UB provost is expected to head Portland State

May 02, 2008|By Gadi Dechter | Gadi Dechter,Sun reporter

Oregon's state Board of Higher Education is expected to vote this morning to select University of Baltimore Provost Wim Wiewel as the next president of Portland State University, Oregon's largest college, officials said yesterday.

Wiewel, 58, chief academic officer at the 5,400-student downtown Baltimore school since 2004, would replace Daniel O. Bernstine, who stepped down last year after about 10 years in the president's office to head the Law School Admission Council.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny thanked Wiewel for his "many contributions" and congratulated him on his appointment.

"Wim's active role as a national leader in university engagement and urban studies is a great match for Portland State," Bogomolny added.

Wiewel, a sociologist and veteran college administrator who has written books about the economic role of modern universities, said he looks forward to the challenges of heading an urban campus that, with about 25,000 students and 3,450 employees, is five times the size of the University of Baltimore.

"I'm focused on the issue of universities as civic leaders," he said. "At Portland State, what is very exciting to me is that it's the largest university in Oregon ... and has long been a leader in the notion of a university relating to the city."

In Baltimore, Wiewel oversaw UB's conversion last year from a school serving only junior and senior undergraduates - and graduate students - to one offering a full four-year undergraduate education.

After a nine-month national search, he emerged as one of three finalists for the Portland State position.

In recent weeks, the other two candidates withdrew from the selection process, said Di Saunders, a spokeswoman for the seven-campus Oregon University System.

Wiewel, a native of the Netherlands, has a doctorate from Northwestern University. Before coming to the University of Baltimore, Wiewel was dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago's colleges of business administration and urban planning.

He said he expects to leave Maryland in August.

"I'm still debating whether I will drive across the country, which would be a fun thing to make the transition," he said.

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com

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