Kang has served as UC Merced chancellor since March 2007;
Nationwide search for his successor to begin this fall
MERCED — The University of California, Merced, announced today (Sept. 2) that Chancellor Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang has announced his decision to step down as chancellor on June 30, 2011 to return to teaching and research as a member of the University of California faculty. The UC Office of the President will begin a nationwide search for his successor this fall.
Kang, 65, has served as UC Merced chancellor since March 2007. He will continue in his current position throughout the search process. UC Merced opened in September 2005.
"It has been a singular honor and the highlight of my administrative career to serve as chancellor of the newest University of California campus during its critical development years," Kang said. "Despite extremely challenging economic conditions, we have managed to establish a very strong foundation, attract top-level faculty and staff, and provide an innovative learning environment for our rapidly growing student body.
"The campus is on a positive trajectory for continued growth and has worked closely with the UC Office of the President to define and secure a clear path forward over the next few years. I am confident the search committee will identify a strong successor to lead UC Merced into the next phase of development."
"Chancellor Kang assumed office during a very difficult time and has put UC Merced on course to become the next great research university in the UC system," UC President Mark G. Yudof said. "I look forward to working with him over the next 10 months to sustain the momentum he's created and prepare for a smooth handoff next summer."
An internationally recognized electrical engineer who holds more than a dozen patents in integrated-circuit design, Kang said he is eager to return to research and teaching after he leaves the chancellor's post. Prior to joining UC Merced, he served as a university faculty member or administrator for 25 years, including more than six years as professor of electrical engineering and dean of the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
"At this point, I find the time is right for me to begin thinking about the next phase of my academic career," Kang said. "I'm excited about getting back to the laboratory and classroom where knowledge is created and imparted to the next generation of university scholars."
Kang has served as UC Merced's top administrative officer since midway through the university's second year, when enrollment totaled fewer than 1,300 students and much of the campus core was still under construction. During his tenure, university enrollment has increased to an expected 4,000 students this fall while the physical campus has expanded dramatically, earning numerous awards for environmentally sustainable design, construction and operation.
The university also secured a vital federal permit necessary for long-term development of the campus and the northern portion of the University Community, completed its first Strategic Academic Vision and published a revised Long-Range Development Plan with extensive details on the planned campus layout, physical appearance and sustainable operating principles.
In addition, the campus was designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution in April 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, which will provide access to federal and private grants for much-needed funding for faculty development, scientific and laboratory equipment, and other purposes. Also during Kang's tenure, the campus has made solid progress toward securing initial accreditation status, expected to be awarded in July 2011.
Upon his departure in June 2011, Kang will take a paid leave, consistent with UC policy, during which he will prepare for his return to the faculty. His faculty appointment will be announced later this year.
Patti Waid Istas