Leadership

Dr. Dianne F. Harrison


Dr. Dianne F. Harrison is the fifth president of California State University, Northridge and began her appointment in June 2012. Before her appointment, she served as president of California State University, Monterey Bay, a position she had held since 2006. Prior to CSU Monterey Bay, she worked at Florida State University, where she served for nearly 30 years in various capacities starting as a faculty member, then as dean of social work, associate vice president for academic affairs, dean of graduate studies and vice president for academic quality and external programs.

Known for her commitment to students, academic excellence and strategic leadership, President Harrison has a reputation for building strong partnerships with public and private organizations, enabling students, faculty and staff to cross institutional boundaries and engage in innovative instruction.

Since her appointment, Dr. Harrison has identified eight key priorities for CSUN: 1) advancing student success; 2) focusing on employees for success; 3) fostering diversity and inclusive excellence; 4) increasing the visibility and reputation of the university; 5) planning for a future less dependent on state funding; 6) expanding research activity and sponsored programs; 7) supporting sustainability; and 8) using athletics as a tool for engagement.

She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s of social work and a bachelor’s in American Studies, both from the University of Alabama. Her academic and research areas of expertise include HIV prevention among women and minority populations and higher education issues related to university leadership. A prolific researcher and writer, Dr. Harrison has published dozens of articles and two books.

Recognized for her leadership and service in higher education and other fields, Dr. Harrison has served on more than 80 boards and committees of national, state, and local organizations. She currently serves on the board of the American Council on Education (ACE), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Second Nature, and is the board secretary on the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). She also serves on the educational leadership boards of the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology, the CSU Technology Steering Committee, the CSU Commission on Online Education, the CSUPERB Presidents' Commission, the CSU Presidents’ Council on Underserved Communities, and the Extended Education Task Force. She was chair of the Professional Development Committee and convener for the Women Presidents/Chancellors Group of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. A former member of the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors, her current appointments at the NCAA include service on the NCAA Division I Committee on Academics and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors' Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. She is also a past chair of the Big West Conference‬. She was a presidential participant in the Fulbright-Hayes Seminars Abroad Program to Jordan and Oman. She has been appointed twice by California Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, having been initially appointed in 2011 and served in 2014 as chair of the Commission.

As an active civic leader, she serves on the boards of directors for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Economic Alliance and Valley Presbyterian Hospital. She is a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Leadership Council and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. She also serves on the Advisory Council of BizFed and as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Board.

In July 2018, Dr. Harrison was included in the Los Angeles Business Journal's "LA500" list, as one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles and awarded a Trailblazer Award by Leadership California in April 2015. She is the recipient of “A Tree of Life Award” from the Parent Institute for Quality Education for her contributions to the education of all children and was inducted into the Monterey Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay. In January 2012, she was invited by the U.S. Department of Education to a national convening of “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission” at the White House. Among the university's achievements since Dr. Harrison's arrival, CSUN was inducted into the San Fernando Valley Business Hall of Fame by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) in June 2013. Since Dr. Harrison's arrival, the university has also received several significant recognitions, including: being ranked among the top 25 in Nature magazine’s 2016 index of Rising Stars in science; two national awards in 2016 for sustainability, including the Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and a Solution Generation's Climate Leadership Award from the Hispanic Association of Universities and Colleges; the Eddy Award for Educational Leadership from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation in 2015; and induction into the San Fernando Valley Business Hall of Fame by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association in June 2013. In addition, in May 2018, Dr. Harrison will accept for CSUN the Excellence in Community Service Award from Valley Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Harrison and her husband, John Wujack, live in Northridge and have two adult children. She grew up in Mobile, Alabama and Short Hills, New Jersey.

 

Short bio for introductions:

Dr. Dianne F. Harrison began her appointment as president of California State University, Northridge in June 2012. Prior to her appointment, she served as president of California State University, Monterey Bay since 2006 and for nearly 30 years worked at Florida State University, where she began as a faculty member and served in various administrative leadership roles, including vice president for academic quality and external programs. President Harrison is known for her commitment to students, academic excellence, strategic leadership, and for building strong partnerships with public and private organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s of social work and a bachelor’s in American Studies, both from the University of Alabama. Her academic and research areas of expertise include HIV prevention among women and minority populations and higher education issues related to university leadership.

Dr. Harrison currently serves on the board of the American Council on Education (ACE), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Second Nature, and is the board secretary on the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). She has been appointed twice by California Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, having been initially appointed in 2011 and served in 2014 as chair of the Commission. As an active civic leader, she serves on the boards of directors for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Economic Alliance and Valley Presbyterian Hospital. She is a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Leadership Council and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. She also is active with the NCAA and serves on the NCAA Division I Committee on Academics and as chair of the NCAA Board of Governors' Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. She also serves on the Advisory Council of BizFed and as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Board. She and her husband, John Wujack, reside in Northridge.

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