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Board of Higher Ed Announces Christopher Maples as Next OIT President

Contact:
Marcia Stuart, Cell: 541-554-6450

PORTLAND, August 1, 2008 – State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) president, Paul Kelly, announced today that Dr. Christopher Maples, executive vice president for research at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada, has been named the new president of Oregon Institute of Technology. The Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Maples as president at a special telephone Board meeting held today. Maples will replace acting president Dr. David Woodall, who has served in this role since last year after the former president, Martha Anne Dow, passed away in September 2007 after a battle with cancer.

“We are delighted with Dr. Maples’ appointment as president of Oregon Institute of Technology,” said Kelly. “His background in academics and research make him a wonderful match for OIT’s strengths and its potential, and the strong connection he made with the entire OIT community during his campus visit bodes well for a smooth and unifying transition into Dr. Maple’s new leadership role. The Klamath Falls community is united in its support for Oregon Tech, and we believe that Dr. Maples can fully support OIT’s faculty, student, and program assets, and help realize the potential of the university’s unique, quality programs,” added Kelly.

Dr. Maples, who will begin at OIT near to October 1, 2008, has served as executive vice president for research at Desert Research Institute in Nevada (DRI) and the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) since 2006. He has also held other positions there since 2003, including Department of Defense EPSCoR program director for Nevada, interim Sponsored Projects compliance director, acting deputy director of Nevada EPSCoR and interim director of the sponsored projects office for NSHE, and vice president for research at DRI. During his tenure there, Dr. Maples has helped oversee an overall increase in research funding from approximately $26 million a year to approximately $38 million a year. In addition, DRI has hired nearly 60 post-doctoral and staff scientists and faculty members since Maples’ arrival. Dr. Maples also initiated new review and evaluation criteria for the Nevada DOD EPSCoR program, which resulted in a total of approximately $3.4 million in funding for UNR and UNLV from 2005–2008.

Governor Ted Kulongoski said, “Dr. Maples is a welcome addition to the strong group of presidents at Oregon’s public universities, and the right person to provide leadership at OIT and help it further realize its many goals. The Klamath Falls community is fortunate to have a strong educational institution like Oregon Tech which truly transforms lives through its programs and outreach to students in southern Oregon and statewide.”

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to serve OIT as its next president,” said Maples.  “My sincerest thanks go out to the Oregon Tech community for already welcoming me to both the Klamath Falls and Portland campuses, and for the time they have spent in helping me understand the strengths and the opportunities of this great university. OIT has so much to offer this region and the state. I will work very hard to further OIT’s student-focused mission, continue to strengthen its high-quality programs, and ensure a strong financial footing. I look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to support teaching, research and student services, and working hand in hand with other educational institutions and the community at large."

The search committee for the president of OIT, which began its work in January, was chaired by Board member Paul Kelly, who was also recently elected the president of the Board of Higher Education. “There are many people to thank for making the search process a success and bringing Dr. Maples to Oregon Tech,” said Kelly. “The Search Committee worked very hard, under an aggressive time schedule, since January to make sure of a successful outcome. I also want to thank the entire OIT community of faculty, students, staff and other stakeholders, and the Klamath Falls community as well for their important contributions and input throughout this process.”

Oregon University System chancellor, George Pernsteiner, said, “Dr. Maples has a high level of understanding of the challenges and of the assets of OIT, its students, faculty, staff, and community. His background as a scientist, researcher and academic is a great fit with Oregon Tech’s current strengths in healthcare, engineering technologies, and its potential in renewal energy. We wholeheartedly welcome Dr. Maples to Oregon and look forward to working with him to further higher education access, affordability and quality in the state.”

Prior to his tenure at Desert Research Institute, Dr. Maples served as chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University from 1998 to 2003. He held several program director positions at the National Science Foundation from 1995 to 1998 in the following areas: Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education, Life in Extreme Environments, MarsRock Initiative, Earth Systems History, and Geology & Paleontology. From 1989 to 1992 he was with the Kansas Geological Survey, serving in the following roles: section chief of Geological Investigations, assistant, and then acting section chief of Petroleum Research, and COGEOMAP/STATEMAP coordinator. Other positions and appointments held by Dr. Maples have included faculty, adjunct, and teaching positions at Indiana University, University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Clemson University, and the University of Wisconsin. He has held scientist, curator and/or research positions at Indiana University, University of Kansas, Kansas Geological Survey, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Maples has served on numerous research review and evaluation panels and committees with the NSF and other organizations. He has also served on many boards and committees and received major awards and honors from some of these, including the American Geological Institute, the Society for Sedimentary Geology, and the Paleontological Society. Maples has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards during his career, and has been widely published, including books, journals, and other publications. Dr. Maples received his B.S. in Geology from West Georgia College, his M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from Indiana University. Maples will be joined in Klamath Falls by his wife, Sara Marcus.

Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public, accredited polytechnic university in the Pacific Northwest. The university was founded in 1947 to educate servicemen returning from World War II. Throughout its history, OIT has maintained vital relationships with industry partners to be responsive to workforce needs. Most classroom experiences are balanced between theory lecture and immediate laboratory application. OIT is a member institution of the Oregon University System. The university’s main campus is in Klamath Falls, with two campuses in the Portland-metropolitan area and specific degree programs delivered in Seattle, Medford and La Grande.

The graduate placement rate is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of $48,000. The university's overall enrollment is 3,318. OIT is ranked among the USNews & World Report Top 10 Baccalaureate Colleges in the West, and is home to the national champion Hustlin' Owls Men's Basketball Team. OIT was the first university in the United States to offer a Renewable Energy Systems bachelor’s degree, graduating its first student in June 2008.


The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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