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President Steven C. Bahls résumé

Augustana College
639 38th Street
Rock Island, IL 61201-2296
Phone: (309) 794-7208
Fax: (309) 794-7422


Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

President 2003-present
Course co-taught: Individual Rights and the Common Good, The Art of Fundraising

Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio

Dean and Professor 1994-2003

Member of Board of Trustees 2021 - Present

Courses: Legal and Ethical Issues in International Trade, Business Law Research, Entrepreneurship Law: Theory and Practice, Transnational Practice of Law

The University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana

Associate Dean and Professor 1991-1994
Professor 1990-1991
Associate Professor 1988-1990
Assistant Professor 1985-1988
Board of Visitors 2006-2010

Courses: Business Organizations I and II, Agricultural Law, Public Regulation of Business, Legal Writing III, Legal Writing IV

Frisch, Dudek & Slattery, Ltd., [now Husch Blackwell, through merger]

Equity Owner 1985
Associate Attorney 1979-1984

Other Short-Term Teaching Experience

University of Calgary Law School (Canada) 1988
Shanghai High Peoples Court (China) 1994, 2001
Centre of International & European Economic Law (Greece) 2001, 2002
Passau University Law School (Germany) 2003, 2004
Holden Village (State of Washington) 2006, 2007


Law School

Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., with honors, 1979)

• Law Review Article: “Liability of Municipal Officials for Misrepresentations Concerning Municipal Securities”
• Order of the Coif (Honorary Law Society)
• Head Executive Editor, Northwestern University Law Review
• Chief Honor Code Prosecutor
• Christian Legal Society


University of Iowa (B.B.A., with highest distinction, 1976)

• Freshmen Honors Program Scholarship
• Varsity Debate Scholarship
• Lowden Award for Forensic Excellence
• Alcoa Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in Accounting
• Beta Alpha Psi (Honorary Accounting Society)
• Beta Gamma Sigma (Honorary Business Society)
• Treasurer, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship



Shared Governance in Times of Change: A Practical Guide for Universities and Colleges (Association of Governing Boards Press 2014)

Book Chapters

"Liberal Arts Colleges: Building Capacity to Thrive" in Making College Better: Views from the Top (Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. 2018)

"From Shared Governance to Shared Accountability" in Shared Governance in Higher Education: New Paradigms, Evolving Perspectives Vol. 2 (SUNY Press 2017)

Recent articles on higher education

We Need Each Other More Than Ever: A terrible crisis is an opportunity to strengthen shared governance, Chronicle of Higher Education (August 27, 2020)

Demystifying Rankings and Ratings, Trusteeship (July/August 2019)

Shared Governance: Evolving Workforce Expectations, Trusteeship (Summer 2018)

FIRE, Aim, Ready!: The weakness of a recent report on free speech by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Inside Higher Ed (May 31, 2018)

Presidents Share What's Worked, Chronicle of Higher Education, (June 18, 2017)

Higher education should acknowledge that many Americans believe colleges indoctrinate students in liberalism, Inside Higher Ed (February 28, 2017)

What Leaders Can Learn from Teaching Undergraduates, The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 25, 2016)

Clinton's College Plan Wouldn't Expand Opportunity: It Would Limit It, Washington Post (September 25, 2015)

Book review of "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town", The Chronicle of Higher Education, Septembr 8, 2015

Close or Fight for Another Day, Inside Higher Ed (March 12, 2015)

April Fool(s)proof Speech Builder, Inside Higher Ed (April 1, 2014)

Presidential Decree to End Nasty Emails, Inside Higher Ed (March 4, 2014)

How to Make Shared Governance Work: Some Best Practices, Trusteeship (March/April 2014)

The Law School Enrollment Collapse: Are Liberal Arts Colleges Next? Inside Higher Ed (December 18, 2013)

When a President Needed to Recalibrate His Thinking, Inside Higher Ed (September 11, 2013)

