Texas A&M University has appointed Nancy Fahrenwald, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, as professor and dean of the College of Nursing, effective June 1.

Fahrenwald has served as dean and professor at South Dakota State University College of Nursing since 2013, where she oversaw the growth of four educational sites, including programs at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. She spent 22 years at South Dakota State University, beginning as an instructor in 1995 and serving as the inaugural associate dean for research prior to her appointment as dean. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from South Dakota State University, Master of Science in nursing at the University of Portland and PhD in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Prior to joining academia, Fahrenwald pursued clinical specialization as a public health nurse and served in community health nursing roles in South Dakota and Washington state. Her clinical background was further developed as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the African country of Malawi, working on AIDS prevention and control and teaching enrolled community health nurses.

“Our College of Nursing serves a vital role as we graduate students who impact the lives of so many. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Fahrenwald, who has a proven record of accomplishment working collaboratively and across health care disciplines to find solutions to health challenges,” said Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M.

“I am pleased that Dr. Fahrenwald will be bringing her vast experience in collaborative leadership and consensus-building to our College of Nursing,” commented Carol Fierke, PhD, provost and executive vice president.

Fahrenwald’s research impacts are related to education on organ donation and transplantation with American Indian populations. She also works to promote tobacco-free school policies and strengthen tobacco cessation programs for rural citizens and American Indians. She helped to form a transdisciplinary Rural Health Research Center that has created partnerships, sponsored programs and processes for improved nursing research that impacts these communities. She has taught at all levels of nursing education and serves nationally on the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science and as a Government Affairs Committee member for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She has served on numerous review panels for the South Dakota Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Fahrenwald in the near future on critical issues facing health care, especially as they relate to her interests in Texas A&M’s priority area of rural population health,” said Carrie L. Byington, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, senior vice president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health services at the Texas A&M University System. “Her expertise and active research in health promotion for rural and underserved populations will be invaluable for our mission to improve health care for all Texans.”

Fahrenwald is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She has received numerous awards for her research, teaching and service activities including being named a Millennium Leadership Institute Protégé by American Association of State Colleges & Universities. She received the Champion’s Award from the South Dakota Women’s Cancer Network and was named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Deans of Nursing in the United States by Mometrix.

Fahrenwald will consult with the college on transition issues during the spring semester before formally beginning her tenure as dean.

“I am honored by the invitation to serve as the next dean of the College of Nursing at Texas A&M,” Fahrenwald noted. “The outstanding programs offered by the college exemplify a commitment to excellence on the part of the faculty, staff and students. I am excited about leading future academic growth, innovative research and scholarship and fundraising to support these endeavors.”

Fierke said she is grateful to the members of the search advisory committee, chaired by Joyce Alexander, PhD, dean of the College of Education & Human Development, and including faculty, staff and students of the College of Nursing. Additionally, Fierke wishes to recognize Regina Bentley, EdD, for her service as interim dean over the past four months. Bentley has agreed to continue her service as interim until Fahrenwald’s formal arrival in June.

— Holly Shive

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