Novak named president at DWU - Dakota Wesleyan University 360 WebCMS - News

Novak named president at DWU

Thursday, April 18, 2013

MITCHELL —Amy Novak, provost and executive vice president at Dakota Wesleyan University, will become the institution’s 20th president, according to Brad Pratt, chairman of the DWU Board of Trustees.

The announcement of Novak’s appointment was made at an all-campus meeting today.

“Amy brings to the presidential position a well-developed and deep passion for the university’s vision and mission, an effective and engaging leadership record in academic administration, active engagement in fundraising with key DWU donors, knowledge of the university’s positions, strengths and weaknesses, a mature understanding of spiritual leadership, and a commitment to student experience and transformation,” said Pratt.

In addition to her position as provost and executive vice president, Novak has served DWU in several positions since 2003: director of Student Support Services TRiO Grant, dean of enrollment management and vice president for enrollment management. Her achievements include:

  • Leading the creation of the university’s Learn Strong strategic plan resulting in the development of three colleges, six new majors, significant curriculum revisions to nearly all academic majors, a reconfiguration of student experience focused on developing student strengths, alignment of capital and academic priorities, and a strengthened connection to the institution’s United Methodist roots.
  • Securing, in partnership with institutional advancement staff, $11 million for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.
  • Facilitating an 18 percent growth in enrollment through the addition of athletic programs, new majors, and the expansion of online and master’s degree programs.
  • Development and expansion of mission trips and study-abroad experiences for students. 
  • Development of a new scholarship model that leveraged academic success resulting in the largest and academically strongest incoming class since the 1960s. 
  • Partnering with the United Methodist church to offer Fusion, a weekly worship service. 

“I am humbled by the opportunity to share my talents, passion and energy to shape a strong future for Dakota Wesleyan University,” Novak said. “Our institutional foundation is solid. I am excited to work with our faculty and staff to further develop a vision rooted in our mission and grounded in our faith.  My goal for Dakota Wesleyan University is to boldly position ourselves for growth, financial stability and regional recognition as a leader in Christian higher education.”

A native South Dakotan and graduate of Mitchell High School, Novak has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in economics from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  She is currently working toward a doctoral degree in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University in Omaha.

Novak’s previous experience includes organizational consulting for Digital Equipment Corporation, directing a federal grant at Edison State College, teaching business communication courses at Denver Technical College, conducting market research for several local companies, as well as providing leadership to a variety of not-for-profit organizations in the U.S. and Canada. 

She and her husband, Ken, have eight children: Peter, 18; Isaac, 16; Luke, 14; Mark, 12; Seemela Grace, 11; Marianna, 10; Elijah, 7; and Zechariah, 4.

Ken Novak earned his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  A published author, Ken’s professional background also includes 13 years of service to the U.S. Air Force, including roles as a military acquisition specialist, teacher of the year at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the chief speechwriter for the U.S. Air Force Command in Europe. 

Amy Novak will assume the presidency of DWU on June 1, replacing Dr. Robert Duffett.  Duffett has served as president for 13 years and will leave at the end of May to become president of Eastern University in Davids Point, Penn.



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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
The Chronicle of Higher Education named Dakota Wesleyan University one of the “Great Colleges to Work For®” for 2014-2015. DWU won honors in three categories: facilities, workspace and security, and supervisor/department chair relationship.
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