Robin Rylaarsdam Named Provost of Bethel University

With more than 20 years of experience as a professor and administrator, Rylaarsdam is passionate about developing students, supporting faculty, and seeing the breadth of what a Christ-centered learning community can accomplish.

After an extensive nationwide search, Robin Rylaarsdam has been named the next provost of Bethel University. With more than 20 years of experience in Christian higher education, Rylaarsdam has a proven track record of academic development, student success, and meaningful faith-learning integrationand she looks forward to bringing those skills to Bethel.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northwestern College in Iowa, Rylaarsdam went on to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics at Northwestern University. She served as a professor and administrator at a handful of Christian colleges before accepting a position as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, where she advocated for program development and expansion in graduate programs, improved undergraduate retention, and advanced diversity and inclusion efforts among both students and faculty.

According to Provost Search Committee co-chairs Tracy Reimer and Chris Moore, Rylaarsdam was chosen from a pool of more than 50 competitive candidates based on her extensive accomplishments, effective leadership, and commitment to liberal arts education. “Robin is highly relational,” Reimer says. “She has advocated for students typically underrepresented in higher education, and she excels at nurturing inter-university collaboration and developing external partnerships.”

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