May 29, 2020

Harbor named Purdue University Global provost

Jon Harbor Jon Harbor
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Jon Harbor, executive vice president and provost at the University of Montana, has been named provost of Purdue University Global, effective Aug. 1.

Harbor, who spent time in leadership positions at Purdue University West Lafayette before going to Montana, will be responsible for overseeing academics for the more than 31,000 Purdue Global students who earn their degrees online. Carolyn Nordstrom, who is serving as interim chief academic officer, will continue in her role as vice president for faculty and academic resources.

“Jon Harbor will be a wonderful addition to our leadership team,” Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley said. “He brings a wealth of experience in leadership and a deep understanding of effective online teaching. Moreover, his can-do attitude is a perfect fit with the culture of Purdue University Global.”

Harbor previously served as executive director of digital education and associate vice provost for teaching and learning at Purdue and, in his role at the University of Montana, has championed teaching excellence and the expansion of quality online education to meet the needs of diverse learners.

“I am excited by the opportunity to join the outstanding Purdue Global faculty, Chancellor Dooley and his experienced senior leadership team,” Harbor said. “Purdue Global provides high-quality and flexible higher education opportunities to tens of thousands of students who otherwise would not be able to pursue their certificates and degrees. It is clear that we have a great need for online programs today that are designed around the goals and learning styles of adults, which has always been the key focus of Purdue Global.”

Harbor came to Purdue’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences in 1994 and previously has served Purdue as a professor of environmental geosciences, department head, founding co-director of the Discovery Learning Research Center, associate vice president for research, interim dean of the College of Science and several other leadership roles. As executive director of digital education and associate vice provost for teaching and learning from 2015 to 2018, Harbor oversaw significant expansion of Purdue’s online degrees, certificates and instructional development support, as well as notable growth of summer session.

In 2018, Harbor took on the role of executive vice president and provost at Montana, a public flagship research university with a set of affiliated universities and two-year colleges. Harbor has led development and implementation of academic strategy, planning and assessment; academic coordination across a multicampus affiliation; oversight of academic and student affairs and auxiliaries; work with shared governance, online, and international education; and communication and collaboration with regional and national academic organizations, alumni, business leaders and legislators. Highlights of his work have included launching a new Teaching Excellence Initiative, planning academic staffing, and growth of summer session and online credentials, partnerships and programs.

Harbor has received numerous awards for teaching, research and service, including Purdue’s Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2000 and the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor in 2013. He was inducted into Purdue’s Teaching Academy in 2000 and into the University’s Book of Great Teachers in 2008. His research interests include glacial geomorphology, environmental geosciences, and teaching and learning. His publication record includes three books and over 170 papers published in scientific and educational journals. Harbor was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stockholm University in 2015, has honorary appointments at two universities in China and has represented the United States as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in New Zealand and a Marie Curie International Fellow in Sweden. His academic leadership training included a year as a fellow of the American Council on Education.

Harbor received his bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University, his master’s degree from the University of Colorado and his doctoral degree from the University of Washington.

Media contact: Tom Schott, 765-494 -9318,

Sources: Frank Dooley,
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