Byers, ‘99, ’04, appointed dean in June 2020 after serving as interim dean from 2019-20
MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University named Dr. Dina Byers, Ph.D, APRN, ACNS-BC, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions (SONHP) at the University’s Board of Regents meeting on June 5, 2020. Byers had served as interim dean since 2019.
Byers, who earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Murray State in 1999 and 2004, began her tenure at the University in 2004. She was promoted to an assistant professor in 2008 before becoming an associate professor in 2013 and full professor in 2017. She earned her Ph.D from the University of Tennessee.
Under her leadership, the SONHP has received several accomplishments. The occupational therapy program received a five-year initial accreditation and the dietetics and dietetic internship programs received a favorable accreditation site visit during the spring semester. The final accreditation decision will be made in January by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Additionally, Byers worked with Madisonville Community College to develop a new degree completion program for registered respiratory therapists. Establishing a baccalaureate degree completion program with Madisonville Community College makes respiratory care a more attractive allied health career pathway, supporting Murray State’s mission to place a high priority on student learning and blend together a variety of educational opportunities.
The University’s master of science in occupational therapy program recently earned five-year accreditation under Byers’ leadership. The program, housed at the Murray State Paducah Regional Campus, prepares students to provide rehabilitation evaluation and treatment and to restore or improve function of clients who are experiencing physical, developmental, cognitive, emotional and social difficulties. Graduates from this program are prepared to practice in a variety of settings.
Under Byers’ leadership, the School of Nursing and Health Professions programs have achieved successful program outcomes. Recently, graduates of the dietetic internship program all successfully passed the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the doctor of nursing practice family nurse practitioner program graduates all passed the certification exam.
Byers’ tenure has also seen many SONHP faculty present and publish their research publicly, and the school has experienced increased endowment funds and established new scholarships to support students.
“I am excited to lead the Murray State University School of Nursing and Health Professions in these unique times,” Byers said. “The world needs more healthcare professionals than ever in a time like this, and I am proud to work with such a passionate and committed group of faculty as we teach the next generation of nurses, dieticians, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and other experts.”