After months of searching, SUNY New Paltz has filled two top administrative positions.
In a campus-wide email sent on April 10, President Donald Christian announced that Phillip Mauceri, currently serving as dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Northern Iowa, will serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs starting in August. Daniel Freedman, who served as interim dean of science and engineering at New Paltz since August 2011, was shed of his interim tag and was announced as full-time dean by Christian.
Christian said Mauceri, who will take over for Interim Provost Cheryl Torseny who arrived as the campus chief academic officer last June, was an ideal choice to act as an administrative official at New Paltz.
“I am delighted that we have found such an outstanding leader as Dr. Mauceri to assume the responsibilities of this position,” Christian said in his announcement email. “Dr. Mauceri has a strong academic background and an exceptional record of leadership and administrative accomplishments.”
Mauceri, who will also hold a faculty appointment in the Political Science Department in addition to his role as provost, said he is looking forward to continuing his career and working toward improving New Paltz’s reputation when he begins his new position this summer.
“In part, this was a natural next step in my career. I have had to deal with a wide variety of issues as dean, including a major budget crisis, and felt that I was well prepared to take this step,” Mauceri said. “When I saw the position announcement for New Paltz, I knew I had to apply. It has an outstanding reputation, is poised for a major takeoff and is located in an absolutely beautiful setting.”
After applying, Mauceri went through two interviews — one in an airport with the search committee and President Christian and another on campus — and was called personally by Christian to be offered the position, he said.
“Needless to say, I was very excited,” Mauceri said. “I felt this was very much the right position at the right time and place for me.”
Mauceri said his first task upon taking over his new position will be to start discussions across campus to determine what the most “urgent” issues facing academic affairs are at SUNY New Paltz.
“I hope to further strengthen academic programs and position them to succeed in the rapidly shifting terrain of higher education,” Mauceri said.
Freedman, who has previously served as the chair of the Chemistry Department at New Paltz, will now oversee undergraduate and graduate programs in astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental geochemical science, geology, mathematics and physics on a full-time basis with his appointment as dean.
Freedman said when he was appointed to the interim position by President Christian last year, he did not intend to apply for the full time job, but after working in the role, he “enjoyed” aspects of the job he didn’t intend to.
“Sometimes you get to a point where you want to try something else,” Freedman said. “Last year I was on two much broader committees, and I had a lot of fun working with the honors committee and considering much larger issues. It was fun meeting and talking to a much broader campus community.”
Nothing “dramatic” will change in the School of Science and Engineering with his appointment, Freedman said, however the focus will now be on maintaining the school’s existing programs.
“I think we are not in a position to put in a lot of new programs or things like that,” Freedman said. “With the budget cuts that have happened over the last few years, what we really need to do is make sure that the programs we do have are doing well and offering what students need to graduate.”