Former Michigan State provost Kim Wilcox to head UC Riverside

Kim Wilcox, former Michigan State provost, has been nominated to be the next chancellor at UC Riverside. (University of California / July 25, 2013)

The former No. 2 administrator at Michigan State and a recent finalist to head up several other public universities around the country has been nominated to be the next chancellor of UC Riverside, officials announced Thursday.

Kim A. Wilcox, who is an expert in speech and hearing disorders, is expected to be confirmed by UC regents as leader of the 22,000-student Riverside campus. His salary and other terms of employment will not be publicly released until the regents vote on his nomination during a teleconference on August 8.

He comes to UC Riverside after unsuccessful bids to run other large public universities. Earlier this year, he was among the finalists to become chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison and president at the University of Wyoming. Last year he was a finalist to lead the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

UC Riverside’s previous chancellor, Timothy White, left the school last year to become head of the 23-campus Cal State system. Since then, interim chancellor Jane Close Conoley has led the school and now is expected to return to her position as dean of UC Santa Barbara’s graduate education school.

In a 10-campus university system with such international academic powerhouses as UCLA and UC Berkeley, UC Riverside has been fighting to gain more resources and prestige. After much debate and funding complications, it recently began to enroll students at its new medical school that in an unusual arrangement will train doctors at community hospitals instead of building another UC medical center.

Wilcox, 59, recently stepped down after eight years as provost and executive vice president at   sprawling Michigan State in East Lansing, which enrolls about 49,000 students. He previously was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas and was president of the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education in that state. He earned a bachelor’s in audiology and speech sciences from Michigan State and a master’s and doctorate in related fields from Purdue University.

“Kim Wilcox brings to the University of California distinctive expertise and interests that will serve the Riverside campus and the larger community exceedingly well. He has been a dedicated teacher, scholar and researcher who also excelled as an academic leader and chief executive, always maintaining his commitment to diversity and access to higher education,” UC system President Mark G. Yudof said in a statement. The move is probably Yudof's final major appointment before his own retirement in September when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano succeeds him.

Until the regents vote Wilcox will decline interviews about his plans for UC Riverside, officials said Thursday. In a statement, he said: “My values and interests align perfectly with UC Riverside, one of the nation’s great research universities. I look forward to meeting with students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the larger community, to learning and exchanging ideas and to working toward making Riverside the best it can be.”

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

Twitter: @larrygordonlat