With the appointment of two new vice provosts, Concordia has welcomed a new set of skills and expertise to its academic leadership roster.

On Friday, April 1 two individuals who possess a demonstrated commitment to Concordia’s Lutheran mission began their new roles: Brooke Johnson, M.A.T., as Vice Provost of Academic Operations, and Dan Sem, Ph.D., as Vice Provost for Research and Innovation. The two report to Leah Dvorak, Ph.D., who is currently serving as interim provost for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.

Johnson joined the CUWAA team from Concordia University, Chicago, where she served as registrar and an adjunct instructor for two and a half years. Prior to CUC, she held various academic operational roles at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville and Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. She holds a master’s in teaching from Rockford University and is currently in pursuit of her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from CUC.

As vice provost of academic operations, a brand-new position for Concordia, Johnson oversees CUWAA’s registrar operations and library services, and will assume oversight of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness after Tamara Ferry, Ph.D., retires this summer. Her efforts will focus on improving and streamlining operational processes that support academic functions to ensure students receive prompt and accurate service.

“I am motivated by the idea of service, a deeply rooted practice within the Lutheran tradition and one that is emphasized in the CUWAA mission statement,” Johnson said. “Service to students and my colleagues is what has guided me to CUWAA and continues to motivate my work. I’d like to see CUWAA create a curricular and operational rhythm that, in conjunction with technology, will strengthen the student experience while offering opportunities for team members to ‘work smarter not harder.’”

Sem, who previously served as dean of business for CUWAA, now oversees the university’s grant funding and research efforts, as well as its innovation, startup, and tech transfer efforts. The newly created vice provost role also sees Sem creating and implementing a vision for alternative revenue sources for the university. Already, efforts are underway on this front. Most notably, Concordia launched CU Ventures over the summer. The initiative seeks to connect students and faculty with the capital, mentoring, and other resources needed to help turn ideas into real-world business enterprises. Concordia, meanwhile, retains a financial stake in the new company.

The new VP role leverages Sem’s extensive expertise as a successful entrepreneur and researcher in the biomedical field. He has over 25 years of experience in health care entrepreneurship and innovation, first in the biotechnology sector, then in academia. He has published a book, “Purple Solutions: A bipartisan roadmap to better healthcare in America,” as well as 70 papers and book chapters. He also holds 10 issued patents and has co-founded several companies.

Sem holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from UW-Madison and law and MBA degrees from Marquette University. He joined the CUW faculty in 2011 as an instructor within Concordia’s School of Pharmacy and then, in 2016, transitioned into the dean role. He maintains an appointment in Concordia’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Additionally, he serves as CEO of Bridge to Cures, co-founder and director of the Remedium Exchange (Rx) Thank Tank, and president of CU Ventures.

Related: The entrepreneurial mindset at Concordia

Concordia’s former associate dean of business, Matt Hurtienne, Ph.D., has stepped up to serve as interim dean for Concordia’s business schools while the university searches for Sem’s successor.

The new vice provost roles emerged from the university’s five-year strategic plan, which includes an emphasis on non-tuition revenue streams and a desire to allocate and invest in innovation across the university to help support and extend Concordia’s mission.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.