PSU Presidential Candidates Chosen

February 24th, 2006 by Adam

The Plymouth State University Search Committee has selected four finalists for consideration as the next president of the University, Committee Chair Eugene Savage announced today. The four finalists are: James McCarthy, dean of the School of Health and Human Services at the University of New Hampshire; Christopher Hopey, vice president for adult and continuing education at Northeastern University; Virginia Barry, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Plymouth State University; and Sara Jayne Steen, dean of College of Letters and Science at Montana State University.

The finalists will be visiting Plymouth within the next few weeks for final interviews and other events, including opportunities for students, staff, faculty, alumni, Greater Plymouth Community, and the general public to interact with them. A full schedule of these meetings will be distributed shortly.

In addition, citizens and community business leaders in the Greater Plymouth area are invited to meet with the candidates at 7:30 p.m. in the Plymouth Regional Senior Center on the following dates:

James McCarthy: Tuesday, February 28
Christopher Hopey: Thursday, March 2
Virginia Barry: Tuesday, March 7
Sara Jayne Steen: Thursday, March 9

“This has been a rigorous process. We have read about, researched, and talked to many highly qualified individuals who have expressed interest in being the next president at PSU and are very pleased with the four candidates we are presenting to the Greater Plymouth community,” said Savage, a 1958 PSU alumnus and a member of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) Board of Trustees.

Biographies of the candidates (in order of their campus visits) follow:

James McCarthy, Ph.D. has been the dean of the School of Health and Human Services (HHS) and professor of health management and policy at the University of New Hampshire since 2001. In this role, he leads 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students and 150 full-time faculty who teach in eight departments and who conduct research and provide direct services through six centers and institutes. >From 1988-2001 Dr. McCarthy was the director of the Heilbrunn Center for Population and Family Health at Columbia University, and Heilbrunn Professor of Public Health. From 1984-1988, Dr. McCarthy was the director of The Hopkins Population Center at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McCarthy’s teaching and scholarship include 26 years of undergraduate and graduate teaching at Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of New Hampshire in schools of arts and science, public health, health and human services, and medicine. He has done extensive research and community outreach work in demography and reproductive, adolescent, and community health, carried out in the United States and numerous countries throughout the world with financial support from state, federal, and international public agencies and private foundations.

Dr. McCarthy received an A.B. in sociology from the College of the Holy Cross in 1971, an M.A. in sociology from Indiana University in 1972, and his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University in 1977.

Christopher Edward Hopey, Ph.D. Since 2003 Dr. Hopey has been the vice president for adult and continuing education at Northeastern University and has served as an associate professor in the School of Education. As vice president, he serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for the Division of Adult and Continuing Education, which includes the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, the Lowell Institute School for Engineering Technology, Executive and Corporate Education, the Institute for Graduate Studies and Professional Development in Education, the Bouve Institute for Leadership in Healthcare, Northeastern University Online, Network Northeastern, Northeastern’s Burlington, Dedham and Downtown Campuses, the Emergency Medical Services Institute, and the English Language Center. From 1991 to 2003 he was employed by the University of Pennsylvania where he served as the vice dean for the Graduate School of Education (2001-2003); executive director, Graduate School of Education (1998-2003); associate director and senior researcher at the National Center on Adult Literacy (1996-1999); project director & researcher, National Center on Adult Literacy (1993-1996): and as a Literacy Fellow (1991-1993).

Dr. Hopey received a B.S. in Political Science in 1988 from Northeastern University, an M.P.A. in 1991 from Northeastern University; and his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania in Higher Education Management.

Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. has been the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Plymouth State University since 1999. Dr. Barry began her career at Plymouth State in 1979 as an assistant professor and coordinator of early childhood studies. In 1984, she held a dual appointment in the Department of Psychology, and from 1984 to 1988, she was the director of graduate studies where she coordinated all components of graduate programs. In 1989 Dr. Barry was an associate professor and director of the Center for Young Children and Families and continued in that role until 1991. From 1992 until she became the vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Barry was a professor and chair and coordinator of Teacher Education Programs. Outside of Plymouth State, Dr. Barry’s career included four years as a primary school teacher in the William Floyd School District, a graduate teaching fellow at Queens College City University of New York, a teaching fellow at Florida State University, and an elementary school principal in Mastic Beach, New York.

Dr. Barry received a B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Florida State University in 1973, an M.S. in Child Development from Queens College, City University of New York in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Child Development/Early Childhood Education in 1979 from Florida State University. Her education also includes postdoctoral studies, certifications, management and leadership studies at Harvard, College of William and Mary, and New York University.

Sara Jayne Steen, Ph.D. is the dean of College of Letters and Science—the largest college—at Montana State University and has served in that capacity since 2003. She oversees the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Ecology, English, History and Philosophy, Mathematical Sciences, Microbiology, Modern Languages and Literatures, Native American Studies, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology and Anthropology. In addition, the college includes the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials, Center for Computational Biology, Center for Thermal Biology, Geographic and Informational Analysis Center, Humanities Institute, Local Government Center, Spectrum Lab, Wheeler Center for Public Policy, and the Women’s Studies Program. In 2002 she was nominated by Montana State University and selected by the American Council on Education for a year-long, in-residence fellowship to study higher education administration at the University of Delaware. From 1996 to 2002 Dr. Steen chaired the Department of English at Montana State and has been a Full Professor of English since 1989.

Dr. Steen received a B.S. in Education (English, Speech) at Bowling Green State University in 1970, an M.A. in English at The Ohio State University in 1974, and her Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green State University in 1978.

The Committee met this past weekend to select the finalists and is following a timeline that calls for presenting a final candidate to the University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Stephen Reno by the end of March. The Chancellor will conduct his own thorough review at that time and make a formal recommendation to the Board of Trustees at their April 20th meeting, which will be held at PSU.

As of January 6, the deadline for applications, there were 133 nominations or expressions of interest in the position. The Committee has followed a timeline that would call for having the next PSU president take over the position in July 2006. The next president will succeed Dr. Donald Wharton. Dr. Wharton announced last fall that he intends to retire as of June 30, 2005 after serving 13 years in this capacity.

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Matt Cookson
Associate Vice Chancellor for External Relations
University System of New Hampshire
603-862-0904 (office)
603-767-1247 (cell)

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU¹s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.