As of January 1, 2014, Dr. Dean Yohnk will assume leadership responsibilities and become the fourth Dean and Campus Executive Officer (CEO) at the University of Wisconsin-Barron County. He will succeed Dr. Paul Chase, who retired at the end of 2013 after serving as the Dean/CEO of UW-Barron County since August 1997.
Prior to accepting this leadership position at UW-Barron County, Dr. Yohnk served as an academic dean and professor at UW-Parkside in Kenosha. Dr. Yohnk has had a successful 25 year career as a university educator, department chair, theatre artistic director, and academic administrator at both UW-Parkside and at Viterbo University in La Crosse. He was also a DPI-certified teacher and has taught English, theatre, and language arts courses at the K-12 level prior to becoming a university educator.
Yohnk was raised on a dairy farm near Cornell and is a 1982 graduate of Cornell High School. His entire family continues to live in the area. “I am excited to return to ‘my roots’ in northwestern Wisconsin and to have the opportunity to work with the talented UW-Barron County faculty and staff, who clearly are committed to providing the highest-quality educational experience to our students in an accessible and affordable manner,” Yohnk said.
“I am also looking forward to getting to know our diverse regional community members and stakeholders as we work together to enhance and promote the essential role that UW-Barron County plays in making our region a better place to learn, live, and prosper,” he added. “UW-Barron County is truly northwestern Wisconsin’s primary gateway to achieving an incredible University of Wisconsin education and degree.”
Dr. Yohnk received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and theater arts education from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. He then served as a certified K-12 public school English and theatre educator for two years prior to seeking a MA/Ph.D. in theatre pedagogy at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. More recently he completed Harvard University’s Higher Education Management Development Program, the Society for College and University Planning’s Integrated Planning Institute, and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences Deans’ Professional Development Program.
While at UW-Parkside, Dr. Yohnk served as the Founding Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, a suburban campus that serves over 5,000 diverse students in the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was also the Director of UW-Parkside’s new $37 million Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.
Prior to becoming the Dean of this newly-formed College, he served for two years as the Dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences, which was the academic home to 34 of UW-Parkside’s 36 departments and programs in the humanities, fine arts, natural sciences, health sciences, social and behavioral sciences, interdisciplinary studies, and education. In 2010 he was selected and appointed by the University Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Chancellor’s Cabinet to serve as the final dean of this expansive college and to lead the strategic academic and fiscal reorganization of this academic unit into three new discipline-focused colleges.
Prior to his appointment as Dean at UW-Parkside Dr. Yohnk also served as a tenured professor, department chair, artistic director, and development director for the university’s award-winning theater arts program. Under his leadership, the Theatre Arts Department received the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Teaching Excellent Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding academic department in the UW System.
Prior to his arrival at UW-Parkside, he held a ten year appointment as professor, chair, and artistic director of the Theatre Arts Department at Viterbo University, his undergraduate alma mater. He also taught an array of theatre courses and directed productions at Bowling Green State University and Owens Community College in Ohio.
Dr. Yohnk has directed and designed over 100 professional, community theatre, and university theatre productions in the past 30 years. His innovative productions have received 42 regional or national Awards of Excellence from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). He has also served on the regional executive committee of KCACTF and received their coveted Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award in 2010 for his service and dedication to the advancement of American college theatre. He has also been a professional artist/educator at such regional professional theatres as The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, The Huron Playhouse (Ohio), and The Peninsula Players Theatre (Door County, Wisconsin). .
During his career as an educator he taught courses in directing, performance, theatre management, stage management, playwriting, theatre history, dramatic literature, and multicultural theatre in America. He has been an active member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and is also the Past President of the Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education and the Wisconsin Council of Theatre Chairs. He is currently an active member of the Arts Wisconsin Board and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences Deans.
Yohnk is now thrilled to continue his successful career at UW-Barron County, which was established in 1966. The 110-acre campus includes six buildings and serves 631 for-credit students and 1,137 continuing education students. There are 27 faculty members and instructional staff. Tuition and fees for two semesters are $5,304, the lowest tuition in the UW System. The campus is owned by Barron County and operated by the University of Wisconsin Colleges, an institution of the University of Wisconsin System comprised of 13 campuses and UW Colleges Online, that offers an Associate of Arts and Science degree and a single Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree, and prepares students of all ages and backgrounds for baccalaureate and professional programs.