Wartburg News

Biermann named VP for academic affairs, dean of faculty

Wartburg College has named Dr. Mark Biermann as the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

President Darrel Colson announced Biermann’s appointment Thursday. Biermann, who will begin his Wartburg duties July 1, is currently dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at Taylor University, an interdenominational Christian college in Upland, Ind., with nearly 2,600 students.

“Dr. Biermann brings to us a clear love of teaching and learning, a firm commitment to collaboration between academic and co-curricular programming, and strong experience in shaping spaces and programs to advance the educational mission of an institution,” Colson said.

“Moreover,” he added, “he is strongly attracted to our mission and the opportunity to advance the strategic plan to enhance our pursuit of that mission.”

Biermann succeeds Dr. Ferol Menzel, who retired in June 2011 after 12 years in the position. Dr. Fred Ribich has served as the interim dean.

“I resonate strongly with Wartburg College’s commitment to diversity, global citizenship and local community engagement,” Biermann said. “I have led successful initiatives in each of these areas and am prepared to provide leadership in these areas at an institutional level.”

Wartburg, which enrolls 1,805 students, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“As a Lutheran who has a deep and abiding love of the liberal arts,” Biermann said, “I believe that I clearly understand the mission of Wartburg College. I have worked in a variety of institutions of higher education from state and federal public institutions to church-related and Christian colleges and universities. I believe that a church-related college such as Wartburg provides an outstanding framework for programming of excellence in the decades to come.”

Biermann began his administrative duties at Taylor in June 2008. The college has been ranked No. 1 for the past five years among Midwest Regional Colleges in the annual U.S. News and World Report College Guide.

Biermann took the lead in creating the structure for the School of Natural and Applied Sciences, bringing together three academic programs.

He also played a key role in the development, design and construction of a new 137,000-square-foot science center, which is largely powered by wind turbines, a photovoltaic solar array and geothermal systems.

Biermann earned his bachelor and master’s degrees and his doctorate in optics at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.  He was a professor of physics at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., where he was named Outstanding Young Faculty Member; Buena Vista University, Storm Lake; Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; and Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Ky., where he was cited for Excellence in Research and Creative Activities.

Biermann is an accomplished scholar and has published extensively in his academic field as well as  published and presented on topics related to teaching and the liberal arts.

“I am excited by the outstanding opportunity that this leadership position at Wartburg College represents,” Biermann said.