Dr. Wilsie Bishop, East Tennessee State University’s chief operating officer and vice president for Health Affairs, recently was honored by her alma mater as one of the university’s brightest alumni stars. Virginia Commonwealth University bestowed the honor upon Bishop at a special ceremony held in Richmond earlier this month.
She was recognized by the university for her personal and professional achievements throughout her 30-plus-year career. Bishop earned two degrees from VCU – a bachelor’s of science in nursing in 1970 and a master’s of science in nursing in 1978.
A product of two individuals who never completed high school, Bishop said her parents always encouraged her to continue her education. “They had a conviction that if I had an education, I’d have better opportunities than they had,” Bishop said. “And they were right.”
Bishop, who has a second master’s degree as well as a doctorate from the University of Southern California, began her career at ETSU in 1978 and has held numerous leadership positions since then, including dean of the College of Public and Allied Health, department chair in the College of Nursing, assistant vice president for academic affairs as well as her current roles at the university.
She is one of only two nurses in the nation to head an academic health sciences center, overseeing ETSU’s colleges of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health and clinical and rehabilitative health sciences. The ETSU Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC) serves more than 4,000 students in 35 programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and offers residency programs in medicine and pharmacy.
“The opportunity to lead a team of highly capable individuals in planning and delivery of health professions education, research and clinical services makes going to work each day a rewarding experience,” Bishop said. “With the team of deans in our AHSC, I am able to influence the curriculum we teach and the values upon which our programs are built.”
Bishop is also a tenured professor at ETSU, teaching a policy, leadership and ethics course to doctoral students. “I value sharing my knowledge and experience with these graduate students,” she said. “It is important that I be a mentor and accessible for sharing my leadership journey with others.”
In honoring Bishop, VCU leaders noted several other recognitions she has received throughout her career, including being inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 for making “outstanding, unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political and cultural well-being of Tennessee.”
Bishop said she was “flabbergasted” to receive the “Alumni Star” award from VCU, calling it a “very special honor.” In 2013, VCU also named Bishop to its list of 120 Visionary Leaders.