Interim Chancellor Named At UIS

Jun 3, 2020

Karen Whitney

A longtime higher education leader will be the interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Karen Whitney will take over for Susan Koch, who is retiring at the end of the month.   Whitney will serve in the interim role while a national search is conducted for a permanent chancellor.

Whitney most recently served as interim chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.  She is president emerita of Clarion University in Pennsylvania, where she worked for seven years.  

In a statement, Whitney said she is drawn to the vision and mission of UIS and its emphasis on leadership development.  "That is, I think, an extremely import role in American society today,” she said. 

A statement announcing her hiring memntions during her seven years as president of Clarion, Whitney led the university’s 5,200 students and more than 700 faculty and staff through both reorganization and the transformation of academic priorities.  

Before leading Clarion, Whitney was vice chancellor for student life at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from 1999 through 2010. Previously, she served in leadership positions at the University of Houston and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

She holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in higher education administration, a master's degree from the University of Houston in public administration and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Houston.

Whitney is expected to be at UIS for at least a year.  Her appointment is pending the Board of Trustees approval.  Her salary will be $299,636, the same as Koch's. 

“Karen has deep experience working with higher education boards, administrative leaders and faculty, building consensus around common goals,” University of Illinois President Tim Killeen said. “At Clarion, she led an institution that is very similar to UIS in size, scope and mission. She is an ideal choice to build upon Susan’s work, which strengthened UIS and put it on the road toward becoming a regional force for progress.”

Susan Koch is the longest serving chancellor in UIS history, coming to the campus in 2011.   She says she wants to spend more time with her family. Her last day will be June 30.