Progress Despite the Supreme Court's Imprecise Position on Racial Preferences, Huffington Post (June 26, 2013)

An Open Letter to My Daughter, Inside Higher Ed (April 30, 2013)

Same Gender Weddings in the College Chapel, Inside Higher Ed (January 4, 2013)

Campus Should Foster the Bully Pulpit, Not the Bully, Inside Higher Ed (September 27, 2012)

Faculty Myths About Trustees, Inside Higher Ed (November 2011)

Teach Financial Literacy, Inside Higher Ed (June 2011)

Board, Complacency and the Experienced President, Trusteeship (January/February 2011)

Administrators Must Dispel the Derogatory Myths About Professors, The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 10, 2010)

How to Help Skittish Boards Keep Their Nerve in a Recession, The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 17, 2009)

Remove the Worm from the Apple, Inside Higher Ed (August 8, 2006)

Journal Publications

Adoption of Student Learning Outcomes: Lessons for Systemic Change in Legal Education, Journal of Legal Education (Vol. 67, No. 2, 376-411, 2018)

Liberal Arts and Professional Education: A Call for Philosopher-Servants, Intersections 36-43 (Fall, 2006)

Helping Students Distinguish Between Career and Vocation: Reflections from a Lutheran Law School, 35 U. Toledo Law Rev. 11-18 (2003)

September 11, 2001, and Agricultural Law, Vol. 7 Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 1-5 (Spring, 2002)

Generational Change and the Problem of Associate Retention, 29  Capital University Law Review 887-892 (2002)

Standard Setting: The Impact of Higher Standards on the Quality of Legal Education, The Bar Examiner 15-16 (November 2001)

Preservation of the Family Farm: The Way Ahead, 45 Drake Law Review, 311-329 (1997)

Application of Workers' and Unemployment Compensation Statutes to Limited Liability Companies, 55 MONT. L. REV. 387-401 (1994)

Judicial Approaches to Dissension Among the Owners of the Family Farm, 73 NEBR. L. REV. 14-47 (1994)

Application of Common Law Doctrines to Limited Liability Companies, 55 MONT. L. REV. 43-91 (1994), reprinted in CORPORATE PRACTICE COMMENTATOR (1994).

Farm and Ranch Credit: Duty-Based Theories of Lender Liability, 19 WM. MITCHELL L. REV. 367-406 (1993)

Montana's New Business Corporation Act: Duties, Dissension, Directors' Actions and Dissolution, 53 MONT. L. REV 3-51 (1992)

(with Chapman), Patent Laws and Plant Science, 21 J. NAT. RESOURCES & LIFE SCI. EDUC. 149-152 (1992)

Preparing General Practice Attorneys: Context-Based Lawyer Competencies, 16 J. LEG. PROF. 63-93 (1991)

Political Correctness and the American Law School, 69 WASH. U. L.Q. 1041-58 (1991)

Resolving Shareholder Dissension: Selection of the Appropriate Equitable Remedy, 15 J. CORP. L. 285-338 (1990)

(with Quist), The A.B.A. Close Corporation Act: A New Opportunity for `Made In Montana' Corporations, 49 MONT. L. REV. 66-121 (1988)

Termination of Credit for the Farm or Ranch: Theories of Lender Liability, Montana Law Review Vol. 48. 213-66 (Summer 1987)

Liability of Municipal Officials for Misrepresentations Concerning Municipal Securities: Should the Corporate Standard Be Applied, 73 Northwestern University Law Review, 137-57 (1978) (student comment)

Other Publications

These Hoover students have the potential to be the next Greatest Generation, Des Moines Register (Dec. 27, 2018)

Legacy of Lars Paul Esbjörn in CHILDREN OF AUGUSTANA (2008) published online by the Augustana Heritage Association

The Five Faith Commitments of Augustana College: Proactively Expressing The College’s Roots with Today’s Students in Solf Fide: The Faith of Augustana  (2006) published online by the Augustana Heritage Association

