DWU to inaugurate 20th president, Amy Novak - Dakota Wesleyan University 360 WebCMS - News

DWU to inaugurate 20th president, Amy Novak

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan University will inaugurate its 20th president this week during the 100th anniversary of the institution’s Blue & White Days.

Amy Novak will be sworn in as Dakota Wesleyan’s 20th president at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 27, in the Sherman Center on campus. Following, there will be a light lunch served in East Main Dining Room, upstairs in the Rollins Campus Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Dakota Wesleyan has been my home for 10 years and there is no place I would rather be to embark on this next step in my career in higher education,” Novak said. “I look forward to working with our faculty, staff and administrative team to achieve the goals set out 129 years ago by those Methodist pioneers, who saw on this prairie the potential to cultivate minds and ideas through a faith-based education. DWU has a strong history and even stronger future.”

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. 

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, 15; Mark, 13; Seemela Grace, 12; Marianna, 10; Elijah, 7; and Zechariah, 5.

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 11 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.  



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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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