Bessie named provost, vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs


Menomonie, Wis. — Joseph D. Bessie has been appointed University of Wisconsin-Stout provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen announced Tuesday.

“Joe has the educational background, academic experience and higher education vision that we need to help guide UW-Stout in this complex and challenging environment,” Sorensen said. “I look forward to Joe joining my senior leadership team as we work together on the issues that confront us today and plan for a bright UW-Stout in the future.”

Bessie is provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash.

“The university’s polytechnic designation is particularly exciting to me,” Bessie said. “With its history of quality and achievement, UW-Stout has taken a leadership role in facing urgent regional, national and global challenges.

“My initial goals include working closely with Chancellor Sorensen, the administrative team, faculty and staff to set an energetic course for growing the financial resources of the school, continuing to develop the school’s regional, national and international reputation and further developing high-quality programs that help draw new people and resources to the region.”

The position became vacant in July when Julie Furst-Bowe left to become chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Mary Hopkins-Best, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, has been serving as interim provost and vice chancellor.
Bessie has been at Saint Martin’s University since May 2009 and has served in his current role since then. He has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, including serving as vice president for Academic Affairs at Valley City State University in Valley City, N.D., from 2006-09 and as dean of instruction for transfer programs at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn., from 2000-06.

Before becoming a full-time academic administrator, he held various teaching appointments at colleges and universities in the Twin Cities and, from 1990-2000, was a professor of philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla.

His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1978), a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Minnesota (1991) and a Master’s of Business Administration in management from Southwest Minnesota State University (2003). His areas of academic specialization include the philosophy of science, mathematical logic and management ethics.

The provost serves as chief executive officer of the university in the chancellor’s absence and provides leadership for the Academic and Student Affairs division. That division includes four academic colleges, as well as other schools, centers and offices.
Bessie is scheduled to begin his position on or before May 1, 2013.

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