Dr. Charlene Callahan Returns to Provost’s Seat at New College

(August 3, 2009) — Dr. Charlene Callahan is returning to a familiar leadership position with New College of Florida. College administration recently announced that Callahan has agreed to take over the reins once again as New College’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the second highest ranking administrative post at the school. Callahan previously served as New College’s provost from 2001-2006.
Callahan’s appointment follows the announcement in late June that Dr. Samuel Savin had decided to step down from the provost’s position in preparation for his retirement from New College in May 2010.  At the time, New College President Mike Michalson announced that Savin would serve as the College’s Executive Liaison for Foundation Relations — helping bolster the school’s fundraising profile — during the 2009-2010 academic year and that a new provost would be named.
“Everyone who works with Char Callahan is impressed by her integrity, her work ethic and her calm but strong leadership style,” said Michalson in announcing Callahan’s appointment.  “She of course brings to this task not only the perspective of a veteran New College faculty member, but also her prior experience as provost during our difficult first five years of independence.  She is well known and highly regarded by higher education officials in Tallahassee, which will be an additional asset during these challenging budgetary times.”
A veteran of nearly 35 years at New College, Callahan has played an integral part in the College’s history and in the development of its academic program.
As a graduate of Michigan State University with a Ph.D. in psychology, she arrived on campus as a faculty member in 1975, just as New College transitioned from being a private college to joining Florida’s state university system as a semi-autonomous honors college under the administration of the University of South Florida.
Twenty-six years later, in 2001, when the Florida Legislature granted New College its independence and designated the College as the state’s official “Honors College for the Arts and Sciences,” Callahan was appointed as the school’s first Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
She held that position until June 2006, at which time she announced that she was stepping down as provost and returning to the classroom.  Callahan taught full-time for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years, while also serving as the director of the New College Environmental Studies Program in 2008-2009. When asked by President Michalson to return to her former post, she agreed, albeit with mixed emotions.
“Although teaching and working with New College’s exceptional students always will remain my first love, I am honored to be asked to return to the Office of the Provost,” said Callahan of her decision to return as the College’s chief academic officer. “These are interesting times for New College. As with other institutions around the state, we face significant challenges related to the economy and its impact on higher education, but it’s a privilege to participate in guiding the continued growth and evolution of our unique academic program.”
Despite the budgetary challenges ahead, Callahan and other administration officials remain upbeat about New College’s ability to retain and even grow its nationally-recognized academic programs.  Enrollment projections for the upcoming school year are at an all-time high, with estimates indicating that the College could pass 800 students for the first time in its history. This fall, the College also expects to break ground on a new 35,000-square-foot signature academic building that is scheduled to open sometime during the 2010-2011 academic year, during which New College will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
For more information on New College of Florida Provost Charlene Callahan or for more news about the state honors college for the arts and sciences, please contact Jake Hartvigsen, director of public affairs, at (941) 487-4150 or jhartvigsen@ncf.edu.

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