University of Idaho President Chuck Staben announced Friday he will step down after his contract expires next June. He and the Idaho State Board of Education “mutually decided” not to renew the contract, Staben wrote in a memo to university faculty, staff, and students.
When Staben started his tenure in 2014, he said he planned to stay longer than his predecessor, who held the position for just four years. So it came as a surprise last year when Staben applied to become the next president of the University of New Mexico. He was a finalist, but didn't get the job.
With Staben’s departure, no University of Idaho president will have held the position longer than five years since 2003. In an interview with Boise State Public Radio News earlier this year, Staben said that’s about average.
“It’s down to about five years at this point,” Staben said. “It’s going to be the rare person who’s going to serve 20 years in these kinds of positions.”
Under his tenure, the school boosted spending on scientific research, showed higher rates of enrollment and retention, raised money for a new basketball arena and developed a strategic plan to last through 2025.
Staben also faced difficulties. He oversaw the controversial move of the school’s athletics programs to the Big Sky Conference, as well as an ongoing investigation into allegations that the athletics department violated Title IX guidelines by improperly reporting a sexual assault case in 2013. Staben says his departure was unrelated to the investigation.
“I want you to know I am proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to the challenges and successes we will have in the coming year,” he wrote.
Staben’s announcement means the presidents of all three public universities in Idaho will have left their posts within about a year of each other. State officials say they will hire an outside search firm to find his successor.
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