Dakota Wesleyan University names Daniel Kittle as 21st president

Kittle to assume role in March 2022

Daniel R. Kittle was named the 21st president of Dakota Wesleyan University during an announcement in the Rollins Campus Center on Tuesday morning on DWU's campus. Kittle will assume the position in March of 2022. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

The search for the 21st president of Dakota Wesleyan University is over.

Daniel R. Kittle will become the next president of DWU. The announcement of Kittle’s appointment was made at an all-campus meeting Tuesday.

“I am honored to accept the call to serve Dakota Wesleyan University. I want to be a servant leader for the university, a good steward of the enduring mission and values while also inspiring the Dakota Wesleyan University community to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Kittle said.

Kittle will assume the presidency of DWU in March 2022.

Doug Powers, chairman of the DWU board of trustees, said the board is pleased with the choice and looking forward to Kittle leading the school.


Daniel R. Kittle was recently named the 21st president of Dakota Wesleyan University. He will assume the position in March of 2022. (Submitted Photo)

“The board and the entire Dakota Wesleyan community are so very pleased to welcome Dr. Dan Kittle and his family to the university. Our charge as a board was to find the best possible candidate and we are certain that Kittle’s background and experiences have well-prepared him to carry out the important work of leading the university,” Powers said.

Kittle serves as the vice president for student life and dean of students at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He has served Wartburg for over 16 years, starting in academic affairs with administrative responsibility for faculty development and community engagement. After serving in that role for three years, Kittle was promoted to director of the center for community engagement in 2008. In 2012, he was appointed the assistant to the president for strategic initiatives. He was appointed the vice president for student life and dean of students in 2015.

He continues to be active in the classroom, teaching a first-year seminar each fall as well as regularly teaching a graduate class on the history of higher education in the United States. His recent work includes leading the development of Wartburg’s strategic plan focused on strategic enrollment growth, improving retention, and curricular innovation.

Kittle, who grew up in Bazetta, a small township in Ohio, earned a B.S. in public relations and political science from Heidelberg University, an M.A. in political science and a Ph.D. in higher, adult, learning and education from Michigan State University. In 2009, Kittle completed the Foundations of Christian Leadership program through Duke University.

While serving in student affairs at MSU, his position was jointly supported by the university and the city of East Lansing, charging him with leading efforts to build community between members of both entities. Shortly after arriving at Wartburg College, Kittle and a group of community leaders founded the Bremer County Recovery Coalition, a regional organization tasked with disaster relief.

In addition, he served as the chairman of the board of directors for the Blue Mountain Project (BMP), an international non-governmental organization dedicated to partnering with the people of the Hagley Gap District of Jamaica to improve the region’s health, education and economy. He and his wife served with BMP in Jamaica for a year.


He is married to Ashley Kittle, a conservation professional with a special interest in ecosystems management. She has worked as a naturalist and conservationist most recently focused on soil and water conservation practices. They have a 7-year-old son, Grant, who enjoys soccer, Cub Scouts and being outside.

Kittle said he is looking forward to his new role at Dakota Wesleyan University.

“I enter this community with a spirit of humility, with much to learn, and equally with determination, knowing that we have compelling opportunities and challenges,” Kittle said.

— Check back with the Mitchell Republic later for more on this story.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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