Dean Papini of College of Arts and Sciences to leave SDSU


Dennis Papini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will leave South Dakota State June 22. He has accepted a position as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Springfield, which will begin July 1.

“SDSU and the community of Brookings have been a wonderful home for me and my wife the past five years,” Papini said in an SDSU press release. “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.”

In Papini’s time as dean, since 2012, the college has added four degree programs, established the School of Design and will soon break ground on a Performing Arts Center Phase II. Papini helped to launch an Underrepresented Dissertation Fellows Program to bring minority faculty to teach at SDSU.

“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.”

The UIS is the designated liberal arts institution within the Illinois university system. Papini plans to take what he’s learned at SDSU and apply it to his new position. He is confident in the college’s ability to grow and progress at SDSU, he’ll just observe “from afar.”

“I believe that our greatest achievement has been changing the culture of the college so that the immense passion and creativity of the faculty can be empowered to change our approach to liberal education, and in the process provide students and faculty with academic opportunities and experiences that create the conditions for deeper learning, more active teaching and mutually transformational growth,” Papini wrote in an email to faculty.

There will be a search for a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This adds  to the list of administrative position searches the university must start or is currently in the process of searching.

This includes positions such as the dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, dean of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, director of institutional research and analysis, and director of diversity, inclusion, equity and access.