Mount St. Joseph University

Mount St. Joseph University names new vice president of academic affairs

Academics, Press Releases


File Under: academic affairs

Head shot of Joel Thierstein.

Mount St. Joseph University announces Joel Thierstein, J.D., Ph.D., will be the new vice president for academic affairs effective August 1, 2014. As part of the Mount’s transition to university, new academic leadership, including the hire of Thierstein and recent positioning of two academic deans, aligns the university’s goal to expand its academic offerings.

Thierstein brings significant leadership within higher education to the Mount.  He served as the senior advisor and counsel to the under secretary at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C., in 2011.  Thierstein was also the associate provost for innovative scholarly communication at Rice University from 2007 to 2011.  Most recently, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kentucky State University. 

Thierstein, a Cincinnati native, has led innovation in education throughout his academic career.  Dr. Thierstein pioneering work in open education and alternative credentialing brought him international attention.  Dr. Thierstein’s innovative work in education extends beyond his work in the Department and the traditional academy.  He has served as a member of the board of directors of the Open CourseWare Consortium and is one of the founders of Peer 2 Peer University.  Dr. Thierstein’s work has been funded by many organizations including the Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Twenty Million Minds Foundation and Maxfield Foundation.

“Joel will be a key leader of the team as we strengthen our commitment to expanding academic offerings,” said Tony Aretz, Ph.D., president of the Mount. “His experience in higher education will greatly benefit the Mount and his expertise will help us with our transition to a university and new academic choices including our Saturday MBA and three-year degree programs.”

“I’m honored to be the Mount’s vice president for academic affairs,” Thierstein said. “I am looking forward to serving the Mount community as they embark on their journey as Cincinnati’s new university.” 

Before coming to the academy, Dr. Thierstein spent nearly a decade as a leader in industry.  Dr. Thierstein has worked in advanced technology throughout his career.  From 2002-2009, he sat as a voting member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the standards setting body for digital television. 

Dr. Thierstein has written and spoken extensively on the subjects of education and his academic discipline of communication. He has also published several books and articles and has presented numerous conference papers. He has been quoted extensively by the press as an expert in education and has been an invited panelist and guest speaker on many occasions.

In his other roles in higher education leadership, Thierstein served on the faculties at Oregon State, Baylor, Purdue Calumet and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Thierstein has a law degree, as well as a Ph.D., from Syracuse University.

Mount St. Joseph University is an undergraduate and graduate Catholic university that provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional curriculum emphasizing values, service and social responsibility.