CSU Names New Vice President For Academic Affairs

Columbus, Ga. --- Columbus State University President Frank Brown announced Wednesday that the university has selected Martha Saunders of the University of West Florida to become CSU's next vice president for academic affairs.

The vice president for academic affairs is essentially the second-in-command of the university and oversees all of its academic functions.

Pending Board of Regents approval, Saunders will assume the CSU position July 1. She is currently dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

'We're very excited to be able to bring a person of Dr. Saunders' caliber to this campus,' Brown said. 'She will bring energy, expertise and a wide variety of experiences to the position.'

Saunders earned her bachelor of arts in French from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969, her master of arts in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1979, and her doctorate in communication theory and research from Florida State University in 1990. She also has attended the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

She joined the faculty of the University of West Florida in 1986 and was named associate dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences in 1996. She was named interim dean three years later and guided the college through a merger with the university's College of Science and Technology. Later that year, she was named permanent dean of the university's new College of Arts and Sciences.

As dean, she oversees 16 departments, three research centers, 350 faculty members and about 5,000 students, an enrollment that's only about 500 shy of the current total student body at Columbus State University.

'I was very impressed with the breadth of the academic curriculum Dr. Saunders currently oversees,' Brown said. 'She's been actively involved in disciplines that range from the fine arts and an honors program to biology and computational sciences. Her college also offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees, another indication that her experiences in Florida will meld very well with her responsibilities here.'

Saunders has written and lectured extensively on topics in her academic field of research, and also on student retention, one of her areas of focus as an administrator.

John Lupold, the CSU history professor who chaired the search for the new vice president, said Saunders is a good choice and will be 'an extremely effective administrator who is personable and knows how to solve difficult problems.'

'The search committee is extremely pleased with the entire search process and with its outcome,' Lupold said. 'The entire campus - faculty, staff, and students -participated in the candidates' on-campus interviews and provided the committee with valuable insights. The Faculty Senate also played a very important role in the selection of the new vice president for academic affairs.'