Following a comprehensive national search, Carroll University has named Dr. Mark Blegen as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Blegen will assume his responsibilities at Carroll in January 2019. His career includes more than 15 years of experience and leadership in higher education.
“We’re pleased to welcome Mark as our new provost and vice president of academic affairs,” said Dr. Cindy Gnadinger, president of Carroll University. “His experience in elevating the liberal arts, leading the health sciences, connecting schools and colleges, and engaging with both internal and external partners meshes seamlessly with the stated attributes sought in our next provost and vice president of academic affairs at Carroll University. Mark’s educational philosophy of student-centeredness, preparing them for success in their chosen vocation, and creating a love of lifelong learning is perfectly matched to our own mission, vision and ethos.”
Blegen currently serves as the Dean of Health Sciences at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. His accomplishments include leading efforts on strategic planning, academic initiatives, fundraising, enrollment management and complex budget planning across all degree levels. He is instrumental in the ongoing success of the university’s online occupational therapy assistant program, a unique model that serves more than 500 students nationwide and includes a strong foundation in the liberal arts. Blegen is currently engaged in a collaborative effort with the university’s School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences resulting in the development of innovative 3+2 and 3+3 degrees that link liberal arts majors to multiple clinical doctorates and other graduate healthcare programs.
Other notable outcomes under Blegen’s leadership at St. Catherine University include the development of pathways that link associate, baccalaureate and graduate education, creation of an interdisciplinary research lab, and the teaching of a seminar using art to enhance clinical awareness.
"To have the opportunity to join such an innovative and inspiring community that holds true to its mission and the liberal arts is an incredibly exciting one,” said Blegen. “I’m looking forward to joining the Carroll team, led by Dr. Gnadinger, and working with all the students, faculty and staff on delivering, and living, that mission."
Blegen’s previous roles at St. Catherine University include serving as associate dean within the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, department chair of nutrition and exercise sciences, and program director for exercise science. Blegen began his career in higher education at Mount Union College (now the University of Mount Union) where he was a faculty member in the Department of Human Performance and Sport Management. Prior to his appointment to the faculty of St. Catherine University, he was a faculty member in the Department of Applied Exercise Science at Springfield College in Springfield, MA where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in exercise physiology and nutrition and guided masters and doctoral students in their research efforts.
Blegen graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in sport science, from St. Cloud State University with an M.S. in exercise science, and from Kent State with a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. Blegen is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and is a former senior editor of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. He has been active at the national level, serving on numerous committees for both the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He and his wife, Kristin Schroeder, are the parents of two young daughters, Krin and Lyv.