Matthew Gallek in front of McNeill Hall.

May 7, 2019

When UNCW graduates its first Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates on May 10, Matthew Gallek will be there. He wouldn’t miss it. 

“I am very excited for this graduating class,” said Gallek, an associate professor in the School of Nursing. “I worked closely with them on their DNP project, which is a culmination of their coursework.” 

Gallek coordinates the DNP program, one of four doctoral programs UNCW currently offers, and one of its newest. Nine students will graduate from the program this month, but he expects it to continue to grow as the need for health care professionals continues to increase. 

“In the next few years, this program is going to explode in size,” he said. “One of our biggest tasks this year was to develop a BSN-to-DNP program, which will be offered in the fall of 2020.” The program, offered entirely online except for an on-campus orientation, is being implemented in anticipation of an increased emphasis on doctoral-level preparation for nurse practitioners. 

Gallek is a man in a profession that is still overwhelmingly female, at least in the United States, and nursing wasn’t his original career choice. His became interested in the field while earning a B.S. in psychology from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. 

“To graduate, we had to do a senior comprehensive that focused on research. This interest in research – and with helping people – is what pushed me toward nursing,” he said.  

He worked with children in behavior health settings before deciding to return to school for a BSN from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also earned his doctorate in nursing. He taught at the University of Arizona School of Nursing in Tucson before coming to UNCW in 2017. He was named coordinator of the DNP program in 2018. 

UNCW has allowed him to grow professionally while pursuing his interests, Gallek said. 

“I have a passion for research, but I also have a passion for teaching,” he said. “UNCW is the best of both of these worlds.” 

Although he teaches classes year-round, Gallek loves the outdoors and makes it a priority to spend time with his four sons – often at the beach. He was a competitive swimmer in his undergraduate years, and he is always up for a new challenge. 

“I love hiking, and I am learning to surf,” he said. 

-- Tricia Vance