SUNY ONEONTA’S NEW PROVOST
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Before becoming a faculty trainer, Dr. Leamor Kahanov was a trainer of Olympic women athletes. But her first career with the U.S. volleyball, bicycle and archery teams in the mid to late 1990s helped inform her second one.
“I got to see interesting parts of the world and the diversity of ideas in treating athletes,” said SUNY Oneonta’s new provost and vice president/academic affairs, who arrived July 8. “For instance, different countries have different ways of treating sprains. We use ice for sprains and in Japan, they put herbal packs on the sprain, not ice.”
“I learned there are many diverse ways to come to a solution and we need to respect that. I apply that to my work with students and faculty,” she said.
Kahanov’s changed career paths shortly after, as an athletic trainer at San Francisco State, she was asked to cover a faculty member’s class. “I loved teaching,” she said. “After a while, I found myself thinking more about teaching rather than treating athletes.”
She studied for her EdD at University of San Francisco while continuing to work at SFSU and helping her husband, an athletic trainer himself, raise their son Yohah and daughter Noam, now 19 and 16. The experience gave her insight into and empathy for students who work and/or care for families while going to school.
“Many students have to support families, either because they’re parents or to support their family’s income,” Kahanov said. “I’ve been able to bring that to my faculty and administrator positions.”
After earning her EdD in 1998, Kahanov joined San Jose State as director and part-time faculty member of its athletic training program, where she stayed 11 years. In 2009, she got a phone call from Indiana State University in Terra Haute, asking her to start an Applied Rehabilitation Sciences program there.
“I was lucky to have family willing to move there in 2009,” she said. “So, I took the leap.”
Over five years at ISU, Kahanov created five accredited health programs, but she decided someone else should manage them. When the position of dean of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University, a small liberal arts college in Dallas, Pa., opened, she applied for it.
“It was the first time I made a calculated move in my career,” she said.
During five years there Misericordia, 2014-19, she helped grow the student body 1,000 to 3,000 by setting up online programs and recruiting students nationwide.
“Misericordia was an amazing training ground for provost,” said Kahanov. “At a small institution, I had access to the president and vice president.”
As for SUNY, Kahanov is impressed with the sense of community both on campus and off.
“The pride in Oneonta is palpable,” she said. “I’m also impressed with people’s relationship to the environment. I see concerted efforts for sustainability.”
Having lived in Indiana and northern Pennsylvania, Kahanov is not fazed by snow. An outdoors person, she loves to hike, bike, kayak and cross-country ski. She is also a jigsaw puzzle “fanatic.”
“In the winter, we have about 10 puzzles going at any time,” she said. “Everyone in my family engages in drive-by puzzling.”
In her new job, Kahanov said, “I’m there to work with faculty to create a place for discussion and contemplation, for students to have an excellent experience in education at SUNY and to spread the good word.”