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Office of the President

Philip T. Neisser '79, Ph.D.

Philip Neisser PhotoCampus Leader

Dr. Philip T. Neisser '79 has been appointed Officer-in-Charge at SUNY Potsdam. Dr. Neisser, an alumnus and former longtime faculty member, will return to lead his alma mater as the campus undertakes a search for a permanent president.

Dr. Neisser returns to SUNY Potsdam from nearby SUNY Canton, where he was the dean of the School of Business and Liberal Arts.

Dr. Philip T. Neisser ’79 first came to SUNY Potsdam as an undergraduate student in 1975. His interest in politics led him to attend graduate school, first at Georgetown University and then at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His fields of specialty include western political thought, democratic theory and social welfare policy. Neisser spent 29 years as a faculty member at SUNY Potsdam, serving as both professor and chair of the Department of Politics, and later as associate dean of The School of Arts and Sciences.

Neisser, who has more than 28 years’ experience as a faculty member, is the author of scholarly work on many subjects, including welfare policy, the use of narrative in politics, and political polarization. His recent work examines ways in which civil discourse might be used to bridge divisions that are created by religion, identity and world view. He is the author of the 2008 book “United We Fall,” and co-author of the 2012 book “You’re not as Crazy as I Thought But You’re Still Wrong: Conversations between a Die-Hard Liberal and a Devoted Conservative.” He has also written numerous essays, book chapters and opinion pieces, and co-edited “Tales of the State” (1997).

Neisser has presented at numerous regional and national conferences, appeared on National Public Radio’s “This American Life,” and been featured on Huffington Post Live. In 2015, the Public Conversations Project named Neisser a co-recipient of their Founders’ Award, in honor of his work to support healthy political dialogue. In 2000, he received a SUNY Potsdam Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Neisser was named dean of SUNY Canton’s School of Business and Liberal Arts in 2018.