After leading as the dean of the College of Engineering (CENG) since 2011, Debra Larson will end her career at Cal Poly on Feb. 24. Larson will move to California State University, Chico (Cal State Chico) where she will work as the provost and vice president of academic affairs, according to a Cal Poly press release.
Larson chose to take the job offer at Cal State Chico after examining her strengths and career path in the academic world.
“My strengths lie at organizing within the internal space of the university and working with colleagues to better the curriculum and environment for our students,” Larson said.
The prospect of transitioning to Cal State Chico interested Larson for several reasons, including Cal State Chico’s northern location and its similarities to Northern Arizona University, where she spent the bulk of her career, Larson said.
“[Both] have a close relationship between the university and town, rural nature and a similar student body. There was such a comfort and familiarity between [the two.] It felt like home,” Larson said.
Larson cherishes the colleagues she had the opportunity to work with at Cal Poly.
From an increase in the number of female students entering the engineering department to the growth in national recognition of student clubs and their achievements, Larson and her team oversaw a wealth of success within the college.
“I use ‘we’ purposely. In a university environment, shared governance is so important; no dean, department chair or vice president can be successful unless working within the larger scope of the community,” Larson said.
She hopes that her legacy will be one of collaboration and innovation.
“Our mission uniquely positions our college for success within that landscape of higher education. Hold dearly onto that mission, while continuing to progress,” Larson said about her colleagues.