Columbia College President Dr. David Russell announced today that the current dean of the School of Public Service, Dr. Sandra Hamar, has been named the institution’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Hamar will assume her new duties on Monday, Sept. 11.
She succeeds Dr. Piyusha Singh, who resigned for another leadership opportunity on Aug. 14, after serving nearly nine years in senior leadership roles, including five years as Provost and Senior Vice President.
“I am thankful for Dr. Singh’s many contributions to Columbia College, including prior stints as the Vice President of Online Education and Columbia College Global,” Russell said. “We wish her the very best as she begins a new chapter in her career in a position that allows her to devote more time to her family.”
Singh said that she has considered it an honor to serve Columbia College’s students, promote faculty excellence and support the college’s mission. “Academic Affairs is a strong and collaborative group that has successfully led strategic change and innovation across the college to serve our students. I am excited for my next position, but will miss Columbia College,” Singh said.
Hamar joined Columbia College in 2017 as an associate professor of Education. She began serving as chair of the Education Department in 2020. In separate yearlong stints, she filled in as interim dean of the former School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and the Robert W. Plaster School of Business.
Hamar currently serves as dean of the new School of Public Service, which includes the departments of Education, Criminal Justice and Nursing. She will retain these responsibilities while she fully establishes the new school. Russell and Hamar will reevaluate the arrangement in a year.
Russell said that Hamar is a skilled visionary, communicator and collaborator who will effectively help chart the next chapter in the history of the college. “She knows the College inside and out,” Russell said.
“I look forward to working closely with our faculty and staff to ensure the opportunities that Columbia College provides are tailored toward the needs of current and future students, offered through programs that are personalized and flexible,” Hamar said. “I want to thank Dr. Russell for his leadership and direction, and I am excited to build upon the foundation Dr. Singh expertly helped lay.”
Before coming to Columbia College, Hamar served as associate dean for the Gleazer School of Education Undergraduate Programs and assistant professor of Education at Graceland University (Iowa). She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Graceland University, a master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a doctorate in Educational Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
“Dr. Hamar has proven herself as a leader who can generate consensus and excitement about the direction Columbia College must go to remain a highly innovative institution to both teach and learn,” said Columbia College Faculty Association President Dr. Kristi Clevenger. “Her familiarity with our programs and her collegial working relationships give me great confidence for the future.”