Paul McNeil

Portrait of Paul McNeil

Position Title
Dean, Continuing and Professional Education


Paul M. McNeil, a veteran administrator in the field of continuing and professional education, was named dean of UC Davis Extension in November, 2014. Prior to joining UC Davis Extension, McNeil served as senior vice dean in the School of Continuing Education at Columbia University.

McNeil began work at Columbia in 1986 in the School of General Studies' Division of Special Programs, which became the School of Continuing Education in 2002. He started as an associate director and progressed to director (1987), associate dean (1997), senior associate dean (2004), vice dean (2008) and senior vice dean (2013).

As senior vice dean, he served as the chief operating officer and senior policy adviser to the dean; headed academic administration and governance; led student life, alumni relations and development; and shared responsibility for the budget.

During his tenure at Columbia, McNeil developed new graduate degree programs in applied professional fields; directed graduate studies; created and directed credit and noncredit programs; oversaw course development and academic affairs for online programs in arts and science; and oversaw the school's IT infrastructure.

In addition, he created and directed the Summer Program for High School Students; produced ENCORE, a series of cultural programs aimed at the general public; and directed all noncredit instructional programs and corporate training.

McNeil is a native of New York state, growing up in dairy country in central upstate New York. He completed his undergraduate work at Vassar College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (1980), with general and departmental honors, and election to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds three graduate degrees in literature from Columbia: Master of Arts with honors, M.Phil. with honors and Ph.D.

He taught composition and literature at Columbia (1981-86), the Fashion Institute of Technology (1983-86) and the American College of Greece (1982).

McNeil wrote his doctoral thesis on "The Unforgiving Margin in the Fiction of Christopher Isherwood," and recently contributed an essay - "A Phone Call by the River" - to The American Isherwood, a collection of essays about the late novelist.