School of Health Sciences announces new dean


Photo by: Keyla Shepard

Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price is named the new dean of the School of Health Sciences. The program will begin on July 1, 2016.

Based on the recommendation of faculty members, Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, current department chair of the nursing program, was appointed as the dean of the new School of Health Sciences by FMU President Dr. Fred Carter.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the dean and very grateful to the faculty and administration for putting so much trust in me,” Wittmann-Price said.

The School of Health Sciences will officially begin operating on July 1, 2016, but the appointment of Wittmann-Price as dean is immediately in effect.

Wittmann-Price, along with being excited about her new position, is already making plans for the School of Health Sciences.

“My goals are to grow the nursing program to include a doctorate of nursing practice degree and to add needed health care sciences to the school, such as occupational therapy,” Wittmann-Price said.

These goals, if accomplished, will expand the opportunities that FMU will have to offer. FMU will become an affordable and local option for students looking to receive graduate training in the health care field. She is not only looking for the new addition to FMU to benefit just the university and its students. Wittmann- Price envisions the school benefiting the entire region.

“I have no doubts that with the team we are developing that the School of Health Science will make a positive impact on the health of people in the Pee Dee region and South Carolina,” Wittmann-Price said.

Wittmann-Price emphasizes that the success of the School of Health Science will be a team effort and that she is eager to begin working in partnership with the faculty and other health care specialists in the area.

“I look forward to the inter-professional collaboration among health care professionals that the School of Health Sciences promises,” Wittmann- Price said. “The School of Health Science has wellaccomplished faculty that will be essential to assist me to move programs forward.”

Future and current students of the new School of Health Science are pleased with Wittmann- Price being selected as dean. Students describe her as hard-working and deserving of this appointment.

“She is going to do great things and has really great ideas,” Lauren Gainey, sophomore pre-nursing major, said.

Jessica Johnson, a junior nursing student, agreed with Gainey.

“The new School of Health Science will thrive with her as dean, just as the nursing program has thrived under her leadership,” Johnson said.

Wittmann-Price came to FMU in 2010 and has been serving as the Chair of Nursing since then. She has been an obstetrical and women’s health nurse for 37 years and has been teaching nursing for 16 years. She is an established researcher and author and has presented her research regionally, nationally and internationally. Wittmann- Price developed a nursing theory, Emancipated Decision-Making in Women’s Health Care, which is being used as a foundation for international research.

The School of Health Science will be the third discrete school at FMU, in addition to the School of Business and School of Education. All other majors of study fall under the College of Liberal Arts. This new addition will expand the nursing graduate program and will also create more graduate programs in the field of health care offered by FMU, including the physician assistant program, which is currently taking applications for fall 2016.

A facility for the School of Health Science is under construction downtown Florence. This facility will house classrooms and offices for the nurse practitioner program, physician assistant program and for the third and fourth year medical students from the University of South Carolina who are assigned to Florence for their clinical work. The building is expected to be completed by fall 2016 and was recently announced to be named after Carter.