Nursing Class

University of Mobile Names Alumna Sarah Barnes-Witherspoon Interim Dean for School of Nursing

Kathy Dean News, Sciences

Dr. Sarah Barnes-Witherspoon

MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile alumna and professor of nursing Dr. Sarah Barnes-Witherspoon has been named interim dean for the School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions.

“University of Mobile has earned an excellent reputation for producing graduates who are outstanding healthcare providers. As both a graduate and faculty member, I love University of Mobile, and I am excited about this new opportunity to expand our impact on improving the quality of healthcare in our region,” Barnes-Witherspoon said.

“This distinctive platform allows me to continue to encourage students, faculty and other professional colleagues to advocate for and provide unsurpassable healthcare services to all patients and their families. From my perspective, every patient is a VIP, regardless of their condition or genealogy,” she added.

Barnes-Witherspoon has a passion for helping students understand that nursing is more than a job with financial security.

“I want students to understand that nursing is a calling that epitomizes compassion and caring. These two characteristics should be innate in nurses,” she said.

Barnes-Witherspoon moves into the leadership role at a time when the university has invested in state-of-the-art healthcare labs and classrooms in the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice, added academic programs including Family Nurse Practitioner, and started its first doctoral program in the School of Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The School of Nursing is part of the College of Health Professions, which also includes the School of Health and Sports Science and the School of Allied Health.

The oldest daughter of 11 children, Barnes-Witherspoon is a native of Calvert, Alabama. Her interest in nursing started in high school, but it was her first job as a mental health worker at Searcy Hospital that set the stage for her lifelong career.

“I observed the nurses caring for those patients with both physical and mental health disorders. Those interactions rekindled my spark, and the rest is history,” she said.

She earned both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from University of Mobile. During a 27-year career at Searcy Hospital, she was shift supervisor and functioned as the only nurse legal consultant.

She joined the UM School of Nursing faculty in 2001 as a nursing instructor and moved up the ranks to serve as professor and director of graduate programs. In 2016 she received a PhD in nursing education and nursing administration from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


For more information about the School of Nursing and College of Health Professions at University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 251.442.2222.


About University of Mobile

University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.