Yale honors URI Nursing Dean for outstanding achievements

Barbara Wolfe recognized by her alma mater as ‘Distinguished Alumna’

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Dean Barbara Wolfe. Photo by Nora Lewis

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 18, 2018 – University of Rhode College of Nursing Dean Barbara Wolfe has been honored by the Yale School of Nursing for her achievements and distinction within her career.

The Yale School of Nursing’s Distinguished Alumna/us Award recognizes a select few individuals each year for demonstrating “achievement or distinction in their career, their contributions to their communities or to” the School of Nursing. Wolfe was chosen as one of this year’s recipients because “her accomplishments encompass more than 30 years of experience in clinical, research and academic nursing,” according to Yale Communications.

During her two years at URI, Wolfe has committed herself to further advancing the success of the College of Nursing, which in the last year saw undergraduate students score a first-time pass rate of higher than 90 percent on the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). She has worked to expand the graduate offerings in the college, including overseeing the opening of the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence and introducing new programs, including a nurse practitioner concentration in psychiatric mental health and a post-master’s nursing education certificate program.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to expand high-tech offerings like advanced simulation labs for undergraduate and graduate students, increase access to higher education through programs like Pathways to Nursing, and promote the collaboration among health professionals needed in health care today,” said Wolfe, a resident of Charlestown. “It’s an honor to be recognized by an alma mater for your accomplishments, but our work is far from done. We will continue to develop and expand academic programs to reflect the needs of nursing in the 21st century.”

In the time she has been with the University, she’s done a great deal to strengthen the College of Nursing, according to Associate Dean Mary Leveillee.

“Her vision was to advance research, see continued growth in our graduate programs, and assure the highest quality in all nursing programs,” Leveillee said. “She motivates everyone to excel in teaching, research and clinical practice. Establishing a shared governance approach, she has created an inclusive atmosphere in attending to the immediate and future needs of the college. In a short time, she has made this vision a reality.”

Before taking on her position at URI, Wolfe worked as the associate dean for research at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Prior to that, she served as director of the Center for Nursing Research at the Connell School at BC. Since 2004, she has lectured in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and served as a research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. From 1997 to 2004, she was assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical Center.

Wolfe holds Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist Board Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Her psychiatric/mental health nursing research, and specifically her work on eating disorders, has been published in numerous academic and medical journals. She is a past president of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and has served on numerous national committees, including scientific review panels for NIH.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Syracuse University, her master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from Yale University and her doctorate in nursing from Boston College.

Wolfe was honored by her alma mater at an alumni banquet on May 11 as part of the Yale School of Nursing’s annual Alumni Weekend.