Papini to be University of Illinois provost, vice chancellor

© 2017-Brookings Register

BROOKINGS – Dennis Papini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at South Dakota State University since 2012, has accepted the position of vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

UIS made the announcement Friday.

“I want to thank Dean Papini for his leadership and vision during his time at South Dakota State University,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has led an effort to revitalize liberal arts education at our university in a way that allows students in his college and throughout the entire university opportunities to grow and fulfill their academic potential. We are thankful for his many accomplishments at SDSU and wish him well in his new endeavor.”

Papini has led the second-largest college at SDSU with nearly 2,200 students, 15 departments and a variety of baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. He was instrumental in establishing a faculty task force that developed framework for academic realignment and process that led to the School of Design in 2015. The school provides instructional collaboration for architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, studio art and interior design programs.

The model has led to further development and the potential for additional schools, including a School of Performing Arts in the near future.

“SDSU and the community of Brookings have been a wonderful home for me and my wife the past five years,” Papini said. “I am thankful for the opportunity to work with tremendous individuals in the College of Arts and Sciences, and recognize the accomplishments and progress we have made together. I will miss the daily interaction with my leadership team, the faculty and students, but the opportunity at UIS is the next step in where I see my career going in higher education.”

Papini was also responsible for implementing numerous degree programs at SDSU, most notably a doctorate in biochemistry in partnership with both Sanford Health and Avera Health. He also supported a master’s degree program in industrial and organizational psychology and received approval to plan for new undergraduate majors in public relations and community and regional planning.


Papini served as a member of the steering committee for IMPACT 2018, SDSU’s current five-year strategic plan. He also initiated a faculty task force on teaching and learning upon his arrival at SDSU to recommend a model for student success in his college that resulted in the implementation of an experiential learning certificate.

Papini came to SDSU from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he chaired the Department of Psychology in the school’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. He has also served on the faculty at Western Illinois University, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Southeast Missouri University.

Papini’s new role at UIS will begin July 1. He will remain in his current role at SDSU until around June 22.

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