Colorado State University President Amy Parsons today announced Marion Underwood as the university’s next provost and executive vice president, beginning Jan. 1, 2024. The selection follows an extensive nationwide search, spanning six months.
Since 2018, Underwood has served as dean for the College of Health and Human Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, a land grant institution enrolling over 41,000 students and ranked among the top 10 public universities in the U.S.
“As a renowned scholar and accomplished academic administrator who is grounded in the land grant tradition, Dr. Underwood will provide academic vision and leadership as we continue to elevate CSU as a leading land grant university,” Parsons said, noting Underwood’s deep understanding of and appreciation for academic excellence and innovation; diversity, equity and inclusion; and collaboration with faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters.
Underwood will serve as CSU’s chief academic officer and as the second in command within the university administration. Underwood will oversee areas including the Provost’s Office; the Deans of the Libraries, Graduate School, and eight Colleges; the Offices of the Vice President for Research and the Vice President for Student Affairs; and the Office of the Chair of the Faculty Council, among other responsibilities.
“Colorado State is on the rise, and I look forward to being part of the leadership team that supports its upward trajectory,” Underwood said. “The opportunity to serve as provost of Colorado State, and to collaborate with the president, faculty, students and staff to advance this outstanding university is the professional honor of my lifetime.”
As a foremost researcher in the developmental origins and outcomes of social aggression and how adolescents’ digital communication relates to adjustment, her work appears in numerous scientific journals, and the National Institutes of Health supported her research program from 1995-2021.
Prior to her work at Purdue, Underwood was a faculty member at Reed College, then a professor and administrator at the University of Texas at Dallas. There she was named the Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychological Sciences and served as associate dean of Programs and Administration in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences before becoming dean of Graduate Studies and associate provost. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wellesley College, and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Duke University.
Jan Nerger will continue to serve as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs until Jan. 1, when she will resume her position as dean of the CSU College of Natural Sciences and member of the university’s Executive Leadership Team.
“As a longtime university leader, Dr. Nerger has provided stability and has led our progress across the academic enterprise for the last year. CSU is incredibly fortunate to benefit from the wisdom and dedication she has brought to the interim role,” Parsons said.
The CSU search committee, chaired by Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences Lise Youngblade, ensured a highly qualified pool of candidates and strong engagement with stakeholders across the university.
“It was a privilege to work with this outstanding committee as we searched for our next provost and executive vice president,” Youngblade said. “We had a large number of applicants, a robust and thorough process, and tremendous participation from across campus as we interviewed three strong finalists for the position. We know Dr. Underwood is poised for this position, and we are extremely pleased to welcome her to CSU.”
Hundreds of faculty, staff, students and university supporters attended meetings and forums, and provided the committee with feedback.
“Faculty Council is excited about the upcoming opportunity to work with this outstanding new provost,” said Faculty Council Chair Melinda Smith. “As the transition approaches, we also want to thank Interim Provost Nerger for her strong partnership and dedication to faculty.”