Paul W. Ferguson began his service as the 15th president of Ball State University in August 2014. Prior to his arrival at the university, he served as president of the University of Maine for three years. As UMaine's president, he led the Blue Sky Project, an inclusive campus planning and implementation process, to raise UMaine to new levels of excellence as the most distinctively student-centered and community-engaged of the American research universities. President Ferguson has a demonstrated record of transforming universities, especially in the areas of academic quality and student success, increased research and economic development, partnerships between the university and community, and faculty development.
Before his arrival in Maine, Dr. Ferguson spent five years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he also was professor of pharmacology and toxicology. He implemented five major initiatives improving academic quality and assessment, student success, faculty development, educational outreach, and enrollment management. The university received national recognition for its academic innovation, culture of assessment, and commitment to continuous quality improvement.
In 1999, Dr. Ferguson came to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as dean of the Graduate College and professor of biology/toxicology. Over the next seven years he contributed to UNLV realizing its vision of becoming a premier metropolitan research university by serving in a number of leadership roles, including senior vice provost and vice president for research and graduate studies. As vice president, he led the continued development of the UNLV research and graduate education enterprise, which experienced annual extramural funding increases from $59 million to $95 million and the number of graduate programs rise from 74 to 108.
An accomplished scholar with a record of achievement spanning more than three decades, President Ferguson began his academic career as assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). There, he established the first undergraduate toxicology program in the South while leading research and outreach efforts aimed at assessing potential risks from chemical exposures throughout Louisiana. After five years working as senior toxicologist for Unocal Corp. in Los Angeles, he returned to ULM, where he received awards for teaching and research excellence as professor and head of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology. In 1993, he was appointed dean of graduate studies and research, and in 1995, he was named vice provost.
A Southern California native, President Ferguson graduated from Whittier College with a BA in biology and later earned a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of California, Davis in 1981. Between his undergraduate and graduate studies, he worked as a research specialist at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center and as a research biologist for Pennwalt Corp.
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