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Chancellor Dennis J. Shields is beginning his seventh year at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. During that time, he has guided the campus through tremendous growth: in programs, resources and facilities. By using innovative public-private methods, he led the construction of Rountree Commons and Bridgeway Commons, ensuring all freshmen and sophomores remain engaged in campus life through residential living. In addition, he has championed the faculty and staff by working with all aspects of shared governance, ensuring the university remains committed to the core mission of providing an affordable and accessible education.
Chancellor Shields is committed to diversity initiatives on campus. In 2012, he established a chief diversity officer position, along with a new Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Since 2012, the division has overseen a number of initiatives to support an inclusive community, such as establishing the University Bias Incident Team, founding the Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veteran Students, re-envisioning the Patricia A. Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality, and providing pre-college programs to students from at-risk populations.
Chancellor Shields has been actively involved in the national dialogue around diversity and inclusion in higher education. He currently serves as chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, Division III. Over the past decade, the racial and ethnic diversity of students at UW-Platteville more than doubled. In 2015, racial and ethnic minorities made up nearly 9 percent of the student body, compared to 4 percent in 2005. In addition, the profile of racially and ethnically diverse students has shifted from being primarily African-American to include a higher proportion of people who identify as Hispanic or Asian.
An Iowa native, Chancellor Shields earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Graceland College in 1977 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1982. Immediately prior to becoming Chancellor at UW-Platteville, Chancellor Shields served as acting vice president of Student Affairs at the City College of New York – City University of New York. He has held administrative positions at the Phoenix School of Law, Duke University School of Law, the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Iowa.