November 10, 2015

Dixie State University announces that it has selected Dr. Michael Lacourse as the institution's new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Lacourse will begin his tenure as the university's chief academic officer on Feb. 1, 2016. 

"I am excited to welcome Dr. Lacourse to the Dixie State University family," President Dr. Richard B. Williams, said. "His background of strong leadership and program development will be a great asset to the university as it continues to grow and provide the community the academic offerings they desire." 

Lacourse will be responsible for the overall supervision and administration of the university's academic programs, and he will work closely with the deans of Dixie's six schools in all educational matters. Additionally, he is charged with promoting a learner-centered approach to teaching at Dixie and helping faculty develop and deliver effective instruction that ensures students are actively engaged in the learning process. 

Over the span of his career, Lacourse has been instrumental in developing online academic programs, a skillset Dixie is eager to take advantage of as it works to make earning a college degree more accessible to all people in southern Utah. In accordance with the university's strategic plan, Dixie 2020: Status to Stature that was launched this fall, Dixie is working toward offering more alternative and innovative academic delivery methods such as distance education and online learning. Lacourse will play a key role in these efforts. 

"This is an extraordinary time at Dixie State University under President Williams' leadership. The university's brand new vision under the new strategic plan will help Dixie move forward and offer new learning opportunities to students," Lacourse said. "This is an important point in student history, and I am excited to have a role in it. I believe my background in developing new programs is a great fit for Dixie State University and I am excited to get started." 

Since 2013, Lacourse has served as the founding dean of the College of Health Sciences at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In this role, Lacourse established the college's initial strategic plan and operational system, created new departments, implemented nine new graduate and undergraduate degree programs, and established an international partnership in Costa Rica. 

Prior to his appointment at Sam Houston State, Lacourse was the founding dean of the School of Health and Human Services at National University in San Diego, California. There, he created 16 degree programs at four regional campuses. Under his leadership, enrollment in the school increased from 300 students in 2007 to 4,000 in 2012. 

Throughout his career, Lacourse has served as an associate dean, department chair, director of a research laboratory, coordinator of graduate programs and professor of kinesiology. He holds doctorates in Human Performance and Educational Inquiry Methodology and a master's in Kinesiology from Indiana University and a bachelor's in Kinesiology from Springfield College. 

Lacourse was chosen as Dixie's new provost and vice president for academic affairs after the institution conducted a nationwide search. As part of the process, a selection committee interviewed semifinalists, and finalists were brought to campus, where they met with administrators, faculty and staff. All those who met with the candidates were invited to provide their feedback about each candidate.