Poskanzer Announces Decision to Step Down as President in July 2021

28 August 2020

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,

I write today with news of a personal nature. I want to share with you my decision that 2020-21 will be my final year as President of Carleton.  This is a choice and a change of direction that I have been weighing for almost two years. I adore this College, and serving as its President has been far and away the best and the most fulfilling experience of my professional career.  I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. But there is a natural rhythm and cycle to any college presidency—and with our Campaign target of $400M already surpassed, the goals laid out in our Strategic Plan largely achieved, and the College in excellent academic shape—my heart tells me that next August will be the right time to hand responsibility for stewarding this remarkable place to a talented new leader. This coming year will be my 11th at the helm of Carleton and my 20th as a college president. Both my head and my heart tell me that it is time for a next chapter in my life. Jane and my children enthusiastically concur!

Carleton is an easy place with which to fall totally in love. Our College has so many fundamentally admirable and endearing characteristics: an unyielding commitment to academic and scholarly excellence; a genuinely unpretentious culture, where forthrightness, decency and civility are valued and humor is treasured; a shared dedication by faculty and staff to put students first, and a grateful recognition by students that they are respected and valued as being at the center of this educational enterprise. I believe this is the best liberal arts college in the nation, and I couldn’t be prouder that it has become my academic home.

The powerful sense of “belonging at Carleton” that I have had for the last decade is central to my future plans. After working hard alongside all of you to carry Carleton through the next 11 months, I intend to take a sabbatical during the 2021-22 academic year and then return to the faculty as a member of our Political Science Department. Teaching courses on Higher Education Law here has allowed me to see first-hand the intellectual depth and curiosity of Carleton students, and I am excited about the additional classes I will now be able to offer. A number of research projects call out powerfully to me—and the prospect of being able to write again in my individual scholarly voice is liberating and exciting. 

Helping to shepherd Carleton in conjunction with all of you has been an extraordinary privilege. Only in my boldest dreams did I envision having the opportunity to be president of an institution this distinguished.  How blessed have I been that Carleton’s Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends entrusted me with this responsibility, embraced me so warmly, and been such excellent partners in helping us advance. That faith was—and is—humbling. My gratitude and loyalty are unbounded.

Thank you again for your friendship and the devotion to Carleton that we share. 

Steve