CSU Chancellor Timothy White announces retirement

On Oct. 22, California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. White has served as the CSU chancellor for seven years, having started in 2012. 

“It has been my great honor to work with our state’s elected leaders, our Board of Trustees and our campus, faculty, staff and student leaders to reinvest in our university, to expand access and improve academic outcomes for the future,” White said in a press release on Oct. 22.

White will remain in office until the CSU Board of Trustees appoints the next chancellor in summer 2020.
(Courtesy of Calstate.edu)

White became CSU chancellor during a difficult time in 2012 because the state support of the CSU system had declined by almost $1 billion. 

However, White was proven instrumental in increasing the university’s general fund allocation. Since he obtained the high position as chancellor, the general fund allocation from the state has increased from $2.3 billion to $3.6 billion. 

“Chancellor White has been a transformative leader for the CSU …. He has been a champion for student success, diversity and environmental sustainability at the CSU, and he commissioned the first-ever study at a university of student food and housing insecurity,” said President Soraya M. Coley through a university-wide email sent on Oct. 23. “I am going to miss his leadership, but his success as chancellor has been instrumental in continuing the CSU legacy as the national model for public higher education.” 

White was preceded in office by Charles Reed, who worked as chancellor from 1998 to 2012. Reed left the office in December 2012.

According to the CSU statement released on Oct. 22, “(White) led the university’s restoration and resurgence from Great Recession-era cuts to achieve unprecedented heights for student enrollment and graduation.”

During White’s tenure, there was a focus on improving student achievement. White proposed the Graduation Initiative 2025, which was launched in 2015 and is a plan to increase graduation rates. 

Preliminary, university-wide data shared by White show that graduation rates for transfer and first-time students are at an all-time high. 

As well, student enrollment increased from 436,000 to more than 480,000 students during his time as chancellor across the CSU system.

White also commissioned the first study regarding student food and housing insecurity. The impact that these issues can have on students led to campus programs and state funding to help alleviate the issues. 

The announcement of his retirement plans come a month after Janet Napolitano, the University of California president, announced plans to retire Aug. 1, 2020. 

The CSU Board of Trustees plans to appoint the next chancellor by the summer of 2020. 

The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Adam Day, has already appointed trustees to conduct a confidential, national search for a new chancellor. The committee chair will be Jean Picker Firstenberg, a member of the Board of Trustees. 

There will also be a Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which will  include “membership from the statewide academic senate, California State Student Association, alumni council, campus presidents and staff.” 

“(They) will also be appointed to serve in concert with the trustees’ Special Committee,” according to a CSU press release on Oct. 23.

Both committees will initially work together and the search process will begin by conducting a listening tour in November and December. This will include campus forums across the state. 

“The listening tour will inform the qualities and experiences that CSU’s stakeholders seek in the next chancellor, along with their hopes and aspirations for CSU in the years ahead,” according to a CSU statement released Oct. 23. 

White will continue to serve as chancellor and his approximate last day in office depends on the success of choosing a new candidate to take over.

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