For the past eight years, the president of the Southern University System and the chancellor of the flagship campus of the system in Baton Rouge has been the same person. The positions were combined due to severe financial constraints on the system’s budget. Dennis Shields has served in both roles since 2022.
Now the Southern University System board of supervisors has voted to split the positions once again and the search for a new chancellor has begun. The supervisors believe that a chancellor who’s sole concentration will be on the Baton Rouge campus will boost recruitment and will be able to enhance the campus’ retention efforts.
Before coming to Southern University last year, President Shields was chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville since 2010. Earlier, he held administrative positions in admissions at the University of Iowa College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Duke University School of Law. He has also held a deanship and a teaching position at Phoenix School of Law and acted as the vice president for student affairs at The City College of New York.
Shields, an Iowa native, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, and a juris doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.