Colleen Fitzgerald, PhD

Colleen Fitzgerald, PhD, is the vice president for research and creative activity at North Dakota State University. Colleen brings rich experience to NDSU from her previous research and administrative leadership roles at public institutions of higher education and at the National Science Foundation. Her scholarly work has been in linguistics, supporting Native American language communities in their efforts to revitalize and document their languages. She has been recognized as a Fellow of both the Linguistic Society of the America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science for those endeavors.

Colleen serves in leadership roles with community and professional organizations. Locally, this includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. For the state, she holds a non-voting role for the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education's Research and Governance Committee to bring her insight on the research enterprise to support statewide research efforts. She is also North Dakota's designated representative to the Coalition of EPSCoR/DeA States. Nationally, she serves the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities as part of the Council of Research Executive Committee (Class of 2025). In this and all her efforts, Colleen strives to advance NDSU and the wellbeing of North Dakota citizens through local, state and national service, advocating for the state's interests in research, innovation, creative activity, technology and economic development.

As vice president for research and creative activity, Colleen leverages NDSU's strengths, resources and assets with state, federal and other opportunities to advance research and innovation at our university as well as for the state. She directs a portfolio that includes research development, strategic research initiatives, research operations and central core facilities, research integrity, compliance and security, sponsored programs, innovation and economic development and ND EPSCoR. She serves as the Principal Investigator/Project Director for the state's NSF Track 1 Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) award, ND-ACES: New Discoveries in the Advanced Interface of Computation, Engineering, and Science.

Her portfolio also includes two non-profit entities that advance NDSU's research and innovation mission, the NDSU Research Foundation and the NDSU Research and Technology Park. It also includes the jurisdictional efforts to build research capacity and infrastructure through the NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and state investments in ND EPSCoR. 

Colleen brings a depth of experience to NDSU drawing from her varied experience in academia and the federal government. This includes a stint of four years at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a program officer, directing the Documenting Endangered Languages Program, a joint funding partnership between four directorates at the NSF and two division at the National Endowment for the Humanities. While at NSF, she also served on two key initiatives for the Foundation, the Ten Big Ideas, one on broadening participation (diversity, equity and inclusion), NSF INCLUDES; and the second a convergence and transdisciplinary research initiative, Navigating the New Arctic.  Colleen worked in Texas higher education from 2002-2021 at three different institutions, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. The experience at the latter two Hispanic-serving institutions gives her more than a decade of experience working and supporting minority-serving institutions in both urban and rural environments.


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