Dr. Dean Yohnk, Ph.D., began his term as the new Dean and Campus Executive Officer (CEO) of the UW-Barron County campus on January 1, 2014. He is a native of Chippewa County and graduated from Cornell High School. Prior to this recent appointment at UW-Barron County, Dean served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Director of the new $37 million Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities at UW-Parkside in Kenosha.
Dean began his work at UW-Parkside in the fall of 2001 and served as a theatre professor, department chair, artistic director, and development director for the school’s award-winning theater arts program. Under his leadership, the UW-Parkside Theatre Arts Department became the first fine arts department in the UW System to ever be awarded the coveted Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding academic department in the UW System. While at UW-Parkside Dean completed the Management Development Program in Educational Leadership at Harvard University.
Prior to his arrival at UW-Parkside Dean held a 10 year appointment as professor, department chair, and artistic director of Theatre Arts at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. As a graduate student he also taught classes and directed productions at Bowling Green State University of Ohio, where he earned his MA and Ph.D. in Theatre Arts. Dean was also certified by the Wisconsin DPI in the areas of theatre, English, and language arts and has continued to teach courses and workshops at the PK-12 level throughout his career.
Dean has directed and designed over 100 professional and university theatre productions in the past 30 years, many of which have received awards of excellence from state and national theatre organizations, including the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. During his career as an educator he has taught courses in performance, directing, playwriting, theatre history, dramatic literature, multicultural theatre in America, and gender and sexuality on stage and screen. He has also been a professional theatre director, actor, designer, and educator and has worked at such regional theatres as The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis), The Huron Playhouse (Ohio), and The Peninsula Players Theatre (Door County, Wisconsin).
Dean also served for more than a decade on the regional executive committee of the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival and received their coveted Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award in 2010 for his service and dedication to the advancement of college theatre in America. He has also been an active member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Arts Wisconsin, and is also the Past President of the Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education and the Wisconsin Council of Theatre Chairs.