Article updated at 2:18 p.m. Tuesday, May 17:
Haskell Indian Nations University has announced Francis Arpan as the new vice president of academics.
Arpan was recently dean of academics at Sisseton Wahpeton College, a nonprofit tribal college in Sisseton, South Dakota. Prior to that, he has worked at South Dakota State University, Southern New Hampshire University and Aims Community College.
“Haskell Indian Nations University is unique amongst tribal colleges and other institutions of higher education,” Arpan said in a news release from the university. “Where else do you get such a vast representation of Indigenous students in higher education, which come together and can participate in creative discourse revolving around the environments and life situations they have experienced? I hope that what I bring to HINU can benefit those students and the greater campus environment as it looks to continue the wonderful work of the faculty, staff, and students.”
Arpan was born in Wagner, South Dakota, and is an enrolled tribal member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, according to the release. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as an Egress System Mechanic.
Haskell has had several changes in administration in the past few years. In April 2021, faculty took a vote of no confidence in then-President Ronald Graham, and in May followed suit with another resolution about then-Vice President for Academics Melanie Daniel, who retired shortly thereafter.
In the time since, Tamarah Pfeiffer was serving as interim president until earlier this month. Julia Good Fox is currently in that role pending the arrival of a new permanent president, who had been selected but not yet announced by the Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees the university. However, as of Tuesday, the president position was posted on a federal jobs site and the BIE will be accepting applications through June 16, according to the job posting.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Arpan to Haskell,” Good Fox said in the release. “He is student and faculty-centered, experienced in working with Tribal and other colleges and universities, and demonstrates a commitment for engaging the campus community as we continue to move the University forward, including in creating our next strategic plan.”
Arpan announced himself in his new position during Haskell’s commencement on Friday. The university formally announced his appointment to media Tuesday morning.