Cumberland University


CU names new dean of nursing


Dr. Mary Bess Griffith has been hired as the dean of the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions at Cumberland University, officials announced today. She will take over the post in mid-summer. 

Currently, Dr. Griffith is director of the department of nursing and an associate professor at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn. Her educational background includes a doctorate in nursing from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences at Memphis. A member of the Tennessee Nurses Association, Dr. Griffith is a certified nurse educator, certificate holder in simulation, and a certificated nurse practitioner. 

She has been recognized with a variety of awards and in notable publications including Who’s Who in American Nursing. Griffith has authored several journal articles, such as the Journal of Nursing Education’s 2013 article,”Connecting Academia to Practice: Giving Tomorrow’s Nursing Leaders a Head Start.” “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Griffith to the Cumberland University family. She comes to us with a wealth of experience in teaching future nurses. Cumberland students will continue to enjoy a nursing program of the highest quality,” Dr. Bill McKee, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cumberland University, said.

Dr. Joy Kimbrell has served as the interim dean of the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions since January 2017. She will be returning to her full-time faculty position after the arrival of Dr. Griffith. 

“I want to thank Dr. Joy Kimbrell for her exceptional leadership during this interim period. Under her guidance, the School of Nursing and Health Professions has completed a self-study, and had a successful accreditation visit from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Additionally, student scores were raised on the National Council Licensure Examination, which graduates must pass in order to practice,” McKee said.