On October 11, 2013, the Board of Trustees at Arcadia University announced the election of Dr. Nicolette DeVille Christensen as the twenty-first President in the University’s 160-year history.
“The Board’s decision was based on the quality of Dr. Christensen’s consistent leadership and innovative vision demonstrated over the past seven months as Chief Operating Officer and the past five years as Vice President and Executive Director of The College of Global Studies,” wrote Board Chair Chris van de Velde in an announcement to the Arcadia community. “The Board believes Dr. Christensen has proven the ability to provide strong and stable leadership.”
Christensen was appointed to oversee the responsibilities of President, running Arcadia’s day-to-day operations since being named Chief Operating Officer (COO) in March. She will assume the role of President effective immediately.
“It is a great honor and a privilege to be named President of Arcadia University,” said Christensen. “I look forward to continuing my work with trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and all members of the Arcadia University community, nationally and internationally. I firmly believe in the mission of our University, one that combines a rigorous academic curriculum, promotes deep intellectual exploration and research, and provides students the skills needed to succeed professionally, grounded in a liberal arts ethos.”
Christensen’s service to Arcadia University began as Vice President in 2008 at the then Center for Education Abroad, where she led its transition to become The College of Global Studies, a full-fledged college of the University. She led innovative initiatives in international education including creating a Center for Research and Assessment, a unit that would go on to develop the award-winning international education program assessment model ATLAS; appointing a full-time Health and Safety Director dedicated to overseeing all Arcadia programs, staff, and centers worldwide; and expanding Arcadia’s global footprint by negotiating and establishing new centers in Barcelona, Dublin, Edinburgh, Havana, Istanbul, London, Melbourne, Rome, and Sicily.
“On behalf of the Faculty Council, we would like to extend our congratulations to Dr. Nicolette Christensen on becoming the twenty-first President of Arcadia University,” says Dr. Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Chair of the Arcadia University Faculty Council. “We wish her success and look forward to continuing to work together.”
“In many ways, Dr. Christensen’s leadership has demonstrated an investment in bringing the University together in one strategic direction and providing the members of the Arcadia community with opportunities to voice their ideas and concerns,” says Breann Donnelly, Chair of the Arcadia University Staff Council.
Placing a distinguished leader from the field of international education as President of Arcadia University is a significant moment in the landscape of higher education. Christensen’s appointment underscores the Board’s commitment to the global mission of the institution as expressed in its many disciplines, schools, and colleges.
About Dr. Nicolette DeVille Christensen
Prior to joining Arcadia University, Christensen was Executive Director of Global Academic Management at New York University and also spent 13 years teaching business management at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., where she served as Department Chair and Director of Study Abroad.
Christensen’s unique insight into the challenges of advocating for global education at the campus, national, and international levels has led her to placement on task forces, committees, and professional boards, including the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA); United Nations Task Force on Education; and United Nations Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace (founded by the International Association of University Presidents in conjunction with the United Nations).
Christensen was a Fulbright-Hays scholar; earned a doctoral degree in Leadership and Cultural Foundations with a focus on International Business and Ethics from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; a master of business administration degree from the University of North Texas; and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from the College of St. Mary in Nebraska.
Photo by Jim Graham Studios