Dixie State University continues to build toward its goals of developing new initiatives with the recent hiring of a new provost and vice president of academic affairs.
Michael Lacourse has been selected to succeed Carole Grady, who served as interim provost since William Christensen stepped down from the position last May. Lacourse will officially assume his duties Feb. 1.
His appointment comes after a nationwide search that began with over 60 candidates. Frank Lojko, vice president of student services, chaired the 15-member selection committee that consisted of DSU stakeholders, including the DSU Student Association, alumni and faculty. The final four candidates were invited to campus for introductions and interviews, and then committee members were given a chance to voice their recommendations.
Lacourse said the selection process was thorough and professional. He said it enabled him to gather a great deal of information about where the university is and where it is going. He said DSU is embarking on an ambitious growth plan and that is very attractive because it’s the type of personal challenge he finds most rewarding.
“I was most impressed with the excitement and energy I sensed from everyone I met, especially President (Biff) Williams,” Lacourse said. “It was clear to me that the entire campus community had come together over the past year as a team… while creating greater access to new degree programs and elevating student learning and success.”
As provost, Lacourse will assist the deans of DSU’s six schools with all educational matters, but his primary responsibility will be to develop new academic programs. Lacourse said his goal is to fully implement and surpass the goals in the recently-approved strategic plan, “Dixie 2020: Status to Stature,” which he hopes will make DSU the university a first choice for students in Utah.
Lacourse said his background and professional experience over the last 10 years makes him well suited for the expectations of the position. He has been a professor, researcher and, most recently, the founding dean at two universities. He served as the dean at the College of Health Sciences at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, since 2013 and as the dean of the School of Health and Human Services at National University in San Diego, California. He was responsible for creating over 16 new degree programs at National University, which resulted in a dramatic increase in enrollment.
Williams said: “I am excited to welcome Dr. Lacourse to the [DSU] family. His background of strong leadership and program development will be a great asset to the university as it continues to grow and provide the community the academic offerings they desire.”
Lacourse said it’s an honor and privilege to be appointed as DSU’s new provost.
“I am excited to become part of a very special campus community,” Lacourse said. “I felt a strong culture of family when I visited, so I sense I will be joining not just a university community, but an extended family as well.”