Debbie Colbert joined Oregon State University as Secretary of the Board of Trustees in January 2015.
Previously, Dr. Colbert served at the Deputy Director for Administration of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, a position she held for five years. In this position, Colbert oversaw budget, marketing, media relations, education programs, and grant management, as well as other operations of the agency. She was also responsible for preparing and seeking approval from the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Governor’s Office and the State Legislature for the agency’s biennial budget of $320 million and 1,400 positions.
From 2006 to 2009, Colbert served as administrator of the Field Services Division of the Oregon Water Resources Department. In that role, she was responsible for statewide field operations with oversight of 60 staff and 15 offices with a total budget of $10 million. Earlier in her career at the Water Resources Department, Colbert served as a water policy analyst (2001-2005) and senior policy coordinator (2005-2006) in the Director’s Office.
Colbert received her B.S. degree in Biology (cum laude, Honors) from Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, VA) and her M.S. in Chemical Oceanography from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories at San Jose State University. While completing her masters, she served as the 1996 Knaus Sea Grant assigned to the US House of Representatives Resources Committee. Colbert received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Oceanography from Oregon State where she was a NASA Space Grant Fellow (1997) and a Yerex Graduate Fellow (2000).
As Secretary of the Board, Colbert is an officer of the university, a member of the President’s Cabinet, and a senior administrator of the university. The Secretary serves as the primary liaison between the Board of Trustees and the University administration on matters of policy and procedural matters, governance, and communications pertaining to the Board. The Secretary has primary responsibility for supporting the Board through strategic, high-level and confidential planning and management, in consultation with university leadership and other senior administrators and at the direction of the Board Chair and Vice Chair.