Emily A. Roper, PhD, Appointed Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions

The current dean of the College of Health Sciences at Sam Houston State University will start at Drexel Sept. 1, 2024.
Susan A. Roper headshot

The following message was sent to the Drexel community:

Dear Students and Colleagues,

We are pleased to share that following a national search, Emily Roper, PhD, has been appointed dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, effective September 1, 2024.

Dr. Roper will join Drexel from Sam Houston State University (SHSU), where she is the current dean of the College of Health Sciences. Her experience directly aligns with Drexel’s broad and increasingly interconnected expertise in the health sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ pioneering leadership in health profession and nursing education. As dean, Dr. Roper led the build out of a college strategic plan, oversaw the design of a new Health Professions Building, and completed a feasibility study with $15 million in funding to support the expansion of the SHSU undergraduate nursing program. Under her leadership, the college developed a 4+1 MPH pipeline program and a DO-MPH dual degree along with several summer institutes, with support from a $240k GEER II-Nursing Innovation grant aimed at addressing the state’s nursing shortage.

As dean, Dr. Roper also led several initiatives aimed at increasing supports and collaboration among students and faculty alike. She launched a scholarship mentoring program for underrepresented students interested in pursuing graduate school and established a three-year partnership with Kroger for the SHSU student food pantry, bolstered by a food pantry nutritional policy. Among faculty colleagues, she initiated a mentorship program for new faculty in the college and developed “colleagues and collaborations,” a partnership that brought together scholars from three SHSU colleges to present their research and discuss potential synergies.

A multidisciplinary researcher and proven strategic leader, Dr. Roper received her PhD in sport and exercise psychology/cultural studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and joined Temple University as an assistant professor. Since becoming part of the faculty at Sam Houston State University in 2006, she held various administrative titles including associate dean, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, and department chair. Her research examines the ways in which gender shapes experiences, cultural meanings and societal structures in physical activity and sport. Dr. Roper is the editor of the textbook “Gender Relations in Sport,” published in 2013 by Sense Publishing, and recipient of the 2014 American Psychological Association Steven R. Heyman Memorial Award. She previously served as the Publications and Information Division Head for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.

We would like to sincerely thank Interim Dean Mary Gallagher Gordon, PhD, for her leadership of the College of Nursing and Health Professions over the past several months. We are also grateful to Dean Dan Filler for chairing the search, as well as the search committee and every colleague who put their time and effort into this process.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Roper to Drexel and supporting her in her new role.


John Fry

Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost