USC Upstate Names New Dean of Mary Black School of Nursing

April 23, 2019 at 11:18 am
Dr. Lee

The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce Dr. Shirleatha Lee as the next dean of its Mary Black School of Nursing.

Lee, who was chosen after a nationwide search, will step into the role on Aug. 1. She succeeds Dr. Katharine Gibb, who has spent the past five of her 11 years at USC Upstate as MBSON’s dean.

A recognized leader in nursing education, Lee has served as the associate dean of academic programs for the University of Memphis Loewenberg College of Nursing since 2015. At USC Upstate, she will be responsible for influencing and shaping the future of nursing education in the region and across South Carolina.

 “I am ecstatic that we are able to add someone with Shirleatha’s energy, intelligence, and expertise to our academic leadership team,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly. “In the face of a national nursing shortage, our Mary Black School of Nursing continues to play a vital role in preparing highly qualified health professionals to meet the needs of the Upstate and beyond.”

Nursing has been at the core of USC Upstate’s academic offerings since the university was founded in 1967.

MBSON is essential to USC Upstate’s mission as a regional comprehensive university dedicated to providing rigorous, career-relevant and accessible education, and enhancing the quality of life in the region and state.

One of the Southeast’s largest nursing institutions offering a four-year degree, MBSON aims to produce graduates who are the hires of choice based upon ongoing relationships between academic medical centers and the school’s leadership.

MBSON is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which is renewed every 10 years. As of 2018, more than 90 percent of MBSON graduates pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) on the first attempt, surpassing the national average of 88 percent.

“I’m excited to join the University of South Carolina Upstate as the next Dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing,” said Lee. “The school has a rich history, strong community partnerships, and prepares highly qualified nursing graduates to serve the Upstate region. We will be moving forward into the next era of growth for nursing with immediate goals focusing on successful reaccreditation, student success, the expansion of academic programs and partnerships, and supporting faculty teaching and research.”

Lee said she plans to connect with the community and to have a visible presence in the Upstate, providing leadership for USC Upstate’s nursing programs.

“This is an exciting time and, in line with the university’s strategic plan, we will go ‘Up’ together!” she said.

Lee, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, is an American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership in Academic Nursing Fellow and a 2019 Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellow.

An accomplished teacher, Lee has earned the University of Memphis’ Thomas Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award. She specializes in developing innovative teaching strategies and nursing workforce development.

Lee’s work has taken her overseas to China, where she was a visiting professor for SanDa University in Shanghai and a guest lecturer at Jining Medical University.

“I am confident that Dr. Lee will provide energetic, passionate and visionary leadership to the Mary Black School of Nursing when she begins her new role as dean,” said Dr. Clif Flynn, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at USC Upstate. “I want to thank the search committee for their tremendous work on this critically important search. Dr. Gibb has been an extraordinary leader and has laid a firm foundation for us to build on.”

Gibb said she will spend the next year helping Lee transition into her new role.