Chancellor Announces Plans to Retire

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox will end her eight-year  tenure  as  UCSD Chancellor in June 2012.

After stepping down, Fox plans to return teaching and researching as a professor of chemistry at UCSD.
Fox’s chancellorship is marked by her expansive efforts to improve the infrastructure of the university, as well as her success at enhancing the funding and prestige of UCSD’s academics and research.

At the same time, she will be associated with the University of California’s recent and ongoing budget crisis and the corresponding hikes in undergraduate tuition costs, as well as the Compton Cookout, a racially insensitive party thrown by UCSD students that set off a wave of student protests on campus in 2010.

Fox has focused on improving the foundation and facilities of UCSD during her tenure, investing $3.5 billion in capital projects over eight years. These projects include the construction of the Student Services Center and the renovation and expansion of Price Center.

Fox’s capital projects also included expanding student housing at UCSD to cope with a burgeoning student population that has grown from 25,000 to 30,000 since 2004.

This included the construction of the Village apartments for transfer students, as well as various improvements toward on-campus apartment housing and graduate student housing. By the time of their completion, Fox’s construction projects will have expanded the campus size by 40 percent.

UCSD’s reputation in both academics and research was enhanced during Fox’s tenure.

The university conducted more than $1 billion in sponsored research from undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in 2010 alone.

In 2011, the university retained its U.S. News & World ranking as the eighth best public university in the nation and the 37th best university in the nation overall, despite budget cuts.
“[Fox] has raised the academic reputation of the campus, and it is going to be preserved regardless of the budget cuts,” 2009-10 A.S. Council President Utsav Gupta said. “Even with the cuts, she worked to continue [ensuring] that UCSD rises.”

Fox’s tenure as chancellor has also been affected by challenges ranging from tuition hikes to racial controversy.

Facing a budget crisis, the UC Board of Regents announced a 32 percent increase in tuition fees for undergraduate students in 2009, sparking a wave of protests that led to the arrests of nearly 100 students throughout the UC system.

The UC Board of Regents has increased tuition to aid the UC system’s financial woes since 2009 — raising fall tuition for UC undergraduates by 9.6 percent this July.
Fox’s administration was also marked by the Compton Cookout, which set off a string of racist acts in Winter 2010, including the placement of a noose in Geisel Library. These events triggered student protests in favor of racial diversity and the increased enrollment of underrepresented minorities.

“I can tell you that on a personal and human level that she felt it deeply — that we were failing some part of the community,” Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs Mary Walshok said in the July 5 article “Fox’s UCSD Tenure had Trials, Triumphs” in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I think it grieved her, to be frank.”

Backlash over the Compton Cookout has led to a range of initiatives by Fox and the administration to remedy problems brought up by protesters.

These initiatives include the establishment of a diversity requirement for all incoming graduates, as well as the establishment of a new Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

“She’s an extremely brave person; when there were student protests, she met with the protesters, ” Gupta said. “I think she really worked towards making sure those students were heard.”
Fox noted in an official statement to UCSD that an important factor in her decision was her desire to spend more time with her family.

She said she looks forward to returning to work as a professor of chemistry at UCSD after she leaves the position.

The University of California will begin an international search for appointment of the next chancellor this fall.

Fox and Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Suresh Subramani were not available for comment.

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