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Press Releases

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

"David H. Buchanan Named Provost"

SALISBURY, MD---A popular administrator at West Chester University (PA) who has worked in public higher education for more than three decades is the new provost and academic vice president at Salisbury State University.  

Dr. David H. Buchanan, dean of West Chester's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), becomes the highest administrative and academic officer at SSU after the president on July 1.  He comes from a Pennsylvania institution with 12, 274 students--approximately twice the size of Salisbury State--but otherwise very similar.  Both are one-time normal schools --now comprehensive universities--focusing on undergraduate education and concerned with addressing social and community issues while achieving academic excellence.  

As CAS dean at West Chester for seven years, he administered a college with 3,300 majors in 15 departments, 17 interdisciplinary programs and a full-time faculty of 273 on a budget of $23 million.  

At Salisbury State a full-time faculty of 271 teaching 6,400 students will report to him and he will be a major player in the allocation of a University-wide budget of $74 million.  

"Dr. Buchanan brings a breadth of experience working with a large complex school of arts and sciences," said SSU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach.  "He is strong on consensus- building, shared governance and, like SSU's faculty, is committed to high academic standards."   At West Chester he worked closely with local businesses, industry and arts organizations.  One recent result of such collaborations was a  B.S. in Pharmaceutical Product Development, named by the Eastern Technology Council as the Best New Educational Program of the Year in the Greater Philadelphia region.  CAS also developed two other new degrees during his tenure, both firsts for the Pennsylvania State System: the B. A. in Women's Studies and an M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the latter immediately attracting over $200,000 in private funding.  

In addition to shepherding these initiatives,  he overcame a $140,000 annual budget deficit and eventually generated surpluses, which he then used to create small startup research budgets for faculty.   

Prior to West Chester he was chemistry professor and department chair at Eastern Illinois University.  Extensively published, particularly in the field of coal research, he earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1969.  He is also a 1964 honors graduate from Case Institute of Technology (OH).  

He combines an affection for the arts--he and his wife, Susanna, are collectors--with training as a scientist, which he says has taught him to appreciate ambiguity.  

 "He has wonderful qualifications," said Dr. Carol Williamson, SSU vice president of student affairs who co-chaired the  Provost Search Committee.  "His experiences and credentials made him a top candidate of the SSU faculty."  

"He has already dealt with many of the complex issues we're facing at Salisbury ," said Dr. Elizabeth Curtin, who also co-chaired the Search Committee and is president of the SSU Faculty Senate.  "He sought out his faculty's strengths,  then encouraged their development.  He's genuinely interested in education and students."  

The Search Committee of 18 SSU faculty, administrators, staff and students, as well as a representative of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore--SSU's sister institution 12 miles away--reviewed 94 candidates before bringing six finalists to campus in February.  Both Curtin and Williamson felt the finalist pool was strong.  After input from the campus and Committee,  SSU's president made the final selection.  

Buchanan will move here with his wife, a family physician who is medical director of Community Volunteers In Medicine, a clinic for people without health insurance in Chester County.  The family includes two grown daughters, Jeannette, a clinical mental health social worker, and Rebecca, a graduate student at the University of Washington (Seattle) in mathematical ecology. 

Buchanan said Salisbury State first caught his eye when the campus hosted the 1998 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, something in which he has long had an interest.  From then on, SSU's name kept popping up, he said, from its national ranking in U.S. News & World Report, to news stories about creative faculty and programs. The more he learned about the school, the more he liked it, he said.

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