TURLOCK -- One perk of the job for California State University, Stanislaus' new provost was apparent right away: "The traffic."
James Strong, dean of the College of Business and Public Policy at CSU Dominguez Hills in Southern California, starts work in Turlock on Monday. CSUS President Hamid Shirvani announced the hiring Thursday.
"Dr. Strong has an extensive background in academic leadership and is committed to providing positive leadership for faculty, staff and students by building a motivating culture through constant communication and consultation," Shirvani said.
Strong replaces Herman Lujan, who has served as interim provost since July. Lujan leaves campus today but will remain available to help with the transition, Shirvani said.
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Strong said he is "very excited" about coming to Turlock as the university's chief academic officer. He visited the university in 2003 as part of a discussion about accreditation.
"It's a lovely campus," he said. "I also saw a little bit of the community."
Strong visited again over the weekend to look for a place to live.
"The people were really friendly," he said. "I like the fact that there's no traffic."
Strong took his job at Dominguez Hills in 2003. Prior to that, he served as associate dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Akron. In a news release, Shirvani also cited Strong's "outstanding teaching and publication record achieved during three years as an assistant professor at Rowan University and 14 years rising through the professoriate at the University of Akron. He also has eight years of management experience in the private sector."
Strong said he's not dissuaded by the fractious relationship between the university's administration and its faculty, who in November overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence in Shirvani.
"Every situation has some challenges, and I've been an administrator for 12 years," he said. "I've seen situations like this and I think that I can help."
A tumultuous environment is no surprise, given that recent budget cuts have resulted in layoffs and class reductions.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know the faculty and building the re- lationships with them to advance the mission of the university, to serve students," he said. "I think everyone can get behind that."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.