Dr. Joshua D. Merchant
Merchant joined BVU in 2017 as the University’s 18th president.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications and theatre from Albion College, his master’s degree in agricultural extension education from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Western Michigan University. His ongoing scholarship focuses on venture philanthropy and its impact on shared governance structures in higher education
With a strong belief that higher education serves the public good, Merchant has worked in education for nearly 20 years. Prior to joining BVU, he was the vice president of development and alumni engagement at the University of North Florida and the executive director and CEO for the UNF Foundation, Inc., where he gained extensive experience in strategic planning, fundraising, external engagement, marketing, and enrollment management.
Merchant also worked at Albion College where he served as vice president of institutional advancement and as interim vice president for enrollment management. During his tenure, he provided leadership for a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign and was part of an enrollment strategy that successfully increased net tuition revenue by 15 percent.
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Mike Frantz joined BVU as vice president for enrollment management in February 2012.
He previously served as vice president for enrollment management at Robert Morris University (RMU) in Moon Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh, a position he held since 2009. He is a 1986 graduate of Simpson College and in 1987 he received a master's degree in political science at the University of Iowa.
Frantz worked on the BVU admissions staff from 1989-1998 starting as a counselor and advancing to o director of admissions, a position he held for four years. While serving as director, he helped lead the recruitment of four of the five largest freshman classes in BVU's history and set BVU's all-time freshman class record.
In 1998, he left Buena Vista to lead the enrollment program at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where he also set institutional records. During his career, he has also done enrollment consulting work at a number of universities across the central and eastern regions of the United States.
Dr. Brian Lenzmeier
Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
Dr. Brian Lenzmeier joined BVU in 2003 as a professor of biology.
Lenzmeier earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colorado State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. He also completed post-doctoral research in molecular biology at Princeton University and was a visiting research fellow in the area of molecular medicine at Mayo Clinic in 2011.
In addition to his role as a professor of biology, Lenzmeier has held several leadership roles at BVU. In recent years, he has served as chair of the Tenure and promotion committee, played an integral role in the revision of faculty employment policies, and worked with colleagues to develop and implement a new biomedical sciences major. In 2016, he served on the Board of Trustees’ presidential search committee.
Lenzmeier has been named “Faculty Member of the Year” twice by the BVU student senate, and was the 2009 recipient of the George Wythe Award, the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Suzette Radke was named vice president for finance and administration in 2016.
She holds a bachelor's degree in leisure services and physical education from Wartburg College, a bachelor's degree in accounting from BVU and a master's degree in professional accountancy from University of South Dakota, Vermillion. Radke has also received a certificate in advanced education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.
Radke's career at BVU spans 25 years, including roles as an accountant, accounting manager and controller, and most recently director of business services and controller. Since 2012, she has served as an adjunct faculty member in BVU's Harold Walter Siebens School of Business, teaching Governmental and not-for-profit accounting.
Radke also manages the accounting for a family farm and is actively involved in the community as a member of the Baseball/Softball Improvement Commission, a Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Foundation board member, and an advisory board member for Heritage Bank NA.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Dale Scully joined BVU in 2012 as associate dean of students and was named vice president for student affairs and dean of students in May 2014. He earned his A.A. from Yakima Valley Community College, B.A. from Western Washington University, and M.A. in Student Personnel Administration from Columbia University's Teachers College.
Prior to joining BVU, he was athletic director, associate dean of students, and women’s basketball coach at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda. Scully was the associate dean of students at Toccoa Falls College from 2007-2009 and served as both the director of residence life and men’s basketball coach from 2004-2007 at The King's College in New York City.
In Uganda, Scully coached the UCU women's basketball team to a national championship in the Federation of Ugandan Basketball Association. He also spearheaded the development of a University Sports League for the entire country.
Scully's experience in residence life, athletics, and administration brings him a well-rounded perspective of higher education, which allows him to connect with and serve the needs of a wide array of students.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Jennifer Felton began her career at BVU in 2001 as the publications director before taking on the role of creative director. She now serves as BVU's director of marketing and communications where she provides strategic leadership for developing and executing an integrated communications and marketing plan, including the development of BVU’s brand, marketing, advertising, and communication strategies.
During her tenure as creative director, Felton’s design talents earned her numerous awards including the selective Advertising Federation: Citation of Excellence, Governor’s Award; District Case VI’s Gold Award for Excellence in Communications- Overall Publications; and District Case VI’s Excellence in Graphic Design Gold Award. She was also presented with BVU’s annual Education for Service Award in 2017 which recognizes excellence in serving as a role model within the BVU community.
Felton graduated with honors from Minneapolis College of Art & Design with a bachelor of fine arts degree. Before joining BVU, she owned her own successful graphic design and marketing company.
Dr. Jill Rhea
Dean of Online, Site, and Graduate Programs
Dr. Jill Rhea joined BVU in 2001 as a professor of communication studies and was named the dean of online, site, and graduate programs in 2013.
Rhea earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in communication and quantitative research methods from Ohio University. Before moving to Storm Lake, Rhea taught both graduate and undergraduate courses as an assistant professor of communication at the University of North Texas.
During her time at BVU, Rhea has chaired BVU faculty senate, directed the service-learning program, chaired the tenure and promotion committee, and co-chaired BVU’s 2012 faculty and staff campaign. After earning a professional certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership from the University of Vermont in 2011, Rhea lead BVU’s sustainability taskforce which saw the LEED gold certification of the Estelle Siebens Science Center.
Rhea was named BVU’s Faculty/Staff Volunteer of the Year in 2004 and was awarded the Professing Women Award and Mortarboard’s Top Prof Award while in Texas. Rhea has published journal articles in the areas of interpersonal and health communication. She also presents at international, regional, and state conferences and conventions. She has served on various boards and is involved in philanthropic organizations including 100+ Women Who Care.
Dr. Shawn Stone
Chair of Faculty Senate and Professor of Physics and Computer Science
Dr. Shawn Stone joined BVU in 1999 and currently serves as a professor of physics and computer science. He was named chair of the BVU faculty senate in May 2017.
Stone earned his Ph.D. in space plasma physics from the University of Kansas in 2000. He also holds a master’s degree in solid state physics from North Dakota State University and a bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State University. Stone has served on faculty senate twice before becoming chair. Other leadership positions he has held include chair of faculty welfare, academic affairs, and the technology committee. He was also named a 2012 finalist for the George Wythe Award, the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.
The University’s motto, Education for Service, is a way of living for Stone, who considers himself an academic monk in terms of his work. He is still active in space research and has a provisional patent in data compression.
Assistant to the President
Williams joined BVU as assistant to the president in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Iowa State University (ISU).
Prior to joining BVU, Williams was a development coordinator for ISU’s College of Engineering Development Office. She has also served as an Office of Admissions student supervisor at ISU where she managed a staff of 20 student admissions representatives.