After helping steer Cal Poly Pomona through turbulent fiscal headwaters, Provost Marten denBoer has accepted an offer to serve in a similar post at DePaul University in Chicago.
DenBoer is leaving sunny Southern California for the blustery Midwest after a successful and rewarding 6½-year stint leading the Division of Academic Affairs to new heights.
“Provost denBoer has demonstrated a strong commitment to student success, academic excellence and diversity,” said Soraya M. Coley, president of Cal Poly Pomona. “He has had an immeasurable impact on the campus, and we are deeply appreciative of his many contributions.”
When he arrived at Cal Poly Pomona in fall 2008, the university was entering the worst fiscal crisis in its history. Ongoing faculty searches had been canceled. State appropriations were cut dramatically, tuition rose, and faculty and staff were subjected to furloughs.
An ambitious planning exercise that had engaged the campus for two years was abandoned. DenBoer was then entrusted to help rebuild morale and confidence among faculty and staff.
DenBoer also worked closely with the Academic Senate to develop an academic blueprint that formed the basis for the university’s strategic plan.
Turning his attention to the budget crisis, denBoer realized savings by merging offices, reducing non-essential spending, and scrutinizing academic programs to lower costs while preserving the core academic strengths of the university.
As budgets have improved, denBoer was able to invest in new initiatives. He supported the hiring of over 100 faculty with impeccable teaching and research backgrounds in programs across the university. He expanded recognition of outstanding faculty members by instituting awards for excellence and supporting faculty scholarship with grants for travel, research and creative work. He also began a teacher-scholar program to recognize the time demands of scholarly work and support the integration of scholarship into teaching.
Under denBoer’s leadership, Academic Affairs became heavily involved in the university’s successful comprehensive campaign that raised over $160 million to support academic programs and instituted the Kellogg Legacy awards to fund innovative instructional and student success initiatives. External funding has allowed the addition of important buildings to strengthen academic programs.
Much of denBoer’s tenure and efforts have focused on serving students and improving the educational experience. Through his guidance of the campus Graduation Initiative, new academic programs and innovative support measures have been developed. As a result, student retention has increased dramatically and graduation rates have risen. Academic quality has improved and graduates are increasingly sought after by employers.
During his watch, Cal Poly Pomona has been ranked as one of the top public universities in the West, and the business, engineering and architecture programs have earned national accolades.
Among denBoer’s accomplishments, he leaves the university on firm fiscal and academic footing.