Chancellor Daniele Struppa’s desk is a mess.
He’s in the midst of juggling back-to-back meetings and moving across the lobby of Memorial Hall into his new presidential office. He’ll have to pack up his picture frames, books, awards and scribbled math equations and get situated by the end of the week.
Struppa was chosen last October to replace Jim Doti as president of Chapman University and will officially take over on Sept. 1.
“I love academics, so abandoning that will cost me something,” Struppa said. “But, on the other hand, as with every job I’ve ever done, what you gain is that now you feel you have the opportunity to influence more.”
Expectations for the presidency
Struppa’s biggest long term goal is to make Chapman a great university that everyone knows about.
He hopes to accomplish this by attracting more exceptional faculty members and focusing on the sentiments of students. He aspires to get every college to be nationally ranked like the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
“When students apply to Dodge, most of them want to be there. They wouldn’t go anywhere else because that was their dream,” Struppa said. “This is not yet true for every program on campus.”
Struppa plans to draw impressive faculty to Chapman with his judicious leadership.
“The chairs are very careful about who we tenure, who we don’t tenure and we have to make tough calls if someone just doesn’t have what we want,” Struppa said. “Sometimes we need generational change too and I don’t mean this in an age sense but we need people to think in a new paradigm.”
Additionally, Struppa wants to establish an engineering school within the first five years of his presidency, as he believes that engineering graduates get jobs quickly.
“(Engineering) attracts a different kind of student than the ones we have now,” Struppa said. “We have a great emphasis right now on creative spirits, but engineering brings in a group of analytical kids which will add a nice balance.
When Doti announced that Struppa would be promoted, he and Cristina Giannantonio, the faculty senate president at the time, formed a search committee to select a replacement provost.
No provost was selected for the fall 2016 term, so Glenn Pfeiffer, the vice chancellor of academic administration, will serve as the interim provost until a new provost is selected in summer of 2017.
“Glenn is a terrific person, so I am not in a hurry,” Struppa said. “If we don’t find the right person, we will continue the search.”
Struppa said that he and the search committee were unsatisfied with the options they found during the first search.
“One of the greater compliments that Jim Doti ever gave me was through his assistant and she said that, since my arrival, Jim’s life has changed for the better because the academics stop with me,” Struppa said. “That’s because I do my job, he shouldn’t be bothered with things that are my job to handle. Some provosts are not very good at that.”
Struppa said that he hopes to find someone that the faculty trusts to be the chief academic officer.
“For Jim, I played that role and I’m proud that I did because I made him able to do his part, to fundraise and to think about the larger structure of the university,” Struppa said.
To read The Panther editorial board’s perspective on Struppa’s first year, click here.