Volume 52, Number 1 July 12, 2004
Paap was associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Arts and Sciences Research Center at New Mexico State since 2001. The center, one of several college-based research offices at the campus, garnered about $35 million in external support in the 2003-04 fiscal year out of a university-wide total of about $90 million. A resident of Las Cruces, N.M., he begins his new job Aug. 1.
Recent grants Paap has helped secure include a $3.7-million ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award from the National Science Foundation and $5 million award from the Army Research Laboratory. The ADVANCE award, funded for five years, helps enhance the status of women in the academic areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Army grant, also funded for five years, involves five universities and five private companies exploring new ways to use technology to facilitate decision making.
"Dr. Paap is an accomplished scholar, teacher, fund-raiser and administrator," said John Gemello, SFSU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "His skills, experience and character are ideal for leading the further progression of sponsored programs that support curriculum development, community service learning and research at San Francisco State."
At SFSU, Paap will be charged with facilitating, broadening and expanding faculty research activities in support of the University's mission to provide students with an outstanding educational experience.
SFSU has nearly quadrupled its research and sponsored programs revenue during the past 10 years, attracting about $50 million in outside funding in 2002-03. The University has received major research grants from such sources as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Education.
Paap said he was initially attracted to the job by its location in one of the world’s most popular, cosmopolitan cities and, later, by the University’s increased emphasis on faculty research.
"SFSU clearly has been successful recently in increasing external funding, and I hope to build on that upward trajectory," Paap said. "I plan to help faculty obtain funding in areas where it is often difficult by locating new funding sources and putting together successful proposals. I am eager to support interdisciplinary programs that can lead to major grant proposals."
Paap, 57, replaces Paul Fonteyn, who is now provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at University of Massachusetts, Boston. Bruce Macher, professor of chemistry, served in the position on an interim basis for about two years before Paap was hired.
In 1975, Paap joined New Mexico State as an assistant visiting professor and the following year was hired on a tenure track in the Psychology Department. He served as department chair from 1995 to 2001 and has been the principal investigator for the University's Computing Research Lab since 1985. A fellow of the American Psychological Association, Paap has written and presented extensively on the relationships between culture and cognition, human-computer interface design and the psychology of reading.
Paap grew up in Milwaukee and earned his bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
His wife, Marina Abalakina, is also joining SFSU this fall, as an assistant professor in the Psychology Department. They look forward to moving to San Francisco with their sons Alexander, 11, and Michael, 10.
Business dean moves on to Redlands
Jerry Platt, dean of the College of Business for the past three years, has been appointed dean of the School of Business at University of Redlands in Southern California. He joined SFSU in 1976 as a finance professor.
A search will be held to replace Platt. William Pertulla, professor of marketing, has been appointed acting dean.
Platt said he is excited about his new deanship, overseeing a relatively young business school at a small private institution. He also looks forward to augmenting Redlands' emphasis on use of geographic information systems, one of his longtime research interests.
"Going back to my years as a professor, I had an interest in data realization, data mining and data analysis," he said. "I can take that expertise and leverage that into something special."
As dean at SFSU, Platt set goals of encouraging faculty to take a proactive role in shaping the College of Business' future, diversifying its financial base to include more self-supported programs, and working to improve communication and participation among faculty. While he has made headway in getting faculty to plan for the college's future, he said, much of the implementation will be left up to his successor.
President Robert A. Corrigan praised Platt for his 28-year tenure at SFSU.
"Jerry Platt's leadership of the College of Business will have enduring impacts on the University, including his success in offering MBA programs to working professionals in downtown San Francisco," President Robert A. Corrigan said. "We are grateful for his innovative vision and excellence as a teacher, scholar and leader."
Platt noted that his three years as dean equal the average tenure for deans at institutions accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and that he believes he has provided his "maximum impact" on the college.
"One lesson I learned in sports is that it's better to leave early than too late,” said Platt, who played running back at Michigan State University in his undergraduate days. He went on to earn an MBA from Wayne State University, a master's degree and Ph.D. in public administration from Ohio State, and a post-doctorate master's degree in statistics from Stanford.
The timing of Platt's career move also works well for his family. His wife Cathy Platt, an information systems and business analysis professor at SFSU since 1980, earned a faculty position in Redlands' Marketing Department.
Their children are both aspiring hockey players who hit key career milestones recently. Jason, 23, graduated from Providence College and signed a contract with the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League. He will compete for a roster spot this fall. Their other son Bryce just graduated from middle school and will enter the Banff Hockey Academy in Alberta, Canada.
Reflecting on his time at SFSU -- which also included stints as associate dean of the College of Business and chair of the Finance Department -- Platt said he particularly enjoyed teaching. Platt, who grew up in Detroit, is like many SFSU students in that he was the first in his family and community to attend college.
"The reason I came here and stayed here is that many of my students remind me of myself," he said. "It's a challenge to effectively deliver education in a classroom with such variability, when students come from so many different backgrounds and have such busy lives. … When it worked, it was so rewarding."
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