Charles Robinson has been named interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas, UA System President Donald Bobbitt announced.
Robinson is provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs on the Fayetteville campus, and will assume his new role on Aug. 16. He takes over for acting Chancellor Bill Kincaid, who replaced former Chancellor Joe Steinmetz on June 18 following the latter’s resignation. Kincaid now will return to his role as senior managing associate general counsel for the campus.
Melissa Harwood-Rom, currently serving as dean of students, will take over as interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs and senior vice provost for academic affairs, and Terry Martin will serve as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.
In a letter emailed to all faculty and staff, Bobbitt said a national search will be initiated to consider internal and external candidates for the permanent chancellor position, and that he will form a representative search committee to assist in the search process. He also expects the search to take the full fall semester at least.
“Dr. Robinson has a unique skill set having led the university’s efforts in academics, student affairs and diversity affairs during his tenure,” Bobbitt wrote. “He has a strong connection not only with our students and faculty, but also with the university’s external constituencies. During a transition period, it is imperative to have a leader in place who has the trust and confidence of all stakeholder groups, and I am confident that Dr. Robinson has the background, personality and temperament to work with everyone to drive the U of A forward through the coming year.”
Bobbitt thanked Kincaid “for his steady leadership as acting chancellor” during the past two months and welcomed his return to his former position as “a critical member of our leadership team.”
Robinson has held the role of executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs and provost since July 2020. He was named provost last year and has served as vice chancellor of student affairs since 2015. His time at the U of A spans more than 20 years, beginning as an assistant professor of history. He has also served as chair of the African and African American studies program and vice provost for diversity prior to his current role.
Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Houston, a master’s degree in history from Rice University and a doctorate in history from the University of Houston. He becomes just the second Black campus leader among Southeastern Conference schools, following LSU President William Tate
“I’m honored to be selected to serve the University of Arkansas as interim chancellor and would like to thank Dr. Bobbitt for entrusting me with this important role,” Robinson said. “We have amazing students, faculty and staff, and it’s a privilege to continue working with them as we prepare for the upcoming fall semester, and advance many long-term initiatives in service of Arkansas.”