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Dean Starck leads nursing program with knowledge, creativity

Dean Starck signs the final beam at the traditional

Dean Starck signs the final beam
at the traditional "topping out"
ceremony, March 20, 2003 for the
School of Nursing and Student
Community Center.

Photo by Shannon Rasp

A nationally-known expert in nursing education and recruitment, Patricia L. Starck, DSN, RN, FAAN, has made it her mission to attract and educate dedicated, caring individuals to the nursing profession.

A native of Georgia , she has served as dean of The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston since 1984. Under her leadership, the school has earned repeated distinctions as one of the top nursing schools in the country.

Dean Starck is personally involved in recruiting qualified students to the program, as the nation and state face a mounting nurse shortage. She has made the UT School of Nursing a model innovator for attracting nontraditional students to nursing. The school reports male student enrollment at a level 15 percent higher than the national average, while also appealing to a large number of adults pursuing nursing as a second profession.

Dean Starck maintains an active research program along with her administrative duties. She is particularly interested in pain management, how spirituality affects a person's health and wellbeing, mental health, and Logotherapy (the search for meaning as a primary human motivation).

She is the recipient of several major research grants, and has published dozens of scholarly papers, book chapters, and abstracts. A sought-after guest speaker, Dean Starck has lectured at the World Congress of Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy, the American Pain Society, before numerous nursing organizations, and at prestigious colleges and universities.

Appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to the Statewide Health Coordinating Council in 2002, Dean Starck also is active in a variety of professional and community organizations. She is a member of virtually every professional group for nurses and serves on the editorial board of several nursing journals.

Dean Starck earned her doctorate in nursing from the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1979 and her master's of nursing from Emory University in Atlanta. She is a 1997 graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and is a licensed advanced nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist in psychiatry and mental health.

A resident of Missouri City, Texas, Dean Starck is married to retired serviceman Ned Rice and has twin daughters, Jamie and Patti, and eight grandchildren.

—Shannon Rasp