By Jordan Hearne
Bringing more than 30 years of experience in the field of nursing and nursing education, Dr. Shelley F. Conroy will fill the position of dean for the Louise Herrington School of Nursing starting Jan. 1. The announcement was made Wednesday.
“I think I’ve had a career that’s prepared me overall progressively to be the dean,” Conroy said. “I’ve had experience at every level of nursing education and broad experience in terms of academics.”
Conroy has also served as the dean of nursing schools at Weber State University in Utah and Armstrong Atlantic State University in Georgia, in addition to holding positions in hospital administration and service on a National Council of State Boards of Nursing committee.
Conroy said she is passionate about furthering student involvement in global health service.
“One of the things that really attracted me to the Louise Herrington School of Nursing was the focus on serving globally and preparing students to go out on mission work to spread health care,” Conroy said. “Service learning, mission trips and cultural immersion — that’s really what the school of nursing here focuses on. It’s unique to the mission of Baylor.”
Conroy grew up, she said, as an “Army brat” and graduated from a high school in Germany. Her international upbringing is what spurred her love for traveling and global health care, Conroy said.
During mission trips she attended with other universities, Conroy visited China, an area she said she hopes to bring Baylor students in the future.
“I didn’t know what to expect the first time I went to China. I didn’t expect that I would love the country as much as I do. I have taken students and faculty there nine times and would like to take them back again. It’s a great place to learn traditional and alternative Chinese medicine and techniques,” Conroy said.
In the future, Conroy said, she would like to look into untapped partnership opportunities with Baylor Medical Center, located across the street from the nursing school, in order to expand the program. Conroy also said she wanted to look into potential cross-college relationships that could benefit the program.
Martha Bradshaw, professor in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing and interim dean, said the school is thrilled to have Conroy as its new dean.
“When I first met her, I thought right away that she would be a good fit,” Bradshaw said. “She brings a wonderful background in leadership and an excellent perspective in nursing.”
Bradshaw said starting next spring, she and Conroy will work together as a team to ease the transition as Conroy becomes familiar with her new position.
Conroy’s enthusiasm for her new university is not limited to her professional and academic plans. Bradshaw said that Conroy is already embracing the Baylor spirit.
“I had brought her and her husband Baylor T-shirts, and they were already looking online at the bookstore for spirit items,” Bradshaw said.
Conroy said she is taking her newfound role as a Baylor Bear very seriously, watching every Baylor football game televised in Georgia.
“We are coming to the game on Saturday,” Conroy said. “But we’re getting warmer clothes. As soon as we get there, we’re going out and making sure we have our Baylor hoodies.”