Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:09
Dr. Dianne F. Harrison is named President of CSUN (CSUN Photo)
(Los Angeles - CoolState) - The CSU Board of Trustees today named veteran educator Dr. Dianne Harrison, currently president of CSU Monterey Bay, as president of CSUN. Harrison has been prez of Mo Bay since 2006.
Harrison succeeds the retiring Jolene Koester, who served as CSUN prez since 2000. Harrison will begin her tenure on the San Fernando Valley campus early in the summer. CSUN Provost Harold Hellenbrand has served as acting president since January 1 after Dr. Koester's retirement in December 2011.
“Dr. Harrison brings an outstanding portfolio of administrative experience, academic credentials and student-focused approach to her new position… ", said CSU Trustee Bob Linscheid, who was chair of the search committee that interviewed Harrison.
Before her stint at Mo Bay, Harrison served for three decades at Florida State. At FSU she held posts as dean of Social Work and later Academic Affairs, as well as AVP for Academic Quality and External Programs. She earned her Ph.D in Social Work at Washington U in St. Louis as well as an MA in Social Work, and a second BA in American Studies, both at U of Alabama.
She has published widely – including two books - with specializations in HIV prevention among women and minorities, and social work in higher ed. and university leadership.
Dr. Harrison serves on over five dozen boards of directors, including American Assoc. of Colleges & Universities, KQED, NCAA, Cal. Campus Compact, United Way and others.
"She has an impressive record of accomplishments, a commitment to scholarship, and will provide strong leadership as the campus moves forward" Linscheid added, at the end of the three month search effort.
Dr. Kester oversaw a $370-million campus makeover in the wake of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the epicenter of which was very close to the north valley campus. She also lead the effort to construct the campus’s $125 million new performing arts center, which instantly became the dominant such facility in the San Fernando valley.
Harrison takes over during a period of crushing budget cuts to the CSU and other state colleges and universities.
She will have some big challenges leading the Northridge campus of nearly 36,000 students, largest in the CSU system, and one of the largest universities by enrollment in the nation. It is the only four year university in the valley. By comparison, CSU Monterey Bay has about 5,000 students.
State funding for the CSU was cut by $750 million this year, and faces cuts of $200 million more next year if a proposed tax initiative does not succeed at the ballot box in November.
Even with a budget of around $300 million, CSUN has been unable to admit new freshmen during spring semester, for the second year as a result of California's five year long financial crisis.
At the March 27 announcement of her appointment Harrison issued a statement saying “I am excited and honored to be selected as president of another fine institution within the California State University system, and look forward to working together with the entire campus community on the many opportunities for the future."
During the search for the CSUN president, the CSU Board of Trustees faced scrutiny and passionate criticism over what were seen as extravagant executive pay in the face of over 200% tuition increases in the past half decade. Harrison’s salary will be set by the board at a future meeting. She currently earns $270,315 at Monterey Bay, with housing provided. Dr. Jolene Koester made $295,000 at Northridge, also with a housing allowance.