Tarleton names Pillari dean of new health, human services college

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Dr. Vimala Pillari

STEPHENVILLE (June 8, 2016) — Dr. Vimala Pillari has been selected dean of Tarleton State University’s new College of Health Sciences and Human Services following a national search. Pillari begins her duties August 1, pending approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

The new College of Health Sciences and Human Services opens this fall to better serve the 1,600 students already enrolled in successful, established programs in medical lab sciences, public health, social work, counseling and nursing. Programs are offered in Fort Worth, Waco and Midlothian as well as at Tarleton’s Stephenville campus and via its online Global Campus.

Pillari currently is dean of the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, where she has served since 2008. At Clark Atlanta, she has helped to establish a dual degree program in social work and public health as well as a new clinical doctorate and a research center focused on multicultural families and children.

“Creating a College of Health Sciences and Human Services increases our ability to contribute to improved health and wellness across Texas,” said Tarleton Provost Karen Murray. “Vimala Pillari brings the scholarship and experience that will enable us to harness the synergy of our current health sciences and human services programs and add others to complement them.”

An experienced researcher and writer—authoring eight books, numerous articles and obtaining grants exceeding $7.6 million—Pillari founded the School of Social Work at Newman University in Kansas and the Graduate School of Social Work at Dominican University in Illinois. She is actively involved with the National Council on Social Work Education, co-chairing its annual conference in Atlanta. She has worked with international groups from India and Qatar.

Pillari earned her bachelor’s in home science/economics, child psychology and sociology and her master’s of social work—with a specialization in families and children—from Madras University in India. She received her doctorate in social welfare from Columbia University in New York.

“This is an exciting time to be founding dean of Tarleton’s new College of Health Sciences and Human Services,” Pillari said. “Tarleton is known as a student-focused university dedicated to providing an academically challenging education grounded in real-world experiences. This mission resonates deeply with my own personal commitment to a holistic approach to higher education.”

In addition to the Department of Nursing—which boasts more than 1,000 students—the new college will house Tarleton’s highly regarded Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Public Health, located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Medical District. The department prepares students for well-paying and prestigious positions in clinical laboratories and serves as a resource for the North Texas healthcare community, helping physicians diagnose and treat a variety of diseases.

Students enrolled in Tarleton’s Social Work Program—joining the College of Health Sciences and Human Services this fall—respond to the diverse needs of multicultural communities throughout North and Central Texas, with an emphasis on service to Hispanic, military and rural populations.

Tarleton-Waco’s social work students started a four-semester project this past fall in concert with NAMI Waco (the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness). In addition to cutting-edge research, students will provide 50 hours of public service to raise mental health awareness and help build a community of hope for those in need.

Also part of the new college, Tarleton’s Department of Counseling serves 150 students in Fort Worth and more than 50 in Waco in addition to those in Stephenville and online. Students enrolled at Tarleton-Fort Worth work hand-in-hand with several Tarrant County mental health organizations to improve community access to quality counseling services for people of all ages.

For more information on Tarleton, visit www.tarleton.edu. In addition to the new College of Health Sciences and Human Services, Tarleton has five other academic colleges: the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; the College of Business Administration; the College of Education; the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, and the College of Science and Technology, as well as a College of Graduate Studies.

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