CSU Names Top Academic Officer

Columbus State University Friday announced the selection of a veteran faculty member as its next vice president of academic affairs.

College of Science Dean George E. Stanton, a CSU faculty member since 1969, will move into the top academic post this summer, pending approval by the state Board of Regents.

Hes universally admired by the faculty who know him well, and I think that will stretch to the rest of the campus when they get to know him, CSU President Frank Brown said.

Dr. George StantonStanton was selected from among about 55 applicants for the vice presidents post, which has been filled on an acting basis by former College of Education Dean Thomas Harrison, who postponed his planned retirement in mid-2005. Harrison replaced Martha Saunders, who departed then to become chancellor at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater.

Stanton, dean since 2004 after a year as interim, has served on several CSU search committees for the universitys top academic officer, but he never considered applying until colleagues approached him after Saunders departure.

Im a strong proponent of open communication, said Stanton, who served 21 years as CSUs Department of Biology chair. I told the search committee my favorite answer is yes, my second favorite is no with an explanation and my least favorite is well see.

As dean, Stanton oversees one of CSUs largest colleges, where 81 faculty and nine staffers work with undergraduate or graduate majors who comprise about a third of the universitys student body - far more than the 1,300 students enrolled in all of Columbus College the year he arrived.

Dr. Stantons understanding of our institution and its students will be invaluable to all of us as he begins his tenure in this office, Brown wrote in an e-mail sent campuswide Friday afternoon.

Stanton now has spent more years in Columbus than his native Pennsylvania, visiting the campus for the first time within days after defending his dissertation at the University of Maine. While interviewing for teaching positions at various mid-Atlantic and New England colleges, a letter from Columbus College diverted his attention by offering complete control of his two favorite biology courses, entomology and ecology, the latter of which remained under his direction until 2003.

The biggest change will be largely disconnecting myself from my discipline, said Stanton, who has helped oversee work on at least four research grants while serving as dean.

Stanton served on the Muscogee County school board for 10 years, including two years as president. He was the Georgia Science Teacher Association College Science Teacher of the Year in 1997 and CSUs 1972 Distinguished Professor of the Year. Hes proud that five of his science faculty have been named CSUs Educator of the Year in recent years.

I believe in letting good people follow their ideas, he said.

One area where his Department of Biology has flourished since 1999 has been in its commitment to international field experiences for its majors. At least seven professors there have led students on educational excursions abroad. Stanton has co-taught students in Australia and Andros, the least developed island of the Bahamas.

Brown said the Board of Regents could act on Stantons nomination to become CSUs academic vice president as early as its April meeting.

Our sincere appreciation must go to Dr. Thomas Harrison for his willingness to delay his planned retirement for a year in order to serve our institution as vice president, Brown wrote faculty, staff and students Friday. He deserves our full expression of gratitude for his selfless service and our best wishes for much happiness in his retirement.