Andrew Plaa has been appointed Dean of Advising for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Plaa has served as an adviser in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising since 2005 and has been interim dean since September 2015.
Plaa first came to Columbia in 1984 to pursue a Ph.D. in early modern European history. He taught Contemporary Civilization as a graduate student, and after completing his Ph.D., taught for 10 years at several institutions in New York City, including Barnard College, City College and New York University.
In his interim role, Plaa worked with members of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering student councils to help students build connections with faculty and departments by launching a pilot project that allowed first year students to "shadow declare" their potential majors. He also worked with student leaders to create a survey for incoming students to help in assigning advising deans.
“I look forward to building on these foundations to improve advising for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students, and to continuing to work with faculty and administrative partners to ensure that our students are able to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them in and outside of the classroom,” Plaa said. “I have found working with undergraduates to be the most rewarding experiences of my life, so I am excited to officially take on this new role to strengthen and enhance the advising experience for CC and SEAS students.”
Andrew will report jointly to Lisa Hollibaugh, Dean of Academic Planning and Administration in Columbia College and to Barclay Morrison, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Programs at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
“Andrew has a remarkable dedication to advancing the student experience here at Columbia, recognizing the individual and the collective dimensions of our students,” said Mary Boyce, dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. “He also leads our talented advising staff, and together they will propel our students to reach their full potential.”
“We are confident that Andrew’s many years of experience at Columbia and familiarity with our academic policies will be an asset to the Berick Center for Student Advising, to our schools, and to our students,” said James J. Valentini, dean of Columbia College and vice president for Undergraduate Education. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Andrew to provide the best possible undergraduate experience.”