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DWU announces two staff promotions

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Dakota Wesleyan University President, Dr. Amy Novak, recently announced two staff promotions.

Alisha Vincent, associate professor, nonprofit administration program chair and director of special academic projects and initiatives, was promoted to dean of adult and professional studies. Vincent earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Black Hills State University, a Master of Science in organizational psychology and development from Walden University and her doctorate in higher education administration from the University of South Dakota. Her academic research and experience involve nonprofit development and academic service-learning. She was awarded the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence in the spring of 2019. In her previous work in the McGovern Center at DWU, Vincent led research and programming related to food security and civic engagement in the U.S. and east Africa. Vincent serves as a consultant, presenter and board member for numerous nonprofits and is passionate about education, faith and organizational development. Vincent has also been instrumental in spearheading DWU’s new graduate certificate program for nonprofit church leaders and will lead efforts for the creation of more innovative educational offerings in the future.

“This university has a long history of pioneering education that meets students where they are, while simultaneously challenging them to achieve significance in their academic, professional and personal lives. I feel fortunate to be provided an opportunity where I can continue this tradition by working collaboratively with faculty, students and other community leaders to create and foster innovative, meaningful and relevant education,” said Vincent.

“As the university positions itself for growth in serving adult learners across the lifespan, we are organizing the talent at Wesleyan to demonstrate a responsiveness to the demand for continual learning in this market space,” said Novak. “Dr. Alisha Vincent has distinguished herself as both an outstanding teacher as well as a gifted program builder with an ability to understand and appreciate the complex needs of adult learners while developing curriculum aligned with business, industry and the nonprofit sector. I am excited about the passion, energy and creativity Dr. Vincent brings to this position.”

Derek Driedger, dean of adult and professional studies, was promoted to the role of associate provost. Driedger earned both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota and his doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Driedger had served as the dean of adult and professional studies since 2015. Before that he served as associate dean of digital learning from 2013-2015 and served as an English professor at DWU from 2007-2013. His areas of expertise are: higher education administration, distance education, adult learner education, Great Plains literature, American literature (1870-1930), composition and journalism. When Driedger is not researching and honing his professional skills, he enjoys reading, running, gardening and yard work.

“I have benefitted from the nurturing and professional relationships of many different groups during my career at DWU. Administration, faculty, staff and instructors have provided constant support and insights during my various roles and initiatives. This new role is a product of that support at a time when the university has increased its commitment to designing academic programs and skills-development opportunities that address the unmet needs of particular groups, including those who might not otherwise consider themselves a candidate for post-secondary education,” said Driedger. “Developing and maintaining the academic infrastructure to further develop the potential for inner growth and professional leadership is rewarding work that requires constant attention to detail and regular exploration of ‘What's next?’ I am excited to work with a team that is determined to move DWU into a new phase of helping both people and industries attain new levels of opportunity and growth.”

“Dr. Driedger has distinguished himself both as a gifted teacher and scholar. Most recently, Dr. Driedger has played an integral role in the first generation of Dakota Wesleyan’s work in the adult and online education space. While serving as the dean of adult and professional studies, Dr. Driedger oversaw the significant expansion of the university’s online offerings and enrollment. During his time in that role, Dr. Driedger has developed a deep appreciation of the workings of adult and online education and how to ensure that students’ online experience is as rigorous and robust as that of students on campus. The university is excited about the knowledge and insights that Dr. Driedger will bring to his new role as the university seeks to expand the ways in which it serves nontraditional students,” said Provost, Joe Roidt.