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Cheatham named Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies

Additional leadership changes announced

Latarsha Cheatham, Linda Cole, Kelly Kearney, Carole Mackavey, Deborah Cline
Latarsha Cheatham, Linda Cole, Kelly Kearney, Carole Mackavey, Deborah Cline

Five Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston faculty members are taking on new leadership roles in the Department of Graduate Studies effective Jan. 1, 2023, including Assistant Professor Latarsha Cheatham, DNP, FNP-BC, who will serve as assistant dean.

“Continuously evolving scientific advancements, technological innovations, regulatory requirements, and licensure standards mean graduate nursing education is always changing,” said Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Susan Ruppert, PhD, FNP-C, ANP-BC, FAAN. “We are fortunate at Cizik School of Nursing to have an energetic, motivated faculty who are eager to advance the profession and guide our students toward new health care horizons.”

Cheatham has served as co-director of the school’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program along with Assistant Professor Kathleen Siders, DNP, RN, since October 2022. Cheatham primarily led the post-master’s DNP tracks, with Siders responsible for the BSN to DNP nurse practitioner tracks. Siders will transition to teaching part-time in the Spring 2024 semester.

“With Dr. Cheatham’s promotion, we have completed a refinement of our organizational structure by filling new assistant dean positions in each of our academic departments,” said Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, ACRN, PHNA-BC, FAAN. “The structure enhances faculty support and program oversight in addition to opening up opportunities for growth and leadership.”

Stepping up as co-directors of the DNP program are Associate Professor Linda Cole, DNP, CCNS, CPHQ, CNE, and Associate Professor Kelly Kearney, DNP, PMHNP-BC. Cole will oversee the post-master’s DNP tracks. Kearney will lead the BSN to DNP tracks and continue as the psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner track coordinator, as she has done since 2016.

Cole and Associate Professor Carole Mackavey, DNP, FNP-C, have served as co-directors of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program since September 2021. Mackavey will take on full responsibility for directing that program.

Cole has also served as the MSN nursing leadership and administration track coordinator since August 2020. Associate Professor Deborah Cline, DNP, CNL, OCN, NEA-BC, will take over that role in January.

Cline may be the newest faculty member of the group, but she served in clinical and management positions for many years at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, including a decade as associate director of nursing workforce planning and development. She joined Cizik School of Nursing in the Fall 2022 semester.

“I am grateful to all of these exceptional nurses, educators, and leaders for their contributions to Cizik School of Nursing and their commitment to ensuring our graduate students are well-prepared to lead from the bedside to the boardroom,” Ruppert said. “Please join me in congratulating and supporting our rising leaders in their new positions.”

In this story

Latarsha S Cheatham, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

Deborah B Cline, DNP, RN, CNL, OCN, NEA-BC


Kelly D Kearney, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC

Carole L Mackavey, DNP, MSN, RN, FNP-C

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