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Rivier University appoints new Vice President for Academic Affairs to lead program growth

Rivier welcomes Dr. Brian Ernsting to the University community.

Rivier University has appointed Dr. Brian Ernsting as Vice President for Academic Affairs. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education instruction and administration, Dr. Ernsting will serve as principal academic officer and lead the development of innovative academic programming and initiatives. He joins a dedicated faculty, experienced senior leadership team, and academic staff who are focused on student success.

Dr. Ernsting will provide leadership of faculty and more than 70 academic degree programs from the associate to doctoral level for Undergraduate, Professional Studies, Graduate, and Doctoral student populations. The University’s undergraduate experience is rooted in the unique Employment Promise Program and strengths-based well-being initiatives, which together with the University’s Journeys of Transformation core curriculum, form a distinctive educational experience. In addition, the University offers a robust curriculum of on-campus and online programs for working professionals in business, nursing, behavioral health, education, computer science, and other in-demand fields.

Dr. Ernsting will work to advance the University’s broad institutional strategy of growth and development of mission and market-centric academic programs, and the opportunities present in the sciences, particularly in biology and biotechnology,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President. “As we open the doors of our new Science and Innovation Center this September, Dr. Ernsting’s experience, coupled with his evidence-based approach to academic program design and entrepreneurial mindset, will advance our commitment to innovation in the sciences.”

Dr. Ernsting previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Wartburg College, where he led the implementation of faculty-designed programs in exercise science, public health, criminology, and engineering. He also held the positions of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Biology Professor at the University of Evansville.

I am honored to join Rivier’s community of students, faculty staff, and administrators,” says Dr. Ernsting. “It is an exciting time at the University, as we open the new Science and Innovation Center and explore new ways to bring our mission to life. I look forward to serving the campus community as we work to transform hearts and minds to serve the world.”

Dr. Ernsting’s research has been published in national and international science journals. He is active in new faculty mentorship and professional development programs. Dr. Ernsting earned his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.