UTA held its second annual State of the University on Tuesday via Facebook with interim President Teik Lim and Jay Horn, Office of International Education executive director, who served as the moderator.
Lim spoke on the newly created Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Innovation and the development of a new center by the College of Nursing and Health Innovation to address the shortage of nurses and clinics in rural areas.
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Innovation aims to help students, scholars and researchers as they drive to innovate, commercialize new technologies and pioneer new companies, Lim said.
The center is currently in a “soft launch” phase, establishing new programs and increasing visibility of the university’s existing flagship programs, according to the website.
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Innovation helps students secure early-stage funding for their business ideas and find courses to explore entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. It helps faculty to include economic innovation topics into their curriculum. It also connects members of the UTA community with the professional world through networking events and workshops.
The College of Nursing and Health Innovation has strong educational partnerships throughout Texas, Lim said. It is the largest producer of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the state.
The shortage of nurses existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation only worsened during the pandemic, he said.
UTA is establishing the Center for Rural Health and Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation to increase high quality healthcare by building sustainable partnerships with agencies in underserved rural Texas communities, he said.
Lim said the university also seeks to address the shortage of registered nurses and the lack of primary and mental health care in rural areas by improving local nursing education.
The Center for Rural Health and Nursing will conduct research to understand the characteristics and needs of the rural communities in Texas to better do its work, he said.
The college will provide local clinical training through online teaching, he said. The partnership will reduce nursing shortages by recruiting and training local residents to become registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
Other topics Lim addressed are the recent Texas Tier One designation, the continued monitoring of the COVID-19 situation on campus and the appropriation of higher education funds from the 87th Texas Legislative session.