Even though Barbara J. Keinath has lived in the north Twin Cities metro area while pursuing a distinguished career at Metropolitan State University, her recent move to Crookston is proving to be a comfortable transition. Keinath, who began her duties as vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Minnesota Crookston on July 1, says, "I feel very much at home at UMC, thanks to the students, faculty, and staff. I'm excited to be part of the Crookston community. Crookston and the surrounding region remind me a lot of the area in Michigan where I grew up."
Keinath comes to the U of M Crookston as its new chief academic officer well prepared and eager to work with faculty, staff, students, and community members. She not only has strong teaching experience, having served as a professor of management, but she also has a wealth of administrative experience, having served as vice provost and dean of graduate studies at Metropolitan State University. Additionally, she has experience working with online education, having served as director of online learning, also at Metro State.
"The area of online education is certainly a growing field in higher education, and the U of M Crookston has a reputation as a leader. I look forward to working with everyone on campus to further capitalize on and refine our strengths in this area," she says. "That said, I also know UMC has a very strong reputation for experiential, hands-on learning with its on-campus degree programs, and I look forward to that as well. In the end, it comes down to providing access to quality higher education for students--whether on-campus or online--and UMC has proven it does both quite well."
Keinath is no stranger to the University Minnesota system, as she holds a Ph.D. in educational administration with a focus on higher education and policy from the University of Minnesota. She also offers, "My son Brandon and his wife Molly are both graduates of the University of Minnesota Duluth."
Keinath earned her Master of Arts in college student personnel from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in German also from Michigan State. "I like to think I have a good understanding of the student affairs side of the equation as well as the academic side," she says, "and we know that when the two sides work together in tandem, the overall educational experience is strongest."
Keinath's husband Jim is city administrator of Circle Pines, Minn., where they've lived for the last 28 years. The two also have a lake cabin near Longville, Minnesota, where they enjoy spending weekends. "My hobbies and interests," she says, "include birding, gardening, reading, and sustainability and environmental issues."
"I couldn't wait to get started at UMC," says Keinath. "A rich history, strong academic programs, talented students, and dedicated faculty and staff mean a bright future. In the short time I've been here I can tell there is a wonderful feeling of community among the students, faculty, and staff here, and the campus is truly beautiful. I am pleased and humbled to become a part of it as vice chancellor for academic affairs."
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