University names VP of undergraduate academics


Shawn Newhouse. Courtesy Cornerstone University

An experienced business faculty member at a local college has been named vice president of traditional undergraduate academics as part a new team-based administrative structure.

Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids said this month that it has named Shawn Newhouse to the role.

The role

Newhouse will oversee traditional undergraduate programming in the leadership role and report to John Verberkmoes, who serves as EVP of academics and dean of the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

She will also work collaboratively with Verberkmoes and Peter Osborn, who was recently appointed VP of adult learning, as part of the university’s team-based structure in the academic office.

“As an academic leadership team, we plan to continue to enhance current programs and consider innovative programs, structures and systems based on alignment with current needs in the marketplace,” Newhouse said. “The goal of these initiatives is to continue to graduate students that will excel in their chosen vocation and are prepared to impact the world for Christ.”

Newhouse will also sit on the president’s cabinet.


Newhouse has served as associate professor of business at Cornerstone University for roughly eight years and developed classes and projects and taught courses: Principles of Marketing; Marketing Problems/Strategies; Consumer Behavior; Sales Management; and International Business.

With an academic background in business administration, Newhouse received her M.B.A. from Taylor University and a D.B.A. from Anderson University.

Team-based structure

As Provost Rick Ostrander leaves Cornerstone next month, the university examined the previous structure within the academic office and decided to transition to a more team-based structure to improve collaboration among academic areas at the university.

Joe Stowell, president at Cornerstone, said the new structure allows the university to look for efficiencies among the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, traditional undergraduate and professional graduate studies to ultimately increase effectiveness.

“We have re-structured our educational division in order to build an integrated academic team that will bring strategic synergies to our three divisions,” Stowell said.

Verberkmoes said instead of pursuing specific courses or programs such as health care administration as individual departments, the team can now work together as a unit in exploring new opportunities.

“It is a team approach,” Verberkmoes said. "We will work collaboratively in envisioning and chasing the fruitful future of Cornerstone University.”

With roughly 50 years of combined experience in higher education and business administration, Verberkmoes said the combination of expertise in academics and sensitivity to the global job market will be vital in the days ahead for Cornerstone University.

“The importance of the team approach is supported by the actual players on the team,” Verberkmoes said. “Between the three of us, there are two Ph.Ds in higher education administration and one Ph.D. in business administration. The combination of our expertise is going to be huge, and this new structure really fosters opportunities for more synergistic thinking and knocks down the silos.”

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