Steinmetz to Conclude Service as Chancellor

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Joseph E. Steinmetz will step down from his position as chancellor of the University of Arkansas effective Friday, June 18. U of A System President Donald R. Bobbitt will visit with constituencies on campus as well as external supporters of the university before announcing plans for determining the next chancellor of the institution.

"In my annual commencement address, I sometimes tell graduates that the key to a purposeful and enriching life is to find a career that creates deeply meaningful work and not to settle for anything less," Steinmetz said. "For the past 38 years, higher education has been not only my vocation, but my absolute commitment. My wife Sandy is the reason I get up in the morning, but the promise of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement has kept me returning to the office day after day, year after year — steadfast in my belief of the power of higher education to improve lives. I still strongly believe in the mission of higher education, yet given the many challenges found trying to manage a university in today's polarized society, I need to do what's best for my family and I feel ready to make way for others."

"I'd like to thank President Bobbitt and the Board of Trustees," he said. "We have the most supportive system and trustees and I'm grateful for their constant support of the mission of the University of Arkansas as well as my leadership.

"But as important, I'd like to thank not only my leadership team, but the entire University of Arkansas community of faculty, staff, students and alumni for their passion for this great institution and their desire to make the university a better place. This was clearly evident as the campus successfully managed a pandemic."  

Since becoming the sixth chancellor of the University of Arkansas on Jan. 1, 2016, Steinmetz has shepherded in an era of unprecedented student success. First-year retention has reached 84.7%, the six-year graduation rate 68.5%, the average GPA for new freshmen in the entering 2020 class was 3.75, and the university awarded 6,894 credentials in 2020. The Student Success Center, a new building designed to co-locate numerous student support services and create a "one-stop-shop" model for student success, is completing construction and set to open later this year.  

Heading into a new academic year this fall, the U of A is expecting a record-sized freshman class and its largest student body enrollment to date. This coming out of the pandemic, which forced campuses across the state into remote learning environments.

The university surpassed its billion-dollar fundraising campaign goal by raising a total of $1.449 billion by the close of the drive in June 2020, having attracted major private gifts to endow the School of Art ($120 million) and to promote research and commercialization ($194.7 million).  

The development of the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I3R) is envisioned to amplify the university's research and innovation capacity through its unique approach to research. I3R will distinguish the University of Arkansas by creating a flexible, state-of-the-art collaborative framework designed to facilitate the integration of research across five overlapping clusters of innovation. A planned $100 million research building, funded in part through private gift support, is in the design development phase and slated to break ground sometime this fall.


Mark Rushing, assistant vice chancellor
University Relations


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