Christiansen named new associate vice president for Commonwealth Campuses

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses announced May 17 that David Christiansen will be the new associate vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and senior associate dean for academic programs.

Christiansen, currently the senior associate dean for academic affairs at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will begin working July 1 at University Park, filling the vacancy left by Nancy Herron, who will retire June 30.

"I am delighted to join the Office of the Commonwealth Campuses and look forward to working with the faculty and staff across the University,” he said. “The 20 campuses of the commonwealth system are a vital part of Penn State, and I am excited about the opportunity this position offers. Over the next several years I am eager to collaborate with my colleagues to develop inter-campus academic programs."

The Commonwealth Campus office oversees the University’s 19 undergraduate campuses statewide as well as the Great Valley School of Professional Studies, developing regional clusters of activity and resource sharing to facilitate programmatic collaboration, cost savings and more effective use of resources.

“David will make a wonderful addition to our senior leadership team," said Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses. "He brings experience and enthusiasm to the post. His commitment to collaborative program development will serve the Commonwealth Campuses well. I look forward to working with him."

Christiansen has bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Tech University, and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

From 1990 to 2004, Christiansen was a faculty member in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. He was promoted to full professor of classics in 2003, and established the school’s bachelor of arts degrees in classics and interdisciplinary studies. From 1999 to 2004, he served as dean of Truman State’s Joseph Baldwin Academy, a summer program for 400 gifted middle school students. From 2000 to 2004, Christiansen also worked as director of interdisciplinary studies at Truman State. As a professor, he won multiple awards and published more than 30 scholarly works.

At Penn State Behrend since 2004, Christiansen provided operational, managerial and strategic oversight for the campus’ academic programs and offices. He oversaw programs with more than 250 full-time faculty members, offering 34 bachelor degrees, six associate degrees and two masters degrees. He also managed the campus’ management offices, including Admissions and Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, and the Academic and Career Planning Center, along with instructional support units such as the Center for Educational Initiatives, the Center for eLearning Initiatives and the John M. Lilley Library. He lent his expertise to multiple committees, including the Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education, the Administrative Council on Graduate Education and the Chief Academic Officers of the Commonwealth Campuses. He also served on the University-wide Alignment of Business Curriculum Committee that developed a common core of business classes in 2006, three World Campus task forces from 2007 to 2009 and the Core Council committee that reviewed the University’s Commonwealth Campus system in 2010-11.

During his tenure as Penn State Behrend’s chief academic officer, enrollment at the campus grew by several hundred students and reached a first-year retention rate of 84 percent and graduation rate of 70 percent.

Herron is retiring after 29 years at the University. Prior to working in the Commonwealth Campuses office, she served as campus librarian and director of academic affairs at Penn State Greater Allegheny. She was the recipient of the Achieving Women Award in 2000 by the Commission for Women and the University’s Administrative Excellence Award in 2004. Herron chaired numerous university committees and groups, including the Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education, and the Commission for Women. She was also a 1990-91 administrative fellow in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. 

Hanes added, “Nancy has been an excellent steward of academic quality. The Commonwealth Campuses have benefitted greatly from her leadership in program planning and development.”

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Last Updated May 23, 2013