Susan J. Koch

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Biographical Sketch


Dr. Susan J. Koch became Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University on July 1, 2007.  As the chief academic officer for the University, Dr. Koch works closely with the President, the Vice President of Finance and Administration and other members of the NMU leadership team and is responsible for providing and promoting leadership and vision for academic programs, student services and outreach activities that facilitate student, faculty and staff success and that contribute to the overall mission and goals of the University. 


Before her appointment at Northern, Dr. Koch was Dean of the Graduate College and Associate Provost at the University of Northern Iowa.  As Graduate Dean, Dr. Koch was responsible for the administration of 70 graduate programs and as Associate Provost she served as second-ranking administrative officer in the Academic Affairs Division of an institution with 12,500 students, 190 academic programs, 1800 faculty and staff and a total budget of $117 million.


As Graduate Dean at UNI, Dr. Koch led a university-wide strategic planning process resulting in the unanimous approval of, “Personal Goals, Personalized Excellence: The University of Northern Iowa Graduate Education Strategic Plan”, which has renewed the university’s commitment to and set the strategic direction for graduate education.  Working with faculty in the sciences, Dr. Koch facilitated the implementation of five new Professional Science Master’s programs at UNI including Applied Physics and Industrial Mathematics, as well as programs in Biotechnology, Ecosystems Management and Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry and was one of three Graduate Deans serving on the CGS National Professional Science Masters Advisory Board. Koch is author of and led a $300,000 project funded by the Carver Charitable Trust to enhance the graduate community at UNI.  In 2005, Dr. Koch established an online research journal, UNIversitas, in the Graduate College that has provided a new university-wide forum for scholarly discourse that has contributed to enhancing the academic profile of UNI faculty. A Trustee at Allen College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Dr. Koch led a strategic action planning team in 2003 that brought together faculty, health-care providers, students and alumni as well as post-secondary institution, business and community representatives to develop a vision for new and expanded academic program models (including a doctoral program in nursing) to best serve the College and the region in the future.


A Professor of Health Promotion, Dr. Koch’s areas of specialization are health and human rights, international health and conflict resolution. She is author of numerous scholarly and creative publications and works and is co-founder of the UNI Global Health Corps, a field-based organization designed to enhance the preparation of students in cross-cultural community health while providing public health services to underserved populations both domestically and internationally.  Koch was a Malone Fellow in Syria and Kuwait, as well as a participant in the U.N. Conference on Human Rights in Vienna and the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Bejing.  She has worked abroad for several years in Bulgaria and Slovakia.  Dr. Koch recently served as one of three American consultants to the United Nations to assist the U.N. to examine the role of universities in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  She holds academic degrees from Dakota State University in South Dakota and the University of Northern Iowa.  Koch (and the UNI Global Health Corps) received the Iowa Prism Award from Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, in 1999 for outstanding contributions to understanding diversity in Iowa, the Professional Excellence Award from the Dakota State University Alumni Association in 2000, the Outstanding Recognition Award (for leadership for women in higher education) from the Way Up Conference in 2001, and is being inducted into the UNI School of HPELS Hall of Fame in 2007.


Susan is married to Dennis Koch, an Executive Sales Manager for Kruger Seed Company.  The Kochs have four children.  Kristina lives in New York City where she is the Kosovo advisor in the Peacekeeping Division of the United Nations. Michael is a visual artist in Los Angeles. Elizabeth lives in Tel Aviv where she is a project administrator for Friends of the Earth Middle East and Rachel is a first and second grade teacher in Iowa City, Iowa. In her free time, Susan enjoys time with family as well as music, art, reading, writing, fishing, pheasant hunting, canning, and driving her Mini-Cooper.