Dr. Diane Nyhammer to be new VP of Learning

Dr. Diane Nyhammer, who has spent the past eight years as an academic administrator at two-year colleges, has been appointed Blackhawk Technical College’s new Vice President of Learning.

Dr. Nyhammer, most recently the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., will replace Dr. Sharon Kennedy, who is retiring.  Dr. Nyhammer will assume her new duties on June 24.

“Diane brings many years of experience in two-year college systems,’’ said Dr. Thomas Eckert, president of BTC. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will serve the college well.’’

Dr. Nyhammer will oversee BTC’s instructional deans and staff with responsibilities for credit and continuing education programs, business and industry training, online and alternative education delivery, and program and curriculum development.

Dr. Nyhammer, who resides in Fort Atkinson and Harvard, Ill., with her husband, Grant, served for two years as Executive Dean of Humanities at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Ill., before moving in 2008 to Rock Valley College, where she oversaw academic affairs and student development, institutional research, outreach and planning, and other areas. She also served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

Dr. Nyhammer said she was attracted to the VP of Learning post because of her prior relationship with Dr. Eckert and Ms. Kennedy while she was at Rock Valley College.

“I have been impressed by the variety and quality of program offerings at BTC and I am excited about their new initiatives such as the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and the Women with a Vision Scholarship,’’ Dr. Nyhammer said.

“I have had a couple of opportunities to meet Sharon Kennedy and Tom Eckert, and Rock Valley and Blackhawk have been involved in partnerships and grant opportunities together, so I have learned about BTC through these connections.’’

Dr. Nyhammer received a B.A. in English from Barat College in Lake Forest, Ill., and a M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University before earning her doctorate in Higher Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Loyola University in Chicago. After teaching English and Writing at McHenry, Nyhammer worked for the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

“I started as a faculty member at a community college because I was more interested in the teaching focused mission of community colleges,’’ she said. “My experience at the Illinois Board of Higher Ed and the Higher Learning Commission deepened my appreciation for the diversity of higher education institutions.’’

In her free time, Dr. Nyhammer is an accomplished horsewoman who owns two American Saddlebreds, one which is retired and one which she shows. Her husband, Grant, is the Executive Director of the Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging in Rockford.