WASHINGTON, D.C., December 23, 2016 — California State University, Chico has named Debra Larson as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs, following a three-month nationwide search. Larson will begin her position March 1.
Larson has previously served with distinction as an educational leader at two institutions of higher education. She comes to CSU, Chico from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she has been the dean of the College of Engineering since 2011. Prior to that appointment, she served as chair, associate dean and associate vice provost during her 17 years of service at Northern Arizona University (NAU). She also worked as a civil engineer in the private sector for more than a decade before her work at NAU.
“Dr. Larson earned this important appointment as a result of her impressive accomplishments and expressed commitment to collaborate with others across the academy to help move this institution forward,” said Charles Zartman, chair of the search committee and a faculty member in the School of Education. “On- and off-campus constituencies will find her to be genuine, transparent, straightforward, collegial, quite humorous and extremely capable.”
Larson holds a PhD in civil engineering from Arizona State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University. She has received significant recognition during her career, most notably the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Leadership Award from the American Society of Civil Engineering. Additionally, she has served as an accreditation evaluator on a number of reviews for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Larson, who visited campus Dec. 13-14, is eager to start her new role.
“I am very excited about joining Chico State as provost and vice president, welcoming the opportunity to become a member of such a dedicated community. In addition to its people, Chico State’s strengths are many,” she said in a message to the campus. “I believe in the University’s comprehensive mission, its focus on environmental stewardship and civic responsibility, the care of students and its close relationship to the City of Chico and greater region of Northern California. The campus is embarking upon an exciting time, and the enthusiasm for this future is real. It is an honor to be able to serve at Chico State. I look forward to getting to know everyone!”
As provost and vice president for academic affairs, Larson will serve as CSU, Chico’s chief academic officer and be responsible for promoting a rich intellectual life, fostering student success, creating an active learning environment in the classroom and beyond, and enhancing academic research, scholarship, creative activity and diversity. She will report to President Gayle E. Hutchinson, be a member of the President’s Cabinet and represent the campus in the president’s absence.
The search process for a new provost began in earnest in late September and attracted a diverse talent pool from across the nation, with dozens of applicants of considerable talent and a wealth of administrative experience and expertise. Through a rigorous and comprehensive process, initial candidates were interviewed in early December and three finalists emerged for two-day visits to campus that included an open forum and interactions with key campus constituencies.
Hutchinson acknowledged the dedicated contribution of the 18-member search committee, which was comprised of faculty, staff and administrators who facilitated the search and coordinated interviews and campus visits.
“I am deeply grateful for their professionalism and dedication in the search for our new provost,” she said. “I also want to thank faculty and staff who participated in the campus visits and provided feedback to the committee … Together, we will transform tomorrow.”
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For over four decades, Academic Search has served as the leader in the design and implementation of search processes for presidents and senior administrators at colleges and universities throughout the country. We have built a dossier of premier clients and earned a reputation for integrity, confidentiality, and quality. Since our inception, we have completed more than 700 presidential searches, and in the past three years have conducted more than 50 provost and 60 dean searches. Academic Search prides itself on the following five-year retention rate for individuals we have helped place: 91 percent of all presidential searches; 81 percent of all vice-presidential searches; and 89 percent of all dean searches.
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