James R. Stellar
Provost and Professor of
Psychology, CUNY Queens College
Following an undergraduate degree in Biology from Ursinus college, Jim Stellar did his PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania and his Postdoctoral Fellowship in brain anatomy in the U. Penn. Medical School. In 1978, he became an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and in 1986 moved to Northeastern University where he became a Full Professor. His research and teaching centered on the brain basis of reward and motivational processes in laboratory animals as a model for human cocaine addiction.
From 1998-2008, Stellar was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern. Under his leadership, the College improved academic excellence, strengthened experiential education through enhanced programs of cooperative education, study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, service learning and community research. He helped develop new academic programs, including Biotech, Urban Studies, and Creative Industries. In partnership with industry, his team began a series of Professional Science Master degrees and partnered with the School of Professional Studies to increase programs and revenue including with abroad students. In his time as Dean, undergraduate applications rose from 5,000 to 15,000 and major grew from 3,800 to 6,700 while SAT rose 250 points. Faculty scholarship grew to $10 million to $20 million a year and many new research centers were started. He established the College’s first resident Development Office and took fund-raising from under $1 million to over $5 million a year in 3 years. All of this was accomplished with a mission driven, data-informed, team-based management style that was designed to enhance contributions from faculty, staff, and students.
Outside his academic life, Stellar co-founded and now co-directs the Global Institute on Experiential Education that has helped over 50 Colleges and Universities create on-campus experiential education plans with an annual workshop at its site in Massachusetts and by traveling around the world to conferences and universities. The Institute operates under the World Association of Cooperative Education where he is a Board member. Since 2009, Stellar and a team have been writing a blog (www.otherlobe.com) about experiential education, its management by colleges and universities, and the personal transformation such an approach can achieve for students when combined with classical academic excellence.
In the summer of 2009, he became the Provost at CUNY Queens College, NY where he works with the senior leadership to promote the education of students and the scholarship of the faculty as well as the smooth running of academic processes such as hiring, tenure and promotion, and curriculum development. He has helped implement the new general education program for freshman and is co-leading an effort to improve the first year experience for Freshman and Transfer students and raise graduation rate by nearly 10 points to 60%. Stellar often meets with students in Pizza with the Provost in the Summit Residence Hall where he maintains a faculty apartment or in a large General Education behavioral neuroscience course that he co-teaches with Professor Bodnar.