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Dr. Ross Wastvedt Named Provost, VP for Academic and Student Affairs at SMSU

Published Friday, April 24, 2020
Dr. Ross Wastvedt
Dr. Ross Wastvedt

Dr. Ross Wastvedt has been named Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Minnesota State University. He will begin his duties on July 1.

Wastvedt is Dean of Humanities and Education and Professor of English at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to that, he was Professor of English at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Penn.

He is a Hawley, Minn., native and graduated from Fargo North (N.D.) High School. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., with a B.A. in English. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“It’s evident to me that Southwest Minnesota State is a community that’s committed to supporting students and providing access and opportunity, and an excellent education, to students across the region, and beyond. That stood out to me,” he said about his interest in the position.

“When I walked onto campus, that was confirmed. I like the sense of community, and the spirit of the place. People who work at SMSU seem to enjoy all aspects of it, each other, and what they are trying to accomplish.”

In his new position, Wastvedt will “give leadership and direction for Academic and Student Affairs, and help people do good work efficiently and effectively. I’ll succeed if the people I work with have enthusiasm for coming to work, if we feel we are doing good things together.”

During his seven years at Grand View, Wastvedt oversaw development of new academic programs and led key initiatives to strengthen student success, including co-chairing the Student Success Visioning Team and separate task forces to improve advising and to establish a consolidated learning center.

He is a member of the Peer Review Corps for the Higher Learning Commission, and serves on the board of Gear Up Iowa, a group charged with increasing the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

“We’re excited to have someone with Dr. Wastvedt’s broad experience join our administrative team,” said SMSU President Kumara Jayasuriya. “He has an appreciation for a liberal arts education, and has shown commitment to student success throughout his academic career.”

 He replaces Dr. Teri Wallace, who held the position on an interim basis during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Wastvedt and his wife, Sonja, are the parents of three grown children: Trygve, Bjorn and Solvejg. Sonja is a Reading Specialist with ELL certification in the Des Moines Public Schools.