing has a 94 percent graduation rate, and over 90 percent of students pass their initial licensure exam on the first try, according to university officials.

She earned her nursing degree from Duke University, a master’s degree in nursing from Emory University and a doctorate from Duquesne University.

Jennifer Gray, the associate dean of nursing, served as interim dean while the university searched for candidates. Gray stepped up whenPoster stepped down last spring to return to teaching after 17 years in leadership.

“Dr. Bavier has an incredible commitment to improving public health by supporting and enhancing outstanding educational programs,” Gray said in a news release.

Bavier was able to secure $14 million for capital projects while in Connecticut and launched a full-semester study-abroad program for nurses.

“We are going to define what that gleam and sunshine in the horizon is and how we get there,” she said of pushing UTA forward.