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Dr. Steven Light
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Steve Light (Ph.D. Northwestern, B.A. Yale, certificate, Harvard Management Development Program) is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Political Science & Public Administration, and Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law & Policy at the University of North Dakota, where he also has served as Interim Dean of the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines.
Steve provides strategic vision, leadership, and oversight to advance the academic enterprise by developing, implementing, and coordinating high-impact initiatives stemming from the university's Exceptional UND strategic vision. He facilitates UND’s current program prioritization initiative, Strategic Alignment & Optimization Review (SOAR); co-chairs the university’s Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, with an emphasis on strategies to promote retention, persistence, and timely completion; and co-chairs working groups on Promotion, Tenure, and Evaluation reform and increasing Student Engagement via High-Impact Teaching & Learning Practices. He works closely with the Honors Program, Essential Studies Program, Office of Instructional Development, Writing Center, and Center for Community Engagement. Steve is responsible for the Chairs Professional Development Workshop series, and serves on the Diversity Advisory Committee as its former co-founding chair. He also served on the Executive Committee for UND’s recent successful Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation.
In 2013-14, Steve was named Interim Dean of UND’s College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines while continuing to serve as Associate Vice President. He focused on extending the College’s exceptional record of educating and developing outstanding professionals across the fields of nursing, social work, and nutrition and dietetics. Steve’s strategic goals for the College included facilitating mission, vision, and resource alignment; enhancing curricular and programmatic collaboration and innovation; advancing community outreach and partnerships; creating opportunities for leadership development and professional success; and developing a shared roadmap for the College’s bright future.
As a faculty member, Steve is a Professor of Political Science and Public Administration who teaches American government and constitutional law. Among other honors, he received UND’s highest annual award for overall faculty excellence and was nominated as CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year.
As Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy, Steve is widely recognized as a leading expert on Indian gaming, federal Indian law and policy, and tribal-state-federal intergovernmental relations. His fifty publications include three books on tribal gaming, the first of which, Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty: The Casino Compromise, was featured on C-SPAN2's Book TV. Steve has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and is a regular commentator in such media as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and NPR. In 2014, Steve and regular collaborator Kathryn R.L. Rand (Dean, UND School of Law) published a revised edition of their second book, Indian Gaming Law and Policy. They have delivered invited lectures at numerous industry events, including meetings of the National Indian Gaming Association and Law Seminars International, and at such academic institutions as American University, Boston University, Stanford, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Steve’s publications and presentations on higher education include transitioning from faculty to administration; how to be an effective interim dean; developing successful administrative leadership strategies; teaching about race and American Indian tribes; the role of Historically Black Institutions; and capstone course design and assessment. His recent solo book explored the changing dynamics of race, voting rights, and redistricting.
Steve recently ran his twentieth full marathon. He enjoys promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle at UND, and appreciates sharing with a wide range of audiences the connections he sees between running and successful personal and professional leadership.