URI names nursing college dean Wolfe new provost

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing will have a new prominent role with the university starting on this coming New Year’s Day.

The university announced Tuesday that Barbara E. Wolfe, who has been the URI College of Nursing’s dean since 2016, has been named its new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Wolfe will on Jan. 1, 2023, assume the role previously held by Donald H. DeHayes, the longtime URI provost who retired in 2021. Laura Beauvis had served as the university’s interim provost for the past year.

The university said that Wolfe, during her tenure as the nursing college’s dean, helped the college increase its levels of federal research and training grant funding, as well as bolstered scholarship support for students and initiated an undergraduate fellows program. Wolfe, URI said, also launched in 2019 the nursing college’s psychiatric mental health nurse-practitioner program, and worked with faculty and staff to implement a five-year strategic plan for the nursing college.

Come Jan. 1, Wolfe will oversee URI’s nine academic schools and colleges, its faculty and academia for students. The university had 17,750 students enrolled, including 12,790 full-time undergraduates, during the 2021-22 academic year, according to Providence Business News research.

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Wolfe in a statement Tuesday said she was originally drawn to URI for its commitment to accessible public education and it resonated with her belief that public institutions “should be able to provide high quality, affordable education, thereby increasing access to learning that ultimately benefits society.”

“I remain excited about the university’s progress and continued commitment to serve the state as its flagship research university,” Wolfe said. “I am energized by the growing scholarship and creative works across the campus, providing endless student learning opportunities while also positioning the University to be a preeminent institution of higher learning with local and global impact. My experience at the University has given me a great appreciation of the formidable strength of URI, its growing international reputation, and the endless exciting possibilities that lie ahead.”

URI President Marc B. Parlange said in a statement that Wolfe brings new ideas and a “thoughtful approach” to the provost’s role and is confident that she “will lead with integrity and generosity, just as she has at the college [of nursing], and I look forward to partnering with her as we enter this next phase of growth and transformation for the university.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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