University of Maine at Presque Isle officials announced today that Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Sonntag will step down at the end of January to accept the top position at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He has served as UMPI's chief academic officer since 2007.
As USC Sumter's Regional Campus Dean, Dr. Sonntag will serve as the chief executive officer of the campus, with responsibility for the overall management and administration of the institution. USC Sumter is one of the regional campuses of the University of South Carolina. The campus serves students in a six county area of central South Carolina. Because work in the position at USC Sumter begins immediately, Dr. Sonntag will need to leave his post at UMPI at the beginning of the Spring 2014 semester.
"Mike has done incredibly important academic work during his six and a half years with us, from his systemwide contributions and his work with MSSM to the connections he helped to build between UMPI and several schools in China," UMPI President Linda Schott said. "Though he will be greatly missed, we know this is an excellent opportunity for Mike and we look forward to hearing about the great things he will do in his new position."
During his time at UMPI, Dr. Sonntag has worked with faculty leaders to build a strong online academic presence, increase summer course offerings, and develop a number of new agreements with schools like Northern Maine Community College, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, and the University of Maine at Augusta. Dr. Sonntag has also supported an increase in faculty research and scholarship, integration of technology in teaching, and increased internationalization through partnerships in China. Along with other campus leaders, he has worked to strengthen relationships between the campus and the community as well as within the University of Maine System.
Dr. Sonntag first came to Maine in 2007 from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. where he was an associate professor of psychology, chair for the Department of Psychology, and director of assessment and planning. During his academic career, Dr. Sonntag has delivered numerous papers, and had a variety of journal articles and book reviews selected for publication.
Dr. Sonntag received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology, with an emphasis in developmental psychology, and his M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Arkansas. He received a bachelor of arts in psychology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
"My time at UMPI and in Aroostook County has been both personally and professionally rewarding," Dr. Sonntag said in reflecting on his years in the community. "I owe a debt of gratitude to Don Zillman and the faculty and staff of UMPI for taking a chance on a relatively green kid from the South. I have learned so much, and we have accomplished so much, that I simply could not be happier about my time at this special place. Dr. Schott is now taking UMPI in exciting new directions and I'm grateful I could be a part of the birth of this new and grand vision. My wife and children have benefitted from the wonderful folks in the County, the wonderful schools, and everything else the area has to offer. We have been strengthened and rewarded by our time here, and humbly hope we leave the County and its people enriched by our stay."