Posted: June 3, 1996

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Three finalists for the new position of executive vice chancellor/chief operating officer of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) were announced today by Chancellor Judith Eaton.

The executive vice chancellor/COO will be responsible to the chancellor for the day-to-day operation of key areas in the MnSCU system office, including academic and student affairs, budget, personnel and labor relations, and the office of diversity.

The position was created as part of a system office reorganization and downsizing that will reduce the number of employees by approximately 100, or 50 percent, and structure the office around four key areas: policy development, government liaison and public advocacy, strategic planning and budget.

The finalists will be interviewed in the next several days by members of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, the chancellor, the MnSCU Joint Council of Presidents and other representatives of the colleges and universities and the system office.

Chancellor Eaton will recommend one of the candidates to the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on June 19, and the board is expected to select the executive vice chancellor/COO that day.

Here are the finalists and the dates of their interviews:

Robert L. Burns (June 5), president of Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, since 1991. Burns previously held senior administrative positions at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, from 1986 to 1990, including interim president, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and of Graduate Programs. From 1983 to 1986, he served as dean of the School of Humanities and later as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Morehead State University in Kentucky. He was the founding executive director of a consortium of four University of Wisconsin System institutions (Eau Claire, LaCrosse, River Falls and Stout) from 1972 to 1983. The consortium began as an agency for academic program review and expanded its responsibilities into such areas as improvement of instruction, shared resources and minority student programming. He has held faculty positions in English throughout his career, beginning as an instructor at the University of Louisville in 1966. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Louisville, an M.A. from the University of Florida and a B.A. from Kentucky Southern College.

B. Dell Felder (June 10), senior vice chancellor of the University of Houston System, a system comprising four universities, from 1990 until earlier this year. In that position, she served as associate chief executive and chief academic officer. From 1988 to 1990, Felder served as senior vice president and provost, and then president, of Eastern Washington University in Spokane and Cheney. She was dean of the faculty at Arizona State University West in Phoenix from 1985 to 1988. From 1964 to 1985, she held faculty and administrative positions in the University of Houston College of Education, where she currently holds the rank of professor. She was selected as an American Council on Education fellow during 1983-84. She took leaves from the University of Houston to serve as program director of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory from 1967 to 1969, and as associate superintendent in the Houston Independent School District from 1970 to 1972. Felder holds a Ph.D., an M.S. and a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Richard A. Matula (June 12), president of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology from 1986 to 1995. The institute, based in Atlanta and formerly located in Appleton, Wisconsin, is an independent research university aligned with the Georgia Institute of Technology. Its programs are focused in areas of significance to the pulp and paper industry. Matula is still affiliated with the institute as a professor of engineering. He previously served as dean of the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University from 1976 to 1986. He held administrative and faculty positions at Drexel University in Pennsylvania from 1969 to 1976, including chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, director of the Environmental Studies Institute, chairman of the Thermal and Fluid Science Advanced Study Group and assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Previously, he was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California and the University of Michigan. He has held faculty appointments throughout his career. Matula holds a Ph.D., an M.S. and a B.S. from Purdue University.

The three candidates emerged from a national search and were recommended to the chancellor by a screening committee chaired by Richard R. Rush, president of Mankato State University.

MnSCU, a system of community colleges, state universities and technical colleges, serves more than 166,000 students at 62 campuses around the state.