D r. Donald Para, dean of the College of the Arts, has been named interim provost at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Para, who begins his new duties on August 7, brings extensive administrative experience and a strong record of academic success to the position.
Para has served as dean of the College of the Arts (COTA) since July 2001. He is credited with enhancing the quality of academic programs and guiding the college through a period of substantial growth, with student enrollment surging from 2,500 in 2001 to more than 4,000 students today. Under Para's leadership, the college has raised more than $30 million, including CSULB's largest donation - a $16.4 million donation from the Bob Cole Trust to provide scholarships for student musicians. During his tenure, COTA also collaborated with the College of Business Administration to establish an MBA/MFA degree in theatre management, making CSULB only the second university in the nation to offer the terminal degree.
"We are all very pleased to have Dean Para's knowledge and expertise as we move forward in this turbulent economic time," President F. King Alexander said in an email announcing the appointment to faculty and staff.
"Dr. Para is a highly effective and well-respected leader whose dedication to student success, curricular innovation, academic excellence, and cross-college collaboration make him ideal for this position," said Provost Karen L. Gould who begins her new position as president of Brooklyn College in mid-August.
Prior to becoming dean, Para served a year as associate dean and 12 years as chair in the Department of Music at CSULB. Before his appointments at CSULB, Para served as chair of the Department of Music at Cal State Los Angeles and, for 15 years before that was on the faculty at Western Michigan University, serving the last five years as assistant director of the School of Music.
"I am honored to be asked by President Alexander to serve in this role at a critical time in the history of the university," Para said. "CSULB has strong leadership in its administration, faculty, staff and students. We will work together to make the decisions that will ensure a vital future for CSULB as a great public university."
Para received a B.M. in Music Education and a M. M. in Music Composition from Western Michigan University. His Ph. D. in Music Composition was earned at Michigan State University. His teaching areas are music theory, musicianship, and composition. Para's compositions, which include works for chamber ensembles, large instrumental and vocal ensembles, chamber opera, theater and the electronic medium, have been supported by various granting agencies.
Para has presented papers and given presentations at numerous meetings of arts education organizations and music theory conferences. He served the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) as chair of Region One from 1994-1997 and as a visiting evaluator for accreditation for 15 years. In 2007-08 he was director of the Seminars for New Department Chairs for the Conference of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS). In addition to his academic duties, Para serves as a director on the boards of KKJZ and the Arts Council for Long Beach.
During Para's term as interim provost, College of the Arts Associate Dean Jay Kvapil will serve as dean and Christopher Miles will be associate dean.