Dr. Chris Maples, who became Oregon Institute of Technology’s sixth President in October 2008, believes that a large part of his job as president is to actively work and advocate for the students, faculty, and staff of Oregon Tech. Dr. Maples maintains open communication with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Oregon Tech, and schedules time to walk around all of the Oregon Tech campuses to visit with students, staff, and faculty. He has an open-door policy, and frequently can be found participating in campus happenings such as carrying armloads of student belongings during Residence Hall move-in day, playing the role of patient for Medical Imaging and Dental Hygiene students, and even taking the occasional pie-in-the-face for a good cause.
Dr. Maples’ academic side reflects his distinctive, down-to-earth nature. He received his B.S. degree in geology from West Georgia College (now State University of West Georgia), and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University in geology (paleontology) with a minor in biology. He served as visiting faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Clemson University; worked for 11 years at the Kansas Geological Survey, the last three of which were spent on leave to serve as a program director with several different programs at the National Science Foundation; and was department chair in geological sciences at Indiana University before moving to Nevada to work at the Desert Research Institute in 2003. Dr. Maples was executive vice president for research at DRI immediately prior to his appointment at Oregon Tech.
Being a scientist, Dr. Maples’ interests in his field range from echinoderm and trace-fossil paleontology to geoinformatics and paleobiogeography. He also has worked on best-management practices for curation, management, and preservation of scientific data. He has numerous scientific publications and presentations based on fossils collected from many parts of the world, including desert areas in China and Iran. In addition, he has served on numerous external-review and NSF proposal-review panels, as well as holding various professional society offices.
Dr. Maples considers himself Oregon Tech’s number-one fan, and loudly cheers on Oregon Tech students in any number of extracurricular activities, ranging from sports to engineering competitions, both at home and away contests. He is extremely proud of Oregon Tech’s continued accomplishments, including being highly ranked for the last several years in US News and World Report’s “Best Colleges in the West,” and looks forward to the challenge of making Oregon Tech an even better place for faculty and staff, and for student successes.