Meet the President
Chuck Staben took office as the 18th president of the University Idaho March 1, 2014. During President Staben’s first three years at the University of Idaho, he has led new initiatives to meet Idaho’s needs in education and innovation while maintaining excellence in graduate and professional education, research and outreach. Staben believes that public research universities keep our nation strong, and that as the state’s land-grant institution, UI plays a unique role in making Idaho and the world a better place to live.
The university completed a new Strategic Plan through 2025. It focuses on key areas including enrollment growth and access to higher education, innovative research and scholarship, engagement across the state, and the cultivation of an inclusive and dynamic campus environment. Under Staben’s tenure the university has positioned itself for long-term growth, with enrollment initiatives that facilitate access and affordability and promote a change in Idaho’s college-going culture. The university’s medical education, Law and other vital programs have expanded. UI’s research enterprise recently reached more than $102 million in annual expenditures. The university completed its most successful fundraising year to date in FY2017 in support of scholarships and programs. A planned basketball and volleyball arena, as well as a leading research dairy and a renovated medical education facility, highlight facilities plans Staben has helped develop and guide.
Prior to his service at Idaho, Staben served as the Provost of the University of South Dakota from 2008-2014. From 1989-2008 he was at the University of Kentucky, as a professor of biology, a department chair, and as associate vice president for research. Other experience includes postdoctoral research at Stanford University from 1987-1989 and at Chiron Research Laboratories from 1985-1986. He conducted graduate research and teaching 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. 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, have three children: Mac, Cal and Rae. Mac and Cal both began medical school in fall 2014. Rae graduated in 2016 from Stanford University with a degree in economics. Mary Beth is a practicing physician of internal medicine.