Bruegel’s Justicia in Goebel, Origins of Modernity (2005)

Introduction to Liberal Arts Through the AGES: a Sesquicentennial Celebration in Goebel, Liberal Arts through the AGES (2009)

Trade Publications

Co-author monthly Legal Aid column for Entrepreneur magazine (1995-2003). Entrepreneur magazine has a circulation of 300,000

Contributing editor and co-author monthly "Ag Law" column for Farm Futures magazine (1988-1999). Farm Futures magazine, with a circulation of 235,000, was owned by ABC/Capital City Communications (column consistently ranked as the second or third most read article in each issue).

Co-authored hundreds of articles (since 1986) in national magazines such as INDEPENDENT BANKER, NATION’S BUSINESS, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS AGE, BUSINESS CREDIT and others.

Selected Presentations

The Long View: NetVUE Presidents Reflect on Diversity, Vocation and Institutional Change in Higher Education, Dominican University, Chicago (October 27, 2021)

Principles of Trusteeship to Guide Your Service, Association of Governing Boards Annual Meeting (virtual, April 12, 2021)

Why the Pandeminc is an Opportunity to Strengthen Shared Governance, Council of Independent Colleges (virtual, January 15, 2021)

Practice Webinar: Shared Governance and Institutional Sustainability, Association of Governing Boards (May 20, 2020)

The Challenges of Shared Governance, Husch Blackwell, Colorado Springs, CO (June 19, 2019)

Presidential Assessment in the Age of Enterprise Leadership, Association of Governing Boards, Orlando, FL (April 15, 2019)

Leading Strategic Change, Council of Independent Colleges, Scottsdale, AZ (January 7, 2019)

Role of President in the Lutheran Identity of Colleges and Universities, ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities, Scottsdale, AZ (January 4, 2019); Naples, FL (December 6, 2020)

The ABA Site Vite: Organization and Administration, American Bar Association (September 8, 2013, Chicago) (August 26, 2020, virtual)

Campus Master Planning: Building Campus Community, Annapolis Group (June 20, 2018, Annapolis, MD)

The Current Landscape of Shared Governance within the Liberal Arts Context, Associated Colleges of the Midwest Institute on Futures (July 13, 2018, Chicago)

Shared Governance: A Road Map to Success, Association of Governing Boards (October 30, 2017, Chicago)

Law School Outcomes Measures: Why Change? Change How? (May 6, 2017, San Diego)

Shared Governance: Changing with the Times, Association of Governing Board (April 24, 2017, webinar)

Shared Governance: Dividing Territories or Aligning Priorities, KSU Academic Chairpersons Conference (February 10, 2017, New Orleans)

Effective Shared Governance: Creating Boundaries or Alignment, Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (January 3, 2017, Orlando)

Innovative Approach to Strategic Planning, Council of Independent Colleges (January 7, 2017, Orlando)

Effective Shared Governance: Creating Boundaries or Alignment, American Council of Education Institute for New Presidents (July 28, 2016, Washington, D.C.)

Effective Shared Governance: Creating Boundaries or Alignment, Thrivent Fellow (June 14, 2016, Minnesota)

Shared Governance: Rethinking Current Models, Canadian University Board Association (April 29, 2016, Halifax, Canada)

Shared Governance Workshop, Association of Governing Boards (April 5, 2015, Phoenix)

Effective Shared Governance: Creating Boundaries or Alignment, SUNY (March 21, 2015, Syracuse, NY)

Shared Governance in Times of Change: A Practical Guide for Universities and Colleges (The Lawlor Group Seminar, June 12, 2014, Minneapolis)

Shared Governance Workshop, Association of Governing Boards (April 11, 2014, Orlando)

Why the Chaplaincy Matters to Institutional Mission and Strategic Goals, Council of Independent Colleges (March 29, 2014, Chicago)

On the Brink of Innovation: Critical Issues Facing Our Institutions and Their Leaders, NAPAHE (March 8, 2014, San Diego)

