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"I am honored and awed at the foundation that I'm inheriting and will lead into the future."


Leadership Experience at Illinois Wesleyan University: 

  • Director of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Caroline F. Rupert Endowed Chair of Nursing
  • Executive Director of Counseling and Health Services

Professional Experience:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric Nursing
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Educational Background: 

  • Ph.D. Saint Louis University, School of Nursing | Research Methodology Concentration
  • M.S. University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing | Adult Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
  • B.S.N. Illinois Wesleyan University


  • Antiquing, attending fine arts events and running

Victoria N. Folse received a bachelor of science in nursing from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1986 and a master of science in psychiatric nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1989. In 2002, she earned a Ph.D. in nursing with a concentration in research from Saint Louis University.

She has served as the Caroline F. Rupert Endowed Chair of Nursing and the director of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Illinois Wesleyan University since 2009 and executive director of Counseling and Health Services since 2019. She also has served as interim director of the School of Music. Dr. Folse has obtained the rank of professor and continues to teach and conduct research in the School of Nursing.

Folse is a clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric nursing, an advanced practice registered nurse and a licensed clinical professional counselor. Dr. Folse completed an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Leadership for Academic Nursing Program Fellowship and an AACN/The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Wharton Executive Leadership Fellowship.

Also an active scholar, researcher, national and international lecturer and consultant, Folse has expertise in areas such as eating disorders, suicide risk, self-concept, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, interprofessional communication, leadership, and quality and safety in healthcare.

In her role as director of nursing, she oversees an annual budget of $1.7 million; Folse led a successful $2 million campaign and oversaw renovation of classroom and laboratory facilities. She doubled student enrollment with emphasis on diversity and retention of at-risk students and hired diverse faculty to mirror the student population. In addition, Folse stewarded curricular revision and accreditation, implemented a semester-long study abroad program for nursing, and developed an interdisciplinary public health program including a minor that launched in the fall of 2021. She continually markets the distinctiveness of a professional school within a liberal arts environment.

As executive director of Counseling and Health Services, she led the university’s health and safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic; oversaw the transition to telehealth and telecounseling to promote campus physical and mental health; monitored campus educational and programming needs; and prioritized diversity hires to assure representation.

Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University in 2002, Folse taught at Bradley University for three years and provided 15 years of full-time eating disorder treatment with 10 years of nursing management practice at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. She also continued to work there part time with clients and families and provided clinical supervision to clinicians in the Eating Disorders, Behavioral Health and Psychiatric Emergency Care programs.

Folse and her husband, Dick, have two adult daughters, Mason and Kennedy, and a son-in-law, Oleg.

Presidential Insights

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