College President

Dr. Paul Carlsen

Dr. Paul Carlsen joined Lakeshore Technical College as the institution’s 4th president in 2017. Under Paul's leadership Lakeshore has consistently been recognized as one of the top two-year colleges in the nation - Washington Monthly ranked the college #2 in the nation, Forbes ranked the college #17 in the nation, the Aspen Institute named the college a top 150 two-year college in the nation seven consecutive times, and the college won the 2024 Bellwether Award in Planning, Finance, and Governance.  In 2024 Paul was invited to the White House to share how Lakeshore has become a national leader in competency-based education (CBE).  

Paul has prioritized finding new revenue sources to support the college’s mission. Paul led efforts to secure more than $28,000,000 in competitive grant awards since taking office – including securing the three largest competitive grant awards in college history and the college’s first four grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Paul cultivated a $1,000,000 donation to the college’s foundation in 2022, secured a $2,500,00 scholarship pledge in 2024, and has more than doubled foundation assets since taking office.

In 2020, Paul was one of 25 community college leaders selected by the Aspen Institute for the inaugural cohort of their New President Fellowship. The Fellowship was a multifaceted program to help community college presidents in the early years of their tenure accelerate transformational change on behalf of students.

Paul works diligently to ensure Lakeshore is part of the regional, state-wide, and national higher education dialogue. Paul was elected by his peers in 2024 to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges, a national advocacy group representing over 1,100 two-year collegesIn 2023 he was elected by his Wisconsin peers to serve as the Chair for the Wisconsin Technical College System President’s Association as well as Chair of the Northeast Wisconsin Education Resource Alliance which represents all public institutions of higher education in Northeast Wisconsin. Paul previously provided testimony to the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. Paul is active on a variety of other boards, including New North (where he is Board Secretary), Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (where he serves on the Executive Committee), HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital, Froedtert Holy Family Board, and the Kohler School District (where he is Vice Chair).

Prior to joining Lakeshore, Paul served in a variety of leadership roles at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and was an adjunct instructor of American Government at River Parishes Community College. Before working in higher education, Paul worked in statewide economic development in Louisiana under Governor Bobby Jindal and in South Carolina under Governor Nikki Haley.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Denver, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Georgia. His peer-reviewed research has been published in Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, the Southern Economic Journal, and the Journal of Early American History.

Paul and his wife, Christina, are the proud parents to two young daughters. Paul’s family enjoys traveling, watching cartoons, sledding, and new adventures.

Paul’s professional publications include:

  • “Hiring and Onboarding Investments are Critical in Today’s Environment.” Community College Journal, 2022.
  • “Generational Difference: Transitioning from a Baby Boomer CEO to a Millennial CEO.” Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Trustee Quarterly, 2018.
  • “South Carolina Innovation Plan” with David Clayton and Martin Ettlemeyer. Prepared at the request of the South Carolina Knowledge Sector Council, 2013. 
  • “The Economic Impact of the Military Community in South Carolina” with Lu Wang and David Clayton. Prepared at the request of the South Carolina Military Base Task Force, 2012. Designated a notable state document by the South Carolina State Library in 2013.

Contact President Carlsen:
Lakeshore Technical College
1290 North Avenue
Cleveland, WI 53015
1.888.GO TO LTC
Phone: 920.693.1000