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UMSL picks familiar name for permanent chancellor post

Kristin Sobolik is the eighth permanent chancellor in UMSL's history
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — Kristin Sobolik, who has served as interim chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis since last fall, has been appointed to the post permanently.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi and the system's Board of Curators made the appointment during their meeting Thursday. Sobolik is the eighth permanent chancellor in UMSL's history.

A professor of anthropology, Sobolik had served as provost at UMSL since May 2017, taking on the added role of executive vice chancellor for academic affairs a year later. She was named interim chancellor effective Sept. 1 last year, when former UMSL Chancellor Thomas George retired.

Sobolik faces funding challenges as the campus deals with a virtual learning environment due to the coronavirus pandemic. She told the Business Journal last week UMSL faces "hard decisions down the road" after the state froze millions of dollars in funding due to shortfalls created by pandemic.

Sobolik said UMSL is estimating the cuts will mean $4.7 million less in state funding this fiscal year ending June 30. The university's operating budget is about $220 million. UMSL has postponed a building renovation, restricted hiring and frozen merit pay increases and travel. She said prior actions, including eliminating up to 85 positions over a two-year period, have helped the school run a surplus for the past three fiscal years.

During her tenure at UMSL, Sobolik led the development of UMSL's 2018-2023 strategic plan, as well as the process leading to its reaccreditation for 10 years by the Higher Learning Commission. Research expenditures increased 55% since she was named provost, officials said. 

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