Academic Affairs Team

Dr. Mark Wiegand

Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost

WiegandDr. Mark Wiegand was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost on February 20, 2024. Prior to his appointment, he has served as Associate Provost and as the Dean of the Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences (now the College of Health Professions), for which he still provides oversight. He is a Professor of Physical Therapy.  

Prior to serving as the Lansing School dean (2013-2017), he was the chairperson of Physical Therapy Department at Bellarmine (2001-2013). Dr. Wiegand also served as President of the University Faculty Council (2011-2012). He has taught anatomical sciences to physical therapy, occupational therapy and medical students at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University. His research interests are in the role of service and experiential learning and professional development in health sciences education, and has over 70 presentations, publications and reviews in journals, books and at national and international meetings.

Dr. Wiegand received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas, his M.S. in Human Performance from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and his Ph.D. in Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology from the University of Louisville. In 2002 Dr. Wiegand received the Outstanding Physical Therapist Service Award from the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association, and was a Bellarmine University Wyatt Fellowship recipient in 2007 and a 2008 Louisville Health Enterprises Network Fellow. He is a 2016 Bingham Fellow with the Leadership Louisville Center.

You may contact Dr. Wiegand at

Dr. Jon Blanford

Assistant Provost

Blandford headshot (002)

Dr. Jon Blandford joined the Office of Academic Affairs in August of 2023. Among his responsibilities, he oversees program assessment, curriculum approval, external student awards and fellowships, faculty awards and faculty credentialing, and the Office of Sponsored Projects.

Dr. Blandford has been a member of the faculty in the English Department since 2011, serving for seven of those years as Bellarmine’s Honors Director, during which time he more the doubled the size of the program, elevated its profile both on and off campus, and collaborated with the faculty Honors Council, Honors Student Advisory Board, and Honors Alumni Advisory Council to enhance the experience of our Honors students. Among these enhancements, the Bellarmine University Honors Program has become a hub for innovation and high-impact practices such as short-term faculty-led study abroad, community engagement, and undergraduate research, and has had multiple students earn highly competitive external awards and fellowships. Dr. Blandford has published research in both his home discipline of nineteenth-century American literature and in Honors, has co-led annual training sessions for new directors at the National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual conference, and recently served three-year terms as both the president of Kentucky Honors Roundtable (Kentucky’s state-wide Honors organization) and as secretary of the Southern Regional Honors Council.

Dr. Blandford’s other involvements on campus include creating, directing, and teaching in Bridge to BU, a fully residential four-week summer program that made its debut in July of 2023 and helped prepare students coming out of the educational disruptions of the pandemic to flourish in college through seven credits of specially designed coursework in English, Math, and Academic Success Skills. As part of his work on the bridge, Dr. Blandford applied for and received two grants, enabling us to offer this program at no cost to Bellarmine or the student participants. Dr. Blandford also served as one of three co-chairs of IMPACT, an initiative that was created to better convey to prospective students and families the relevant, authentic, and distinctive reasons they should choose a Bellarmine education.

After receiving his B.A. from Bellarmine in 2000 and his M.A. from University of Louisville in 2002, Dr. Blandford attended Indiana University-Bloomington, from which he earned a PhD in English in 2011. He was named Faculty Member of the Year at Bellarmine for 2017-2018, and was recognized with a Pursuit of Excellence Award in the Fall of 2018 for his leadership of the Honors Program.

Dr. Nancy York

Associate Provost

Headshot of Nancy York

Dr. Nancy York, Professor of Nursing, was appointed Assistant Provost in June 2021. Her responsibilities in Academic Affairs include oversight of the library, undergraduate honors program, endowed lecture series, Thomas Merton Center, and School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Dr. York was a faculty member at Bellarmine University from 1998 – 2006 and returned in 2011. She has also held teaching positions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dr. York has served in various academic leadership roles including the Undergraduate Nursing Coordinator at UNLV School of Nursing, BSN Department Chairperson, Associate Dean, and Dean of the Lansing School of Nursing Clinical Sciences at Bellarmine. Professional service includes serving as a Program Evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Dr. York’s scholarship focuses on fostering healthy communities through evidence-based practice interventions and public policy development. She has presented her scholarship at regional, national, and international scientific conferences and has over 40 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. York received her PhD from the University of Kentucky and her MSN and BSN from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

You may contact Dr. York at

Adam Elias

Director of Innovative Learning Systems

Adam Elias serves as Director of Innovative Learning Systems, a role in which he is charged with enhancing the culture of professional growth and development at Bellarmine, while also promoting excellence and innovation in teaching. He provides leadership for the Faculty Development Center and the university’s distance education initiatives. Prior to joining the Bellarmine community, Adam served as Director of eLearning Initiatives at Jefferson Community and Technical College, and in the Office of Student Life at Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida.

Adam earned a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. in Human Development and Leadership from Murray State University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Kentucky University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Kentucky.

Adam’s research interests include digital transformation of academics as well as managing change in institutional identity and operations resulting from shifts in instructional modality. He has presented at numerous state and national conferences, on topics such as innovative teaching, instructional technology, delivery models, and postsecondary trends. His work has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and he is co-author of Emerging Trends in Higher Education, published in 2019 by New Forums Press.