Law and Policy Trends in Admissions and Enrollment Management, Fisher v Texas, Stetson University National Conference on Education Law and Policy (February 18, 2014, Orlando)

The Frontiers of New Liberal Arts Education and President Obama's Scorecard, Stetson University National Conference on Education Law and Policy (February 16, 2014, Orlando)

Sharing Governance: Balancing Influence Among Board, Faculty and Administration, Association of Governing Boards Workshop (April 21, 2013, San Francisco)

The Future of the Small College, American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (April 14, 2013, San Francisco)

Augie Choice: Moving High-Impact Learning from Margins to the Center, Council of Independent Colleges Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (March 15, 2013, Indianapolis)

Shared Governance: Four Divergent Views, Gustavus Adolphus Board of Trustees (January 25, 2013, Minneapolis)

Sharing Governance: Modeling the Common Good, Council of Independent Colleges Presidents Institute (January 6, 2013, Tampa)

Strategic Partnership for Students and Community: Augustana and Texas Medical Center, American Association of College and Universities annual meeting (January 2012, Washington, D.C.)

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes: Impact on Law Libraries. American Association of Law Libraries (July 27, 2010)

Insurance Liability and Risk Management, Council of Independent Colleges Presidents Institute (January 5, 2011, Palm Springs, CA)

Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes – Implications of Proposed ABA Standards on Student Learning Outcomes, Charlotte School of Law (May 27, 2010)

Walking Together During Life’s Most Important Moments (Commencement Address), Trinity College of Nursing (May 19, 2010)

Changes in Proposed Best Standards Regarding Student Learning Outcomes, Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting (January 8, 2010, New Orleans)

Measuring Student Learning Outcomes, American Bar Association Midyear Meeting (February 5, 2010, Orlando)

Augie Choice: A New Model to Support High Impact Pedagogy, Higher Learning Commission (230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604) Annual Meeting (April 13, 2010, Chicago)

Augie Choice: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Support High-Impact Pedagogies, American Association of Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting (January 21, 2010, Washington, D.C.)

Shifting to an Outcomes Measures Approach for Accreditation Standards for Law School, University of Denver (September 13, 2009)

Student Learning Outcomes: Law School Accreditation Standards, American Bar Association National Conference on Professional Responsibility ( May 28, 2009, Chicago)

Boards and College Leaders: Getting Along in Tough Times, The Chronicle Leadership Forum (June 7-8, 2009, Washington, D.C.)

Open Book: Transparency in Communicating Assessment Data, Higher Learning Commission (230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604) Annual Conference (April 2008, Chicago)


Associated Colleges of Illinois

Member of the Board of Trustees (2003-present)

Association of American Law Schools

Founder and Chair, Section on Part-time Programs (2000-2003)

Chairperson, Agricultural Law Section (1995)

American Bar Association

Member, Council, Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar (2021-Present)

Member, Accreditation Committee (2015-2018)

Chair, Student Learning Outcomes Subcommittee of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar (2009-2011)

Member, Standards Review Committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar (2005-2011)

Member of Council, General Practice Section (1997-2001)

Chair, General Practice Section, Legal Education Committee (1999-2003)

Chair, General Practice Section, Communications Division (1997-1999)

Chair, General Practice Section, Agricultural Law Committee (1991-1997)

American Agricultural Law Association

President (2000-2001)

Director (1992-1995, 1999-2001)

Council of Independent Colleges

Board member (2012-2016)

Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law

Founding Dean and Advisory Board Member (1998–2003)

ELCA Council of College and University Presidents

Member, Executive Committee (2007-present); Chair (2009)

Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities

Executive Committee, Board of Directors (2003-2005; 2013-present)
Chair (2018-2020)

New England Commission on Higher Education

Site Visit Chair (2019)

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Member, Board of Directors (2006–2009)

Ohio State Bar Foundation

Member, Board of Trustees (2000-2003)

