Interim Chancellor Lori Carrell, Ph.D.


A passionate, creative educator, Dr. Carrell focuses on transformative communication, learning innovation and well-being in higher education communities.

Interim Chancellor Carrell previously served as UMR's Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Development. Prior to UMR, she worked at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she played a key leadership role directing both the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, a research-based faculty development endeavor, and the University Studies Program, where she facilitated and implemented a large-scale, nationally-acclaimed, curricular reform.

A colleague from UW Oshkosh writes that Dr. Carrell's "...personal qualities include compassion, courage, grace, and a quiet, confident tenacity—the will to get things done regardless of difficulty or circumstance. Her professional skills include the ability to listen attentively; to speak and write articulately; and to bring faculty with competing interests from different campus silos together to work toward a common purpose."

Carrell received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University in Indiana in 1984, majoring in Speech Communication, Education and Psychology. She went on to attend the University of Alaska-Anchorage where she received her Master's degree in Counseling Psychology/Education in 1989. She earned her Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Denver in 1991. Dr. Carrell then began her twenty-three years of service at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh before she joined the UMR community in August 2014.

In her leadership role at the University of Minnesota Rochester, Carrell continues her focus on transformative communication in and out of the classroom. Says Carrell, "The UMR community is preparing students to solve grand challenges in health care while our teaching innovation and learning research also contribute to the national conversation about the grand challenges in higher education."

Dr. Carrell collaborated with UMR colleagues to craft a Strategic Framework, Grounding Values and Centering Aspirations for the Growth Plan currently in progress. Says Carrell, "As one of the newest public universities in the country UMR is off to an incredibly strong start, thanks to the Rochester community, founding Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle's leadership, and the collaborative, innovative faculty and staff who are inspired by our driven, diverse students." Other endeavors launched since her arrival at UMR include:

    • Health Care Scholars Day - a scholarship competition rewarding stories of passion and resilience
    • Covenant based living, learning and leading communities, including Global Connections, Healthy Living, ROC! and Health CORE
      • the Health CORE living, learning community - a "Community of Respect and Empowerment designed to build on the established success of UMR's underrepresented students
      • ROC! (Recovery on Campus), a collegiate recovery program supported by the Minnesota legislature
    • monthly Reflections for the UMR community
    • Thrive, a relationship-building, experiential summer and winter "bridge" orientation to support first-year student success
    • Sophomore Stress Inoculation – wellness and community-enhancing programming for second-year students
    • a successful Higher Learning Commission site visit and accreditation
    • a System Mentoring Committee, supporting the success of faculty as they conduct learning research
    • and other efforts created to sustain an inclusive, innovative community of wellness

Dr. Carrell began her work as UMR's Vice Chancellor on August 18, 2014, joining the existing leadership team of Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations Gail Sauter and Chief of Staff Jay Hesley. She currently serves as Interim Chancellor of UMR.

Dr. Carrell is convinced that "Collaborative academic communities can lead transformation in higher education while also creating inclusive environments in which all involved can flourish."