Judith Ramaley

Portland State University

Dr. Judith A. Ramaley (pronounced Rah may’ lee) is President Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Public Service at Portland State University in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and President Emerita of Winona State University. She serves on the Board of Campus Compact of Oregon and the Board of Second Nature, an organization devoted to assisting colleges and universities in responding to the challenge of climate change. She served as the 14th President of Winona State University (WSU) in Minnesota from 2005 to May 2012. Under her leadership, Winona State continued to develop its reputation as a community of learners improving our world. Enrollment reached an all-time high and the university continued to develop its use of educational technology through its e-Warrior Life and Learning program. The university community dealt with a progression of significant reductions in state support while protecting the integrity of its programs and enhancing the experience of its students. During her tenure, the University established a statewide Center focused on education and the improvement of practice in the health sciences.

Prior to coming to Minnesota, she held a presidential professorship in biomedical sciences at the University of Maine and was a Fellow of the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy. She also completed a residency as a Visiting Senior Scientist at the National Academy of Sciences from January to June 2005.

From 2001-2004, Dr. Ramaley was Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at The National Science Foundation. The EHR Directorate is responsible for the health and continued vitality of the Nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and for providing leadership in the effort to improve education in these fields. During Dr. Ramaley’s tenure, the Directorate managed an annual budget of over $900 million. Prior to joining NSF, Dr. Ramaley was president of The University of Vermont (UVM) and professor of biology from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 2001. Before coming to UVM, she was President and professor of biology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon for seven years (1990-1997.) 

Dr. Ramaley has a special interest in higher-education reform and has played a significant role in designing regional alliances to promote educational cooperation.  She also has contributed to national discussions about the changing nature of work and the workforce. She plays a national role in the exploration of civic responsibility and the ways that higher education can promote good citizenship and has published extensively on educational reform, science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and the leadership of organizational change. Currently, she serves as a senior scholar with the Association of American Colleges and Universities with a special focus on education for the 21st century and the interpretation of Liberal Education and America’s Promise in the context of transfer and articulation policies and equity and inclusion practices across postsecondary institutions. She also serves as an advisor to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) where she participates in a project focused on Reimagining the First Year of College with a special emphasis on success for all students.

Under her leadership, The University of Vermont became a member of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities that explored the role of research universities in the 21st century.  The University established new partnerships in the state that support educational reform, economic and community development, and opportunities for Vermonters across the state. The most significant of these partnerships is the Vermont Public Education Partnership (VPEP) an alliance of the Vermont Department of Education, the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges to promote preK-20 collaboration throughout the state.  In Vermont, Dr. Ramaley was a Director of the Vermont Business Roundtable, a member of the Human Resources Investment Council (HRIC), a member of the Vermont Commission on Higher Education Funding, a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, a member of the Vermont Quality Council Board of Advisors and Co-Chair of the Vermont Campus Compact.

At the national level, Dr. Ramaley recently served as a member of the executive committee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and as a member of the Division II President’s Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). She also was a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Science Resources Center, a venture of the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with the National Academies.  She was a member of the board of the National Child Protection Training Center, an organization devoted to ending child abuse in three generations and preparing child advocacy workers, lawyers, teachers, religious leaders, physicians and nurses, police officers and social workers to respond effectively to cases of child abuse. She served as a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors from 2005-2008. She has also served as a member of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), as a member of the National School-to-Work Advisory Board during the 1990’s and as a member of the presidential advisory panel for the Association of Governing Boards (AGB). She also was a member of the Innovation America Task Force convened by the National Governors Association in 2007 which proposed a state agenda for regional economic development to be supported through university-community collaboration.  She also has held the position of Chair of the National Board of Campus Compact, chair of the subcommittee on College Drinking of the Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (National Institute of Health), and has served as a trustee and chair of the Trustees Academic Affairs Committee of Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio from 1998-2005. She was chair of the Greater Expectations Panel, a group developed by AAC&U as a multi-year initiative to define the aims of a 21st century undergraduate education and to identify strategies for accomplishing these aims and is now a member of the AAC&U Presidents Trust for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP). She also served as a member of the board of the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). In Minnesota, she has chaired the Minnesota Campus Compact Board, served as a Director of the Merchants Bank Financial Group and has held board positions at the Winona County Historical Society, the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and the Seven Rivers Alliance. She is the author of 50 papers and book chapters on issues in higher education, including civic responsibility, higher education and the public good, science and mathematics education, university governance and organizational change.

Dr. Ramaley received her bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1963 and conducted her graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a doctorate in 1966.  She served for two years as a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University. In 1978-1979, She was an American Council on Education Fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha, where she then held the post of Associate Dean for Research and Development in the College of Medicine.  The next year, she joined the University of Nebraska’s central administration as assistant vice president for academic affairs.  In 1982, Ramaley became the chief academic officer at the State University of New York at Albany.  She also served as executive vice president for academic affairs for two years and as acting president for one semester at SUNY-Albany.  Dr. Ramaley was the executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas-Lawrence from 1987 to 1990. Dr. Ramaley has two sons, Alan and Andrew Ramaley and six grandchildren. 

Revised January 2016

Workshop Participant