Chuck Staben took office as the 18th president of the University of Idaho March 1, 2014. During President Staben’s first year at the University of Idaho, the university successfully concluded the Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho campaign, with donors contributing over $261 million, far exceeding the original goal of $225 million. The university budget position has improved while tuition increased by the lowest percentage in 10 years. Staben has called for the university to grow enrollment to meet Idaho’s needs while maintaining excellence in graduate and professional education, research, and outreach. Staben has called for the university to be better in all that we do.
Before joining UI, Staben served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of South Dakota. During his tenure the University of South Dakota increased enrollment, retention and graduation, and research grants. As provost, Staben helped guide the university through state funding declines and helped lead its transition to a new budget model.
Staben also served as associate vice president for research at the University of Kentucky from 2004-2008, acting as vice president in 2006-2007. Prior to that appointment, he was a professor of biology from 1989-2008 and chair of the biology department from 2000-2004. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University from 1987-1989 and at Chiron Research Laboratories from 1985-1986. He was also a graduate research and teaching assistant at the University of California, Berkeley from 1978-1984.
Staben's research focused on fungal developmental biology, bioinformatics and fungal genomics. He received grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. He has served on National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grant review panels and recently served on a National Research Council committee that reviewed the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and the Institutional Development Award programs for the U.S. Senate. Staben taught microbiology, genetics, bioinformatics and introductory biology, and he received numerous awards for teaching. Staben received a B.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1978 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. He is originally from Waukegan, Illinois.
Staben and his wife, Dr. Mary Beth Staben, a practicing physician, have three college-aged children: Mac, Cal and Rae. Mac and Cal both began medical school in 2014; Mac is at Boston University, and Cal is at the University of Louisville. Rae is studying economics at Stanford University.