After an extensive search, Mario Ortiz has been chosen as the new dean of the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University.
Ortiz is leaving his position as dean of the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences at Indiana University South Bend to join BU on July 1. Ortiz has held various positions throughout his career, including the chair of the department of nursing at Purdue University North Central, where he served as the Duneland Health Council faculty scholar. He has also held faculty positions at the University of Portland, Cleveland State University, the University of Nevada and DePaul University.
As a nurse practitioner and certified clinical nurse focusing on public and community health nursing, Ortiz specializes in underserved populations and has been a nurse practitioner since 1997. Certified through both the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program, Ortiz earned his bachelor’s degrees in art history and nursing before receiving his master’s in advanced professional nursing from Valparaiso University and his Ph.D. in nursing from Loyola University Chicago.
Provost Donald Nieman and the Decker dean search committee chose Ortiz from four other candidates invited to interview. Pamela Stewart Fahs, who served as the interim Decker dean and was part of the interview process, is confident Ortiz is a good fit for the position.
“[We] are all very excited to have Ortiz come,” Fahs said. “He is very personable, he has a great background, he’s held the dean position at Indiana University [South Bend] and he has worked in areas that we are very excited to be growing in.”
Ortiz said he wants to help expand graduate programs at the master’s and doctoral levels by increasing enrollment and expanding research and scholarship. He also said he aims to expand elder care services from care coordination to primary care delivery and explore methods to expand overall research productivity within Decker.
BU President Harvey Stenger also said he is also looking forward to having Ortiz on board.
“Dr. Ortiz is going to bring energy, excitement and new direction for Binghamton University in general and the Decker School of Nursing in particular,” Stenger said. “His background, expertise and responsibilities at Indiana University South Bend are the perfect complement to the programs that we have here and the future directions for the University.”
Ortiz serves as a contributing editor of both Nursing Science Quarterly and the Leading-Following Column, which focuses on nursing research, perspectives and dialogue. He also has been working on hermeneutics, a science focused on interpreting texts and art forms that express people’s lives. For the past year, Ortiz has studied the effects of human suffering in the musical “Les Misérables,” because the more a nurse can understand about suffering, he said, the more they can understand the suffering of patients.
Taylor Schwanzer, social chair of the Nursing Student Association and a junior majoring in nursing, claimed her professors said they wanted Ortiz to be hired because of his ideas for Decker and the University at large.
“We are all really excited for the new dean’s ideas to be implemented and see what his plans are for expanding and for the future of Decker [School of Nursing],” Schwanzer said.
Ortiz believes he can bring a rich background in community and public health nursing, which aligns with the history of the Decker School of Nursing and its ability to link education, health services and research so they can ultimately expand upon each other.
“I am very much looking forward to Decker faculty, students and staff to build on the history and foundation that’s already been established and to make a name for Decker both nationally and internationally,” Ortiz said. “But from what I can tell, it’s a great place.”