Gayle Timmerman

Photo Credit: Mengwen Cao | Daily Texan Staff

The School of Nursing took down dress code posters inside its building on Wednesday after receiving criticism online for the signs being targeted toward women.

The sign called for revealing clothing not to be worn inside the building because “it distracts from the learning environment.” The sign cited “midriff-baring shorts,” “short-shorts,” “short skirts,” “low-rise pants,” and “low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage” as types of clothes not to be worn inside the building. 

Before being taken down, the poster was criticized on social media sites and in a post on Jezebel, a women’s interest blog. The School of Nursing later released a statement saying that the sign was a mistake and did not reflect the intent of the school’s dress code policy. 

“We have several dress codes, including one for clinical, building dress codes,” said Gayle Timmerman, associate dean for academic affairs. “Being a professional school, we are portraying we want students to have a professional image,”  

Nursing senior Liana Chau said she has seen similar signs in recent semesters, but she also sees students wearing what they want to class.

“Well, when I first read that sign last year, at first I thought it was kind of unusual that the school would actually release a statement like that because typically when you’re in college, the colleges don’t really enforce what a student would wear,” Chau said. “At the same time ... I understood why they would need to tell the students to dress professionally, because it is a job that’s going to evolve to being in the professional world where you have to dress correctly.”

Chau said when the temperature is hot outside she usually wears shorts and a t-shirt. 

Timmerman said the dress code has been in place for at least five years. 

“It’s in the student handbook, and we don’t have it posted all the time,” Timmerman said. “Occasionally, we’ll put it up as a gentle reminder that we are a professional school and that a professional image in expected.”

Timmerman said she believes people misperceived the intent behind the sign, and the school’s policy is gender neutral. 

“The sign itself didn’t reflect the intent of the policy, and there were several things in it that led people to have a negative response,” Timmerman said. 

Nursing senior Stephanie Astle also said she has seen similar signs like this before, but said the signs were not up for a long period of time. Astle said she has discussed the signs with her friends, but she normally does not wear clothes in violation of the dress code. 

“Most people are in scrubs 95 percent of the time anyways, because that’s what is considered ‘proper dress code’ in many of the courses,” Astle said. 

Students pursuing health professions will now be able to more easily access UT-related events, lectureships and opportunities related to health care professions because of a website developed by several professors.

A task force of professors from five colleges at UT — nursing, social work, pharmacy, medicine and natural sciences — launched the website last month, after working on it for two years.

Nursing professor Gayle Timmerman, a member of the development team, said the website’s purpose is to create an easy and central resource for students and educators to be aware of educational opportunities at the University.

“The hope is to have a convenient way to connect different health professions’ students and faculty to a variety of interprofessional opportunities,” Timmerman said. “The ultimate goal is improving interprofessional collaborative practice, which is the future of health care.”

Timmerman said the University has faced issues in coordinating opportunities for students in the past.

“One of the main barriers to [interprofessional] education we’ve noticed is the difficulty in coordinating activities and ways to gain experience across campus,” Timmerman said. 

In a 2013 report, the Institute of Medicine described the health professions landscape as moving toward more demographic diversity and technological advancements. The report recommends that health care educators create new models of teaching that encompass related fields.

Another team member, social work associate professor Barbara Jones, said the University has been working in recent years to increase interpersonal education initiatives to prepare students for their future careers.

“The future of health care depends upon strong interprofessional teams that are connected to the patient and the community,” Jones said.

Biology junior Josh Shandera, who is on the pre-med track, said he recognizes a disconnect between the different health resources at UT.

“I feel like the community is really splintered and having a central location for finding information would benefit the community and the students,” Shandera said. 

Dr. Gayle Timmerman, Assistant Dean and associate professor at the School of Nursing, has created a program which helps women “eat mindfully” at restaurants in order to prevent weight gain.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

On-the-go eating can lead to more weight gain than cooking at home does, but some of that weight gain can be spared by eating out smartly.

Gayle Timmerman, associate professor in the School of Nursing, developed a program called Mindful Restaurant Eating. In the study, Timmerman took 35 women ages 40-59 who ate out at least three times a week and taught them different healthy eating techniques to minimize the caloric intake when dining out. The end result was that women maintained and, in some cases, lost weight. Her techniques encourage focusing on sight, smell and texture of foods to increase enjoyment and decrease intake.

Timmerman said she got the idea for the program when she was doing research on restaurant eating patterns.

“I noticed that when people eat out they eat significantly more calories than they do at home,” Timmerman said. “If they do not do something to compensate for that, they will start to gain weight and they need to make modifications to their diet to stay healthy.”

Timmerman said that although her research is on middle-aged women, she is looking to adapt her program to fit the lifestyle of students.

“A lot of the time it is the college-age population’s first time on their own and managing their own food intake,” Timmerman said. “It is very easy to shift the focus of college students away from unhealthy foods and teach them to manage calories by knowing what to choose.”

Lori Jones, registered dietician for University Health Services, said she thinks that the program is a good idea because she also teaches people to be conscious of what they eat.

“People do not pay attention when they eat, which often leads to overeating,” Jones said.

Kelsey Coto, public health senior and spokeswoman for the food studies project and founder of the student nutritional awareness campaign, said she thinks the Mindful Restaurant Eating program could apply to college students because they have to deal with the stress of school while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“The fact that they cannot cook at home, for the most part, so they have to deal with restaurants and dining halls is a problem,” Coto said. “So students are the victim of circumstances and have to leave their nutrition up to a third party.”

Nutrition and pre-pharmacy freshman Shannon Wolf said the program is important because it leads to a better diet and helps with health in the future.

“These tips are important to help maintain your weight while in a stressful situation like school,” Wolf said.

Printed on Thursday, March 8, 2012 as: Professor cooks up healthy restaurant eating