Dakota Wesleyan University
Dakota Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts university in South Dakota, seeks an outstanding leader with exceptional academic, strategic, operational, and interpersonal capabilities to join the university’s senior leadership team as Provost.
For more information view the search profile at
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY
Dakota Wesleyan University is an inclusive educational community fostering a transformative learning experience that cultivates enduring intellectual growth, ethically grounded leadership, intentional faith exploration, and meaningful service. According to our graduate exit surveys, 99 percent of DWU graduates would recommend the university to a student seeking a quality educational experience.
Over the last decade, DWU has grown in enrollment. More than 900 students pursue associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across the university’s three colleges: College of Arts and Humanities; the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences; and the Ron and Sheilah Gates College of Business, Education and Social Science. In addition to unprecedented enrollment growth and successful expansion into adult and online learning, the university has completed more than $60 million in construction on its facilities, including a new science building, new and updated residence halls, a new sport and wellness complex, and a new School of Business, Innovation, and Leadership.
Complementing this growth are new and innovative programs, including Learn & Earn at a satellite campus in Pierre, SD, which matches motivated students with professional opportunities allowing them to earn certificates leading to a degree, and Practical Church Leadership, which is a graduate program providing individuals in church leadership the vital business skills to manage contemporary centers of worship.
Throughout its history, the university has responded to the unique needs of its region. Strong programs in teacher education provide new teachers for school districts. Nursing and allied health programs address the continuing need for healthcare professionals in rural South Dakota. Valuing its historic church relationship, Dakota Wesleyan University has remained true to its United Methodist heritage and embraces John Wesley’s Christ-centered model of uniting knowledge, reason, and vital faith in curricular and cocurricular activities.
With robust music and theatre programs, a variety of conferences and lecture series, as well as sixteen intercollegiate sports, the university provides cultural, educational, and entertainment opportunities for all interests. Dakota Wesleyan University also has a beautifully maintained campus and new facilities for student and community use. As in the early years, today’s students enjoy an environment where minds are challenged, souls are nourished, friendships are forged, and lives are transformed.
The university offers compelling courses of study in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health professions, education, and business. Forty-four fulltime faculty members provide instruction, mentoring, and guidance to students. Among the faculty, sixty-eight percent hold a terminal degree, and forty-six percent are tenured. The university boasts a student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1.
Dakota Wesleyan also has articulation agreements with Southeast Technical College of Sioux Falls, Northeast Community College of Norfolk, Neb., Western Dakota Tech of Rapid City, S.D., Lake Area Technical College of Watertown, S.D., Missouri Valley College of Marshall, Mo., and a unique partnership with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine with locations in Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana.
The Provost leads the university’s efforts in academic and student affairs, supporting faculty and staff who offer students a transformative learning experience while overseeing the three colleges, the academic support programs, student life, and campus ministry. Reporting to the President and serving on the President’s Cabinet, the Provost will work collaboratively with the university’s many constituencies, including the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and other university leaders to realize the institution’s strategic goals of cultivating an environment for learning and growth, strengthening learner success, responsibly optimizing and diversifying the student body, and reinforcing university foundations.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
- Provide Dakota Wesleyan University’s colleges, academic support programs, student Life, and campus ministry with progressive academic and co-curricular leadership, vision, and direction to serve the mission and to meet the strategic goals of the university. This entails special attention to the work of the Associate Provost, the three academic deans (of the three colleges: College of Arts and Humanities; the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences; and the Ron and Sheilah Gates College of Business, Education and Social Science), the Dean of Students, the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services, the Director of Learning Resources, the Registrar, and academic advising.
- Recruit, support, and evaluate faculty and administrative staff.
- Collaborate with the President and other university leadership to provide outstanding support for students and to ensure that the academic vision integrates with Dakota Wesleyan’s United Methodist heritage.
- Work closely with the Board of Trustees, the President, and various university constituents to develop, implement, and communicate academic and holistic development plans for DWU.
- Lead and direct the Academic Deans and the Dean of Students to meet and exceed retention targets and graduation rates for all academic programs.
- Partner with the President’s Cabinet to develop and promote the institutional mission, academic and student life, philanthropic endeavors, and effective strategies.
- Coordinate out-of-classroom learning environments and support services to create a dynamic living-learning experience for students, emphasizing critical thinking and developing mission-focused leadership skills.
