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Douglas Christiansen, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid


Douglas L. Christiansen holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration and is Vanderbilt University's vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid. He is also an associate professor of public policy and higher education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Vanderbilt's Peabody College. In his role as vice provost, Dr. Christiansen serves as the university's chief enrollment strategist, overseeing the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships, Enrollment Management Operations Support, University Registrar, Enrollment Management for Health Sciences Education, Center for Data Management, and the Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group (VIRG). He also oversees the Chancellors and Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship programs and the POSSE scholars program. He has been in higher education and admissions for nearly twenty five years.

Dr. Christiansen is currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for The College Board.

Get to know Doug

Where are you from (city, state)?

Salt Lake City, Utah

What did you study in college?

Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Higher Ed Administration

What’s your favorite Vanderbilt memory so far?

When the Board of Trust approved the Financial Aid Initiative, Opportunity Vanderbilt, which allows us to meet 100% of demonstrated need for all our students.  The belief by the Board of Trust that talent and promise recognize no social, cultural, economic or geographic boundaries has changed the lives of many students and families and will impact subsequent generations for years to come.           

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Buttrick Hall

What’s your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The congeniality of the students, administration, faculty, and staff.  We are a family here, and once you are a member of our family, you remain a member for life.

Describe your idea of a perfect day in Nashville.

The perfect Nashville day is sunshine, 75 degrees, going on a boat with my family on one of Nashville’s many rivers or lakes.

List a few of your favorite music artists, movies and/or books.

Music: Elton John, Billy Joel, and Lady GaGa.

Movies: Remember the Titans, The Rose, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Books: The Great American University by Jonathan Cole and Tocqueville’s Discovery of America by Leo Damrosch


Water and snow skiing.

What’s one thing about your personality most people wouldn’t assume about you?

I would love to be the lead singer in a rock band!