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College hires new VP for Academic Affairs

The College of Idaho has hired John Ottenhoff as its new Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Ottenhoff comes to C of I from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, where he has served as Vice President for the consortium of 14 liberal arts colleges since 2007. Prior to ACM, Ottenhoff worked at Michigan’s Alma College for nearly 20 years, serving as a professor of English, an English department chair and an associate provost.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ottenhoff to our campus and excited about the wealth of experience and knowledge he brings with him,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “With our innovative PEAK Curriculum now in its second year, this is an exciting time for academics at The College of Idaho. I have no doubt that Dr. Ottenhoff will advance our mission of providing our students with the finest possible teaching, as well as an education which will allow them to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

Ottenhoff received a bachelor’s degree in English from Calvin College in Michigan in 1972. He went on to receive his master’s and Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Chicago. Ottenhoff has earned multiple teaching awards, implemented several curricular innovations, and obtained numerous major grants during his career. He also is a published author and accomplished presenter.

“I'm thrilled to be joining the C of I community and greatly appreciate the confidence President Henberg and the search committee have shown in me to become the college's academic leader,” Ottenhoff said. “I'm especially excited about working with the faculty to continue building PEAK into an extraordinary learning framework for our students, one that truly prepares them for careers and a lifetime of learning.”

Ottenhoff replaces Dr. Mark Smith, who is returning to the classroom this summer after 10 years as the College’s VP for Academic Affairs. Smith, a professor of history, is in his 23rd year at the College overall.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit