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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

NDSU Dean Selected to Lead University’s College of Arts and Letters

North Dakota State University Dean Kent Sandstrom has been selected in a national search to lead the College of Arts and Letters, effective July 10, 2017.

Old Dominion University Provost Augustine "Austin" Agho said Sandstrom brings to ODU stature as a scholar, strong vision for leadership, and passionate commitment to faculty and student success and inclusive excellence.

"Dr. Sandstrom is the ideal choice to lead the College of Arts and Letters," Agho said, in announcing the appointment. "He is a congenial collaborator and a proven leader who has managed a similar college at North Dakota State University with great thoughtfulness and unwavering commitment to excellence. I am confident that his measured, thoughtful and deliberate approach to management will enable him to work with faculty, students, staff and alumni to advance the mission of the college."

Sandstrom is currently a professor and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at North Dakota State University (NDSU), in Fargo, North Dakota. At NDSU, he oversees a college with a budget of more than $15 million, 1,755 students, 127 full-time faculty, 40 lecturers, 33 staff members, 10 departments, the Division of Performing Arts, the School of Music, eight centers, and interdisciplinary programs in International Studies and Women's & Gender Studies.

During Sandstorm's tenure at NDSU, he increased rates of scholarly productivity by more than 45 percent and enhanced faculty involvement in sponsored research, as reflected in more than a 200 percent increase in grants and contracts received by faculty in the college.

Sandstrom developed a variety of strategic initiatives to enhance diversity in the college, including the establishment of diversity scholarships, Tribal College partnerships, an Anti-Racism Rapid Response Team and a College Diversity Committee charged with developing strategies to enhance recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff.

In addition, he stepped up development efforts and worked with the development foundation and department chairs to garner endowments and bequests that totaled more than $10 million in the past three years. Sandstrom also supported continuous opportunities for faculty development in the college and successfully nominated faculty, staff and students for several distinguished national, regional and university awards. Prior to joining NDSU in 2011, Sandstrom served as professor and head of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at the University of Northern Iowa and as the executive officer of the Midwest Sociological Society.

Sandstrom holds a Ph.D., M.A. and B.A in Sociology from the University of Minnesota.

He has received the President's Special Award from the Midwest Sociological Society, the Herbert Blumer Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and the Regents' Faculty Excellence Award from the Iowa Board of Regents. He has also received the Outstanding Research Award, the Teaching Excellence Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Northern Iowa, where he worked for 18 years. Kent is the author of 10 books and 40 other publications. His most recent books are "Symbols, Selves, and Social Reality" (Oxford University Press, 2013) and "Inside Social Life" (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Agho praised the work of Interim Dean Dana Heller and the search team members, who vetted a strong pool of candidates for the position.

"I extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Dana Heller for her excellent work as interim dean over the past year," Agho said. "She has done an excellent job in providing strong and stable leadership to the College.

"Kent was selected from an extremely strong pool of candidates," Agho continued. "I want to offer my thanks to Jeff Tanner, dean of the Strome College of Business; members of the search team, Michael Carhart, Michael Clemons, Martha Daas, Kelly Duggins, Elizabeth Esinhart, Jennifer Fish, Bill Gambrell, Joyce Hoffmann, Brian Nedvin, Yvette Pearson, Leslie-Dawn Quick, Avi Santo, Cullen Strawn, Melvina Sumter and Agnieszka Whelan; and search firm representatives Jackie Zavitz and Julia Salem from Heidrick & Struggles for the energy and time they put into the process, and for identifying such a strong candidate."

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