Changes in part of the administrative cabinet have allowed for fresh faces in PSU positions.
PresidentWho’s leaving: Interim Michael Reardon Who’s coming: Wim WiewelWhat they do: Provides overall leadership and vision, primarily for the administration, at the university
Wim Wiewel, the highly touted urban planning expert and East Coast university administrator who was unanimously appointed to PSU’s presidency by the State Board of Higher Education, will finally step into his new role in August. He will replace Michael Reardon, who has served as interim president since Dan Bernstine left the president’s position in 2007. Wiewel most recently worked as the provost and vice president of University of Baltimore, and is a strong advocate of sustainability.
Assistant Vice President for University Communications Who’s leaving: Joan Barnes Who’s coming: Interim Julie SmithWhat they do: Focuses primarily on directing the university’s media relations team, promoting university news and events
Julie Smith, an employee of PSU’s communication team since 1999, has been filling in the interim role since Joan Barnes left the assistant vice president role in December, after only a short stint at PSU. Smith said Barnes “left to pursue other opportunities.” Smith said she plans to apply for the permanent assistant vice president spot, but could not say when Cassie McVeety plans to fill the position. McVeety was out of town and unavailable for comment. Balzer has also worked at the University of Oregon and Eastern Washington University, and has lived in the Northwest for most of her life.
Vice Provost for Student AffairsWho’s leaving: Interim Dan FortmillerWho’s coming: Jackie BalzerWhat they do: Oversees the university office focusing on student life, anything ranging from student welfare to on-campus activities
Jackie Balzer–most recently the dean of student life at Oregon State University, where she worked for 11 years–has worked in higher education for more than 21 years. Balzer will relieve Dan Fortmiller from his long-standing post as interim vice provost, a position he has filled for more than two years. Fortmiller will return to his former job as director of the Undergraduate Advising and Support Center. Balzer received bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Washington State University.
Assistant to the President for University RelationsWho’s leaving: Portland State lost one of the strongest advocates to ever set foot on campus when Debbie Murdock died of complications due to cancer in August 2007Who’s coming: Interim Jesse CornettWhat they do: Primary advocate for the university to state and national representatives, especially important during legislative years
Jesse Cornett, a former undergraduate and graduate student at PSU who lost a close race for state senate seat 24 in 2003. Cornett was a founding member of the Portland Bus Project, and was a senior aide and policy advisor to Secretary of State Bill Bradbury in 2003. Cornett plans to apply to fill this position permanently. The university chose to wait to permanently fill the position until a new president was officially hired.
Dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer ScienceWho’s leaving: Robert Dryden Who’s coming: Interim Dick KnightWhat they do: Oversees the direction of the college, determining the college’s budget and dealing with staffing issues
Dick Knight, a strong supporter of Portland State who has worked in the tech industry for 32 years, will replace Robert Dryden, who has worked for 13 years as the dean of engineering and computer science. Knight will serve as the interim dean until a search committee is able to find a permanent replacement for Dryden. Knight spent most of his career working for Tektronix, including a stint as vice president for that company, and has also served on various volunteer organizations, such as the advisory board for Maseeh College.