Hamline News

School of Ed dean appointed Office of Higher Ed director


Hamline University announced today that Sheila Wright, dean of Hamline University School of Education, has been appointed by Governor Mark Dayton as Director of the Office of Higher Education, a cabinet level position.

“I offer congratulations to Dr. Wright as she moves from the integral role she has played here at Hamline University to the increasingly vital role she will play in leading Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education,” said Hamline University President Linda Hanson. “We are pleased that Hamline’s long tradition of public service continues with Dr. Wright’s appointment to direct this prominent agency to provide further access and innovation for all students seeking postsecondary education at this critical time.”

Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. The agency also serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research, and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance, and trends. The agency also oversees the Minnesota State Grant Program, other state scholarship programs, tuition reciprocity programs, a student loan program, Minnesota's 529 College Savings Plan, licensing and an early college awareness programs, and initiatives for youth.

“I welcome the opportunity for public service and look forward to working in new ways with so many talented and dedicated people throughout the State.” Wright said, of her new role. “The challenges in P-12 and higher education are complex and integrally related. However, if the enormous pool of capable and committed people here at Hamline is any example, we are well positioned to address the current challenges with imagination, resourcefulness, and adaptability.

As dean of the Hamline University School of Education, Wright realigned departments to support Hamline’s mission and strategic plan. She advanced relationships with collaborative partners and helped to raise awareness about the School of Education’s strong programs in teacher education, ESL, literacy, environmental education, and urban teaching.

“I offer my congratulations to Dean Wright on her appointment as Director of the Office of Higher Education. As she turns her talents to serve all of higher education in the state of Minnesota, we thank her for the leadership she has provided to the School of Education and to Hamline,” said Dr. David Stern, vice president for academic and student affairs at Hamline University. “Though she has not been at Hamline or in Minnesota very long, a clear indicator of the impact she has made in her dedication to the cause of educational excellence for all is this new appointment. We wish her well, and thank her for all she has done for Hamline and our commitment to be at the forefront of innovation in education.”

Wright joined Hamline in July of 2009 as dean of the School of Education. Before that, she served as associate dean of academic programs and as a tenured faculty member for the Saint Xavier University in Chicago’s School of Education. Wright has a wealth of experience from the not-for-profit, P-12 education, state government, and higher education sectors.

She earned a bachelor of fine arts in art education from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master of art education from Rhode Island School of Design, and a PhD in curriculum and instruction from North Carolina State University.