Tiffany Morris was named Elon University’s inaugural chair of the department of nursing in the School of Health Sciences. 

Morris — who has a doctorate in nursing practice in executive leadership — began the role as the department chair on March 1. Previously, Morris worked at North Carolina A&T State University.

“I am very excited,” said Morris. “I don't think people realize the enormous honor it is to be chosen as an inaugural chair, specifically for a community like Elon.”

The establishment of the department of nursing is a part of the Boldly Elon 2030 Strategic Plan. The paperwork for approval by the North Carolina Board of Nursing and a search for faculty began immediately after Elon published the plan, according to Dean of the School of Health Sciences Becky Neiduski. 

“We were really fortunate to be able to hire Dr. Morris,” Neiduski said. “We couldn't have picked a better inaugural nursing department chair who not only will uphold the values of Elon of experiential engaged learning but also is going to be able — with 30 years of experience at multiple universities — help us build an amazing nursing department.” 

Approximately 100 students will be in the first class, according to Morris, with 50 students in the bachelor of nursing program and an additional 50 students in the accelerated program. Students in the department of nursing can pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree through a four-year track or an accelerated 16-month program. 

The School of Health Sciences provides “interprofessional education” for students to learn collaboratively in preparation for the health care industry, according to Neiduski. The department of nursing constructed a simulation suite center with rooms that imitate clinical learning experiences.    

Lenna Murfin is an incoming freshman who will be a part of the nursing program’s inaugural class. She planned to come to Elon as a public health major until she found out about the opportunity to major in nursing. 

“I realized that public health wasn't as hands-on as I would want it to be,” said Murfin. 

The chance to experience technological learning in the simulation labs attracted her to choose Elon.  

According to a 2020 study by the North Carolina Health News, the state is slow to shrink inequalities in health care. Morris and Neiduski intend to address the health disparities for people of color and marginalized communities by being “intentional” in their course curriculum.  

“We are building the nurses of the future. The Elon nurse leader will be the nurse of the future,” said Neiduski.