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Marvin Kaiser, longtime leader of PSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to step down as dean
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications
Posted: December 15, 2010

Dean Marvin Kaiser(Portland, Ore.) December 15, 2010 — After almost two decades leading Portland State University’s largest college, Marvin Kaiser, dean of PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has asked the University’s provost to begin the search for his successor.

Marvin Kaiser has presided over the College during PSU’s greatest period of growth and advancement since its founding in 1946. Since Kaiser became dean in fall 1993, the College has seen enrollment more than double, an expansion of programs, degrees and faculty, and a new emphasis on research that has helped propel PSU to one of the nation’s leading urban universities. During that time, Kaiser earned a reputation as a community leader in Portland through his involvement with numerous civic, nonprofit and service agencies. (See additional background, below.)

“For nearly two decades, Dean Marvin Kaiser has served as one of the key architects of the vision of Portland State University as a truly outstanding urban university,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. “Through his work and life, he has embodied the values that are at the core of our mission.”

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is by far the largest of the seven schools and colleges at PSU. It includes 26 departments across the natural sciences, social sciences and arts and letters, with almost 400 full-time faculty and 50,000 alumni. During Kaiser’s tenure, enrollment in the College’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs grew to nearly 10,000 students, with similar-scale increases in research, fundraising, program offerings and more.

“I have great pride in the College’s progress over the past 18 years. There is no better place to study, no better place to teach and work, and certainly no better place to be dean,” said Kaiser. “Through remarkable efforts by our students, faculty, staff, and community partners, our prospects have never been stronger. Now is the time to look ahead to ensure our College’s continued renewal and growth.”

Kaiser, who also holds a faculty position in the Department of Sociology, plans to remain involved with the University, as he weighs additional opportunities to contribute to both PSU and the community. Provost Roy Koch will be tasked with forming a committee to begin a national search for Kaiser’s successor, who could be in place as early as fall 2011. According to Kaiser, during the search he will continue working to ensure that the College attracts outstanding students and faculty and to raise the funds needed for their efforts. He will step down as dean once a successor has been identified and is in place.

Background: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences highlights under Dean Marvin Kaiser (1993-2011)

More students, more degrees: Enrollment in the College’s undergraduate and graduate programs more than doubled, to nearly 10,000 students enrolled this fall; degrees awarded increased from 1,199 in 1994 to 2,270 in 2010 (44% of all degrees awarded University-wide);

Diversified curriculum: The College launched new programs in several fields, including Black Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Conflict Resolution, Creative Writing, Environmental Studies, International Studies, Judaic Studies, Native American Studies and Women’s Studies;

New doctorates: Ph.D. programs expanded from one (Environmental Sciences) to eight—Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics Education, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, Applied Psychology, and Sociology and Social Inequality;

Funded research: Faculty grant spending skyrocketed, from $2.3 million (1993–94) to $24.3 million (20009–10); newer faculty regularly join the college with well-developed funding portfolios;

Expanded research facilities: The College assembled one of the West Coast’s leading microscopy facilities in its Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanofabrication—an ONAMI signature research center and a resource to students, researchers, other universities and more than 30 industry partners throughout the region;

Overhauling Science Building 2: PSU’s main science teaching and research facility, Science Building 2, serves as a vital link in the chain of science education, advanced research, and workforce development for healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and bio-tech and high-tech businesses. A massive $46.5 million renovation and modernization project is scheduled for a spring 2011 completion.

Internationalization: In addition to offering a number of international studies programs, Kaiser and the College have played an active role in reconnecting with international alumni—particularly in China and the Middle East. Programs such as the Center for Japanese Studies have garnered international reputations for excellence, while expanded foreign language offerings contribute to an increasingly global curriculum;

Private philanthropy: The College increased philanthropic support from less than $100,000 annually to between $3 million and $5 million each year—including a $3.9 million gift from alumnus Fariborz Maseeh to support computational science. 

Partnerships: Many students have found the surest route to Oregon Health & Science University’s health and dental programs to be through pre-professional programs at PSU. Through shared goals, OHSU and the College increasingly share faculty positions, and will undertake development of the Life Sciences complex on the South Waterfront in the near future.

Background: Marvin Kaiser

Marvin Kaiser is an active member of several professional and community organizations. He is a founding leader and executive director of the Society for Values in Higher Education, based at PSU. He has served, and continues to serve on many non-profit boards, including Oregon Campus Compact, Oregon Mentors, Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington, Life by Design, Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, Catholic Charities, the Right Brain Initiative, University Club Foundation, and the Institute for Ethics and Public Policy at Pacific University.

At the request of Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Kaiser co-chaired visionPDX, a process that engaged some 15,000 Portlanders in developing a vision for the future of Portland that now serves as the basis for Portland’s Comprehensive Plan.

Kaiser came to Portland State from Kansas State University in 1993, where he served as interim and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as the director of the Center for Rural Initiatives and the Community Service Program. He also served as staff fellow and consultant to the United Nations Office at Vienna, Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs; worked as a staff fellow and consultant to the United States Agency for International Development and as staff fellow to the House Select Committee on Aging, United States House of Representatives.

As the author of numerous articles, book chapters and monographs, Kaiser has focused his scholarly efforts on domestic and international aging issues and community service. His most recent publications have focused on religion and public life, funding of higher education and community visioning. He also serves on the editorial board of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and has received many civic and professional honors and awards during his career.

Marvin Kaiser received his B.A. in Philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College, St. Louis, Mo., a master’s in Sociology from Kansas State University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1979.

About Portland State University
Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for nearly 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland, Oregon, one of the nation’s most livable cities, the University’s innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. The University’s 49-acre downtown campus exhibits Portland State’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while many of the 213 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU’s motto, “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.

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NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release (#10-088)

By: David Santen, Office of University Communications, 503-725-8765, santend@pdx.edu

Source:
Marvin Kaiser, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Portland State University