Columbia College recently hired Dr. David Starrett as provost. Starrett, who starts in August, takes over for Dr. Terry Smith, who served as executive vice president and dean for academic affairs for more than 18 years. As provost — a title new to the College — Starrett will oversee the college’s academic offerings in all venues. He will also lead the college’s accreditation and assessment efforts and oversee the college’s library.

“Dr. Starrett has a diverse background in many areas of higher education administration, including accreditation and assessment,” said Dr. Scott Dalrymple, president of Columbia College. “These are exciting times for us, and I look forward to working with Dr. Starrett and our faculty and staff colleagues.”

Prior to joining the college, Starrett served as an administrator and professor of biology at Southeast Missouri State University. During his tenure, Starrett was heavily involved in many areas, serving as the dean for Academic Information Services, director of the Kent Library, dean for the School of University Studies, director of Institutional and Programmatic Accreditations, director of the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning and accreditation liaison officer to the Higher Learning Commission.

As an administrator, Starrett oversaw all academic accreditation for the university; he also led major renovation efforts to the Kent Library and enhanced instructional technology at the university. Starrett has authored several peer-reviewed publications on biology, teaching and technology; he also secured several grants for research, improvements to the university’s academic offerings and upgrades to its infrastructure.

“Columbia College is doing wonderful things and has a great vision for the future,” said Starrett. “I look forward to working with President Dalrymple and the campus and the community as it continues on its path of serving students across Missouri, the country and the globe.”

Starrett holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree and doctorate in plant molecular biology from the University of California-Los Angeles.

Married with two sons in college, Starrett is an avid birder and enjoys the outdoors. It has also been reported by the Southeast Missourian that he has developed a world class guacamole recipe. This should come as no surprise since Starrett is a “biologist by training, he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the subject of avocados,” notes the paper.