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CSU Stanislaus interim president named
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Joseph Sheley will take over as interim president of CSU Stanislaus on June 11. - photo by Photo Contributed

Joseph Sheley, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at California State University, Sacramento, has been named interim president of CSU Stanislaus.

“I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this,” Sheley said. “I look at a beautiful campus, I look at a community that really respects and appreciates its university, I look at good faculty, and I look at a good student body, and I feel very fortunate.”

According to Claudia Keith, CSU spokesperson, Sheley will likely hold the interim post for at least an academic year. No search is currently underway for a permanent successor to current CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani, who will leave the campus to become chancellor of the North Dakota University System.

Sheley said he did not apply for the interim president post, but was asked to take the role by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, whom he thanked for the opportunity.

Keith said it is “quite common” for the CSU to look within the system for interim presidents, but not necessarily recruiting internally from a particular campus.

“We look for leadership within the system where it seems appropriate,” Keith said.

Sheley, an alumnus of Sacramento State and holder of a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will assume his new post June 11.

Sheley has worked at Sacramento State since 1996, serving as dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, director of alumni relations, and executive vice president. Most recently, Sheley served seven years as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at CSU Sacramento.

“What I’m proudest of is the fact that during what are really, really tough times budgetarily, we’ve held it together quite well (at Sacramento State),” Sheley said. “And we’ve done it because the administration and the faculty worked together.”

A former professor, Sheley served as a faculty member for 21 years at Tulane University, where he received numerous grants and has published extensively in the field of criminology with a focus on patterns of acquisition and use of firearms by juveniles. At Tulane, Sheley chaired the Department of Sociology and served as faculty head of the University Senate.

That experience led Sheley to believe strongly in shared governance – the process by which university faculty and administration work together to make decisions and improve the college. Sheley named the excellent shared governance at CSU Sacramento among his biggest successes, with hard work spent on consulting and developing policy amenable to both sides.

That emphasis on shared governance could be a boon for CSU Stanislaus faculty, who criticized Shirvani’s administration for a lack of openness and transparency. Those concerns led to a vote of no confidence in Shirvani’s leadership in November 2009, and admonition from college accreditors Western Association of Schools and Colleges who called for a reaccreditation follow-up in 2011 due to “long-simmering tensions between faculty and the senior administration.”

Sheley said he hopes to rebuild those bridges while also fostering regional partnerships, and using university scholarships to address regional social and economic development.

 “I look forward to working with them,” Sheley said. “I’m very committed to consultation, collaboration, conversation, whatever it takes.”