What is a provost?

If you don’t know what a provost is, you shouldn’t feel bad. With the exception of people who work for a university, the term provost may be a bit of a mystery. If you check the origins of the word “provost”, you’ll find that the original definition was “keeper of a prison” – certainly not what a university provost is today!

The modern university provost is the university’s chief academic officer and under the president is responsible for the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the university and for the allocation of resources that will support those priorities. The provost works closely with the academic deans, department heads, student services professionals, faculty and staff to provide the highest possible quality of educational programs, both within and outside the classroom, for undergraduate and graduate students. An important part of the provost’s job is also to ensure that we recruit, retain, encourage and support an outstanding and diverse faculty; each of whom will make positive contributions to the university and to their discipline in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service.

At NMU, the units that report to the provost include the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies and Business as well as Graduate and Continuing Education, Academic Information Services/Library, Institutional Research, the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center and Broadcasting and Audio-Visual Services.

So now you know! Being a provost is a pretty big job, but it is also an interesting and fulfilling one. We’re glad you’re interested and encourage you to learn more about the Office of the Provost and the Academic Affairs Division of the university by exploring these pages.

Kerri Schuiling
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kerri Schuiling

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs


Dr. Kerri Schuiling began her appointment as provost and vice president on July 1, 2014. She recently served as dean of NMU's College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies. Schuiling has also held positions as the dean of Oakland University's School of Nursing and associate dean and director of NMU's School of Nursing. Kerri has most recently served the University as co-chair of the NMU Press task force and is currently the co-chair of the Sexual Assault Policy task force.

Dr. Schuiling holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, master's degree from Wayne State University and baccalaureate degree from NMU. She is certified as both a women's health nurse practitioner and nurse-midwife.

Dr. Schuiling is the co-editor of the International Journal of Childbirth, the official journal of the International Confederation of Midwives, and has published more than 42 peer reviewed papers and book chapters. Her book Women's Gynecologic Health has received two book of the year awards and is currently in revision for a third edition. Dr. Schuiling is the current chair of the Research Standing Committee of the International Confederation of Midwives. 

Kerri Schuiling Portrait

Dr. Dale Kapla

Associate Provost & Dean of the College of Health Science & Professional Studies


Dr. Dale Kapla accepted the appointment of assistant provost for Undergraduate Programming and Faculty Affairs in September 2012, and was promoted to associate provost in the spring of 2016. He provides leadership in undergraduate administrative needs, faculty affairs, and contract maintenance. 

He has served the university as a department head for the past five years, most recently as head of the Political Science and Criminal Justice departments.  Prior to his employment at NMU, Dr. Kapla held law enforcement positions with the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department and Marquette Police Department.  

Dr. Kapla holds a Ph.D. in political science (public policy) from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in public administration and bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and security administration from Northern Michigan University.


Dale Kapla Portrait

Rachel Perala

Administrative Assistant

Debbie Violetta

Academic Employment Specialist

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