Steven G. Poskanzer, J.D., was named Carleton’s 11th president on April 23, 2010, and assumed his new post on August 2, 2010. He is a scholar of higher education law, with a broad range of administrative experience at both public and private universities and colleges. He came to Carleton from the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, where he served as President for nine years.
Poskanzer received his A.B. degree, cum laude, from Princeton University in 1980, and his J.D. degree from Harvard University in 1983. After briefly practicing law in Washington, D.C., he decided to devote his career to academe. He worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Pennsylvania from 1985-1993, becoming the University's Associate General Counsel. He spent the 1991-1992 academic year as an American Council on Education Fellow back at Princeton.
In 1993, Poskanzer became Executive Assistant to the President at the University of Chicago, where his responsibilities included policy planning for the University's Board of Trustees, and the management of the daily operations of the President's Office.
Beginning in 1997, Poskanzer served for 12 years in the SUNY system, which encompasses 64 campuses and over 450,000 students. He served as Associate and Senior Associate Provost, and then as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the SUNY main office in Albany, heading the Office of Academic Affairs from 1998-2001. In 2001 he moved to SUNY's New Paltz campus as that institution's president.
Poskanzer's time at New Paltz was marked by a visible transformation, as the institution doubled the number of entering students from the highest selectivity category, dramatically raised its graduation rate and grew the ranks of its full-time faculty. In 2008 Newsweek magazine name SUNY New Paltz the "Hottest Small State School" in America.
Poskanzer's academic research and writing has focused on college and university law, including issues of academic freedom and how college and university goals and values relate to a broader legal and policy environment. In addition to authoring the book Higher Education Law: The Faculty (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), he has taught a variety of undergraduate, graduate and professional courses at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and SUNY New Paltz.
Since becoming Carleton's president, Poskanzer has given top priority to learning the College's culture and values, spending time with faculty, staff and students and meeting with alumni and parents across the country. Poskanzer has also launched a comprehensive and broadly inclusive next strategic planning process for the College. Beginning in Fall 2011, this initiative will involve Working Groups that address key issues in Carleton's future.
Poskanzer was born and raised in Cortland, NY, where his late father, Charles N. Poskanzer, was a Distinguished Service Professor of Health Education at the SUNY Cortland. He is married to Dr. Jane Nofer Poskanzer, a clinical child psychologist who specializes in the diagnosis of autism and related disabilities. The couple has two children, Jill, currently a student at Carleton, and Craig, currently a student at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.