Seattle University nursing dean Azita Emami will become the new dean of the University of Washington's School of Nursing.

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Azita Emami, dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, has been chosen to lead the University of Washington’s School of Nursing, which has been rocked by internal strife in recent years.

Emami’s appointment was announced Monday by UW President Michael Young and Provost Ana Mari Cauce. It is subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents.

In the summer of 2011, a consultant’s report found the UW’s nursing school was beset by low morale and a lack of shared purpose and trust between faculty and staff members and the dean, Marla Salmon. Salmon left the UW last February, three months earlier than planned.

Emami said she was aware of the consultant’s report, and planned to spend the first month in the new job “to really talk to the entire school and really find out the strengths, the possibilities, the opportunities and also the challenges,” she said. “Together with the faculty and staff, I want to really come up with a plan that we can sustain.”

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Emami has been dean at Seattle University since 2008. Previously, she held several leadership positions at the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm in Sweden, where she still holds positions as a senior researcher and doctoral-candidate supervisor.

At Seattle University, she implemented a five-year strategic plan, reorganizing the school to emphasize excellence in integrating teaching, research and clinical practice, as well as an expansive global-engagement program.

Although both programs have about the same number of students — the UW currently has 664 nursing students — Emami said the UW has a larger faculty, offers more programs and is research intensive. The UW has 63 faculty members, nine research-track faculty and several lecturers and clinical faculty.

During her tenure, Seattle University expanded its offerings and began a nurse-midwifery specialty and a doctoral degree in nursing practice. Recently, the college began offering online hybrid programs.

Emami holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Karolinska Institutet, a master’s degree in international health care from Karolinska and the Red Cross College of Nursing, and a nursing-education degree with a teaching certification and a doctorate in medical sciences from Karolinska.

Her annual salary will be $320,000. Emami will finish the academic year at Seattle University and join the UW July 1.

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or

On Twitter @katherinelong

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