Following a national search, Dickinson State University has named three finalists for the position of vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) and provost. The candidates are Dr. Huijian Dong, interim dean at New Jersey City University; Dr. David Fitz, vice president for institutional integration and community engagement and interim vice president and dean of academic affairs at University of Pittsburgh at Bradford; and Dr. Holly Gruhlke, chief enrollment management and communications officer and dean of college of education, business, and applied sciences at Dickinson State University.

“The search committee did a great job of identifying three strong candidates for this key position,” stated Steve Easton, DSU president. “We look forward to having them on campus and getting feedback from DSU stakeholders about the candidates.”

The VPAA and provost oversees all academic programs and is directly responsible for planning, implementation, coordination, and evaluation of all academic programs, and for all matters pertaining to faculty appointment, retention, and evaluation. The provost is considered the second officer in command at the University and is the leader of DSU’s Dual Mission initiatives.

In addition to the finalists’ visits to campus and interviews, DSU will host open forums for each candidate in the coming weeks. All forums will take place in Thompson Auditorium on the campus of Dickinson State or remote access via Microsoft Teams. All times listed below are in Mountain time.

  • Tuesday, March 28 | 3-4 p.m. – Thompson Auditorium or MS Teams – Dr. Holly Gruhlke
  • Tuesday, April 4 | 3-4 p.m. – Thompson Auditorium or MS Teams – Dr. David Fitz
  • Thursday, April 6 | 9-10 a.m. – Thompson Auditorium or MS Teams – Dr. Huijian Dong

For additional questions, information, and MS Teams links, please contact search committee chair, Krissy Kilwein at 701-502-4304 or