COLUMBUS, Miss. -- A long-serving administrator at Mississippi University for Women will retire in 2018 after more than a 45-year tenure.
Dr. Sheila V. Adams, who came to The W in 1973, will retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, ending a tenure that saw the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology she led grow into one of the largest programs in the state.
“Her career is an inspiration of vision, hard work and the teamwork to accomplish great things,” said MUW President Jim Borsig. “She has made incredible contributions to the university.”
Under Dr. Adams’ leadership, the college has expanded its hybrid online-classroom RN to BSN program, which allows working nurses to earn an additional degree, and, in 2014, added the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The W now offers nursing options from a two-year associate’s through the doctorate. Graduates regularly score among the highest in the state on national licensure exams.
The College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology is The W’s largest college, with more than 970 enrolled. It has been recognized regionally and nationally, including a ranking of No. 4 in the nation’s RN to BSN hybrid programs among 700 ranked. It was named the Mississippi School of Nursing of the Year in both 2007 and 2014, with graduates and faculty serving in professional positions around the state in hospitals, clinics, state agencies, educational institutions and professional organizations. In 2015, The W’s nursing program was ranked No. 6 in the region by Nursejournal.org. The same year The W’s RN to BSN program ranked nationally as No. 4 in the 30 Great Small Colleges for an RN to BSN degree and No. 10 in the 50 Most Affordable Competitive Colleges for Online RN to BSN Degrees (Best Master of Science in Nursing’s Undergraduate Rankings). This year The W’s nursing program ranked No. 2 of the state’s 23 nursing program by Registerednursing.org.
Dr. Adams has been widely recognized for her leadership and professional accomplishments. She was 2007 Mississippi Nursing Administrator of the Year, an award presented by the Mississippi Nurses Association. In addition, she has been named Mississippi Nursing Dean of the Year and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who’s Who in American Nursing. In 2016, she was named a Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts Heart of the South.
She has also received the university’s Medal of Excellence—the highest recognition the institution gives. In 2017, she was inducted into the Mississippi Nightingale Hall of Fame, an honor sponsored by the Mississippi Nurses Association and the Mississippi Nurses Foundation. She also was the recipient of The W Distinguished Achievement Award this year. The Sheila V. Adams Scholarship was established in her name and is awarded annually by the Sigma Theta Tau Zeta Rho Chapter. Sigma Theta Tau is the international Nursing Honor Society and Zeta Rho is The W chapter. Additional recognitions include being named to International Who’s Who of Professionals, being inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society and Outstanding Young Women of America. The university has twice called on her to serve in additional roles, and she assumed the position of interim provost and vice president for academic affairs in 1999-2000 and 2003-04.
Active in professional and civic organizations, Dr. Adams was a member of the Mississippi Regional Action Coalition Committee, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Institute of Medicine, Initiative on the Future of Nursing, the Mississippi Task Force on Nursing Retention and Graduation, created by the Governor’s Office, the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of schools of Nursing, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce Advisory Board. Since 1993, she has been an institutional member of the Southern Regional Education Board: Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing and the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of schools of Nursing, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (serving as char in 2017-18).
Her professional involvement also includes service to the SREB Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing, chairing for the finance and nominating committees; the Mississippi Educational Consortium for the Doctor of Nursing practice, serving on the planning committee and chairing the Statewide Planning Committee to develop a collaborative DNP program in the state; site visitor for both the national accreditation Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of Schools of Nursing for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning; the Mississippi Educational Consortium for Specialized Advanced Practice Nursing, planning committee and advisory council; Mississippi Nurses Association Provider, various committees; Mississippi Nurses Foundation Scholarship and Stipend Committee; Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of Schools of Nursing, chair; Mississippi Association of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Nursing Programs, vice chair; and peer reviewer for the Journal of Professional Nursing.
Dr. Adams holds an associate of arts degree from Sullins College, Bristol Va.; bachelor’s and master’s of nursing degrees from Emory University; and a doctorate in education from Mississippi State.