Dr. Dennis J. Tyner was named president of Ottawa University-Arizona in May 2019. This came after Tyner had served as senior vice president and provost of OUAZ from its inception in February 2017, helping build the university’s new Surprise, Arizona, residential campus from the ground up. His tireless work in OUAZ’s first two years of existence led to him being named “Most Influential Person in Valley Education” by Arizona Foothills Magazine in its “Best of Our Valley 2020” awards.
Tyner joined Ottawa University in January 2007 as vice president and provost of the university’s 155-year-old campus in Ottawa, Kan. He has been teaching at the collegiate level since 1986, when he began lecturing at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. Immediately prior to coming to Ottawa University, Dr. Tyner served for eight years as dean of the David Crawford School of Engineering at Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the nation. In that capacity, he helped to reverse a decade long trend of declining enrollment, and was able to substantially increase the number of undergraduate engineering students enrolled at the school. During that time, he was instrumental in the development of new undergraduate program offerings. He also designed an annual Engineering Summer Camp and a semi-annual Engineering Showcase, and he established the school’s first online graduate program.
The Boston native earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1985, 1986, and 1992, respectively. His primary research focused on applying digital communication methods in magnetic storage systems to increase the storage capacity of magnetic media. He published several articles on his research and presented his results at national and international conferences. While pursuing his bachelors and masters degrees, Tyner was employed by GTE as a member of the Radio Products Group within the company’s Communication Systems Division. There, he was part of a team that developed the secure communication radios for the aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, and for the NASA Space Shuttle.
After earning his doctorate, Tyner joined the faculty at Norwich University as an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, where he developed and taught new courses in communications and digital signal processing. In addition to his academic work, he served Norwich University in several other areas during his 14 years of employment with them, including admissions, facilities operations, student activities and athletics. He also served as a textbook reviewer for Prentice Hall Publishers, and authored two solutions manuals for electric circuits textbooks that he evaluated.
Tyner is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, and he served as advisor to Norwich’s student chapter from 1994 to 2006. He was instrumental in helping the chapter achieve national recognition, as they were twice voted as the R.C. Matthews Most Outstanding Chapter, and were twice runners-up. In 1997, Tyner received Tau Beta Pi’s “Most Outstanding Advisor” award. That same year, he was also selected to serve the organization as a facilitator for their award-winning “Engineering Futures” program, whereupon he traveled to schools across the nation to deliver seminars on public speaking, interpersonal skills, analytical problem solving, meeting management, and team chartering. Additionally, he has taught engineering students for more than 20 years at every institution for which he has served.
Tyner and his wife, Patricia, reside in Surprise, Ariz. They have eight grown children, and a grandchild. His wife and five of their children are graduates of Ottawa University.