OCCC’s Division of Health Professions has a new dean.
Deborah Myers is stepping up from directing one of OCCC’s largest programs, nursing, to the task of overseeing a division that holds six health-related rograms.
Myers’ challenge includes leading not only nursing, but also programs in emergency medical sciences, physical therapist assistant, occupational therapy assistant, speech-language pathology assistant, and surgical technology.
The six programs come with their program directors and five staff members, 24 full-time faculty, 81 part-time faculty and the 730 students enrolled in Health Professions this fall, Myers said.
The nursing program counts about 200 registered nursing graduates each year, whose pass rate on the licensure exam has generally exceeded both the state and national averages, according to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.
When commended for the accomplishments of the nursing program under her leadership, Myers credits the success to the professors and their longevity in the program.
“The nursing program is successful because of the faculty,” Myers said. “There is a great wealth of knowledge with that faculty.”
Myers said she had been the OCCC nursing program director for the last four years. After graduating with her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma, Myers came to OCCC in 1998 for an adjunct position.
She joined the full-time faculty in 2003, and has since been steadily rising in rank through the nursing program. After serving as a professor of nursing, she was named assistant, then associate, nursing program director.
Since her appointment as dean in early August, Myers said she has devoted her time to learning about the five other health profession programs less familiar to her and meeting with their directors.
“I’m very fortunate in that I have six program directors that are exceptional and they do great work with their programs,” Myers said.
Each program has its own external accreditations, and Myers has to understand each profession’s curriculum in full.
“Really (I have to learn) everything from the application process for their program all the way through to graduation and job placement,” Myers said.
Myers is replacing Tom Kraft, whom she describes as an “icon for OCCC.” He had been at OCCC for 36 years, serving off and on as health professions dean and director of the occupational therapy assistant program.
Terri Walker, associate program director of nursing, will serve as acting director until the hiring process is finished, Myers said. The applicant process closed Sept. 9.
Walker complimented Myers’ work and commended her promotion.
“I think she’ll be very good in the role,” Walker said. “I’ve worked with her many years and she is a good manager and good director…I think she’ll be an excellent dean.”
Once hired, the new nursing director will have a hefty load managing the department’s 19 full-time staff, 41 adjunct professors, and 419 students.
Walker, in the interim period, will be working to maintain the nursing program’s high pass rate on the national NCLEX-RN licensure exam.
Last year OCCC’s 189 graduates passed the exam at a rate of 89.40 percent, above the national average of 81.79 percent and above the state average of 83.55 percent, according to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.
For more information about the Health Professions division, contact Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-682-1611, ext. 7138.