Steve Bahls served as president of Augustana College for 19 years before retiring in 2022. He also served as dean of Capital University Law School and associate dean of the University of Montana School of Law (where he taught corporate governance). During his tenure at Augustana College, he completed two strategic plans that resulted in increased enrollment, a tripling of its endowment, more than a dozen new programs, and an ambitious plan for new construction and renovation of existing historic buildings. He has written extensively about a wide range of legal and higher education topics, from corporate governance to shared governance in higher education. His writings have been published as book chapters, in numerous scholarly law journals, and in publications such as Trusteeship magazine, Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the author of the popular book Shared Governance in Times of Change: A Practical Guide for Universities and Colleges, published by the Association of Governing Boards.
Bahls holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a law degree from Northwestern University. He has chaired the boards of several higher education organizations, including the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities, the Lutheran Education Conference, the ELCA Council of College Presidents, and the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. He has served on the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges (where he serves as a member of the faculty of the Vocation and Mission Workshop for prospective college presidents) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He currently is a member of the Capital University Board of Trustees and the Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education.