- Lead assessment, accreditation, and formation of academic policy.
- Oversee development of a wide range of curricular and pedagogical initiatives, including those for traditional, online, and adult learners.
- Provide budget supervision for all academic departments, programs, and academic support units, as well as for the administrative budgets in the Academic and Student Life areas of the university.
- Oversee the approval process for international students (as PDSO).
Pursue the elements articulated in the university’s strategic plan, titled Wesleyan. On Purpose, including:
- Design and Implement Active Learning – Support and guide a faculty passionate about ensuring meaningful student learning outcomes. The Provost must strengthen the means by which we persistently pursue this strategic goal.
- Enhance and Increase Student Retention – The university has set retention goals, established working groups, and partnered with CREDO to raise the rates of retention over a five-year period. The Provost must ensure that retention initiatives are constantly reviewed, revised, and implemented to improve the student experience.
- Strengthen the Campus Community with efforts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The first graduating class of DWU was nearly all women; the university has a rich tradition upon which to achieve the stated strategic objective of responsibly optimizing and diversifying the student body. The Provost will bring ideas and energy to these ongoing efforts.
- Invigorate Student Life – The university recently revised and elevated the leadership in Student Life, moving oversight from a director to a Dean of Students. The Provost will empower this leader to enhance the student experience and be a collaborative and valued institutional partner. The Dean of Students will pursue appropriate strategic goals and improve the means of assessing student outcomes.
- Sustain Accreditation – The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, South Dakota Department of Education, South Dakota Board of Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, United Methodist University Senate, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, and International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. The institution is only a few years away from an HLC reaccreditation process. We seek a leader and partner in preparing for, and executing, this important process.
- Expand Programs in Health Education – The university recently approved a nursing program, which will launch in Rapid City in fall 2024. The Provost will support and see this vision to fruition, and then continue to pursue opportunities for expanding Health and other programs.
- Implement Civic General Education –The Provost will join the faculty in ensuring that this new general education program serves students well and helps deliver upon the university's mission and values. The Provost will work with other administrators to ensure that the university appropriately resources the program.
- Expand Performing Arts – The university has put more emphasis on the areas of performing arts, highlighted by the hiring of a Performing Arts Talent Coordinator, a professional staff member dedicated to recruiting students to these programs. Joining positive momentum in these areas, the Provost will provide leadership, energy, and support.
- Optimize Academic Programs – With a spirit of continual improvement, lead a process of program review that seeks, as the strategic plan calls for, to enhance the capacity of existing programs to responsibly optimize and diversify the student body. The goal is to continue to retain our undergraduate student market share while capitalizing on the growing adult, certificate, and online student market share.
- Advocate for Campus Ministry – The university has seen a resurgence of student and employee engagement in the faith life at DWU. The Provost will be an advocate for these efforts. For example, as a next step, the university seeks to ensure that all students and employees understand what it means to be a university of the United Methodist Church.
- Earned doctorate from an accredited university
- Record of successful teaching at the college or university level
- Evidence of innovative, creative, and collaborative leadership
- Orientation toward the future, which includes anticipating society’s changing needs, embracing advances in learning, and focusing on preparing students for the opportunities of tomorrow
- Respect for the role of all who contribute to the mission of Dakota Wesleyan University
- Commitment to United Methodist faith tradition (but not required to be United Methodist)
- Three years of experience in academic administration at the level of dean or assistant or associate provost or vice president
- Excellent oral, interpersonal, and written communication skills
- Ability to communicate positively and effectively with all university constituents
- Strong commitment to shared governance and collaborative leadership
Application & Nomination Process
Confidential inquiries are welcomed, and nominations are invited.
1) Application packet must include:
a) A letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and qualifications of the position
b) Current résumé
c) At least five references with full contact and e-mail information. (References will not be contacted without applicant’s consent.)
2) Submit application packet (preferably as PDFs) to DWU-Provost@myersmcrae.com by February 1, 2024 for best consideration. Additional information will be requested upon receipt of application. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Submit nominations to DWU-Provostemail@example.com with complete contact and e-mail information for the individual being nominated.
Darrel Colson, Senior Consultant, and Kenny Daugherty, President of Myers McRae Executive Search, are assisting Dakota Wesleyan University with this search. Request a conversation at DarrelColson@myersmcrae.com.