Meet the President
Chuck Staben took office as the 18th president of the University Idaho March 1, 2014. During President Staben’s four 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, U of I plays a unique role in making Idaho and the world a better place to live.
The university completed a new Strategic Plan through 2025. The plan’s key areas for 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. Under Staben’s tenure the university has positioned itself for long-term growth, with enrollment initiatives that facilitate access and affordability and promote improvement in Idaho’s college-going culture. U of I has realized consecutive years of overall enrollment growth. The university’s medical education, Law and other vital programs have expanded. U of I’s research enterprise recently reached more than $109.5 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 arena, a renovated medical education facility and a proposed research dairy highlight facilities projects 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. Mary Beth is a practicing physician of internal medicine.