Carleton College President Steven Poskanzer will step down next July after 11 years leading the Northfield private liberal arts school.

Poskanzer announced the decision to the school's board of trustees Friday. He plans to take a sabbatical and return to Carleton in 2022 as a faculty member in the school's political science department.

"This is a choice and a change of direction that I have been weighing for almost two years," Poskanzer said in a statement. "I adore this college, and serving as its president has been far and away the best and the most fulfilling experience of my professional career."

Poskanzer came to Carleton in 2010 after serving as president of the State University of New York at New Paltz for nine years. He has taught students at each institution where he has worked, including Princeton University and the University of Chicago.

Under Poskanzer's leadership, Carleton has built a more diverse student body, implemented a strategic plan, renovated facilities, increased collaboration with neighboring St. Olaf College and raised more than $400 million through its Every Carl for Carleton fundraising campaign.

"He works tirelessly to keep Carleton strong and true to its mission. He will hand over to his successor a college even stronger in its academic quality than its already high level when he arrived in 2010," Wally Weitz, chairman of Carleton's board of trustees, said in a statement.

Weitz and board vice chairwoman Cathy Paglia will co-chair a search committee for Carleton's next president.

Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234

Twitter: @ryanfaircloth