July 1, 2010 COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, firstname.lastname@example.org
WTAMU Names Dean of College of Nursing and Health Sciences
CANYON, Texas—Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Nutrition at the University of Central Missouri, is the new dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at West Texas A&M University.
His appointment to the position was approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents at its May meeting, and Nelson begins his duties today (July 1) as the new dean.
Nelson brings years of experience to the position. He has more than 20 years of teaching experience in higher education coupled with more than 10 years of higher education administration. As an administrator he has been instrumental in the establishment of a faculty development program, co-developed and initiated a graduate curriculum in athletics and sports business administration and recommended a new universitywide academic advising model. He has served on various university committees and has numerous presentations and publications to his credit.
He was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Kansas before joining the faculty at Missouri Southern State University as an assistant professor in 1989. In 1992 he was named head of the Department of Kinesiology and served in that capacity until 1999. He moved to LeTourneau University in 1999 to take on duties as chairman of the division of kinesiology, and in 2000 he was named assistant vice president for academic affairs. In 2003 he joined the faculty at the University of Central Missouri as chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance. In 2009 he was named chair of the Department of Kinesiology and the chair of the Department of Nutrition.
Nelson has received numerous honors during his career including being a two-time nominee for both the William H. Byler Distinguished Faculty Award and the University of Central Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was named to the Montana State University All 20th Century Football team in 2001 and holds several athletic honors as a member of the NCAA Division 1-AA National Champion football team in 1984.
He holds a Ph.D. in education (1990) and a M.S.Ed in physical education (1986) from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Montana State University (1984). He has taught undergraduate, graduate, honors, online and ITV classes in courses ranging from kinesiology and nutrition to sports administration and wellness.
Approximately 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the WTAMU College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The college is composed of the Department of Nursing, the Department of Communication Disorders and the Department of Sports and Exercise Sciences. Students gain hands-on experience through the West Texas A&M University Health Partners Clinic, the Bivins Nursing Learning Center, The WTAMU Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Sports and Exercise Sciences Human Performance Laboratory.