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Joan Develin Coley, Ph.D. Biography

Joan Develin Coley was appointed President of Notre Dame of Maryland University by the Board of Trustees in August, 2013. She will serve in this role until the University Trustees appoint the next President sometime in 2014.

Dr. Coley served as the 8th President of McDaniel College in Westminster for a decade, retiring in 2010.” She was honored with emerita status as Professor of Education and College President.

McDaniel College’s first female President and first to be promoted from the faculty ranks, Dr. Coley was elected President on October 20, 2000, after serving as Interim President for nearly a year. She led the College through a major re-positioning that was launched in 2002 with its name change from Western Maryland College.

As President, Dr. Coley realized many significant goals she set for the College, including the development and adoption of a new more global, interdisciplinary and multicultural undergraduate curriculum, the expansion of post-baccalaureate programs, the creation of the Center on the Study of Aging, and more than $45 million in campus improvements for academic study, student residential life and recreation. She also led a committee to develop and adopt the new strategic plan charting the College’s course through 2014.

She was a proven advocate and fundraiser raising more than $77-million for the College’s Carpe Diem Campaign and setting new records of support from trustees, alumni, and even faculty and staff.

Upon her retirement, 100 percent of the McDaniel Board of Trustees membership made gifts and pledges totaling over $1.6 million to permanently endow a faculty chair in her name. The Joan Develin Coley Endowed Chair in Creative Expression and the Arts provides on-going support for a faculty scholar who is passionate about creativity in all its forms: as artistic process, expression or performance.

Joining the faculty in 1973 as Director of the Graduate Reading Program, Dr. Coley went on to serve as Dean of Graduate Affairs and Chair of the Department of Education. Prior to her appointment as President, she served as College Provost for six years during which time she led the faculty in a revision of the curriculum and co-chaired the committee that produced the 2003-2008 strategic plan.

During her tenure as a faculty member and director of the College’s graduate program in reading, Dr. Coley became a national and international authority in the field, with scores of published papers and books and over 100 presentations including many at national conferences. Always a crusader to help students with serious reading disabilities, Dr. Coley created and directed for 26 years a four-week intensive summer reading clinic for up to 100 elementary and middle school students from Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Dr. Coley has contributed to the regional and national higher education agenda through her service as a member of the board of directors of the Wye Faculty Seminar, co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and as a team reaccreditation leader for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She also served as chair of the Centennial Athletic Conference in 2008-2009.

A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Dr. Coley received an A.B. with honors from Albright College. She moved to Maryland to attend the University of Maryland where she earned both her master’s and doctorate in education. Her numerous honors include the 1989 Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading given by the Maryland Council of the International Reading Association. She has published extensively, writing articles and reviews for national journals and has authored, co-authored and edited several books. Both alma maters have honored her; in 2001, the University of Maryland presented Dr. Coley with its Outstanding Leader in Education award, and in 2006, Albright College awarded her with an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters.

In March 2004, she was named to the Circle of Excellence for being nominated as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record three times. In 2007, she received a Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Distinguished Women’s Award and in 2010, she was named one of central Maryland’s Hometown Heroes by the region’s chapter of American Red Cross. She is also a member of the Network 2000 of Greater Baltimore and on the board of CenterStage and BB&T.

Dr. Coley is a past member of the board of directors of Target Community & Educational Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Carroll County that provides community living, vocational and recreational services to adults with disabilities, as well as a past board member of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.