UW-Stout News Story

Alm named CAHSS dean

June 18, 2012

Maria Alm, an Eau Claire native and a professor at the University of Northern Iowa, has been appointed dean of University of Wisconsin-Stout College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Alm begins her duties Wednesday, Aug. 1. She replaces interim dean Ray Hayes, who has retired after 39 years at UW-Stout.

“UW-Stout has an excellent reputation, and its designation as a polytechnic university makes it unique in the Wisconsin educational system,” Alm said. “When I interviewed for the position, I was so impressed by the quality and dedication of the faculty, staff and administrators that I left the interview thinking I really want to work with these people.”

Alm served for more than a decade as director of the UNI Institute of Humanities and Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is former chair of the department of modern languages at UNI.

“Maria will be a tremendous addition to the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “There are a number of important initiatives under way in the college, and Maria has the education, experience and drive to ensure they are successful.”

For example, Sorensen said, the college is preparing to launch its Master of Fine Arts in Design program, a 60-credit terminal degree program that has taken years to develop and execute. More information about the program is available here.

Alm was born in Eau Claire, but her family moved away shortly after. “My roots are in northern Wisconsin, and I have always wanted to return,” she said, adding that her father’s family is from Eau Claire and her mother’s is from Haugen.

One of the key responsibilities of a dean, Alm said, is to hire quality faculty.

“The most important thing we can do in fiscally demanding times is to invest in people, in our teaching faculty and staff,” she said. “Without quality instructors, the best-equipped labs and classrooms are useless.” That responsibility also includes “creating a positive, dynamic, creative educational and work environment.”

Goals for the college include continuing the work already begun on updating the general education program, promoting new majors in the college, internationalizing the curriculum, including providing global opportunities for students and faculty and ensuring all departments have quality facilities.

Alm received her bachelor’s degree in Russian from the University of Minnesota and her master’s degree and doctorate from UW-Madison. Her doctorate in Slavic languages and literature.

Her husband, Steven, is a professional musician who performs and teaches piano, guitar and music theory. They are the parents of three college-age sons.

More information about the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is available here.

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