February 15, 1999 Vol. III, No. 10

National Search Planned for New Student Affairs VP

Kopita Announces Plan to Leave Post After Spring Semester

University officials will launch a national search this spring for a new vice president for student affairs at Cal State Northridge after Ron Kopita (right)announced that he plans to leave the post June 5, after more than six-and-a-half years of service.

"Having achieved the goals that were established for me upon my arrival at CSUN over six years ago, I feel the time is right to set my sights on new challenges," said Kopita, who expects to remain on paid administrative leave from June 1999 through January 2000.

In an announcement to the campus, CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson noted, "Dr. Kopita has helped lead the campus toward our collective goal of fostering a more student-centered environment and also has overseen major achievements within the Student Affairs Division."

The president added, "The past several years, with the 1994 earthquake and other challenges, have certainly been unlike any in the history of the university, and Dr. Kopita has played an important role in helping us keep our students' needs foremost in our thoughts."

As CSUN's longest-serving current vice president, Kopita has led a Student Affairs Division that includes 13 departments, nearly 400 employees and an annual budget of about $35 million. Kopita arrived in fall 1992 as one of the first senior administrators hired by Wilson, who was arriving as president then.

During his time on leave, Kopita said he plans "to explore a number of professional options, including joining the Educational Psychology and Counseling [Department] faculty" starting in spring 2000. Kopita is a tenured professor in the department and has taught classes there in recent years.

During his tenure as vice president, Kopita noted that several university programs-Athletics, Public Safety and the nationally renowned National Center on Deafness-were adopted into Student Affairs. And a new department, Student Outreach and Recruitment Services, also was created there.

In terms of external media coverage, it was Kopita's oversight of CSUN's athletics programs, including their ups and downs, that most often drew him into the public spotlight. But both Kopita and Wilson said athletic-related issues were not the reason for his decision to leave the vice president's job.

Highlights of Kopita's tenure include oversight of the $17 million University Student Union expansion project, planning for the new Student Services Building to open this fall and creation of the Northridge Presidential Scholarship program for high-achieving freshmen.

Kopita also was selected as Associated Students' "Administrator of the Year" in 1992-93 and again in 1996-97. Prior to CSUN, Kopita had been vice president for student affairs at Moorhead State University in Minnesota from 1987 to 1992, and an assistant vice president there from 1985 to 1987.

-John Chandler


February 15, 1999

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