Board of Regents approves tenure of four distinguished faculty members

The University of North Texas System Board of Regents recently approved the tenure of four distinguished faculty members at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

The approved faculty members are:

    • Zhengyang Zhou, Assistant Professor, Department of Population & Community Health, HSC School of Public Health
    • Nicole Phillips, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Immunity & Genetics, HSC School of Biomedical Sciences
    • Dorata Stankowska, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director and Advisor, HSC School of Biomedical Sciences
    • Cheryl Thaxton, DNP, Associate Dean/Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor, HSC College of Nursing

The decision was made at the quarterly Board of Regents meeting held on May 16, 2024, following recommendations made by the faculty members’ school/college promotion and tenure committee and will go into effect September 1, 2024.

“We’re grateful to the Board of Regents for recognizing these four exemplary faculty members for their impactful contributions locally, regionally and globally,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, HSC provost. “Our world-class researchers and educators are the reason HSC stands out as a premier higher education institution to develop future health care professionals and leaders.”

Screenshot 2024 05 28 At 4.35.41 pmDr. Zhou, whose expertise lies in Biostatistics, joined HSC’s School of Public Health in 2019. In addition to obtaining an impressive combination of funding from collaborative projects, he has also secured funding as a Principal Investigator. Zhou has several peer-reviewed publications in top journals, across all areas of his research agenda, and he has participated in multiple publications with students in the SPH, supporting their growth and achievements as part of a mentorship team. He is an actively engaged member of the SPH community through leadership for the MPH Biostatistics and Data Science concentration and serves as an elected Faculty Senator for the School of Public Health.

PhillipsSince joining the HSC faculty in 2016, Dr. Phillips has demonstrated commitment to HSC through her teaching, research, and service. As an educator, Dr. Phillips serves as the course director for three standing SBS courses and is a two-time recipient of SBS’s Golden Apple teaching award. Dr. Phillips holds a prominent role in the Institute for Translational Research, where she leads the grant-funded genomics research project. She is the principal investigator of a Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) Investigator – Initiated Award and has published 36 peer-reviewed papers and 24 original research manuscripts.


Screenshot 2024 05 28 At 4.36.57 pm

Dr. Stankowska joined HSC in 2010 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and was appointed faculty in 2015. Since then, she has since published 38 peer-reviewed articles and six book chapters and is the inventor of two patent applications focused on innovative approaches for treating ocular conditions. She serves on numerous committees in the SBS as well as the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a member of the SBS Graduate Education Council, the Admission Committee for PhD and MSS programs, and serves as the Director for the Specialized MS Biotechnology program. She is also an ad-hoc reviewer for numerous high impact scientific journals and grant review panels.

As a leading nurse scholar in hospice and palliative care, Dr. Thaxton has authored over seven book chapters, numerousScreenshot 2024 05 28 At 4.37.21 pm articles, and has been invited to present her expertise throughout the U.S. and Japan. She mentors other nurse leaders as a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is designated as a Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing (FPCN). She served as the Chair of the National Coalition Pediatric Palliative Care Task Force, a subgroup of the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care, which has influenced health policy to enhance and increase children’s access to high-quality pediatric palliative care services. She serves as a consultant for the Duke Advanced Practice Provider Leadership Institute.

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