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Many CSU presidents held other positions in system

About half of the current Cal State University presidents have held prior positions within the CSU, but internal candidates are not given preference over those not affiliated with the system, according to CSU spokesman Erik Fallis.

This year alone, two presidents of schools in the CSU system were hired directly after holding positions as presidents of other CSU campuses.

In January, Cal State Dominguez Hills President Mildred Garcia was chosen to take over as president at Cal State Fullerton.

In March, Cal State Monterey Bay president Dianne F. Harrison was chosen to be the new president of Cal State Northridge.

“About half of our presidents have a history with CSU prior to their current position,” Fallis said.

According to Fallis, the CSU is a very large system with more than 20,000 faculty members, giving a wide academic base of possible candidates.

“You could potentially have the same individual stay within the system and advance and eventually become president,” he said.

Fallis cited the example of Mohammad Qayoumi, who was appointed president of San Jose State University in 2011.

His career with the CSU began at SJSU as a professor. He then became an associate vice president at the school, left to hold teaching and administrative positions at Cal State Northridge and eventually became president of Cal State East Bay before returning to SJSU.

Some members of the CSU Board of Trustees, as well as members of the public, requested that the CSU solidify the way it brings in candidates for university president positions. This has resulted in a system that does not give any preference to internal candidates, but identifies them for consideration, according to Fallis.

“We want to encourage the identification of internal candidates,” he said. “[Individuals who are] accumulating those skills and talents and really demonstrating those types of qualities you want in a president.”

Choosing a president for a CSU campus is a long process that requires identifying potential candidates and extensive consideration.

“Sometimes it does take a little while for the search process to come up with the right candidate,” Fallis said.

In some cases, no one from the initial round of applicants works out, so new people apply and the decision process begins again.

However, with all the responsibilities of a president, including being the chief executive officer of his or her institution and as a representative to the public and CSU system, the position cannot remain completely vacant, requiring someone to step into the position of interim president.

“An interim president could conceivably stay on for a year or perhaps longer,” Fallis said.

There is no designated position that must serve the role of interim president. It could be, but is not limited to, the provost of the institution, a past leader, or an administrator from another campus.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed consults with the outgoing president and the Board of Trustees to make the decision of who will be interim president. 

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