COLUMBIA COLLEGE PRESIDENTIAL FINALIST: Scott Dalrymple drawn to 'diverse mix of students'

Friday, January 10, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:50 p.m. CST, Monday, January 20, 2014

*CORRECTION: Dalrymple will visit Columbia on Monday, Jan. 13. An earlier version of this article misstated the date of his visit.

COLUMBIA — Scott Dalrymple, 46, has served as dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College in New York since 2010. He oversees undergraduate and graduate programs in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

"I am proud of having been a tenured faculty member and department chair," said Dalrymple, one of two finalists for the job of Columbia College president. "It gives me a sense of the soul of a liberal arts institution, which I take very seriously and want to protect."

He said he is proud that he was able to form the School of Public Services at Excelsior and serve as its first dean.

Dalrymple will be at Columbia College on *Monday to participate in an open forum with the community, staff and students. The other finalist, Randy Hanna, will be on campus Tuesday. (Read a profile of Randy Hanna.)

Piyusha Singh, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College, said she has worked for Dalrymple since 2010. She said he understands higher education and is focused on the students.

"He is a great leader who is very committed to faculty and student," she said. "Dr. Dalrymple is a deep thinker about higher education."

She said his management style is decisive, but he also listens to people. Piyusha said he has been instrumental in bringing up morale in the department and helping people work together.

"He has a good instinct and a strong sense of vision on where he wants to go next," Piyusha said.

Columbia College has more than 30,000 students on traditional day campuses, online and military programs across the country. Dalrymple said there are 10,000 military students at military bases within Excelsior College.

He said Columbia College is the "best of both worlds" with military, adult students and online courses.

"I have a lot of respect for what Columbia College has done. It's very impressive," Dalrymple said. "I think, from my standpoint, the next president needs to be able to ensure there is harmony between the two worlds of traditional day campus and the primary adult service centers and online programs."

He said he understands both worlds because he has served as a traditional faculty member and as dean of a large online operation.

"I am particularly interested in Columbia College because of the diverse mix of students," Dalrymple said. "I come from a background with many years at traditional liberal arts college and I taught for many years. I loved that and have an affinity for that environment."

From 2003 to 2010, he served as the tenured chair and associate professor of business administration and accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. Dalrymple was the Beech professor of business administration; department chair of the business, accounting and economics departments; and director of the MBA program from 1999 to 2003 at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan.

Before his work in higher education, he spent eight years in marketing, entrepreneurship and finance corporate setting, most of that at a large energy company in Buffalo, N.Y., National Fuel.

"I have a healthy appreciation for business, but I am primarily an educator who understands the business side," Dalrymple said. "I think that is important because I  take liberal arts education seriously."

He has a doctorate in English and master's in business administration from the University at Buffalo and a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

George Timmons, associate provost at Excelsior College, has known Dalrymple since he became Dean of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College. Together they worked on course development, curriculum development and the implementation of the online writing lab.

He said Dalrymple was instrumental in improving communication between staff and developing new academic course programs. This included a military history program and vampire pop culture class.

"He is really a unique individual in terms of his background," Timmons said. "He has a traditional liberal arts background but has also worked at institutions with an adult degree program and online education. He really brings an interesting skill set to Columbia."

Timmons said Dalrymple is data driven and is not afraid to make difficult decisions. He said he would tell Columbia College's story well.

In his free time, Dalrymple enjoys reading and writing, especially science fiction. He has published several books and peer-reviewed articles.

Dalrymple said he and his wife were the first in their families to attend college. They understand the importance of education.

He grew up in a rural area of New York, similar to much of central Missouri. He said he has visited Columbia and thinks it is a great place. Although he has lived in Kansas previously, Dalrymple promised he is not a KU fan.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," Dalrymple said. "Columbia College is a great college with a fascinating history. I would be honored to be a part of it."

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