New Leaders Drive Collaboration in Tarleton Nursing


STEPHENVILLE — The new Dean of Tarleton State University’s School of Nursing introduces a fresh motto for the program as she begins her first semester on campus.

“We’re in this together,” Dr. Kathleen Williamson says. “Our new leadership brings new ideas and new thought processes to the table, but we really want to make sure we’re supporting our students and our faculty, so we can do this together.”

Dr. Williamson comes from Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio, where she was President and Academic Dean. Prior to that, she chaired the Wilson School of Nursing at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.

“With her experience, leadership and commitment to student success, Dr. Williamson brings invaluable strengths,” said Dr. Diane Stearns, Tarleton Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “She has a strong vision for the school’s continued advancement in research, clinical practice and nursing education.”  

She joins three other new nursing leaders who favor the same spirit of collaboration.

Dr. Jere Hammer, Pre-Licensure Department head; Dr. Lisa Boss, Post-Licensure Department head; and Dr. Nel Martinez, Associate Dean for Assessment, Program Evaluation and Student Success, are leading an era of change in Tarleton nursing.

Dr. Hammer earned her BSN degree from UT Austin; her MSHR from East Central University in Ada, Okla.; her MSN from UT Tyler; and her nursing PhD from UT Austin. She began her career immediately after graduation as a GN in a postcritical care unit in Dallas. She has worked in several settings, most recently the Colorado Department of Corrections. 

Dr. Boss has spent much of her career in the Houston area. Now an Assistant Professor on Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus, she begins her Post-Licensure Department duties Oct. 3. 

Starting as an emergency room staff nurse, Dr. Boss advanced quickly to leadership positions, including Director of Patient Care. In 2013 she graduated from the Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where she developed a research program related to the biobehavioral impact of psychosocial factors in the homebound elderly. 

More recently, she developed a program in educational research. 

She is focused on the use of simulation-based learning to develop mid-level nursing leaders. In 2022 she graduated from the University of Houston with an EdD in health sciences leadership.

Dr. Martinez joined the Tarleton faculty in January. She received her nursing doctorate in 1982 from Ohio State University. At Wright State University, also in Ohio, she established the Anita and Frank Martinez Hispanic Nursing Scholarship, named for her parents. She was the first Hispanic American to earn a bachelor’s in nursing at Wright State.

Dr. Martinez attributes much of her success to her time conducting research. She focuses on diabetes and clinical genetics.

4 faces
The new leadership team of the Tarleton State University School of Nursing includes, top from left, Dr. Kathleen Williamson, Dean; Dr. Lisa Boss, Post-Licensure Department Head; bottom left, Dr. Nel Martinez, Associate Dean for Assessment, Program Evaluation and Student Success; and Dr. Jere Hammer, Pre-Licensure Department Head.

The new nursing leaders have set their goals on student success and engagement, advancing faculty research and scholarship, student recruitment and retention, and health and wellness.

“We’re working on ways, through technology and active learning strategies, to engage our students,” said Dr. Williamson, whose personal views may be tinted by being one of six nurses in the family.

“I’m passionate about the opportunity to impact those who want to pursue a career in nursing, to give them the opportunity to join a nursing program where they will be successful. Our students who can graduate from this premiere program are well suited to have a long and prosperous career.”

Besides new leadership, Tarleton nursing boasts upgraded resources, including a state-of-the-art simulation lab featuring lifelike mannikins that speak and produce heart sounds.

“With our SIM lab mannikins we can take blood pressure, teach student nurses to monitor patients, and chart just like they’ll do in a real-time clinical setting,” Dr. Williamson said. “These tools allow students to assimilate into the workplace as collaborative team members in a professional perspective.” 

She said the new resources and technological advances reflect an environment of collaboration and innovation leading to safe, effective healthcare and avenues of steady growth as nurses.

“Our new team is coming together to make decisions that have a greater impact on all the students who come through our program, so that when our students leave, they are proud to be Tarleton nursing graduates. If they are successful, so are we.

“We’re in this together.”

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