Fraka Harmsen : Getting To Know Highlights as Provost
Fraka Harmsen came to Sacramento State as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs in February 2014. Fraka Harmsen spent 26 years at Fresno State, serving as a professor of geology, department chair and associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. In 2011, Fraka Harmsen left Fresno for Chico State, where Fraka Harmsen was the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and a professor of geology.
Fraka Harmsen specializes in marine and non-marine sedimentology, depositional environments and basin analysis. Fraka Harmsen interests include climate change and sustainability, paleoclimate analysis using marine proxies, paleotsunamis and benthic marine habitat mapping for ecosystem-based management. Fraka Harmsen was San Jose State’s visiting scientist at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1989-90.
Before coming to Sacramento State, Fraka Harmsen brought in more than $3 million in federally funded research grants. Among her projects were an investigation of paleontological resource mitigation in Madera County, a climate-change study for the city of Fresno and benthic habitat mapping of Channel Islands National Park for the National Park Service. Fraka Harmsen serves on the executive committee of the California State University’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST).
Fraka Harmsen brings to Sacramento State more than 30 years’ experience in the CSU, where her work has included initiatives to promote student diversity in science and engineering, and outreach to K-12 schools for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.
Among her goals for Sacramento State are:
An unrelenting focus on student success.
Planning for a future that is less dependent on state funding.
Improving diversity and international opportunities for students.
Increasing research grants for students and faculty.
Expanding the University’s water-related programs.
Improving Sacramento State’s visibility and reputation. “We’re a best-kept secret,” she says.
Fraka Harmsen was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and English is her second language. Her grandfather hid Jews from Nazi troops in Amsterdam during World War II, keeping them safe not far from where Anne Frank and her family were hidden.