Dr. Faith Hensrud became president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College on July 1, 2016.
Hensrud’s career in higher education spans more than two decades and includes teaching and administrative roles at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, also in Superior. Most recently, she served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Superior since 2012.
Dr. Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, nominated Hensrud from among three semifinalists chosen by a search advisory committee with a nationwide scope. The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State system unanimously approved her appointment on April 20, 2016.
In his nominating marks to trustees, Rosenstone described Hensrud “a tested leader with a unique range of experiences.”
“She has the support of students, faculty, and staff at Bemidji State and NTC,” he said. “She has the support of stakeholders in the community.”
As provost at UWS, Hensrud was the university’s chief academic officer, managing a $13 million budget and working with 130 faculty in 12 academic departments. She also oversaw the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Lake Superior Research Institute and the Transportation and Logistics Research Center and Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.
Previously, Hensrud was the school’s interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of faculties from 2010 to 2012; associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and outreach from 2006-10; leader of distance education and continuing education programs and activities from 2002-06; and an associate professor since 2006. She started at UWS in 1995 as a lecturer in the Department of Business and Economics.
Hensrud is also a U.S. Army veteran. She served on active duty with the 24th Transportation Battalion at Ft. Eustis, Va., from 1986-89 and as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve from 1989-2000.
While in the Army, she met her future husband, Neil Hensrud, who retired from UWS as an associate professor of business. The couple has two grown children.
Hensrud holds a bachelor’s degree in human adaptability from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a master’s degree in management from the College of St. Scholastica and a doctorate in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.
As a first-generation college student who grew up on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan, Hensrud said she is deeply committed to providing an affordable, welcoming learning environment where students of all backgrounds can be successful.
“I understand the challenges that our students face as they consider whether or not they belong at a particular college or university,” she said. “I also understand first-hand the transformative role that higher education can play in the life of a student and a community.”