Dr. Loretta Reinhart has assumed duties as the new dean at Florida Southern of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, a program that will soon be adding a doctorate. 

Provost Kyle Fedler hired Reinhart on Sept. 9 for the fall 2013 semester. Reinhart brings more than 40 years of experience as an educator and a practicing nurse. She came out of retirement to work at the college.

According to Reinhart, “This was not a typical recruitment decision regarding the dean position, since I had retired for a little over a year. But I was very interested in returning to higher education for nursing, in some capacity.”

Dr. John Welton, the former dean, left FSC to start a statewide nursing research collaborative at the University of Colorado, Denver. Dr. Welton resigned late in the summer, which prompted Dr. Fedler to speak to Reinhart about the position.

“I felt like it was just what I should do for this college because it was short, the year was starting and you can’t run a nursing program without it,” Reinhart said.

Much of Reinhart’s work has involved developing curriculums for the nursing department, as well as laying some groundwork for the new doctoral program.

“I learned the curriculum and the master’s program. Both programs are accredited nationally by what we call AACN, which is the American Association of Colleges of Nursing,” Reinhart said. “It’s very much the kind of work I’ve been doing for 30 years. It’s exciting.”

Though some of the planning for the doctoral program has already begun, there is still more planning and approvals needed to be done, backing up the start date of the program.

“Before I came, they already had some of the preliminary approvals for a doctorate. A doctorate is a professional practice degree called a DNP doctorate in nursing practice,” Reinhart said. “The plan to try to start it has been delayed, so we’re not going to start it as early as what they planned,” Reinhart said.

The new doctorate would be FSC’s second doctorate, after the doctorate of education.

“I think education is moving ahead a little and nursing will come in a little later, the date to be determined, so it has a lot of the groundwork done and preliminary approvals; it has not been approved nationally by the nursing accrediting body, so that would be the next step,” Reinhart said.

Dr. Reinhart’s goal for her time at the college is to develop the doctoral program further, and expand the nursing facilities on campus.

“The DMP is still new for nursing,” Reinhart said. “It was approved and started maybe 10 or 15 years ago.  We’re anxious to get more space because this building is pretty new, and the classrooms are full, the lab is full.”



Photo by Leah Schwarting