Jeff Wells, the Dennis and Vaune Johnson Endowed Chair in U.S. History and professor of history at Dickinson State University, completed his two-year term as president of the Midwestern History Association during the recent Midwestern History Conference, May 30–31 at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The MHA advocates for greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians, seeks to rebuild the infrastructure necessary for the study of the American Midwest, promotes greater academic discourse relating to Midwestern history, and offers prizes to scholars who excel in the study of the Midwest. The MHA shares the US Census Bureau’s definition of the Midwest and includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The association, founded by scholars who attended the 2014 Northern Great Plains History Conference at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is marking its tenth anniversary this year.

Wells has served the MHA for more than eight years including terms as associate editor of the journal Middle West Review (2017–2021), vice president of the MHA (2020–2022), and president (2022–2024). He will continue to serve on the Middle West Review editorial board.

During Wells’ term as president the MHA increased its visibility by adopting new branding including a new logo and tenth-anniversary logo, expanded its social media presence to new platforms, and increased its annual revenue.

His term also saw several transformations related to the Midwestern History Conference. During the past two years, the MHC resumed traditional in-person attendance, registrations returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, and the conference attracted record numbers of first-time participants. In addition to the branding and social media efforts, the influx of new participants may also be attributed to increased travel grant awards for students, early career scholars, and contingent faculty.

The first Midwestern History Conference was held in 2015 at Grand Rapids. Although the conference has grown in popularity, Wells said it has long been a goal to make it more accessible and affordable for potential attendees living in the western part of the region by rotating host sites. Therefore, Wells helped the MHA conclude its successful ten-year partnership with the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University and reach an agreement for the 2025 conference to be held at the State Historical Society of Iowa at Des Moines.

Midwestern History Association memberships are available through the University of Nebraska Press. More information is available at For information on Dickinson State University’s History programs, please visit