Dr. Elizabeth Sefcik, Nurse Educator and Researcher, Named Texas A&M System Regents Professor

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Instrumental to the success and prestige of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences pedagogy, Dr. Elizabeth Sefcik has marked her legacy as a pioneer in distance education and a steward of excellence in health care with inclusion of the philosophy of caring into CONHS coursework. As a well-respected nurse educator, mentor, and researcher, her Islander Impact reaches beyond traditional classroom settings, sparking innovation with the development of the first online courses for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s CONHS.  

Thanks to her decades of service and contributions to higher education in Texas and throughout the world, Sefcik received the Texas A&M University System 2018-2019 Regents Professor Award – the highest honor bestowed upon faculty by the Texas A&M University System. 

“It has been my privilege and reward to focus on the higher education of students in this outstanding University in my hometown of Corpus Christi,”said Sefcik. “The faculty are definitely the best that I could ask for in teamwork and in collaboration in teaching, scholarship, and service.” 

Sefcik, a Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences, has been with the Island University since 1993, reaching professor rank in 2000. Her primary area of research is in international self-care and symptom management of People Living with HIV (PLHIV). Her primary goal is to develop models of care that foster an environment where PHLIV have the tools and strategies to actively engage in and manage their own treatment.

“PLHIV are ordinary and exceptional people who are dealing with HIV. In the past, HIV was an illness that everyone was afraid of and carried a stigma, but now that ‘stigma’ is decreasing because of the education and treatment that is widespread and more advanced,” Sefcik said. “Today, people living with HIV are going to college, working, volunteering, getting married and having children.”

Sefcik’s long-standing partnership with the University of California San Francisco’s International Nursing Network for HIV/AIDS Researchers led to the development of seven international studies and numerous publications and presentations. In August 2018, she was one of two accepted Network members to present at the International AIDS Conference, the largest HIV/AID conference in the world hosting nearly 20,000 delegates. 

Additionally, Sefcik has received more than $1.4 million in competitive research/programmatic funding from national and regional funding agencies and $39,000 in funding locally.

“The College is so very proud of Dr. Sefcik. She is our first Regents Professor since we became a College in 2004,” said Dr. Bunny Forgione, CONHS Executive Dean. “She has been a leader in both the University and Corpus Christi community and has been an active, caring mentor to junior faculty. She is well deserving of this award.”

Beyond Sefcik’s internationally recognized research, she is an active leader and participant in her discipline and in higher education. She’s served as secretary of the Texas Nurses Association and chair of the advisory board of the Corpus Christi Nueces County Health Department. She was also chair of Sigma Theta Tau, nursing’s only honor society, where she was inducted as a Virginia Henderson Fellow.

“It has been my great fortune to be here for the length of time I have been,” said Sefcik. “I feel each one of us deserves an award of accomplishment in our own time”.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents established the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 to recognize employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas. Regents Professors maintain their title for the duration of their service within the A&M System and are presented with a stipend and certificate. To view a full list of Islander awardees, visit the Regents Professors page.