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UCF Establishes College of Nursing to Recognize School's Growth, Stature

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By Tom Evelyn

Recognizing the growth of the University of Central Florida's School of Nursing and its stature among nursing programs, President John Hitt announced today that the school will become the university's 12th college on July 1.

The College of Nursing designation reflects the program's breadth and adds prestige that will help build on successes in recruiting top students and faculty and increase opportunities for grants and private fund-raising, said school Director Jean Leuner, who will serve as founding dean of the college.

The College of Nursing will likely be located at the UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona, which also will include the College of Medicine and the Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences.

"There will be many opportunities for the College of Nursing to collaborate with the College of Medicine in nursing and medical education and research," Leuner said. "Future nurses and doctors will benefit from working closely together early in their education, and those experiences will improve patient care."

When elevated to its new stature as a college, the School of Nursing will separate from the College of Health and Public Affairs. Leuner will work with Joyce Dorner, interim dean of the College of Health and Public Affairs, to facilitate the transition and separation of responsibilities. The College of Nursing will remain in the Health and Public Affairs I building until money is raised for a new facility can be built at Lake Nona.

"The School of Nursing is recognized as a premier nursing program among its peers, most of which are stand-alone colleges," said Terry Hickey, UCF provost and executive vice president. "The school's establishment as a college is a recognition of its accomplishing this standard of excellence."

UCF's nursing program has consistently ranked among the top recipients of National Institutes of Health funding among the state's nursing schools and colleges, a reflection of its research productivity. The school has nearly $1.3 million in external research funding this year.

Recent funding highlights include $2.2 million from NIH for Professor Karen Dennis to study weight loss in home and center-based programs and $250,000 from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for Professor Karen Dow to develop a Web-based program addressing fertility after breast cancer. Dow was recently appointed by President Bush to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board.

The nursing program has two endowed chairs and an endowed professorship. More than 10 percent of UCF's nursing faculty members are fellows in the American Academy of Nursing.

UCF's nursing program began in 1978 as the Department of Nursing and admitted its first class of undergraduate students in 1979. It became a school in 1995. The program has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, adding a doctoral program in nursing; an accelerated second degree BSN program; and two new master's options, nurse educator and clinical nurse leader, in recent years. Plans are underway to develop a doctor of nursing practice program.

Programs are offered in Brevard County and Daytona as well as Orlando and several select programs are offered through distance learning. This fall the school enrolled 542 undergraduates, 215 master's students and 36 doctoral students.

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
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