Champlain Provost Robin Abramson to Step Down in June

Robin Abramson, Provost of Champlain College

BURLINGTON, Vt.— Champlain College Provost and Chief Academic Officer Robin Abramson plans to step down from her position on June 30. The announcement was made Thursday to the campus by President David F. Finney, who will also be retiring at the end of June. His replacement, Donald J. Laackman, president of Harold Washington College in Chicago, will begin July 1 as the College's eighth president.

Abramson, who has served as Champlain's Provost since July 2007, plans to take a year-long leave from Champlain and then return to the classroom as a Professor of Science in September 2015.

"Robin has determined that, with the change in Presidents at the College, the opportune moment for her to step down has arrived. Her decision is one with which I disagreed. I have not, however, been successful in deterring her. She is very much looking forward to a more relaxed pace after a spectacular run as Provost and Chief Academic Officer," Finney wrote in a campus email to staff and faculty.

He cited Abramson's significant strides in academics and her accomplishments in nearly eight years in the academic leadership role. Her work with the administration, the academic affairs team, and the faculty has resulted in the following notable initiatives:

  • Created seven new Masters degree programs and saw graduate student enrollments increase by more than 400 percent.
  • The Core Curriculum began
  • The number of full-time faculty doubled and pay scales were moved to market median and maintained
  • Created minors and specializations, thereby greatly broadening academic opportunities for students
  • Academic Coaching was started
  • Study abroad sites in Montreal and Dublin were started and programs began in Shanghai
  • More than 50 percent of Champlain's traditional undergraduate students now study abroad
  • The Division of Business became the Stiller School of Business
  • Build Your Own Business (BYOBiz) began and has attracted young entrepreneurs
  • Centers of Excellence, including the Emergent Media Center, The Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation and Champlain College Publishing Initiative were established
  • Champlain received grants from the United Nations, the Ford Foundation and the Freeman Foundation and is hosting a Fulbright Scholar — all firsts
  • Champlain absorbed Woodbury College mediation programs and students
  • Established the dual degree program with Thunderbird School of Business.
  • Articulation agreements were established with Vermont and New York Law Schools

"Champlain has been strengthened and improved because of her leadership and commitment. She is a fierce advocate for faculty and students and always — always — is looking for ways to improve Champlain. Her unwavering commitment to excellence has provided the steady vision needed to move the College forward. Simply put, we would not be as well positioned as we are today without Robin's leadership, commitment and wise counsel," Finney added.

Abramson, who lives in South Burlington, has been with Champlain College for 18 years, serving as interim provost, interim dean of the Division of Information Technology and Sciences, and the College's math and science coordinator. She has also been a professor of biology and the director of Champlain's former overseas program in Israel.

She earned a doctorate in cell and molecular biology from the University of Vermont and her undergraduate degree in biology from State University of New York at Binghamton. Her research work has included a postdoctoral research fellowship for the American Heart Association of Vermont, a National Institutes of Health Pre-doctoral Environmental Pathology Research Training Grant and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute's Frederick Cancer Research Facility.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit