CSU names its eighth president
Watch the inauguration of Dr. Laura Bloomberg live on Friday, October 7 at 10:00 a.m. Visit www.csuohio.edu.
On April 26, 2022, the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees named Laura Bloomberg, Ph.D., as the next president of the university. The board held the meeting virtually, but Bloomberg found herself joining the meeting from an unexpected location.
“I was sitting in an urgent care center,” she says.
“I was dealing with an unexpected allergic reaction, only to have the doctors tell me I was in the early stages of anaphylactic shock,” she recalls. “I learned three important lessons that morning: serious allergic reactions are no joke; I won’t be eating shellfish ever again; and life is what happens when we’re making other plans, even when we think we’re in control.”
Despite the medical hiccup, Bloomberg was honored to assume the presidency. She had served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs since arriving at the university in September 2021, and she found the change from provost to president exciting to undertake.
“Cleveland State and the city of Cleveland have quickly become my new home,”
Bloomberg says. “As provost, I have enjoyed working with so many offices and departments throughout the university. As president, I’m excited to get to know even more colleagues.”
Bloomberg came to Cleveland State from the University of Minnesota along with her husband, Jon, an environmental attorney. She had been at U of M for 24 years and was serving as professor and dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs when she left for Northeast Ohio last fall.
A leader in public and global policy education, Bloomberg made the move to Cleveland to be a part of the university’s blueprint for the future, CSU 2.0. This multi-year plan includes ambitious, growth-oriented goals for many areas, including academic programs, college structure and faculty research. Bloomberg feels strongly about the vision for the institution’s path forward and is glad to have this strategy in place.
“I’m so appreciative of the work that my predecessor, President Harlan Sands, did to establish CSU 2.0 as our roadmap for the next five years,” Bloomberg says. “The university is thinking ahead to address the needs of students post-pandemic. This is a daunting but exciting time in higher education.”
In addition to moving forward with strategic plans related to CSU 2.0, Bloomberg had other important and timely matters to attend to.
“It’s not common for presidents to start just before the academic year-end,” she says, “but it was actually a wonderful way to begin.”
Bloomberg’s calendar quickly filled up with the many celebratory events for students, families, faculty and staff, culminating in the spring commencement ceremonies. In short order, Bloomberg adapted her remarks as provost to instead address the class of 2022 as president. “Commencement is such a strong reminder of why we do what we do every day,” she says. “It’s a privilege to shake each graduate’s hand and congratulate them on their accomplishment. It’s a time of new beginnings for our graduates who are bursting with potential as they launch their careers.”
Bloomberg also had to quickly find her replacement as provost, and she was delighted when Nigamanth Sridhar, Ph.D., agreed to join the president’s cabinet as interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Sridhar became a member of CSU’s faculty in 2004 and had served in leadership roles at the university, including dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Starting in April 2020, he had taken a leave to work for the National Science Foundation.
In addition to Sridhar, Bloomberg was glad to welcome Patty Franklin to the cabinet as chief of staff. Franklin, a proud alumna of CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, had been assisting the provost’s office since the fall, and previously held the position of associate vice president for HR operations at Pennsylvania State University. As luck would have it, Bloomberg and Franklin had previously worked together at the University of Minnesota.
“As president, I feel so fortunate to work alongside strong and talented leaders,” says Bloomberg. “Nigamanth and Patty are wonderful and experienced additions to the team.”
Within a week of her transition to the president’s office and before the end of the academic year, Bloomberg had important announcements to make about a key element of CSU 2.0 — the realignment of the university’s colleges, which has been in development since the start of the academic year. At the final Faculty Senate meeting of the year, she announced the names of the three newly restructured colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Public Affairs, and the College of Health. These colleges would better integrate similar academic programs and clarify for students which colleges might best appeal to their interests and academic goals.
“It’s exciting to think about the opportunities students will have with this new structure. Programs previously separated into different colleges will be collected together, providing collaboration and integration we didn’t have before,” Bloomberg says. “For instance, our College of Health will include all of our programs related to an individual’s physical, emotional and social well-being. Students will be able to understand a patient’s needs as an entire person, rather than focus on a particular area.”
Bloomberg is now looking ahead to the start of the 2022 fall semester and welcoming students back to campus. In addition, plans are in the works for a fall inauguration for the university’s eighth president.
“We still have many details to iron out,” she says, “but I know I want us to have an event that’s not about the president but instead about living well in this community we call home. Cleveland State is an institution both in and a part of the city of Cleveland. In our CSU 2.0 blueprint, we say we want to serve as a beacon institution. So, like a beacon, let’s shine a bright light on our collective successes as a public research university.”
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