New Dean of the College of Education is “all in”


Mercedes Johnson

Scott Sorvaag steps into the position of Dean for the College of Education at Winona State University. Sorvaag’s focus is on the bigger picture and plans to help others find solutions to complex problems in their community.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

On Jan. 9, Winona State University sent out an email announcing the addition of Dr. Scott Sorvaag as the new Dean of the College of Education.

Sorvaag has previously worked as a classroom teacher, school principal and school district administrator.

“While in Winona I have taught in undergraduate education in teacher preparation, in a leadership program and in general education. I have also taught in graduate programs, served in different faculty leadership roles and been a chairperson, program director and dean,” Sorvaag said.

Sorvaag, who strives to create open communication and inclusivity with his new role, talked about why he chose Winona State.

“WSU is situated in Winona, and I love Winona, the organizations that serve in Winona, the natural beauty of the area, the people from Winona and the Winona area, and the faculty, staff and students that find WSU to be their educational home,” Sorvaag stated.

James Schul, a professor in education studies at Winona State, spoke about his hopes for the new dean.

“A dean is a leader. All leaders need to be organized and visionary – along with that they need to emit the qualities of mindfulness, compassion and optimism. Successful deans can navigate the balance between decentralized decision making and centralized decision making – and accept responsibility for decisions made,” Schul commented.

Sorvaag explained how he tries to listen for the big picture before making big decisions in his work. Further, how he tries to see things from all perspectives, stating that he never wants to speak for someone not in the room.

“My [professional] experiences have developed my capacity to grow my perspective and see the big picture in a way that acknowledges the good work of people and the important work of changing systems together, so they are more humanizing and effective,” Sorvaag said.

Sorvaag continued, talking about what inspires him as a dean.

“I am inspired by devoted people doing good work for others, working with others to unlock human potential and more fully develop human capacity and finding solutions to complex problems together in community,” Sorvaag said.

Dean Sorvaag taking a tour around the campus. Sorvaag intends to be a leader to those on campus who will go on and lead others in their journey. (Mercedes Johnson)

Sorvaag intends to listen to the Winona State community, specifically faculty and students, to understand what can be improved in the education program.

“I intend to be the kind of leader that people deserve – making our community better through improving the quality of life of others,” Sorvaag commented.

Sorvaag continued, stating that this type of leadership is crucial for a successful role in a community.

“I think quality ethical leadership is essential for the challenges we all face. One way I think about leadership is that it is a form of energy, made available by a community, that calls us to humanize our systems, structures and processes for what is possible. That future has to include everyone. No exceptions,” Sorvaag stated.