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UW-Stevens Point names provost, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs

June 14, 2022
Old Main in summer
Old Main in summer

A leader in public higher education with a commitment to inclusive excellence and collaboration has been selected as the next vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

La Vonne Cornell-Swanson
La Vonne Cornell-Swanson

La Vonne Cornell-Swanson will begin Aug. 8 as a key member of the chancellor’s senior leadership team. The provost serves as the university’s chief academic officer, providing oversight for the university’s five colleges, more than 100 academic programs and more than 500 faculty and instructional staff members.

Cornell-Swanson comes from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, where she has been associate provost for faculty and student affairs since 2016. Most recently, she has served as provost designee, overseeing operations in the Division of Academic Affairs. Like UW-Stevens Point, St. Cloud State is also a regional comprehensive public university with three campus locations.

Cornell-Swanson has served in a variety of higher education leadership roles since 1994, including several in Wisconsin. She worked for UW System Administration as director and associate professor for the Office of Professional and Instructional Development. Among strategic initiatives there, she led development of the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars Program and the Wisconsin Task Force for Access to Success for Native American Students.

She taught social work as a faculty member at UW-Eau Claire for 15 years, where she was tenured in the Department of Social Work and served as interdisciplinary faculty in Women’s Studies and American Indian Studies. She also taught at UW-Whitewater, where she received her bachelor’s degree in social work. She has been active in shared governance. 

“Dr. Cornell-Swanson brings exceptional academic experience and a track record of inclusive excellence and success in academic affairs to UW-Stevens Point,” said Chancellor Thomas Gibson. “She is a people-focused, collaborative leader, a creative thinker committed to student success, faculty achievement and academic excellence.”

At St. Cloud State, she led a process to design four accelerated graduate degree options for adult returning students. She leads its Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and division for online and distance learning.

Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion has been a personal and professional commitment throughout her career, Cornell-Swanson said. She’s worked with Native American, LatinX and Hmong communities in three states. She has led efforts to integrate DEI standards across the curriculum at St. Cloud State.

“It is an honor to join UW-Stevens Point, a dynamic university with quality faculty recognized as teacher scholars, long term history and commitment to sustainable futures and a renewed focus on active civic engagement, all qualities in a university that I am proud to serve,” she said.

Cornell-Swanson earned her Ph.D. in cultural and linguistic anthropology from UW-Milwaukee. She received her master’s in social work from the University of Oklahoma.

She grew up in Kenosha, Wis., the first in her family to graduate from college.

Gibson thanked Marty Loy, dean of the College of Professional Studies, for his leadership in serving as interim provost and vice chancellor for the past year.