Lori Bettison-Varga, Ph.D., from The College of Wooster, will join Whitman July 1, 2007

WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Whitman College President George Bridges today announced the appointment of Lori Bettison-Varga, Ph.D., as provost and dean of the faculty, effective July 1, 2007.

Lori Bettison-Varga
Lori Bettison-Varga

The provost/dean of the faculty is the chief academic officer of the college and the second in command to the president.

A nationally recognized advocate of undergraduate research and creative activity, Bettison-Varga is currently the president of the Council on Undergraduate Research, director of the Keck Geology Consortium, and professor of geology and associate dean for research and grants at The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio). She is the author of numerous papers in Geoscience and various education journals and has co-authored major grants supporting undergraduate research activities from such funding agencies as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation and the Teagle Foundation.

“Dr. Bettison-Varga has extensive expertise in and understanding of the unique role that liberal arts colleges play in American higher education. She will bring to Whitman a keen awareness of national debates on undergraduate learning, the centrality of involving undergraduates in the scholarly work of faculty, and agility in assessing and addressing the types of academic challenges that Whitman will face in the years ahead,” President Bridges said. “She is also an enthusiastic and very approachable person, someone with whom members of the Whitman campus and the community at large will enjoy working. We are delighted about her appointment.”

Bettison-Varga emerged from a highly competitive pool of talented and accomplished applicants as the right person for this very demanding position, according to President Bridges.

“Not only did our intensive, national search yield a wonderful leader, teacher and administrator, whom I believe is right for the Whitman culture, it also reaffirmed that this college is held in very high regard throughout the nation,” Bridges said.

“I can’t imagine a better fit for me, and I am honored to join Whitman’s distinguished community,” said Bettison-Varga. “Whitman devotes itself to an extraordinary focus on its commitment to the success of faculty as teacher/scholars and students in developing their intellectual and personal self-confidence in a technological, changing, multicultural world. I embrace the pure focus and the transformative power of Whitman’s liberal arts education.”

Bettison-Varga earned her B.A. in geology with honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis. She received a National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award early in her career for her geological research, has personally advised dozens of students in undergraduate research, and has played an instrumental role in supporting undergraduate involvement in research at The College of Wooster.

Her husband, Robert Varga, is Shoolroy Chair of Natural Resources, associate professor of geology and chair of the geology department at The College of Wooster. The couple has three children.

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Contact:

Ruth Wardwell, Whitman Director of Communications, (509) 527-5768; wardwers@whitman.edu
Lori Bettison-Varga, The College of Wooster, (330) 263-2246; lbettison@wooster.edu
George Bridges, Whitman President, (509) 527-5132; bridges@whitman.edu