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A Tradition of Leadership

Nursing courses were first offered on The University of Texas at Austin campus in 1960 when faculty members were transferred from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The School of Nursing reorganized in 1968 as part of the UT System School of Nursing and in 1969 became a four-year undergraduate program in nursing and instituted a three-semester graduate program leading to the master’s degree. In 1974 the School offered initial courses leading to a doctoral degree in nursing. In 1976 the School of Nursing officially became part of The University of Texas at Austin. From its beginnings as part of the Galveston campus to its reorganization as a UT System School to its current standing as a valued component of the leading academic institution in Texas and one of the top schools of nursing in the nation, the School is the product of the outstanding leadership of its two former deans and its current dean.

Dr. Billye J. Brown was the first dean of the School and served from 1968 to 1989. Dean Brown oversaw the growth of the undergraduate and graduate programs, a budding nursing research program, and a continuing education program. Among her many accomplishments during her tenure as dean, she served as co-chair of the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Project Advisory Committee, member of the STTI Biennium Development Committee and president of STTI, was assistant editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing, and served as president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Texas Nurse’s Association.

Dr. Dolores V. Sands was appointed dean in 1989 following the retirement of Dr. Brown and served until her own retirement in 2009. Prior to her appointment as dean, she served as professor and director of the Center for Health Care Research and Evaluation, which later became the Cain Center for Nursing Research in recognition of a $5 million endowment from Gordon and Mary Cain. As dean, Dr. Sands provided the organizational infrastructure that maximized faculty development in teaching, research, and service to position the School of Nursing as one of the top nursing programs in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. During her 20 years as dean, she garnered over $16 million in permanent endowments for the school, including the Cain endowment that also endowed a $1 million Chair in her name.


The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accrediting organization for eleven states in the southeastern United States, including Texas. The School of Nursing offers 4 degree programs, the BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD. The baccalaureate degree in nursing and the master’s degree in nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has over 795 students, including 289 graduate students, 23 tenured/tenure-track faculty, and 56 non-tenured/non-tenure track faculty. School of Nursing faculty are involved in research in health promotion and disease prevention among underserved populations. Areas of research strength include adolescent and women's health, quality of life among persons with disabilities, and cross-disciplinary research that incorporates physiological and technological advances into a nursing focus.

In addition, the School has a wellness center: the Family Wellness Clinic, which provides primary healthcare for underserved families in Austin and Travis County, and the Children's Wellness Clinic, which provides primary healthcare for 3,000 children and their families in Del Valle.