Diane Wink, a professor and coordinator of the Nurse Educator M.S.N. program, has been appointed the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing at the University of Central Florida College of Nursing. With this prestigious endowment, Wink will further her work as a nationally recognized nurse educator and scholar, with expertise in service-learning and creative clinical teaching methods in both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Wink was recognized at an evening reception Friday, Aug. 24, on the UCF campus, followed by a UCF Theatre performance.

“Endowed chairs are essential to a university as it seeks to enhance the quality of teaching, research and service,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “We are fortunate to have a highly valued and respected professor of national stature to occupy this exciting new endowed chair at UCF.”

The shortage of nurses in the U.S. is no secret. Lesser known is the shortage of nursing faculty. Each year, several thousand qualified applicants are turned away nationwide, in large part, because nursing schools don’t have enough professors. To help address this issue and to encourage nursing students to consider academic careers, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation awarded the UCF College of Nursing $760,000 to fund this endowed chair and scholarships for students who aim to become nurse educators.

Jean D’Meza Leuner, professor and dean of the UCF College of Nursing, said it’s a great honor and a privilege to congratulate Wink on her appointment as the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing. Several national and international nurse leaders submitted letters in support of Wink’s nomination for the endowed chair. Of note are the comments from the Editor-in Chief for the journal, Nurse Educator. 

Suzanne P. Smith wrote, “Dr. Wink has made many significant contributions to the quality of nursing education on a national level and in her writing, she clearly transmits the importance of always remembering the core of our work as teachers of nursing is helping students and nurses provide up to date, high quality, evidence-based nursing care.  Dr. Diane Wink exemplifies excellence in teaching and scholarship.  She is an inspiring role model for faculty and students.”

Harold A. Ward, III, president of the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, was unable to attend the reception but sent his congratulations in an email. He wrote, “Dr. and Mrs. McKean were strong supporters of health care for our community, and I know they would be pleased.” Dean Leuner presented Richard Strauss, executive vice president and trustee of the foundation, with a certificate of appreciation.

Wink thanked the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, her students, family and UCF for their support in awarding her the endowment. “I look forward to collaborating with our nursing faculty and students to obtain more grant funding to support the development of more nurse educators and increasing the national presence of UCF in organizations committed to the preparation of nurse educators.”

Dean Leuner shared a few of her major accomplishments, “Dr. Wink was a pivotal architect for our Community Based Nursing Education Curriculum, a signature aspect to our program today. She helped develop the initial Nurse Educator Certificate at UCF and she has coordinated the Family and Adult Nurse Practitioner tracks and now the Nurse Educator track in the graduate program at UCF.”

Wink has been a faculty member in the UCF College of Nursing since 1987 and was awarded tenure in 1995. She holds a B.S. in nursing from Adelphi University, an M.A. in counseling and guidance from Rollins College, an M.S.N. from Villanova University and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from UCF. She was also a Kellogg Faculty Fellow at East Carolina University, where she completed post-doctoral study to become a family nurse practitioner. Wink’s own active clinical practice allows her to incorporate examples from real life that enrich the material that students learn from books and papers.

Wink serves on multiple university committees, as well as the editorial boards of three national peer-reviewed nursing education journals. She is an active member of several prestigious nursing organizations, including the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and was inducted as a Fellow of the AANP in 2010. In addition, she was recently invited to participate as co-editor/writer in the revision of NONPF’s major teaching document, Guidelines for Distance Education and Enhanced Technologies in Nurse Practitioner Programs.

“The Genius Foundation’s foresight and passion for helping combat the nursing faculty shortage — both from an immediate need and future need perspective — has been an amazing tribute to the McKeans and an innovative approach to solving a community challenge through philanthropy,” Leuner said.

Wink concluded, “There is a saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ It also takes a village to educate a nurse. I have been able to accomplish a lot in my 39 years as a nurse educator, and hope to accomplish a great deal more. That is possible because of the help, assistance and support to all of us in our village.”

Graduate students can submit their application for the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Scholarship online at https://www.nursing.ucf.edu/students/undergraduate-students/college-scholarships/ before 5 p.m. on Oct. 5. Scholarships will be awarded in Spring 2013.