Dr. Donald J. Para was appointed Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in May, 2010 after serving as Interim Provost for nearly a year.
Dr. Para brings extensive administrative experience and a strong record of academic success to the position. He has served as dean of the College of the Arts (COTA) since July 2001 and is credited with enhancing the quality of academic programs and guiding the college through a period of substantial growth, with student enrollment surging from 2,500 in 2001 to more than 4,000 students today. Under Dr. Para’s leadership, the college has raised more than $30 million, including CSULB’s largest donation – a $16.4 million donation from the Bob Cole Trust to provide scholarships for student musicians. During his tenure, COTA also collaborated with the College of Business Administration to establish an MBA/MFA degree in theatre management, making CSULB only the second university in the nation to offer the terminal degree.
Prior to becoming dean, Dr. Para served a year as associate dean and 12 years as chair in the Department of Music at CSULB. Before his appointments at CSULB, Dr. Para served as chair of the Department of Music at Cal State Los Angeles and, for 15 years before that was on the faculty at Western Michigan University, serving the last five years as assistant director of the School of Music.
Dr. Para received a B.M. in Music Education and a M. M. in Music Composition from Western Michigan University. His Ph. D. in Music Composition was earned at Michigan State University. His teaching areas are music theory, musicianship, and composition. Dr. Para’s compositions, which include works for chamber ensembles, large instrumental and vocal ensembles, chamber opera, theater and the electronic medium, have been supported by various granting agencies.
Dr. Para has presented papers and given presentations at numerous meetings of arts education organizations and music theory conferences. He served the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) as chair of Region One from 1994-1997 and as a visiting evaluator for accreditation for 15 years. In 2007-08 he was director of the Seminars for New Department Chairs for the Conference of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS). In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Para serves on the Arts Council for Long Beach Board of Directors.
As the chief academic officer of CSULB, Dr. Para provides academic leadership for the university and promotes excellence in all aspects of the university’s academic mission, including undergraduate and graduate education, research and creative activity, international education, service learning, community engagement, service to the profession, and faculty and academic staff development.