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Gary L. Loving Named Interim Dean of Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

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Gary L. Loving Named Interim Dean of Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

Dr. Jesus E. Medina


OKLAHOMA CITY – Gary L. Loving, Ph.D., R.N., a leader in medicine with nearly 40 years of experience in nursing education, has been named interim dean of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma. OU President David L. Boren made the announcement today at the September meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

“The university is very fortunate that Dr. Gary Loving will be leading the critically important Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing,” said Boren. “He will do an outstanding job.”

Loving fills the leadership position following the resignation of Lazelle Benefield, Ph.D., R.N., who will continue to serve the College of Nursing as dean emeritus, professor and Parry Chair in Gerontological Nursing, and director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.

Loving previously served as the college’s senior associate dean, providing administrative oversight for the college’s 10 academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level, and serving as a member of the college’s executive leadership team. During his tenure at OU, he has served as an academic division director, assistant dean for educational excellence, assistant dean for distance education and instructional technology, and associate dean for academic programs. Additionally, he served as acting dean of the College of Nursing from September 2015 through February 2016.

Known as a pioneer in the use of technology-mediated nursing education, Loving in 1997 developed and taught master’s-level courses online – the first nursing education initiative in the state involving web-based nursing education. In addition, he served as a member of cross-disciplinary teams to develop the infrastructure for the delivery of web-based content throughout the OU Health Sciences Center. Due in large part to his leadership, the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing ranks as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best online graduate degree nursing programs as well as among the best nursing schools for master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs for 2017 and 2018.

Loving’s work has included federally funded program grants to develop technology-mediated advanced nursing educational programs, informatics teaching programs using open-source electronic health records and models for interprofessional teaching. He has advanced high-fidelity simulations for use in nursing education. For the past five years, he has served as a core member of OUHSC faculty from across all colleges to plan and implement interprofessional health sciences education.

In his academic administrative role, Loving has been a leader in developing academic/clinical relationships to expand innovative models of nursing education and training which include the OU Medical System, the Veterans Administration Nursing Academy, and numerous urban and rural clinical settings across Oklahoma. He also serves on the OUHSC Academic Strategic Planning and Research Strategic Planning committees.

Loving assumes leadership of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at a time of great opportunity for an expanded partnership with OU Medical System, interprofessional training across OUHSC and solving critical health workforce needs across the state.

A recipient of numerous teaching awards, Loving received the OU Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching in 2009, and he received the Oklahoma Nurses Association Excellence in Nursing Education Award in 2014.

Loving earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University in 1975, a Master of Science in nursing from OU in 1979 and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1991.


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