Rundquist brings art and science to new role

News reporter, editor, scientist and administrator — new Arts & Sciences interim dean has done it all

Brad Rundquist

Newly named Interim Arts & Science Dean Brad Rundquist recently took over the College from former dean, Debbie Storrs, who was named UND Senior Vice Provost. Photo by Jackie Lorentz/UND Today.

Brad Rundquist is a firm believer in the liberal arts.

“They contribute significantly to lifelong success,” said Rundquist, a geography professor who was recently named interim dean of Arts & Sciences.

He knows that firsthand. As a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he, like many students, wasn’t sure about his major. He explored a variety of programs, settling on journalism. Along the way, he earned minors in geography, biology and Latin.

“Those minors are in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities,” he said. “I understand and appreciate those areas and the arts.”

After earning his undergraduate degree, Rundquist worked as a reporter and editor for a daily newspaper. In between earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from Kansas State, he worked for Lockheed Martin, supporting the astronaut photography program at the Johnson Space Center. He joined UND as a geography faculty member in 2000.

Those experiences were crucial to his academic career.

“I enjoyed being a reporter and meeting people,” Rundquist said. “That experience helped my writing, and benefited me in writing papers and grants. Latin, too, helped me understand the English language and improved my spelling.”

Rundquist’s research is on remote sensing and GIS applications. He plans to continue researching and advising graduate students during his appointment as interim dean.

Strategic planning

Rundquist was tapped to serve as interim dean after Debbie Storrs was named senior vice provost.

Tom DiLorenzo


“Brad has the right mix of administrative experience, thoughtfulness and a can-do attitude to be perfect in this interim role,” said Thomas DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “I am really looking forward to him being part of the academic leadership team.”

“I’m honored to be named interim dean,” Rundquist said. “We have excellent faculty, researchers, teachers and artists. It’s a privilege to work with and advocate on their behalf.”

Though he doesn’t plan on making major changes, he will focus on a few key areas: the liberal arts, more collaboration, research seed money, and student retention.

His top priority is fulfilling Goal 1, provide a strong liberal arts foundation of the One UND Strategic Plan.

“It’s important to advocate and promote the liberal arts,” he said. “It will benefit students and faculty.”

Team building

Rundquist’s goal is to see the college advance and be positioned as well as possible for the future. To do that, he’s assembled a team that he believes will ensure continuity and advancement.

Jeff Weatherly (psychology) will continue as senior associate dean, a position he’s held for several years. Karyn Plumm (psychology) will serve as associate dean for academic success, in addition to being a faculty fellow in the Office of the Provost. Yvette Koepke (English), will serve as a faculty fellow for academic success in the dean’s office.

Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Mark Hoffmann (chemistry) will serve as associate dean for research, and Lucian Stone (philosophy & religious studies) will serve as faculty fellow for research and creative arts, assisting Hoffmann with work in the fine arts and humanities.

Ryan Zerr (essential studies director) has been named a faculty fellow for curriculum, where he will coordinate High Impact Practices, promote liberal arts, and continue some work with essential studies.

“This is a great team with a lot of experience,” said Rundquist. “This is the right time to advance the College.”

Focus: North Dakota

Other goals are to work with departments to develop a more collaborative and interdisciplinary curriculum, including team teaching and course releases for research and creative activities.

He walks the walk: he has co-taught an interdisciplinary practicum for a few years. The class brings together students and faculty across Arts & Sciences, as well as other colleges, to research and learn about North Dakota.

This fall, students in the N.D. Digital Atlas project, which he is teaching with Mike Jacobs (Communication and the Grand Forks Herald), will take a field trip to Emmons, Logan, and McIntosh Counties to learn about the culture of Germans from Russia. Among many stops, they’ll visit the homestead of Lawrence Welk, a legendary band leader and musician who was born in Strasburg, N.D.

“I want to bring students of diverse backgrounds together to learn about the state,” Rundquist said. “I like an applied research focus on North Dakota.”

Seed money for faculty is another priority. He spent the last three years as associate dean for research, and notes that seed money is a gateway to other research funding.

“I want to work with faculty to identify strengths that align with the Grand Challenges and to support them as they develop research papers, creative activities and seek grant funding,” he said. He added that he has been working on that since the Strategic Plan was released two years ago.

He will also focus on student retention, and build on the efforts of Storrs to improve student advising, he said.

“I’ve been at UND for 18 years,” Rundquist said. “I’ll do my best for the College, students, faculty and staff to help us succeed, prosper and grow.”

There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future, said Rundquist.

“We have excellent students, faculty and staff,” he said. “There will be challenges, but I’m optimistic about the direction we’re going.”