Dr. Kathleen Nelson joined Pierpont as the interim president in July 2022.
Prior to joining Pierpont, Dr. Nelson retired as President of Lake Superior College (LSC) in Duluth, Minnesota, having served in this capacity for 13 years. Following her retirement, she served as a Higher Education consultant with the Higher Learning Commission on regional accreditation issues including work with institutions seeking accreditation, revision of the AQIP pathway, fact-finding review for an institution with significant accreditation issue complaints, and several special assignments relating to individual institutions.
Dr. Nelson joined The Registry in 2019 and served as an Interim President at Glenville State University in West Virginia during 2019-2020.
Dr. Nelson’s career includes secondary and post-secondary instruction, counseling and administration in student services and academic affairs. Mentoring and coaching higher education leaders have always been important aspects of her career and personal life.
Dr. Nelson has held various leadership roles in the Minnesota State higher education system, including her role as co-chair with the state’s Chancellor of the 44-member Leadership Council and founding chair of the Minnesota OnLine Council (the state’s online council consortium). Her work with continuous quality improvement processes led to the college’s participation in the Higher Learning Commission’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) accreditation system. This work and the college’s recognition as a leader in online learning have distinguished LSC within higher education circles.
Dr. Nelson served as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for 18 years, served on several HLC committees (Readers’ Panel, Review Committee, Team Chair Corps, Facilitator Corps for AQIP) worked with all of the Commission’s pathway programs, served on the board of trustees for seven years, served as the Board’s Chair and as a representative to the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (CRAC). She also served as a special assignment consultant following her official retirement from LSC.
Dr. Nelson’s work within the Duluth community included her position as vice president of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce; membership on the Lake Superior Community Health Center Board; founding directorship on the region’s economic development organization, APEX; membership on the St. Luke’s Hospital board of directors, and numerous committee and task force memberships. She was recognized twice by the statewide college student association as their “President of the Year,” received the Sam Solon Lifetime Legislative Service award from community leaders and received recognition as one of the region’s “Women in Leadership” award winners.
Dr. Nelson earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, an M.A. in Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a B.A. in Speech Communication/Theater Arts and English Education from Hamline University.