Health Sciences

Gail Kauwell Reappointed as Chair of the Department of Health Sciences

Written By: Heather Lovett | February 19, 2024

Gail Kauwell outside.

Professor Gail Kauwell has been reappointed for her second five-year term as the Chair of the Department of Health Sciences. The reappointment follows a performance analysis that was informed by a review committee and considered feedback from faculty and staff. Kauwell joined UCF in Fall 2019 following her retirement from the University of Florida as Professor Emerita and a Distinguished Teaching Scholar.

“Dr. Kauwell has done an exceptional job building and strengthening what is one of the university’s most sought-out degree programs,” says Christopher Ingersoll, Founding Dean of the College of Health Professions and Sciences. “Her steady leadership has been integral to our continued success and to the success of thousands of students who graduate with a high-quality education and a strong foundation for careers as competent and compassionate healthcare providers.”

The Department of Health Sciences, which offers students the option to select between a pre-clinical track and a health promotions track, enrolled more than 3,300 students in Fall 2023 and conferred more than 3,900 degrees during the first three years of Kauwell’s original appointment.

During Kauwell’s tenure, the quality of the undergraduate curriculum was enhanced by adding new courses and designing more high-impact practice courses to provide students with a competitive edge and the chance to blend classroom learning with real-world experiences. International study abroad courses were also created, and the number of sites for internship experiences grew significantly.

Additionally, Kauwell increased the size of the faculty from 12 to 19, yielding lower faculty-to-student ratios and additional teaching and research impact.

She developed and spearheaded a proposal for a new graduate degree — a Master of Science in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science — which launches Fall 2024 and will prepare students to serve as health education specialists, a profession projected to have strong workforce growth.

“Dr. Kauwell was selected to lead at a pivotal time, taking the helm of a newly created department just months before the onset of the pandemic,” says Ingersoll. “She and our dedicated faculty and staff made tremendous progress during this challenging time and truly raised the bar for this program.”

“It has been an honor to serve as the chair of the Department of Health Sciences during its formative years,” says Kauwell. “I’m very proud of the collective efforts of our dedicated, productive and collegial faculty and staff, and I’m constantly inspired by our students’ stories and accomplishments. Together, we’re committed to making a difference, and I’m confident that our initial successes will be magnified in the coming years.”

Kauwell says her goals moving forward are to continue to build the department’s reputation as one of the top-ranked undergraduate and graduate degree programs, to further increase the size of the faculty and to position the department for a future doctoral degree program.

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