Meet the President
Chuck Staben took office as the 18th president of the University Idaho March 1, 2014. During his presidency, 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 public research universities keep our nation strong, and that as the state’s land-grant institution, U of I plays a unique role in making Idaho and the world a better place to live.
The university is guided in its mission by a Strategic Plan through 2025. The plan’s key areas of focus include 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. The university is well-positioned for long-term growth.
Staben has guided enrollment initiatives that facilitate access and affordability as well as promote improvement in Idaho’s college-going culture. Student success, from retention through graduation and careers, has been emphasized through the adoption of new technology and university-wide approaches. U of I’s WWAMI Medical Education Program has doubled in size, with students spending more time in Moscow at new and renovated facilities. The university’s College of Law has expanded to include an additional full three-year location in Boise.
U of I’s research enterprise recently reached more than $109.5 million in annual expenditures, with strong emphases in agriculture, natural resources and clean energy, as well as emerging areas such as disease and cybersecurity. Dynamic scholarship and creative activity remain high priorities.
In Fiscal Year 2018, U of I completed its most successful fundraising year to date in support of scholarships, programs and facilities. A $10 million gift supports a planned basketball arena. Medical education facilities, a renovated education building and a proposed research dairy highlight facilities projects Staben has helped develop and guide.
Prior to his service at Idaho, Staben was provost of the University of South Dakota from 2008-14. From 1989-2008, at the University of Kentucky, he was a professor of biology, a department chair, and associate vice president for research. Other experience includes postdoctoral research at Stanford University from 1987-89 and at Chiron Research Laboratories from 1985-86. He conducted graduate research and teaching at the University of California, Berkeley from 1978-84, receiving a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 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. He received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1978.
Originally from Waukegan, Illinois, Staben and his wife, Dr. Mary Beth Staben, have three children. Mary Beth is a practicing physician of internal medicine.