Aerial shot of Montclair State University's campus.

Jonathan GS Koppell Biography

Photo of Montclair State University president Jonathan G.S. Koppell in front of College Hall

Jonathan GS Koppell, Montclair State University’s ninth president, is a nationally recognized scholar of policy, organization and management with a reputation as a visionary leader in higher education emphasizing public service and solutions-oriented engagement in the community.

Before taking office at Montclair State on August 2, 2021, Koppell served as dean of Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and vice provost for public service and social impact, leading the nation’s largest comprehensive public affairs college. He also led the College to significantly improve its student retention and graduation rates through new and innovative counseling and student-support initiatives.

Noting this pivotal moment in higher education, Koppell says he sees Montclair State, “with its deep commitment to serving the public interest and advancing student success, as having an opportunity to define the future.”

Over the last two decades, Montclair State has grown to become one of the largest and most successfully diverse public research universities in New Jersey and Koppell plans to build on this foundation in “bold, imaginative ways that contribute to the prosperity, health and well- being of New Jersey and the nation.”

Known as one of the most entrepreneurial leaders at ASU, an institution that is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most innovative universities, Koppell guided Watts College to add some 20 new degree programs, greatly expand its online offerings and global programs, launch a unique joint college in Hainan, China, and create the nation’s first Public Service Academy. National rankings skyrocketed under his leadership with numerous programs now rated in the top 10 nationally.

Koppell is a firm believer that public universities play a fundamental role in advancing society. At ASU, Koppell built productive partnerships with community organizations and launched innovative programs to serve the public interest, increasing student access and success, advancing diversity among the faculty and college leadership, and greatly enhancing research expenditures and philanthropic support.

Koppell also brings to Montclair State a national reputation as a leading scholar of policy, organization and management. He earned doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from the University of California – Berkeley and a baccalaureate degree in government from Harvard University. At ASU he held the endowed Lattie and Elva Coor Presidential Chair as Professor of Public Administration and Policy and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. At Montclair State he is a tenured faculty member in political science.

Professor Koppell’s research and writing broadly examines the design and administration of complex organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. His book “World Rule: Accountability, Legitimacy and the Design of Global Governance” reveals the hidden world of “global governance organizations” such as the World Trade Organization, the International Organization for Standardization and the International Accounting Standards Board that have more effect on our daily lives than we might imagine. Both his academic articles and previous book, “The Politics of Quasi-Government” address many of the key policy issues of the moment; including government involvement in for-profit enterprise, regulation of financial institutions and corporate governance.

Before becoming dean at ASU, Koppell was director of its School of Public Affairs. He began his academic career at Yale University, where he held faculty appointments in the School of Management and led the Milstein Center for Corporate Governance Performance.

He serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and has been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Markle Fellow at the New America Foundation and a Fulbright Lecturer in Shanghai, China. He is the author of books and articles on global governance institutions, public-private hybrid organizations and corporate governance.