David L. Soltz, Ph.D., became BU's 18th president in January 2008 after serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Central Washington University.
Since arriving at Bloomsburg, Soltz has concentrated on building programs and infrastructure for today’s students and those who will follow. The university’s strategic plan, Impact 2015: Building on the Past, Leading for the Future, was developed in fall 2010 under his leadership and updated as Impact 2017.
As a result of the strategic plan, numerous academic programs and initiatives were established, largely focusing on experiential learning. A new General Education model, MyCore, was designed to enhance learning opportunities for all students and to prepare them for personal and professional success in an increasingly complex global environment. Programs established in support of these initiatives include Professional U, the McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence in Positive Behavior Support, the Zeigler Institute for Professional Development, the Center for Supply Chain Management, the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, the Center for Leadership and Engagement, the Center for Healthy Aging and the Center for Earth and Environmental Studies. Under Soltz’s leadership and guidance, Bloomsburg is at the forefront of groundbreaking national research with its Institute for Concussion Research and Services and as part of the NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium.
A strong advocate for high-quality, affordable education, Soltz appeared before the state legislature in support of adequate funding for BU and the entire Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. His belief in the importance of international education has led to initiated agreements with institutions in other countries, including most recently Shandong University and Cameroon, which he visited with students in 2011. He delivered the keynote address at the 2010 Global Awareness Society International conference in Poland.
Soltz has overseen more than $240 million in construction and renovations to campus buildings, including Haas Center for the Arts, Bakeless Center, Hartline Science Center, Nelson Field House, Sutliff Hall and Columbia and Elwell residence halls, and construction of a seven-story residence hall set to open in fall 2017, as well as a number of projects to reduce energy consumption.
Looking to the university’s future, Soltz established the Strategic Enrollment Management Division to build an enrollment vision for BU related to demand, program mix and capacity.
During his tenure as BU’s president, he served on the board of directors of the American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU) and as vice chair of AASCU Policies and Purposes Committee; led accreditation site team visits for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; served as chair of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference; and was the State System of Higher Education presidential representative in the collective bargaining negotiations with the Association for Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
Soltz’s goals as Bloomsburg’s president grew from his broad and deep higher education background as chief academic officer at Central Washington University, dean of natural and social sciences at California State University at Los Angeles and chair of the department of biological sciences at California State University, Long Beach. As a faculty member, he’s taught courses ranging from freshman seminar and general biology for non-majors to graduate seminars on ecology and evolutionary biology.
Soltz earned a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctoral degree in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on environmental biology and the population biology of fishes living in stressful environments, such as high temperature and high salinity. He has written one book, a symposium volume and numerous journal articles and environmental reports.
Active in the local community and the region, Soltz on the board of directors of DRIVE, a regional economic development non-governmental organization. Previously, he served on the Geisinger Health System Advisory Council and the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The president enjoys hiking and fly fishing in his leisure time and, with his wife, rides and raises quarterhorses. The Soltzes have three children and seven grandchildren.