Chapin named associate vice chancellor

Wes ChapinJuly 6, 2016 -- Longtime faculty member Wes Chapin has been named the associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has served as interim associate vice chancellor in that position for nearly three years. The associate vice chancellor is the lead academic administrator responsible for program audit and review, learning assessment, institutional accreditation and faculty development.

Chapin, of Woodville, is the director of graduate studies and has additional responsibilities for program prioritization, Activity Insight, UW System reporting and process management, and the administration of internal university faculty and staff grants. Outreach and Continuing Education, the Honors program and Falcon Scholars report to him.

"I am honored to be selected for this position," said Chapin, "As a first-generation college student, I learned to appreciate the life-changing experiences that public universities such as UWRF provide. As both a faculty member and as associate vice chancellor, I value the opportunities to contribute to the university's mission of helping students learn. I look forward to this because we have both amazing faculty and staff at UWRF who share that vision, and with whom I feel privileged to work."

Chapin has long-standing ties to the university. He is a Wisconsin native and earned his bachelor of science degree in economics and political science from UW-River Falls in 1988. After earning a master of arts in international affairs from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois, Chapin began working for the UWRF in 1997. He was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and to full professor in 2008.

Chapin's publications include a book, six articles in peer-reviewed journals, and several book chapters and reviews. His academic contributions have been recognized several times. These include awards for teaching, advising, and service by the College of Arts and Sciences, and a certificate for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science from the American Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha. He has also served multiple terms as chair of the Political Science and International Studies departments.

Chapin has demonstrated his commitment to the institution's strategic plan, and the goal of increasing global education and engagement, in particular. He led efforts to create the International Traveling Classroom (ITC), and was the program's coordinator. Since 2001, he has taken more than 400 students abroad as a group leader for Semester Abroad Europe, the ITC (twice), Scotland (twice), and Germany (13 times). His experience with strategic planning also includes completion of the Society for College and University Planning Institute, and leadership roles during the last two university-level strategic planning processes. The latter involved membership on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (2006-07), the Strategic Planning Coordinating Group (2011-12), and the Strategic Plan Progress Committee (2012-13).

Over the years Chapin has also played an important role in shared governance, including being elected to five faculty senate terms, and being elected three times as senate chair and faculty representative to the UW System and its Board of Regents. During the 1980s he was elected to two terms as student body president. Currently, he is a member of 12 university committees, including the Assessment Committee, General Education and University Requirements, Graduate Studies Curriculum Committee, and the International Programs Committee.

In addition, Chapin is the university's liaison, and assurance system coordinator to the Higher Learning Commission, and he is beginning his fourth year as vice president of the Arrowhead Model United Nations Association. His professional contributions include three years as a member of the UWRF Foundation Board, and being elected several times as an officer of the Wisconsin Political Science Association, and the UWRF Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.  

For more information, contact Executive Assistant to the Chancellor Beth Schommer at or 715-425-0662.

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