Julie Wolter Named Dean of Nursing and Human Physiology as it Prepares for Change to School of Health Sciences 

Julie Wolter smiles at the camera, her head on her left hand
Dr. Julie Wolter

May 30, 2023
Gonzaga University News Service

As Gonzaga University’s School of Nursing and Human Physiology prepares for a new era under new leadership, it only makes sense to move into the future with a new name that more accurately describes the breadth of the work being done in the school

Gonzaga University’s School of Nursing and Human Physiology has been renamed the School of Health Sciences and Julie Wolter is its new dean. Both moves were approved by the Board of Trustees during its July 2023 meeting. 

“Dr. Julie Wolter has a strong history working in an interdisciplinary capacity with faculty and colleagues in health, education, social science and professional programs across academic and community settings,” says Gonzaga Provost Sacha Kopp in announcing her selection after a nationwide search. “Dr. Wolter has an academic and clinical career of close to 25 years, and has taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in evidence-based practice, implementation science, research methods, child language literacy development and interprofessional education.”

In announcing Wolter’s hiring, Kopp notes the special role the School of Nursing and Human Physiology plays in Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission to educate servant leaders with the potential to add new areas of study to the school’s existing undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs that will grow the unique partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine. Following the strategic planning process, the faculty and staff identified renaming to the School of Health Sciences as a key opportunity in their continued efforts to expand health programming and serve students online, in person, and particularly in rural areas of the Inland Northwest.

Wolter was chosen to lead these efforts given her vast experience in interprofessional health and human services and supporting underserved communities via distance programming in rural areas. Most recently Wolter served as the University of Montana’s Associate Vice Provost for Innovation and Online Learning, and she previously served more than five years as chair and professor in the School of Speech, Language, Hearing and Occupational Sciences. She previously served 10 years at Utah State University as a professor and leader in the Speech-Language Pathology Division of the Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education Department, and practiced as a speech-language pathologist in hospital and school settings in the Boise, Idaho, area.

“My service as dean of the new School of Health Sciences will provide an ideal opportunity to increase needed health and human services training across Spokane and our Northwest region,” Wolter says. “I’m excited to build upon my past interprofessional health experience, and am committed to leveraging the existing expertise and partnerships of Gonzaga and the community to build innovative new health programming.”

Wolter’s scholarship and research includes close collaborations with health leaders both nationally and internationally, and she currently has funding by the National Institutes of Health with colleagues at the Institute of Health Professions of Massachusetts’ General Hospital and Royal Holloway University of London focused on supporting children with developmental language disorder and dyslexia. She also was recently funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop and implement distance programming to address critical speech, language, and literacy professional shortages in rural and tribal communities of the Northwest.

“Building upon our impressive current nursing and human physiology foundations, Gonzaga is poised to consider offering other health professions’ programs, such as public health and rehabilitation sciences, that will enhance the recent University of Washington School of Medicine partnership. We will continue to focus on increased access to our essential health education to provide community and regional outreach, education and services to best support underserved students and community constituents. I envision our new School of Health Sciences to be nationally and internationally recognized for its academic excellence, innovative health programming, clinical implementation science and commitment to service.”

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated since original publication to reflect the decisions of the Board of Trustees in July 2023]

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