Dr. Michael S. Bassis
Westminster College's 16th President
Michael S. Bassis is the sixteenth president of Westminster College, the only private, comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah. An authority on educational change and an active participant in the national conversation on the future of higher education, Dr. Bassis has had a wide range of experiences as a teacher, scholar, and administrator over his 30-year career in higher education.
Upon his appointment at Westminster in July 2002, Dr. Bassis embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning process which resulted in the development of a new, innovative, and ambitious 10 year strategic plan for the college. The plan, endorsed by the faculty and adopted by the Board of Trustees, focuses on bringing Westminster into national prominence as an institution distinguished by its distinctive educational programs, its record of preparing graduates for success in a rapidly changing world, and its commitment to continuous improvement, effectiveness, and value. Now, after almost five years, most of the goals of the plan have been met.
As president of Olivet College in Michigan from 1993 to 1998, Dr. Bassis led a successful effort of institutional transformation and revitalization. At the center of this effort was a collaborative planning process that produced a new institutional vision, a new curriculum, and a campus-wide statement of expectations. Over a period of five years, Olivet was recognized for its successful efforts at institutional renewal by the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the John Templeton Foundation. Dr. Bassis's role in the Olivet transformation was chronicled by Stephen R. Covey in his book, Living the Seven Habits.
Prior to Olivet, Dr. Bassis served as executive vice president and university provost at Antioch University. Earlier in his career, he held senior administrative positions at Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Preceding these appointments, Dr. Bassis spent ten years as a faculty member in the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Rhode Island. He has served as chair of the undergraduate education section of the American Sociological Association, editor of the journal Teaching Sociology, and as a senior fellow with the Project on the Future of Higher Education. In addition, he has served on the Commission on Women and the Commission on Leadership and Change at the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Society for Experiential Education and the Board of Trustees of Defiance College.
A graduate of Brown University, Dr. Bassis holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the Sociology of Education from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Mary, have four grown children.