Dr. Mary Bess Griffith became Dean, Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions, in 2018. She was previously employed as Director of the Nursing Department and Associate Professor of Nursing at Bethel University. Prior to that, Dr. Griffith worked for several years in the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation as Director of Market Services for West Tennessee and East Arkansas. Her experience in academia includes Nursing Lecturer at Murray State University; Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Tennessee at Martin; and Chair (Dean), Department of Nursing, and Associate Professor at Dyersburg State Community College. A licensed registered nurse, Dr. Griffith has practice experience as a Family Nurse Practitioner and hospital ICU Charge Nurse and Staff Nurse.
Dr. Griffith holds Bachelor Science and Master of Science degrees in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee, where she also completed Family Nurse Practitioner post-masters work. Her doctoral work (Ph.D. in Nursing) was done at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Dr. Griffith is a Certified Nurse Educator and holds a Certificate in Simulation from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a member of Nursing’s honor society, Sigma Theta Tau, the National League for Nursing, and the American Nurses Association.
Active in her profession, Dr. Griffith has served as the Tennessee Nursing Association’s Treasurer and on the Tennessee Nursing Foundation Board of Directors. She has also served as Treasurer for the Tennessee Nursing Program Deans and Directors. Prior to joining Cumberland University, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the McKenzie (TN) Community Hospital. Dr. Griffith has published scholarly articles in peer-reviewed professional journals and has presented her research at national and international health sciences conferences.