Ann Diemen-Thornton

Heather Conley, Ann Deiman-Thornton are new deans at Minnesota State College SE


Heather Conley
Heather Conley

Minnesota State College Southeast announced that two new positions in the academic affairs division of the college were filled in August 2020. Heather Conley was named dean of academic innovation and Ann Deiman-Thornton was named dean of faculty and operations.

“We are extremely fortunate to have these two deans joining MSC Southeast,” said MSC Southeast Interim President Larry Lundblad. “They bring the talent and breadth of experience that the college needs at this time to quickly expand existing programs and to create new opportunities for students.”


Heather Conley, dean of academic innovation

As dean of academic innovation, Conley is focused on resource development and leadership for new and emerging career and technical programs. In this position, she will oversee MSC Southeast’s innovative advanced manufacturing, transportation, and bicycle design and fabrication programs. She will also manage the college’s customized training and continuing education division.

With an extensive background in grant development and oversight, Conley previously served as an assistant dean at Montana Technological University, where she was responsible for two-year health and career and technical programs, and was  director of grants development at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Iowa.


Ann Deiman-Thornton, dean of faculty and operations

Deiman-Thornton, dean of faculty and operations, will provide oversight and support to the majority of college academic programs in Red Wing, Winona, and online, including business and management, education and human services, health sciences, information technologies, liberal arts and sciences, and musical instrument repair and building.  She will also serve as the lead academic administrator for the Red Wing campus.

Prior to joining the administration of MSC Southeast, Deiman-Thornton was the education director at the Minnesota Department of Corrections-Stillwater facility, where she oversaw all educational programming. Additionally, Deiman-Thornton coordinated all post-secondary partnerships for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. She previously served as dean of liberal arts at Inver Hills Community College and was dean of faculty at the Minnesota School of Business. She is currently earning her Doctor of Education in Leadership from Saint Mary’s University and holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of St. Thomas.

“Ann and Heather are an excellent team to lead programs contributing to the vitality of southeastern Minnesota,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Chad Dull. “They have great experience and energy as well as sharing the belief that education changes lives.”


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