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IUN names experienced administrator new dean and director

Karl Besel, Ph.D.

Indiana University Northwest has appointed Karl Besel as the assistant dean and director of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Besel brings extensive experience working in administrative roles and running nonprofit agencies to his position, in addition to his academic teaching, research and numerous publications and awards.

He comes to IUN in Gary from IU Kokomo, where he served as a professor of public administration and health management and also the graduate program director.

While at IU Kokomo, Besel developed a full-fledged graduate degree program from what had been only a graduate certificate, resulting in an increase from about 15 students to about 60 in just a few years. Prior to that, Besel ran a health clinic at the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work.

In his role at IUN, Besel hopes to further develop SPEA graduate programs, especially in the health care and non-profit management realms. This is an area Besel feels is already in demand among students and will increase in popularity.

“The jobs of the 21st century are going to be in health care and biotechnology,” Besel said, “and there is much that can be done on the leadership and policy side in those fields. In fact, there is much unchartered territory in these disciplines, which will open a lot of doors for graduates of our programs.”

Besel earned his Ph.D. in urban and public affairs, specializing in organizational administration, and his master’s degree in social work, both from the University of Louisville. Besel also attended Valparaiso University, earning a bachelor’s degree in social work.

His research interests include new urbanism, economic development, nonprofit management, executive succession planning, civil society and organizational sustainability. In 2013, Besel co-authored “Back to the Future: New Urbanism and the Rise of Neotraditionalism in Urban Planning.” 

A California native, Besel moved to the Midwest with his family as a teen. He and his wife and daughter, who is finishing her final year of high school, are living in Carmel. In his spare time, he enjoys racquetball, hiking and bicycling.


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