Committee to begin interviews for new UCSD chancellor this month

By Pat Sherman

A search advisory committee comprised of University of California regents and faculty will convene this month to interview candidates seeking to fill the chancellor’s position when Marye Anne Fox steps down this summer.

Fox, an esteemed educator and scientist, will leave the position in June and resume teaching and research as a distinguished professor of chemistry at UCSD.

Her annual salary as chancellor is $392,000.

Campus media relations manager Steve Montiel said the committee, as a group, will interview a number of people who are “considered the strongest candidates.”

“Everything is proceeding according to the plan,” Montiel said of the international search, which is being assisted by Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm that UC officials use for other staff and medical center vacancies.

“There’s been a great deal of interest and a number of very strong candidates. Things are moving along.”

Montiel said Fox’s replacement should be someone who can form a similarly strong bond with the community, be a good fundraiser, and a person who commands the respect of the faculty.

“It’s big shoes to fill,” Montiel said. “Marye Anne Fox is a tough act to follow.”

Speaking with the

La Jolla Light

last month, Fox said she hopes to form an inner-departmental umbrella organization to discuss ways of boosting math, science and technology education at the university, which she said has decreased significantly in schools across the country.

“We’ll use it to start to talk with each other,” Fox said. “We can give critiques and use that as a way of actually making research return its value to education.”

After stepping down, Fox said she might also “be drafted to teach organic chemistry, which I can do by rolling out of bed.

“I suppose there will be days when I do (miss being chancellor),” she said. “Typically, when I’ve left positions in the past I’ve made myself available (to the new hire). I might do a checklist (for him or her) of what the problems are.”

Issues Fox said she would like to see the new chancellor continue working on include the $10.5 million renovation of University House.

Last month, the UC Board of Regents approved a second renovation phase for the historic structure, to be formerly renamed the Geisel House, after UCSD philanthropist Audrey Geisel. Located in the La Jolla Farms neighborhood, the venue, used for fundraising events and campus celebrations, has been closed since 2004 when it was deemed uninhabitable due to seismic, plumbing and electrical deficiencies.

“We also have to find a way to make sure that relationships with the private sector will give us the support for things the state used to support well,” Fox said. “Student services are just being decimated, and class sizes are exploding. The student-to-faculty ratio is very high.

“We know that we have to do things more efficiently,” she added, noting that the UC system is in the process of “re-benching,” a means of budgetary reform that redistributes certain types of funding, placing more emphasis on current campus needs rather than the historical reasons for allocation.

Another ongoing concern, Fox said, is the loss of middle management at the university, “mostly due to attrition.”

“Some people are doing what three or four people were doing the year before,” Fox said. “You can do that for six months or maybe even a year — that dual responsibility — but it begins to wear on you. It’s corrosive.”