Clawson to move to full-time faculty role, Hicks named interim dean


Dr. Dana Clawson, dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health at Northwestern State University, will return to a full-time doctorate faculty position as a professor in the College of Nursing effective Jan. 4, 2021, according to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel. Dr. Joel Hicks, director of the School of Allied Health, will serve as interim dean while a national search takes place for a permanent dean. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System approved the appointment.

Clawson, who has served as dean since 2013, said she is voluntarily stepping down as Dean in anticipation of a planned move to another part of the state. She will teach in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

During her tenure as dean, Clawson developed a faculty/staff team that increased enrollment in the College by more than 50 percent. New undergraduate and graduate nursing and allied health programs were developed including a Doctor of Nursing Practice program, an accelerated BS to BSN program, a military medic/paramedic to ASN program and a new BSN to DNP-Nurse Anesthesia program.

“Dr. Clawson has been an outstanding leader of the College of Nursing and Allied Health,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Chris Maggio. “She has done an excellent job of working with our faculty, staff and regional stakeholders to enhance the quality of healthcare in Louisiana in many ways including playing a major role in the development of our Doctorate of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia program. We are honored that she will continue at NSU as a faculty member in our Doctor of Nursing Practice program and continue to have an impact by helping to teach future health care professionals.”

Clawson said a team effort within the College and throughout the university helped nursing and allied health programs develop and prosper.

“Not one accomplishment credited to me as Dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health happened in isolation,” said Clawson. “Rather, it took many people believing in me and my vision for the College, giving me direction and wise council, and often re-directing me, to make my ideas become realities. I am grateful for all of those who have been my voices of wisdom and who have been on my team.”

While Clawson’s was dean, the College has received more than $4.1 million in grants to enhance its academic programs. Campus improvements were made to facilities in Shreveport, Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria to enhance the learning environment, provide amenities and improve safety for students, faculty and staff.

“During Dr. Clawson’s tenure as Dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, the College has experienced tremendous growth in its program offerings, enrollment, public and private partnerships, and engagement with health professionals throughout the region,” said Handel. “She has been a strong voice of advocacy for nursing and the allied health professions in Louisiana, has served on boards, and been a liaison to accreditation agencies on best practices in nursing. Her energy and enthusiasm have vaulted the College to new heights, and her influence has shaped the forward motion of the College.”

Clawson held the Coughlin-Saunders and Robert Rife Saunders Endowed Professorships. She has served as director at large and chair of the Louisiana Council of Administrators of Nursing Education. Clawson is a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education on site evaluator and a member of the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners. Last year, Clawson was inducted into the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Nursing Hall of Fame.

She has remained active as a women’s health nurse practitioner at Willis-Knighton Pierremont OB GYN Specialists leading care for more than 15,000 patient visits since 2000. Clawson has served as president, vice president and a board member of the Martin Luther King Community Health Clinic.

Clawson has remained active as a researcher, scholar and advocate for nurses across the state and region. As she moves into a new position, Clawson is enthusiastic about the future of the nursing profession.

“I am convinced that given the chance, nurses and allied health professionals hold the answers to all of our nation’s numerous healthcare problems. I am also convinced that given the opportunity, voice and legitimate authority, nurses can positively change the world,” she said. “Empowerment and education of students who will go on to empower and educate patients has been the driving force behind everything I have accomplished as dean.”

Clawson looks forward to continuing her work with fellow faculty, staff and students.

“Our students have a vision to become a nurse. They need support, direction and sometimes re-direction,” said Clawson. “That is what nurse educators do. I believe NSU has the world’s best nursing and allied health faculty and staff. These faculty and staff help individuals from all ages, genders and ethnicities to become members of a profession that will change their lives forever. In turn, these same individuals will change the lives of those in need of healthcare forever. How great is that?!”

Hicks has been director of the School of Allied Health since 2017 and assistant dean of the College since earlier this year.

Hicks joined Northwestern State’s faculty in 2010 after 16 years in the health care field. He is an associate professor of radiologic science, honors coordinator and clinical coordinator for the radiologic sciences program.

Hicks earned a certificate in radiologic technology from LSU Health Sciences Center, a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science from Northwestern State, a Master of Science in Radiologic Technology from Midwestern State University and a Doctor of Education in Developmental Education from Grambling State University.

As a member of Northwestern State’s faculty, he has held the Caroline Romine Endowed Professorship for the past four years and was the recipient of the Carolyn Cole Saunders Endowed Professorship for one year. He was principal investigator for a Louisiana Board of Regents grant of $78,894, “Enhancing Student Competencies in Radiologic Science Using Virtual Radiography.” He was represented the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health on NSU’s Faculty Senate from 2010-16, serving as secretary and vice president. He is participating in the UL System’s Management and Leadership Institute and the NSU Leads program.

Hicks makes frequent presentations to national, statewide and regional groups and has had research and book reviews published in national professional journals.



Dr. Joel Hicks, left, and Dr. Dana Clawson.