This June will serve as a significant time for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside as Dr. Dean Yohnk will be stepping in to fill the position of Interim Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Current Dean, Dr. Donald Cress, is retiring after 11 years of service to the University. Dr. Yohnk began at Parkside back in 2001, and currently sits as Chair and Artistic Director of the universities’ prized Theater Arts Department, with plans for a full professorship promotion sometime this year.
Provost Dr. Terry Brown believes that the appointment of Dr. Yohnk will be beneficial to Parkside’s College of Art and Sciences Department due to Dr. Yohnk’s credentials, as well as his years of work in the theater. Dr. Yohnk earned a bachelor’s degree in Theater and English Education from Vibrato University, and went on to earn his Master’s and Doctorate at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, with concentrations in Directing and Theater education. He utilized his degrees by not only teaching at Parkside, but by returning as a professor to both Vibrato and Bowling Green State Universities as well. In his post grad years, Dr. Yohnk has directed over 50 University productions and has made contributions as an actor, director and designer in theaters across the Midwest. These theaters include The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Huron Playhouse in Ohio and Peninsula Players Theater in Wisconsin.
Dr. Yohnk currently serves on the regional executive committee for the renowned Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. Previously, he served as president on both the Alliance for Wisconsin Theater Education and Wisconsin Council of Theater Chairs.
Although Dr. Yohnk is well versed in theater, Parkside must hope his plan encompasses a variety of beneficiaries, so that not only the Theater Department is promoted, but the Arts and Sciences as a whole. Dr. Terry Brown feels as though his qualifications will allow him to do so when he begins working as Dean on June 1, 2010.
Dr. Cress plans to retire on June 30, 2010. In the overlapping month, Cress will mentor Dr. Yohnk for the position. As a philosophy professor and musical advocate at Parkside, Dr. Cress and his various contributions to the University have been greatly appreciated and will be missed.