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.

Prior to coming to NDSU, Colleen served as associate vice president for research at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Her accomplishments there included a new record for the institution’s FY21 National Science Foundation’s (NSF) funding as well as a new high watermark for the institution’s ten-year NSF funding average. Previous to that, Colleen was detailed to the NSF from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she ran a joint funding partnership between NSF and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) called the Documenting Endangered Languages Program. This complex partnership involved stakeholders from multiple NSF directorates, (including the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, Robust Intelligence, and Arctic Social Science), and two NEH divisions. Colleen has also made contributions to two of NSF’s Ten Big Ideas (NSF INCLUDES and Navigating the New Arctic) and has served as the program officer representative for the Directorate’s Communications Team. She has held faculty positions at Texas Tech University, SUNY at Buffalo, San José State University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Colleen was trained as a linguist at the University of Arizona, where she earned her doctorate. Her research focuses on the phonology (a branch of linguistics that deals with systems of sounds within a language or between different languages) of Native American languages and language documentation and revitalization along with the frequent points of intersection between the two. In a larger context, Colleen’s work engages topics such as participatory research methods; service-learning; broadening participation in the social sciences; and science communication.

In 2017, Colleen gave an invited plenary at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Annual Meeting that focused on her research into Indigenous language revitalization and the acquisition of pronunciation in Native American communities. Her contributions to linguistics led to her induction in 2021 as a Fellow of the LSA.



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