Bayless named assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs

April 16, 2013
Dr. Laura Bayless


PLATTEVILLE — Even though Dr. Laura Bayless last lived in Wisconsin nearly 20 years ago, she always thought her career path might bring her back to the state someday. That someday is July 15, when Bayless becomes the new assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

“I worked in Wisconsin in 1991-94, in my first professional job as a resident director at UW-River Falls. I remember the quality of the UW System, the Wisconsin Idea and the value of the educational experience,” she said. “I always wanted to return to the system. UW-Platteville is a great opportunity and is doing an excellent job in student affairs in many, many ways.”

Bayless served as the interim vice president for Student Life at Caldwell College in Caldwell, N.J. during the 2012-13 academic year. Previously, she served five years at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, in St. Mary’s City. She was the dean of students and then was promoted to vice president for Student Affairs in August, 2011.  From 2001-07, Bayless was the dean of students and assistant dean for Student Affairs at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

“Dr. Laura Bayless has demonstrated a deep understanding of the important role student affairs plays in the overall educational experience,” Chancellor Dennis J. Shields said. "Her proven leadership in this area will benefit the entire university as we continue to build on our traditionally strong student affairs efforts.”

Jodi McDermott, the assistant dean for UW-Platteville’s College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture chair of the search-and-screen committee, and said she was impressed with Bayless. "We were fortunate to have an excellent pool of candidates for the assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs position.,” she said. “Dr. Bayless' years of leadership experience in student affairs at a variety of institutions is a great asset and we look forward to the direction and ideas she will bring to the campus. Her connection to the students was obvious and we believe she will be a strong collaborator with Academic Affairs."

The Student Affairs office will now report directly to the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder, and Bayless said the move helps reinforce the focus on learning and development of her revamped division.

“I was very interested in the new reporting line,” she said. “It’s a strong commitment to show that student development happens inside and outside of the classroom.”

The provost said, “Laura has an outstanding background and various experiences in student affairs, serving in a wide variety of roles and several places. I was impressed with the passion for student learning, and our students really connected with her during her interview.”

Bayless earned her Bachelor of Arts in speech communications/mass media from Denison University on Granville, Ohio in 1989 and her Master of Science in college student personnel services at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1991. Ten years later, she was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

“It’s a very exciting time to come to UW-Platteville, with a relatively new chancellor (Dennis J. Shields), a strong strategic plan and a vision for the future,” Bayless said. “UW-Platteville is moving forward and really takes its role as a leader in Southwest Wisconsin, eastern Iowa and northern Illinois very seriously. That is very appealing and it’s nice to be a part of that process.”

Both the provost and chancellor praised the interim vice chancellor, with Chancellor Shields saying “The university thanks Dr. Joanne Wilson for doing a wonderful job of serving as the interim vice chancellor for the last two years. We have a very strong tradition of student affairs at UW-Platteville.”

Written by: Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,



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