Ohio Supreme Court Appointments

Member, Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education (1998-2003)

Co-Chair, Ohio Joint Commission on Education of Lawyers (1995-1998)

University of Montana

Law School Board of Visitors (2006-2012)

State and Local Bar Associations (Selected)

Member, House of Delegates, Ohio State Bar Association (2000-2003)

Chair, Legal Education Committee, Ohio State Bar Association (1998-2000)

Member, Ohio-Shanghai Delegation (1994) (2000)

Member, Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee, Columbus Bar Association (2001-2003)

Member, Board of Governors, Columbus Bar Association (1996-2000)

Chair, Creed of Professionalism Committee, Columbus Bar Association (1995-1996)


Trustee and Chair of Academic Excellence Committee, Capital University (2021-present)

Board Member, Quad Cities Chamber Foundation, Davenport, IA (2020-present; Chair 2020-2021)

Board Member, Quad Cities Cultural Trust, Davenport, IA (2016-present); Chair (2019-2021)

Board Member, Genesis Health Systems, Davenport, IA (2009–present); Chair (2018-present)

Board Member, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce (2010-2019)

Executive Board Member, ILLOWA Council, Boy Scouts of America (2003-2012); President (2006-2008)

Board Member, Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce (2004-2010); Chair of the Board (2008-2009)

Board Member and Executive Committee Member, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Chicago, IL (2007-2012)

Board Member, Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science, Davenport, IA (2004-2019); Chair (2012-2016)

Board Member and Executive Committee Member, Quad Cities Symphony (2005-present; secretary 2011-2013)

Board Member, United Way of the Quad Cities Area, Inc. (2004-2008)

Board Member, Swedish Council of America (2003-2017)

Board Member, Ohio State Bar Foundation (2000-2003)

Advisory Board Member: History of Ohio Law Project (2001-2004)

Board Member, Columbus Works, Inc. (a welfare-to-work program) (1997-2003); Chair (2002-2003)

Board Member, Columbus Discovery District Development Corporation (1997-2003)


Admitted to Practice Law: Wisconsin (1979-) (not active) and Montana (1986) (active)

Certified Public Accountant Certificate: Iowa (1976) (not active)


Honorary Alumnus, Augustana College (2021)

Des Moines Hoover High School Alumni Hall of Fame (2019)

One Hundred Influential Cities in the Quad Cities (with Jane Bahls) (2017)

Outstanding Executive, Association of Lutheran Development Executives (2014)

Outstanding Philanthropist (with Jane Easter Bahls), Association of Fundraising Professionals, Illinois Quad City Chapter (2013)

Community Service Award, Modern Woodmen of America (2012)

Community Leader Award, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce (2010)

Community Leader Award, Davenport One (2008-2009)

Silver Beaver Award (for exceptional service to scouting), ILLOWA Council, Boy Scouts of America (2008)

Columbus Bar Association, Liberty Bell Award for Service to the Legal Profession (2003)

Capital University Black Law Students Association, Martin Luther King, Jr. Image Award (1996 and 1999)

Capital University, Student Bar Association, Ron Friedman Award for Service (1997)

State Bar of Montana, Professionalism Award ("recognizing exemplary leadership in the legal profession") (1994)

John Ruffatto Memorial Award (awarded for scholarship and creativity in educating University of Montana students) (1992)

Student Bar Association's Distinguished Teacher of the Year (University of Montana) (1991)


Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Moline, Illinois


Spouse: Jane Easter Bahls, freelance journalist and community volunteer

Children: Daniel, Williams College (B.A. 2004); Boston University (J.D. 2007)

Timothy, Middlebury College (B.A. 2006); University of Wisconsin (M.S. Computer Science, 2008)

Angela, Augustana College (B.A. 2013); University of Arizona (M.S. Speech Pathology 2015)

Grandchildren: Kirana, Asha, Jivan, Vinaya, Soni, Oliver, and Rania