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Riverland names two new deans

Published 11:03am Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Riverland Community College has named two faculty members, each originally hired last year, to dean positions.

Riverland announced Tuesday it has named Matt Bissonette the new dean of workforce education and J.C. Turner the new interim dean of liberal arts and sciences.

Bissonette, a Stewartville native, brings private sector experience to Riverland including Walt Disney, Georgia Pacific and Bethel University, as well as his own consulting work with executives and organizations.

“We are excited to have Matt as part of our academic team,” said Mary Davenport, interim vice president of academic and student affairs. “Riverland is a key partner in meeting the area’s workforce needs and growing the region’s economy. Matt’s experience with the private and nonprofit sectors brings fresh collaboration skills that will strengthen and build Riverland’s relationships with business and industry.”

Bissonette’s has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in transformational leadership from Bethel Seminary and a post-secondary teaching certificate from Bethel University.

Riverland hired him in August as director of training and development. He transitioned into his role as dean in late March. Aside from his duties as an academic dean of the workforce programs, Bissonette will continue to supervise Riverland’s Training and Development division. His main office will be at the Albert Lea Campus, but Bissonette will work closely with faculty and staff in Owatonna and Austin, too.

Turner has a strong background in media and electronic communications and multimedia technologies, with a bachelor’s degree in speech from Iowa State University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin. He served as an associate dean at St. Cloud State University from 2000 to 2009 and brings 15 years of strong classroom teaching experience from the University of Northern Iowa as an assistant/associate professor and as an instructor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Turner’s creative credentials include work as executive producer, director, editor, videographer, multimedia author, designer and sound effects artist. He has delivered a number of presentations, publications and externally funded grant projects. Turner’s main office will be on the Austin campus.

“J.C.’s experience in teaching is important to growing strong faculty, while his experience within the four-year college environment will bring opportunities to enhance collaboration with our university partners,” Davenport said. “Building upon our current university partnerships will allow Riverland Community College students enhanced options for seamless transfer and additional possibilities for baccalaureate degree completion.”

Riverland hired Turner in October as director of instructional technology and intellectual property. He will continue in this position until June 30, when dean Jan Waller retires.


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