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The College of Nursing has named Sandra Thomas, professor and chair of the PhD program, the inaugural Sara and Ross Croley Endowed Professor in Nursing.

“Dr. Thomas is an exemplary teacher, a supportive mentor, and a staunch student advocate,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the college. “For over thirty years she has positively impacted hundreds of students through her dedicated and caring approach to nursing education.”

sthomasThomas joined the faculty of the College of Nursing in 1983. She has taught in the PhD program since it opened in 1989 and has served as chair of the program since 1993. She has chaired thirty-four dissertations and served on seventy-two other dissertation committees for students within nursing and in related fields such as psychology, education, and child and family studies.

Thomas’ clinical specialization is psychiatric and mental health nursing, and her practice and research have primarily focused on women’s stress, anger, and depression.

She has presented her research around the world, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. She is the author of more than 150 journal articles, books, and book chapters.

As the editor of Issues in Mental Health Nursing since 1997, she has a special interest in mentoring new authors and reviewers. In 2009 she started a mentoring program for new manuscript reviewers involving doctoral students from Norway, Sweden, Australia, and the United States. All PhD students in the College of Nursing are offered the opportunity to participate in this mentoring program.

Thomas is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. She holds memberships in the American Nurses Association, the American Psychological Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, the International Council on Women’s Health Issues, Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honor society and several psychiatric nursing organizations.

Thomas holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in education as well as a master’s degree in nursing.



Emily Kissel (865-974-2755,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,