You may contact Adam Elias at

Trent McNeeley

Instructional Design Consultant

Trent McNeeley Headshot Trent McNeeley serves as Instructional Design Consultant, a role in which he supports faculty in online, hybrid, and face-to-face teaching through the development of effective, engaging, and accessible digital courses and materials. Prior to coming to Bellarmine, Trent was senior instructional designer at Wiley Education Services.

Trent received a BA in Journalism from Indiana University and began his professional life as an award-winning journalist. He concurrently served in the National Guard, including a combat tour in Afghanistan. After earning an MA in Teaching from Bellarmine, he taught in the secondary environment, specializing in government and economics. Additionally, he has taught Economics of Sports as an adjunct at Bellarmine.

You may contact Trent McNeeley at

Ann Olsen


Ann Olsen

Ann Olsen is Bellarmine University’s Registrar.  She oversees all aspects of the Registrar’s Office which is responsible for all course registration and related enrollment activity, maintaining and releasing students’ official records, class schedule planning, degree conferral, publication of the University Catalog, and other related responsibilities.

 Ann earned her B.A. degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN in 1992 and has worked in higher education since graduation, starting out in academic advising before moving into registration and records.

You may contact Ann Olsen at

Dr. Paul M. Pearson

Director, Thomas Merton Center

Pearson Dr. Paul M. Pearson is Director and Archivist of the Thomas Merton Center Kentucky and Chief of Research for the Merton Legacy Trust. He is Resident Secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society, served as President for the 10th administration (2005-2007), program chair for the 11th ITMS conference held in Rochester in June 2009, treasurer for the Society (2007-2013, 2015-) and was site coordinator for the 2015 conference celebrating the centenary of Merton’s birth. He completed his Ph.D. in theology at Heythrop College, University of London, has an M.A. in Library Science from University College London, and is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Paul is a founding member and first secretary of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He served as an editorial advisor to The Merton Journal, an editor of Thomas Merton: Poet, Monk, Prophet, (Three Peaks Press, 1998) Thomas Merton: A Mind Awake in the Dark, (Three Peaks Press, 2002)  and Seeds of Hope: Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Message, (Cistercium-Ciem, 2008).

You may contact Dr. Pearson at

Connie Smith

Director, Office of Sponsored Projects

Connie Smith is the Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects. She is charged with guiding, assisting, and cultivating a culture of research and exploration for the Bellarmine community.

Connie has extensive experience in research administration. She provides leadership for pursuit of grants, contracts and other sources and provides oversight of sponsored programs in alignment with Bellarmine’s mission and strategic plan. She oversees all aspects of pre- and post-award functions including proposal administration, sponsored program agreements, contract negotiation with external agencies as well as ensures compliance with all federal administrative requirements and costing principles, state regulations, grantor restrictions, and university fiscal policies.

Connie also provides valuable support to Bellarmine’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Bellarmine’s IRB has primary oversight over all human subject research and is charged with protecting research participants and the public.

Prior to joining the Bellarmine team, she served in a variety of roles including providing critical pre- and post-award functions as well as supporting research compliance efforts, specifically the IRB. In the area of grants/contracts, Connie’s experience has ranged from front line service to project management and includes experience in higher education and the non-profit sector.

Connie earned her B.A. in Communications from Bellarmine University.

You may contact Connie Smith at

Dr. John K. Stemmer

Director of Library Services

John StemmerDr. Stemmer is the Director of Library Services at Bellarmine University. He has more than 19 years of experience in a number of research libraries at institutions including Raymond Walters College, Virginia Tech, and Xavier University. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio University and holds an MLS from Indiana University.

Dr. Stemmer’s professional activities since coming to Bellarmine have focused on fostering collaboration among academic libraries by serving as the founding chair of the Federation of Kentucky Academic Libraries (FoKAL) consortium and chairing funding subcommittees for the Kentucky Virtual Library. His current research interest is developing library assessment to highlight the value of academic libraries and their support for student learning.

You may contact Dr. Stemmer at

Dr. Kristen N. Wallitsch

Dean, Student Success and International Programs

Kristen N. WallitschDr. Kristen N. Wallitsch leads student success efforts across the university and provides leadership and oversight for the Student Success Center at Bellarmine. The units that report to her include Academic Advising, Learning Communities, Pioneer Scholars, Tutoring Center, Writing Center, and the Testing Center. Some of the initiatives housed in the Student Success Center include but are not limited to the Student Success Task Force, BU100 First-Year Focus Seminar, the student alert management system FIRE, incoming student non-cognitive assessments, and academic recovery.

Dr. Wallitsch is a higher education scholar whose research interests include student learning outcomes assessment, first-generation college students, curriculum design, social justice, and the international student experience. Dr. Wallitsch earned her Ph.D. in Studies in Higher Education from the University of Kentucky (2014), her M.A.Ed. (2006), and B.A. in Elementary and Special Education (2000), both from Bellarmine. She received a Japanese Ministry of Education Dissertation Research Fellowship, spending two years at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, drafting policy recommendations for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on US-Japan Education Cooperation for Global Issues. Dr. Wallitsch recently won two awards for her work with the university’s home-grown predictive analytics model, Award for Innovative Academic Support Initiative (ACPA College Student Educators International) and the NCLCA (National College Learning Center Association) Award for Innovation for the First-Year Predictive Model. She also won the Assessment Champion Award from the OSU Center for the Study of Student Life for her assessment work in the division of Student Success at Bellarmine.

Headshot of Betsy O'NeillBetsy O'Neill
Executive Assistant to the Provost
B.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign