Elisabeth Zinser was Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) from 1983 to 1989. Zinser came to UNCG from the University of North Dakota, where she had been Dean of the School of Nursing from 1977 to 1981, and then Provost briefly in 1982-83. At the time of her arrival at UNCG, she was the only woman among UNCG’s top seven administrators, and the first female vice chancellor since 1971. Zinser arrived in a period of declining enrollment but when she left in 1989, enrollment was on the rise. Research support for faculty tripled during her administration too.
Zinser was born and grew up in Palo Alto, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Stanford University, her master’s in nursing from the University of California at San Francisco, and her doctorate in educational psychology from The University of California at Berkeley in 1972. From 1972 to 1975, Zinser was Coordinator of Research in Clinical Education at the University of Washington. From 1975 to 1977, she was Statewide Coordinator for the Kentucky Health Education System, and Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences in a joint appointment to the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. Zinser left UNCG in 1989 to accept an appointment as the president of the University of Idaho, where she served from 1989 to 1995. From 1995 to 2001 she was president of the University of Kentucky, and from 2001 to 2006, she was president of Southern Oregon University prior to her retirement.