Jo Beld was appointed vice president for mission in 2014. She serves as executive liaison and secretary to the St. Olaf Board of Regents and as the college’s accreditation liaison officer. She oversees College Ministry, the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, and serves as a member of the St. Olaf Council on Equity and Inclusion.
A tenured professor of political science, Jo joined the St. Olaf College faculty in 1984, teaching American politics, public policy, ethics, and research methods, and serving as director of general education. In 1998 she was appointed faculty director of evaluation and assessment, leading the development of St. Olaf’s nationally recognized program of student learning assessment as well as college policies and procedures for the protection of human subjects in research. Jo has served as a speaker, program evaluator, and workshop facilitator for a variety of higher education organizations, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Association of Governing Boards, the Southern Education Foundation, and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). She has also provided workshops and keynotes for dozens of colleges and universities on student learning assessment and governance.
At St. Olaf, Jo has led the development and launch of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community, and the expansion of College Ministry to a multi-faith team that includes associate chaplains for Jewish and Muslim life as well as Lutheran Christian pastors. Under her leadership, in Fall 2020 St. Olaf was awarded a five-year, $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support Christian congregations in discerning and pursuing vocation through study and reflection, spiritual refreshment, and community engagement.
Jo completed a B.A. at Bethel University and an M.A., an M.Phil., and a Ph.D. at Yale University, all in political science.