Niagara University announces Timothy M. Downs, Ph.D. has been appointed vice president of academic affairs at the university following a nationwide search. Downs possesses more than 25 years of experience in higher education and currently serves as the dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at Gannon University, a Catholic university located in Erie, Pa. He will assume his new position at Niagara on June 13.
The appointment of Downs as vice president of academic affairs will allow Dr. Bonnie Rose to commit her full-time efforts to the position of executive vice president at Niagara. Rose has been serving in both capacities since 2004.
"Bringing on someone with the wide range of expertise that Tim possesses, especially in Catholic higher education, is a significant achievement for Niagara University," said the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of Niagara University. "Moreover, Tim's hiring marks the completion of our senior leadership team; that, coupled with the forthcoming conclusion of our capital campaign, make it clear that this is a very exciting time for Niagara University."
As vice president for academic affairs, Downs will serve as Niagara's chief academic officer, striving to advance the university to new levels of academic excellence, expand the diversity and scope of its programs and student populations, and increase its national and international profile. Downs will work with Niagara's president and senior leadership team to foster an outstanding educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies in distinctive ways that advance the university's Catholic and Vincentian mission.
"I am very excited to be joining the Niagara University community and the administrative team led by Fr. Levesque," Downs said. "I look forward to working with Dr. Bonnie Rose, the other vice presidents and the academic deans in order to advance the strategic initiatives of Niagara. Niagara University's reputation as an outstanding private, Catholic institution in the northern region of the country attracted me to this position. Everyone I met impressed me with their commitment to excellence in higher education and service to the student population and the region."
In addition to his work at Gannon, Downs has also served as dean of graduate studies and research at Emporia State University (Emporia, Kan.) and as assistant vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. He is a member of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences; the Council for Opportunity in Education; the National Communication Association; the Western States Communication Association; the Pennsylvania Communication Association; and, as a graduate student at West Virginia University, was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society.
Throughout his career, Downs has been heavily involved in service, educational and training initiatives on campus and within the surrounding communities where he has been employed. Since moving to Erie in 2002, Downs has served in leadership roles with the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center and the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership Board for Northern and Central Pennsylvania.
Downs earned a B.A. in communication studies from California State University (Sacramento), an M.A. in communication studies from West Virginia University, and his Ph.D. in organizational communication from the University of Oklahoma.
In 2007, Downs was selected as a Summer Fellow of the Higher Education Management Institute at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, a program designed to enable participants to make decisions for their home organizations that are grounded in theory and supported by data.