College appoints new provost
and vice president for academic affairs
The State University of New York at New Paltz is pleased to announce the appointment of Donald P. Christian as the college’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs. He arrives on campus August 1.
Dr. Christian is currently dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Christian served as associate dean and professor of biological sciences at The University of Montana-Missoula (1997-2004) and as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (1978-1997), including serving as head of the Department of Biology (1993-1997).
In addition to serving as Provost at New Paltz, Christian will hold tenure in the Biology Department.
“Before, during and since my campus visit, I have been positively impressed by the people, programs, values and directions of the college,” said Christian. “I have a great sense of ‘fit’ with New Paltz and am honored and excited at the opportunity to help sustain and grow the traditions of academic excellence and commitment to students that are so apparent.”
College President Steven Poskanzer said Christian will be a superb provost for New Paltz. “His intelligence, integrity, breadth of experience and established record in directly building academic quality augur well for our future,” he said. “At every institution where he has worked, including a comprehensive college that shares many characteristics with New Paltz, he has collaborated with academic leaders to build enduring quality in teaching and scholarship.”
Christian’s responsibility at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a regionally ranked, liberal arts-based comprehensive university of 10,800 students, includes administration of the academic programs and the 300 members of the faculty in the college of arts and sciences. He oversees 18 departments (plus several interdisciplinary programs) and a $20 million budget. In addition, he is responsible for recruiting, evaluating and retaining faculty; supervising 20 department chairs and program directors and several associate deans and staff; and developing and supporting academic programs.
At the University of Montana, the state’s flagship university with approximately 12,500 students, Christian was the lead administrator for the biological sciences, which included 500 undergraduate majors, 80 graduate students, 40 faculty and 50 research staff; and the oversight of a $1.8 million state budget and $7 million annual grant awards budget.
Christian earned both his Ph. D. and M.S. in the Department of Zoology at Michigan State University (1977 and 1973 respectively). He received his Bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife with high honors also at Michigan State University (1971).
In 2008, Christian was invited to participate in the Wingspread Conference on Liberal Education by Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly. He also has been awarded the Outstanding Academic Administrator Award from the University of Montana (2000) and the Service to Chapter Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Wildlife Society (1995).
Christian has been published widely in journals such as: Thought & Action; Journal of Wildlife Management; Wildlife Biology; Wetlands; Biomass & Bioenergy; Conservation Biology; and the Journal of Mammalogy.
Christian will replace David K. Lavallee, who is stepping down as provost at the end of May 2009. Lavallee has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at New Paltz for 10 years. He will continue at New Paltz teaching in the Chemistry Department.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.