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Charles F. Robinson, Ph.D.
Dr. Charles F. Robinson was named interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas flagship campus on August 16, 2021. In this role, he leads the university’s land-grant mission to provide opportunity and transform lives through education, research, and service.
Robinson has served on the University of Arkansas campus for more than 23 years, beginning as an assistant professor of history in 1999. In that time, he has successively been promoted to positions of increasing leadership and responsibility, including director of the African and African American Studies Program, vice provost for diversity and vice chancellor for Student Affairs, provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs and interim chancellor.
Throughout his tenure at the University of Arkansas, Robinson has consistently led institutional progress in student success relative to recruitment, retention and graduation, while articulating new academic initiatives and development of goals to better serve the campus and meet the needs of students.
As vice provost for diversity, Robinson established several programs focused on making the U of A more accessible for Arkansas students. These include the College Access Initiative, a college readiness outreach program serving underrepresented students and under-resourced schools statewide, as well as the ACT Academy, designed to help students prepare for college entrance exams and academic success.
As vice chancellor for Student Affairs, Robinson pioneered a major restructuring of the Division of Student Affairs, better positioning the unit to focus on student success. Robinson led the main capital campaign initiative for Advance Arkansas – a $10 million scholarship effort for first-generation, low-income Arkansans.
Under his leadership, the university constructed Adohi Hall, a $79 million campus project that is the only residence hall in the United States to use cross-laminated timber, a construction process that reduces environmental impact. Robinson, also, oversaw a $22 million expansion of Pat Walker Health Center and heavily involved in the strategic planning for the university’s Student Success Center, a 71,000 square-foot facility focused on increasing access to services on campus for all students.
In his role as provost, Robinson continued his strong efforts for student success while augmenting support for faculty, managing the challenges of the pandemic. Robinson enhanced communication and coordination of the university’s academic and student affairs endeavors in order to create a more holistic approach to student success on campus. Also, Robinson led campus pandemic planning, organizing remote teaching delivery campuswide and making other important decisions relative to academic instruction and campus activities.
As interim chancellor, Robinson has worked to better manage university resources, expand student success services, increase scholarship dollars for Arkansas students, support the expansion of research, and to position the university as an employer of choice. As a result of his leadership, the university has been able to add $1 million to the general scholarship pool for Arkansans while keeping tuition and fee increases to less than one percent for in-state residents. Robinson’s careful stewarding of university resources also allowed him to authorize five percent salary increases for faculty and staff and offset the insurance premium increases for most campus workers.
Robinson’s research and teaching focus on Southern history and race relations, African American studies, sexuality in history and Civil Rights, among other topics. He has earned many awards for his teaching, including the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, Arkansas Student Alumni Board Teacher of the Year, and an induction into the university’s Teaching Academy.
Robinson holds 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 has authored numerous books and peer reviewed articles.
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