April 3, 2024
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As Rush steps down, CSUCI welcomes first woman president


Richard Rush will step down as CSU Channel Islands' president after 15 years. (File photo)

Richard Rush steps down after 15 years

In a move that signals a new era of leadership, CSU Channel Islands will get its first woman president, and the current CI provost will take the helm at CSU Chico.

The CSU Board of Trustees announced March 9 that Erika Beck, currently provost at Nevada State College will become the second president of CI. Her salary will be $283,000, plus an auto and housing allowance and she will arrive on the Camarillo campus later this summer.

Gayle Hutchinson, CI provost vice president for academic affairs since 2013, will take over as president of CSU Chico, the board of trustees announced. She returns to Chico State where she was dean of the college of behavioral and social sciences before joining CI.

Beck arrives at CI as it faces ongoing headwinds in expanding the student body to the 15,000 enrollees envisioned in the university’s initial plans. President Richard Rush, who helmed the university for 15 years, helped develop a collaborative decision making style and a focus on academics that has made the university a rising star in the CSU system.

Despite the university’s relatively high marks for four-year and five-year graduation rates, the university’s ability to grow to the size that would allow it to reach goals envisioned two decades ago has been hampered by California’s ongoing budget problems.

However, Beck is no stranger to startup public universities, having joined Nevada State in its opening year in 2002, there were 177 students. The Nevada State website heralds her work in playing “an active role in establishing the foundational practices” that helped grow the college to 3,400 students by 2013.

No stranger to California’s academic world, Beck holds a PhD in experimental psychology from UC San Diego where she also served as a faculty fellow. At Nevada State, she served as the first chair of the faculty senate and represented the college before the board of regents and state legislature.

In promoting Hutchinson to the Chico presidency, the CSU system retains one of its most valuable academic leaders. Hutchinson holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her salary will be $293,000.