UMW Chancellor Search - Finalists
Michael Reid (Mike) brings with him over 30 years of experience in higher education administration with 20 of those years as a Vice President/Chancellor for Administration and Finance. He is currently serving as the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at The University of Montana Western and the Chief Fiscal Officer for Helena College. He comes to us with a formal education that includes both an MBA and a BA in Finance from Utah State University. Mike started with the Montana University System in March of 2013 and has been at the University of Montana Western since July 2018.
Although his background in higher education administration has often been centered on university operations and finances, Mike also has significant experience in facility master planning, capital construction, strategic planning, auxiliary operations and events management. Additionally, institutional forecasting and modeling are two of the favorite aspects of his current position. He likes to get into the data to address the present, with a view to the future, and use it as a foundation for decision making and strategic planning.
Mike and his wife Shauna call Dillon Montana home. They share their love of the outdoors and take frequent advantage of the incredible surroundings and activities available in the area.
Jill Thorngren currently serves as Professor and Dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at South Dakota State University. She has provided leadership as a dean at SDSU since 2011. Prior to that time, she served as an Associate Dean and program leader for the Marriage & Family Counseling program at Montana State University. Dr. Thorngren has been licensed as a professional counselor since 1996 and currently holds that license as well as one in marriage and family therapy. She is also credentialed as a nationally Board-Certified Coach and Certified Executive Coach. Jill believes strongly in staying current in the field of practice and has engaged in clinical work throughout her academic career.
As dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, Dr. Thorngren has provided leadership to four large, interdisciplinary departments with the overall mission of enhancing human potential through the promotion of mental, physical, financial, and emotional well-being. The college is home to 16 majors, 19 minors and 13 graduate degree options. Jill oversees an annual budget of more than $12 million and has partnered to bring in nearly $25 million in development funds during her tenure at SDSU.
Jill serves on SDSU’s President’s Council, Deans’ Council, University Budget Oversight Committee, and Management Team as well as holding statewide leadership appointments on the South Dakota Board of Regent’s Education Discipline Council, the Center for Prevention of Childhood Maltreatment, and the South Dakota Critical Needs Teaching Scholarship Board. She also served for six years on the Brookings Area United Way Board and currently sits on the ADVANCE Disability Services Board.
Jill and her husband, Greg Holdeman, enjoy the outdoors, entertaining, and spending time with family, friends, and pets. Jill was born and raised in Idaho and enjoyed growing up there on a small farm and ranch.
Debbie Storrs currently serves as interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the
University of North Dakota where she provides leadership support to academic deans
of seven colleges/schools and the Dean of Libraries & Information Resources. She also
supports leadership in the following academic affairs service units: Assessment &
Accreditation, Essential Studies, Honors Program, National Scholarships & Fellowships,
Online Education & the Teaching Transformation & Development Academy, Registrar, ROTC,
Strategic Enrollment Management (One-Stop Student Services, Student Finance and University
Admissions), Student Academic Success and Career Engagement, UND Arts Collection,
University Analytics & Planning and University Information Technologies. As interim
provost, Storrs facilitates efforts across UND to provide high-quality and innovative
educational programs, recruit and support outstanding faculty and staff, further diversity,
equity and inclusion outcomes, and prioritize student success. Storrs also helps lead
the UND Strategic Plan and serves as captain of Goal 2: Increase undergraduate, graduate
and professional graduation rates.
Storrs joined the University of North Dakota in 2013 to serve as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. After five years as dean, she began serving as Senior Vice Provost in the Office of Academic Affairs before her appointment as interim Provost. Previously, Storrs was the Associate Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences at the University of Idaho where she also achieved full professor.
A first generation college student, Storrs earned a BA in sociology with a minor in psychology from the University of Alaska, and a MS and PhD in sociology from the University of Oregon.
Dr. Jeff Elwell was appointed as the 10th president Eastern New Mexico University (a Hispanic Serving Institution) on April 12, 2017. In April 2018, he became the first Chancellor of the three-campus Eastern New Mexico University System. His agenda as Chancellor of the Eastern New Mexico University System was to keep an education affordable for a mostly first- generation, Pell Grant-eligible student body, improve retention and graduation rates, and keep student debt as low as possible. During his three years at Eastern, Elwell brought in $5.6 million in fundraising, $4.58 million in capital outlay, $15 million in General Obligation bonds, and
$7.28 million in permanent funding (I&G and compensation). He also initiated the Greyhound Connection (retention), the Greyhound Academy (for conditionally-admitted students), and the Greyhound Promise (Teacher Education incentive program approved and funded by the Legislature). During his tenure the main campus set records for enrollment, degrees awarded, retention and 4- and 6-year graduation rates. He stepped down as Chancellor on April 24, 2020.
Prior to coming to Eastern New Mexico University, Dr. Elwell served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2012-17). During his tenure, he substantially increased annual fundraising for the college and external grant funding. Under his leadership, online enrollment also increased dramatically, and he oversaw the renovation of a major instructional building. He also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in playwriting.
Before becoming dean at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Elwell was provost at Auburn University Montgomery (2010-12) and Founding dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University (2004-10). Under his leadership, the college received
$3.7 million in external grants, college enrollment increased by 45% and the number of annual gifts to the college doubled. Elwell chaired the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska (1999-2004) and at Marshall University (1996-99). He served as director of theatre at Mississippi State University (1989-1996) where he was a tenured full professor.
Elwell is the author of 36 plays and has had more than 100 productions, including Evening Education*, The Art of Dating*, Being Frank*, Dead Fish*, Stepping Out*, Escape From Bondage*, A Christmas Carol (adaptation)* which are published by Samuel French, Palmetto Play Service, and Playscripts, Inc., respectively. Twenty-one of his plays have been produced by amateur and/or professional theatres in the United States and Abroad (in addition to those listed above) including: Dinnertime, Falling to Earth, Family Lessons, Fenced In, First Date, Hope and Dreams, My Day, Raising Stallions, The Raven’s Revenge (adapted as a chamber opera), Testimonies, Truth and Consequences, The Turn Down, Unseen and Violent Images. He has had 23 productions of his plays in New York and seven of his plays have been produced abroad.
Elwell holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication/Theater from Southern Illinois University, a master’s degree in Communication/Theatre from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and a bachelor’s in English from California State University-Bakersfield.