Samples named dean of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences


JOHNSON CITY (November 13, 2013) – East Tennessee State University has appointed Dr. Donald Samples as dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.

Samples, who formerly served as associate dean, brings to the position a solid foundation in teaching and higher education leadership as well as strong ties to ETSU. He had served as interim dean for the college since June, and Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU’s vice president for Health Affairs and university chief operating officer, made the appointment permanent after Samples rose to the top of the list of candidates that was developed from a nationwide search.

A search committee led by Dr. Wendy Nehring, dean of the College of Nursing, vetted and interviewed several candidates before inviting three finalists to campus for a series of interviews with faculty, staff, students and university leadership.

“Based on a thorough search process by the committee and feedback from the interview process, it was clear to me that Don was the ideal person to be dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences,” Bishop said. “As associate dean, Don was an integral part of growth in the college, and I am confident he will create even more opportunities for expansion and partnerships in academic programming, clinical care and interprofessional research.”

A member of the ETSU faculty since 1990, Samples served as chair of the Department of Allied Health Sciences for 10 years and as associate dean for the past six years. He replaces Dr. Nancy Scherer, who resigned to accept a position as chair of Arizona State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science.

“I am excited about the future for our college, and I look forward to working with our faculty, staff and students to build on our successes,” Samples said. “We offer some of the fastest-growing health-related programs in the therapeutic and rehabilitative sciences, and our programs have an established history of providing allied health professionals of choice to the regional, state and national health care workforce. As one of the colleges in the university’s Academic Health Sciences Center, our students are quickly becoming the leaders in their respective professional disciplines.

“Becoming the dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences has always been a career goal of mine.”

Samples, a professor of cardiopulmonary science, has completed three academic programs at ETSU. He received a certificate in respiratory therapy and a bachleor’s degree in business administration. After he earned a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Tennessee, he returned to ETSU to complete a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis. Samples is particularly noted for his expertise in sleep science and is a member of the Committee on Accreditation for Polysomnographic Technologist Education, the national accrediting body for sleep programs.

Samples’ wife, Tammy, has earned two degrees in nursing from ETSU. Their daughter, Tara, earned her undergraduate degree from the university and is a fourth-year student at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, and their son, Taylor, is a senior student in the College of Public Health.

For more about the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, visit

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