Two long-time nursing faculty members at The University of Texas-Pan American have been appointed to endowed positions in the College of Health Sciences and Human Services that were funded by gifts from the late Bascom and Lillian O. Slemp, Winter Texans who became strong supporters of UTPA during their stays in the Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Janice A. Maville has been chosen to hold the Lillian O. Slemp Endowed Chair in Nursing and Dr. Carolina Huerta was named to the Lillian O. Slemp Professorship in Nursing.
Maville, who has been at UTPA for nearly 30 years, currently serves as assistant dean for the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, coordinator for the Master of Science in Nursing Program and professor of nursing.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana; a Master of Science in nursing from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois; and a Doctor of Education in adult and extension education from Texas A&M University.
"I am both honored and humbled (to be named to the Slemp Chair)," Maville said. "I feel privileged to receive this appointment that will create many opportunities for the faculty and students in the nursing department."
Maville is a clinical nurse specialist in medical-surgical nursing, a healing touch practitioner and is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, Texas Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Oncology Education Program and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, among others.
Huerta, who serves as chair of the Department of Nursing and professor, has been at UTPA for 37 years.
She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, a Master of Science in nursing from The University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Education in adult education from Texas A&M University.
"I am extremely pleased to receive this appointment," Huerta said. "It is wonderful to be recognized in this manner after working so many years in this profession and at UTPA. As an individual who works with many nursing programs on a national level, I can honestly say that our nursing programs are second to none."
Huerta was elected to the nomination committee of American Association of Colleges of Nursing in March 2009, appointed as chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program from May 2008-2011 and was the recipient of the American Nurses Association Mary Mahoney Award in June 2008. She is a member of various professional organizations including the Texas Organization of Deans and Directors for Schools of Nursing, American Association of Colleges in Nursing, Texas Nurses Association, American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, among others.
Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services Dr. Bruce Reed said these endowed positions are important to the college because they recognize the role and capabilities of senior faculty members and serve to attract and retain world-class faculty.
"These appointments honor high-level contributions," Reed said. "Practically speaking, they provide the endowed faculty with additional budgetary support that will allow them to further develop the next generation of nursing faculty leaders by mentoring them in research, teaching, grant writing and administrative skills."
The appointments are accompanied by monetary awards that will allow the faculty members the creativity to enhance the professional development of their academic colleagues and support their own research, teaching and clinical efforts, according to Reed.
"It is envisioned that activities such as leadership development, enhanced researcher skills, grant writing, the learning of new teaching skills, such as those involving clinical simulation skills, will be developed and enhanced with the assistance from the funds," Reed said.
Maville said she would identify research interests of nursing faculty and create a cadre of academic leaders with whom she would work collectively and individually in designing research development agendas.
"The endowment could be used in a variety of ways to facilitate these agendas including faculty attendance and/or presentation at targeted conferences and workshops," Maville said. "It could also be used to bring national leaders to our campus to share insight, knowledge, expertise and advice with the faculty and students at large."
Huerta said she plans to use the endowment to assist faculty and students.
"I plan to help the faculty conduct research, collaborate with other programs nationally and internationally, and establish leadership networks that will encourage faculty to develop skills needed for future leadership positions," she said. "Our students will benefit indirectly as well because the endowed professorship monies will be used to develop faculty researchers and leaders in the nursing profession who will serve as mentors and role models for our students."
The Slemps, who created the endowments to support the nursing programs at UTPA, were originally from Iowa but made McAllen their home during the winter season for many years. They contributed annual gifts to the university over the years, in addition to donating farm property and other real estate, which created endowments that will forever benefit students in the fields of nursing and education. The Slemps ultimate commitment to education was a large bequest to the UTPA Foundation.
"The Slemps had much foresight in recognizing not only the need for nurses in the Rio Grande Valley, but the need for nurses educated at the highest quality," Maville said. "With this endowment, the intent of the Slemps will be made a reality and has the potential to affect the lives of countless professional nurses and the community for years to come."
Huerta said the Slemps generosity also provided funding for nursing student scholarships.
"I believe the Slemps were very generous individuals and visionaries who were able to see what these endowments could do to strengthen our UTPA nursing programs and graduates," Huerta said. "It is apparent that the Slemps were committed to making UTPA a great university."
Both Maville and Huerta said they are thankful to the Slemps, Reed, UTPA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Paul Sale, UTPA Interim President Dr. Charles A. Sorber, and UTPA Vice President for University Advancement Janice Odom for their support in making these appointments possible.
For more information about the Department of Nursing, contact 956/381-3491. Anyone interested in estate planning, contact Cecilia A. Johnson, director of gift planning, at 956/381-2352.