CORVALLIS, Ore. – Susan Gardner, a higher education professor at the University of Maine with a strong focus on equity and inclusion in education throughout her career, has been named dean of Oregon State University’s College of Education. She will start Feb. 28.

Gardner has directed the University of Maine’s Rising Tide Center for Faculty Equity and Inclusive Excellence, which conducts professional development programs and creates resources and policies related to faculty equity and inclusive excellence. And she directed the university’s women’s, gender, and sexuality studies interdisciplinary program.

“I am excited to work with the phenomenal students, faculty, staff and leaders within Oregon State University’s College of Education in fulfilling its three major roles of excellent teaching, groundbreaking scholarship and impactful outreach throughout the state and beyond,” Gardner said. “The land grant mission of the university and its clear commitment to equity and social justice are what attracted me to OSU. The tangible sense of passion and dedication within the college, the university, and its stakeholders have been apparent all throughout my interactions with this wonderful community. Creating change agents through our important work speaks to the values that the college and I share.”

Gardner began her faculty career at Louisiana State University in 2005 and moved to the University of Maine in 2007. She has served as director of a $3.3 million National Science Foundation grant on faculty recruitment, retention and advancement; associate dean of accreditation and graduate affairs in the College of Education and Human Development; and interim dean of the college.

Gardner’s research focuses on individual success within the organizational environments of higher education. She has published 60 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books and led or been associated with nearly $24 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.

A first-generation college student, Gardner graduated with her bachelor’s degree in education and Spanish from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1996. She then worked as a high school Spanish teacher in Wisconsin while earning her master’s degree part-time in education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In 2001, she moved to the state of Washington to begin work as a student affairs administrator at Washington State University, while completing her doctorate in higher education in 2005. In all of these experiences, she maintained a strong focus on equity and inclusion in education.

“I am delighted that Susan Gardner will serve as our next dean of the College of Education,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Edward Feser. “She brings experience in a variety of faculty and leadership roles, a deep understanding of the land grant research mission, and demonstrated leadership in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority in pre-K-20 education.”

OSU’s College of Education provides undergraduate and graduate degree instruction, research and continuing education programs. Signature programs include adult and higher education; counselor education; science and mathematics education; and cultural and linguistic diversity education. Approximately 450 students are enrolled in the college, primarily in master’s and doctoral programs.

Toni Doolen has served as dean of the College of Education since summer 2017, while also serving as the dean of the Honors College. She will continue her role as dean of the Honors College.

College of Education

About the OSU College of Education: The mission of the College of Education is to develop change agents in the form of researchers, scholars, learning leaders, teachers and counselors who make a difference by promoting innovation, social justice and lifelong learning. They prepare citizens who are socially empowered, reflective, innovative and caring members of our increasingly diverse world.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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