By Anneli Fogt
On Thursday, the California State University Board of Trustees concluded their search for the next chancellor of the CSU system and selected Timothy P. White as the seventh chancellor of the CSU system.
“I am humbled to have been chosen to lead the California State University system at such a transformative time,” said White in an article on the CSU website. “As Chancellor, I look forward to engaging with faculty, students, staff, campus presidents and CSU trustees, along with the communities we serve, as we advance this vital system of higher education for California’s future.”
The CSU Board of Trustees has been searching for a replacement for Chancellor Charles B. Reed who announced his retirement in May. The Board held two secretive, closed meetings over the course of the week and came out midday Thursday with their choice.
White is the current chancellor of the University of California Riverside and, according to a news release on the CSU website, since taking the position in 2008, has “led the growth of the campus to [a record] almost 21,000 students.”
According to CSU Public Affairs Specialist Erik Fallis, UCR is the most diverse UC in the system and the fact that White has been president of a school so diverse prepares him for the challenge of leading the very diverse CSU system.
White has also held positions as president at the University of Idaho; dean, provost, executive vice president and interim president positions at Oregon State University and teaching positions at UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan.
Regardless of his many successful positions in the California education system, White comes from a background very similar to many CSU students. He is a first-generation college student and has been a part of all three public higher education systems in California from community college to the University of California.
“He has a very strong background in the CSU,” said Fallis. “He has a really strong background of knowing each campus, especially as a first generation college student. He’ll bring these skills and experiences to the chancellor position and I think it’ll really help him, and the system.”
White’s more humble background and his experiences in the California education system are already creating optimistic feedback from faculty throughout the state.
“Given Dr. White’s background in public higher education, we are hopeful that he will understand the needs of the CSU and will establish a goal of unifying everyone behind our critical educational mission, particularly during these difficult times,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles, in an article on the CSU website.
However, the closed door policy used to select White has caused frustration within California faculty because faculty was hoping for an open and bi-partisan approach to the search.
Regardless of the ways the search was conducted, Cal Poly Pomona California Faculty Association President Dorothy Wills seconds Taiz’s positive feelings.
“Dr. White has an extensive background in public higher education, so we are hopeful that he will understand the needs of the CSU,” said Wills. “It will be a good thing for all if he can unify the faculty, students and staff behind the educational mission of the university. While we were disappointed that the very important selection of a new Chancellor was conducted behind closed doors, we are looking forward to a collegial relationship with him.”
According to the CSU website, White is expected to start his Chancellor duties at the end of December with the same pay as Charles Reed: $421,500 plus an extra $30,000 supplement and benefits.
Timothy P. White
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