Brock Tessman, Ph.D.

Dr. Brock Tessman began his tenure as Northern Michigan University’s 17th president on Feb. 1, 2023.

Dr. Tessman came to NMU from Montana where he served as the Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education for 45,000 students and 8,000 employees on 16 campuses that comprised the Montana University System (MUS). There, he was responsible for driving success across the wide-ranging sectors of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Research & Economic Development. He helped expand college access for rural communities and adult learner populations across Montana.

He oversaw the design and launch of the MUS’s Montana 10 Student Success Initiatives, which employs targeted financial aid, student incentives, comprehensive advising, mental health and academic momentum strategies that resulted in dramatically increased retention rates and on-time completion rates for program participants, was in charge of the $345 million MUS research enterprise; and was responsible for statewide development of new accelerated degree programs, business and industry partnerships, rapid workforce training programs, public-private ventures, and Career & Technical Education operations. He also was the statewide director for Montana’s community colleges.

Prior to the Montana University System, Dr. Tessman was a professor of political science and dean of the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana in Missoula. In leading the Honors College, he added a several new programs, including the groundbreaking Climate Change Studies Program. At UM, he helped launch a comprehensive Career Development Program, a community problem-solving think tank, and a Global Experience Fund for Native American students.

Dr. Tessman began his academic career at the University of Georgia, where he earned tenure in the School of Public and International Affairs for his research and teaching on national security, foreign policy, and the relationship between environmental conditions, risk tolerance and leadership decision making. At UGA, he served as associate director of the Center for the Study of Global Studies, undergraduate program director and graduate program director.

He has published extensively in political science journals such as the Journal of Conflict ResolutionSecurity StudiesInternational Studies Review, and Foreign Policy Analysis. He authored a widely adopted teaching text titled International Relations in Action.

Dr. Tessman graduated with an honors degree in international relations from Brown University and received both his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

He was born in Detroit and grew up in nearby Plymouth, Michigan. He was a multisport athlete in high school and competed in collegiate track and field at Brown and Colorado. He continues to to be an avid trail runner.

He and his wife, Kristin, are the parents of young daughters Frances and Leona. They are a family of outdoor enthusiasts. Among Dr. Tessman’s favorite pastimes is a love for board games. He is also a lifelong Detroit Lions fan.

Dr. Brock Tessman