CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The dean of West Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, will be stepping down after 13 years to become the dean of a college at Abilene Christian University, WT recently announced.

Officials with WT detailed that Nelson joined WT in 2010 as dean and is set to start as dean of ACU’s newly restructured College of Health and Behavioral Sciences on July 1, according to ACU.

“I have been doing a good amount of reflection on where the College has been along with possibilities for the future…” Nelson said in a recent email to his faculty and staff. “My wife Renda and I will leave the Panhandle happier and better than when we arrived, in no small part due to each of you.”

“The dedication and work ethic Dr. Nelson has displayed at WT and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is very much appreciated,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler. “His contributions have made WT a premier nursing and health sciences institution. He has been a vital and energetic part of our community.”

Nelson, according to officials, has taught kinesiology, health promotion, nutrition of human development, motor development, lifetime wellness, and more since his 1989 higher education career start. In addition, Nelson has worked in multiple programs and initiatives including the Ronald McDonald House, Healing the Family Center, the Panhandle Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition and others.

Officials further noted that Nelson has assisted with the growth of WT’s Department of Nursing, whose programs provide around 70% of nurses employed in the Panhandle.

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