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Vanderbilt’s Christiansen to lead trustees at College Board

by Nov. 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Douglas L. Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt University’s chief enrollment strategist has been elected chair of the board of trustees for the College Board, the national organization that connects students to college success and opportunity and administers the SAT and AP programs.

Douglas L. Christiansen, Vanderbilt’s vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid, was elected Oct. 29 to the two-year post at the College Board’s national meeting. He has served on the board of trustees since 2011. As the governing body of the College Board, the board of trustees is responsible for approving the organization’s mission, strategic goals and objectives; making legal and fiduciary decisions, including approving the annual budget and major program fees; and advising the College Board president.

“Doug’s peers elected him to this leadership position because his commitment to excellence, educational opportunity and access to higher education for all students mirrors that of the College Board,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “At Vanderbilt, Doug has led our efforts to attract the best and brightest students from across the nation and around the globe and to make our world-class education available to all academically qualified undergraduates, regardless of their ability to pay.”

“I am delighted to welcome Doug Christiansen as our board chair,” College Board President David Coleman said. “Doug’s service and commitment to the College Board has been longstanding and superb. Our entire team looks forward to working with Doug to deliver opportunities to students across the country.”

In 2009 Christiansen led the development and implementation of “Opportunity Vanderbilt,” which replaces need-based undergraduate loans with scholarship support. Opportunity Vanderbilt helps ensure that young people of every background can attend Vanderbilt, creating a dynamic learning community that benefits every student. Since its launch, the number of Vanderbilt students borrowing with need-based loans, both institutional and federal, dropped 73 percent. More than $183 million has been raised to endow this program.

Vanderbilt leaders believe Christiansen’s enrollment philosophy will work well on the larger national stage. “Doug is an expert on issues of enrollment management, domestic and international admissions, access and equity, and funding models,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “The College Board will benefit greatly from having an innovative leader like Doug.”

Christiansen says he is ready for the opportunities that his new position brings. “It is through education that the world will continue to move forward, and through the work of the College Board and its member institutions, we can all make a tremendous difference in the lives of those we encounter,” he said. “Helping to connect creative, hard-working and intelligent students with the ideal school for them and creating innovative ways to improve access into higher education has been my life’s work for more than 20 years. It’s an honor to expand this mission as the chair of the board of trustees at the College Board.”

In addition to his work with the College Board, Christiansen has served on the National Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century, the Advanced Placement National Higher Education Advisory Council, the NACAC International Commission, and on several sub-committees and task forces on topics including access to higher education, ethical admissions and financial aid. He led Vanderbilt as a pilot member in the College Board’s Access Success Initiative. He is also an associate professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development.

About the College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than 7 million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

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