SUNY News Release: SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Provost Dr. Tod Laursen as SUNY Poly Acting President

SUNY News Release: SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Provost Dr. Tod Laursen as SUNY Poly Acting President

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - 14:09
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Dr. Tod Laursen

SUNY News Release

Dr. Fatemeh (Shadi) Shahedipour-Sandvik Appointed as Provost-in-Charge for SUNY System

Dr. Burt-Nanna’s Photo is Available Here, Dr. Laursen’s Here, and Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik’s Here

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020
Contact: Holly Liapis;; 518-320-1311

Albany, NY – State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna as president for Monroe Community College and SUNY Provost Tod A. Laursen as acting president for SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

Acting President Laursen’s appointment is effective immediately, and he will lead the Utica and Albany campuses in preparing for the return of students in the spring in accordance with SUNY guidance to reopen safely. A search for a permanent SUNY Poly president will begin shortly.

Dr. Laursen will also work with Chancellor Jim Malatras to ensure a smooth transition of his current responsibilities as senior vice chancellor and provost of SUNY system administration to Provost-in-Charge Dr. Fatemeh (Shadi) Shahedipour-Sandvik, who was appointed by Chancellor Malatras.

About Dr. DeAnna Burt-Nanna
Dr. DeAnna Burt-Nanna has more than two decades of higher education leadership experience supporting students, faculty, and staff. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs for South Central College (Minnesota State).

Dr. Burt-Nanna has held progressive leadership in campus and system roles as faculty, department chair, dean, system department coordinator, vice president and senior academic and student affairs officer on the presidents’ cabinets in two- and four-year, union and non-union, public and private, multi-campus institutions and systems in two states. Her exemplary leadership has been pivotal to advancing key campus and system strategic priorities for student success, implementing operational efficiencies, and facilitating organizational culture change. She has also held various positions in business and industry, and maintains laser-like focus as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational access and attainment; philanthropy; and workforce development at the local, state, and national levels.

A 2020-2021 Aspen Presidential Fellow, 2019 Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership Fellow, and 2008-2009 ASHE/Lumina Dissertation Fellow, she studied abroad, has received a host of awards and recognitions, and speaks publicly in various personal and professional capacities.

Dr. Burt-Nanna holds a Ph.D. in philosophy in educational leadership, research, and technology, a master of business administration, and a bachelor of business administration in computer information systems with minors in business and religion, each from Western Michigan University. Dr. Deanna Burt-Nanna’s appointment is effective May 21, 2021, and was also approved by MCC Board of Trustees.

About Dr. Tod Laursen
Dr. Tod Laursen is the Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost of the State University of New York (SUNY), a post he assumed in September of 2018. Dr. Laursen joined SUNY from Khalifa University (KU) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he was the founding president and served as its leader since 2010. In February of 2017, KU as it exists today was formed by the merger of three Abu Dhabi higher education institutions: Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR); the Masdar Institute; and the Petroleum Institute. Dr. Laursen had served as the president of KUSTAR for the first seven years of his tenure in Abu Dhabi, and was subsequently named leader of the merged institution.

Prior to becoming President of Khalifa University, Dr. Laursen was a member of the faculty of Duke University (USA) between the years of 1992 and 2010, during which time he had appointments in civil engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering. He served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from 2008-2010, and served as senior associate dean for Education in the Pratt School of Engineering from 2003-2008. In the latter capacity, he had oversight responsibility for all undergraduate and graduate engineering programs at Duke.

Dr. Laursen earned his Ph.D. and master of science postgraduate degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor of science in the same subject from Oregon State University. He specializes in computational mechanics, a subfield of engineering mechanics concerned with development of new computational algorithms and tools used by engineers to analyze mechanical and structural systems. He has published over 100 refereed articles, book chapters, and abstracts, and has authored or co-edited two books. His particular focus is development of methods to analyze contact, impact, and frictional phenomena in highly nonlinear and complex systems.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the International Association of Computational Mechanics, and the United States Association for Computational Mechanics. He also holds memberships in the American Society for Engineering Education and Tau Beta Pi. He served as an at-large member of the Executive Committee for the United States Association for Computational Mechanics between 2007 and 2010, and served as a member of the Executive Council of the International Association for Computational Mechanics until earlier in 2020. Additionally, he has served on the scientific advisory committees of several of the most important national and international congresses in computational mechanics.

About Dr. Fatemeh (Shadi) Shahedipour-Sandvik
Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik joins SUNY System Administration from SUNY Poly where she is interim vice president of research and graduate studies, and a faculty member within the nanoscale engineering department. As interim vice president, Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik provides effective leadership in advancing SUNY Poly’s world-class academic research, supporting and enabling R&D opportunities for faculty and researchers, and providing students with hands-on research experience to impart the skills required to support their future successes.

In addition, she continues to provide leadership for both doctoral and master’s degree programs; administer the graduate programs budget and the awarding of degrees; monitor graduate-level academic standards; and conduct reviews of graduate programs. In collaboration with other units, Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik works to enable an enhanced student life for the professional development of graduate students at SUNY Poly.

She received her bachelor of science in physics from Tehran University, a Ph.D. in solid state physics from University of Missouri, and both her research associate in electrical engineering and post-doctoral associate in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University.

About The State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit