BVU Names Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Buena Vista University has named Dr. Heidi Manning as its new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Manning comes to BVU from Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., where she worked the past five years, serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Physics. Prior to her work at Misericordia, Manning served 20 years in administrative and faculty roles at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., including serving as Division Chair for Sciences and Mathematics.

Manning earned her bachelor’s degree in physics at Gustavus Adolphus College. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota.

In addition to administrative and teaching roles, Manning has served as a Visiting Associate Research Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, participating in the development of the Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite for the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover). As a post-doctoral researcher in the Atmospheric Experiment Branch at Goddard Space Flight Center, Manning worked in the development and calibration of the Cassini Orbiter Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer that orbited Saturn.

“I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to be an astronaut,” she says. “But, I had the opportunity to work on a project for my dissertation that would be carried by the Space Shuttle. That opened the doors at NASA for me, and throughout my teaching career, and I was able to maintain contacts with my research colleagues at NASA.”

Additionally, Manning has also worked to help secure nearly $2.4 million in grants for the colleges and universities she has served.

“Dr. Manning is a scholar, having worked with NASA on the Mars rover project,” says BVU President Brian Lenzmeier. “She’s helped direct 44 full-time faculty members and has vast experience in developing and launching new academic programs. She has taught interdisciplinary courses that have blended arts with sciences. And, she has worked to grow her previous institutions through success as a fundraiser, in grant writing for the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment of the Humanities, as well as through her work with benefactors, whose gifts built and sustained facilities and programs.

“Beyond all of her experience and success, Dr. Manning was described as a person with great integrity, ‘a champion for all faculty regardless of academic discipline,’” Lenzmeier continues. “These attributes and accomplishments set her apart, demonstrating why she will be a remarkable fit as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.”

“I’m very excited about joining the leadership team at BVU,” Manning says. “BVU knows its strengths, and its focus on rural education. BVU provides an education that will really make a difference in the lives of our students and the communities they serve. Education at BVU is transformational for students. That strength, the strength of the institution, and the direction it is going were all very attractive to me.”

Manning, a native of Fergus Falls, Minn., says she and her husband, David, are thrilled to be returning to the Midwest, where many of their family members reside. The couple has two sons, both of whom are engaged in doctoral programs at the University of Rochester (NY) and the University of Minnesota.

“We are also excited about the diversity in the community in Storm Lake,” Manning says. “It’s a fascinating city and we’re anxious to live in a rural city with so many different cultures represented. It will be so interesting to see how our students and our University develop and interact as our world becomes more diverse. We are so fortunate to be at a place where students can live, work, and experience such a wonderful breadth of cultures.”