UC President Mark Yudof has selected Jane Close Conoley, dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, as the interim chancellor of UC Riverside on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Pending her approval by UC Board of Regents, Conoley will succeed Chancellor Timothy P. White on Dec. 31, who will go on to head the California State University system the following day.
As a professor of counseling, clinical and school psychology, Conoley was appointed to her current position as a UCSB dean in 2006. Prior to her involvement with the UC system, Conoley was a professor of educational psychology and served as dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University for 10 years.
Conoley was the Edith S. Greer professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1996. She chaired the department of educational psychology from 1989-1994 and acted as the associate dean for research and curriculum at the university’s Teachers College from 1994-1996. She also taught educational psychology as a faculty member at Syracuse University and Texas Woman’s University between 1976 and 1996. Conoley is also the author or editor of 21 books.
“I am very pleased that Jane Conoley will serve UCR as interim Chancellor,” White said in a letter to the campus. “She has a keen interest in advancing UCR’s strategic goals, supporting our students, and engaging with our community. Her combination of experience and enthusiasm will serve UCR well during this time of transitional leadership.”
Students such as second-year psychology major Kane Li felt bittersweet about the administrative turnover, but remained optimistic about Conoley. “Chancellor White has had a big impact on UCR so it’s sad to see him go, but I have high hopes for the new interim chancellor. I really hope she gets connected with the students the way Chancellor White did by going out and just talking with students,” said Li.
Others expressed high expectations for the interim chancellor to guide the campus towards more stable leadership. “I hope this interim [chancellor’s] first task is to build relationships and more diversity amongst our graduate students, faculty [and] staff that reflects the student body,” stated third-year political science major Adriana Cruz, who indicated specific commitments throughout the UCR campus, in terms of socioeconomic conditions.
“I have three expectations: one is for her to have a committed and vocal stance in supporting our undocumented student community on campus; two, have a greater influence on the hiring or acceptance process to create safety and job security…lastly, have a commitment to improve campus workers wages, health, dialogue with students across the campus but specifically from our six ethnic and gender offices [in] Costo Hall,” Cruz said.
Conoley’s appointment is expected to be confirmed on Nov. 27, during a special regents meeting. UC officials will continue the nationwide search for a permanent chancellor for UCR, who will begin sometime in 2013.