Dean’s Message


At the University of Florida College of Nursing, we are committed to elevating our status as a national and international leader in nursing education, research and patient care. The College of Nursing was founded in 1956 as one of the first two colleges of UF Health, the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center. It is also one of 16 colleges at the University of Florida, ranked No. 5 nationally among public research universities.

The College of Nursing is driven to transform health through exceptional academic programs, preeminent research and innovative practice. As the premier educational institution for nursing in Florida and one of the top leaders nationally, the college continually attracts and retains the highest caliber of nursing students and faculty with a passion for science and caring.

As part of UF Health, the College of Nursing collaborates with other health colleges, the UF Health family of hospitals and clinical affiliates across the state. The College of Nursing has a strong, collaborative relationship with the UF Health nursing division to support the college’s missions of education, research and patient care. Strategic goals and activities focus on ensuring nurses are best prepared to meet today’s health care needs.

Our standard is excellence, established by Founding Dean, Dorothy M. Smith, a true pioneer and visionary who left a distinguished legacy with her thoughtful approach to the health care needs of society. Our vision is consistent with the university’s position of national preeminence as a Top 10 university, and our mission is grounded in our identity as a steward of the discipline of nursing. Our core values guide us in all we do.

Gator Nurses care, lead and inspire BOLDLY.

Gator Nurses Go Greater!

Shakira Henderson, PhD, DNP, MS, MPH, EMBA, IBCLC, RNC-NIC

Dean, College of Nursing – Chief Administrative Officer, UF College of Nursing
Associate Vice President for Nursing Education, Practice, and Research – System Chief Nurse Executive, UF Health