Charles Robinson has been named chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, making him the university’s first Black chancellor. According to apnews, Robinson, who has served as interim chancellor since August 2021, was unanimously approved by the university’s board of trustees.
“He now has the opportunity to cast a broader vision for advancing the university’s status as a leading public research university in the region and on the national stage,” University System President Donald Bobbitt said in a statement.
“He has a unique ability to inspire others and to relate to the many different constituencies across the university, and I look forward to working with him to help make his tenure as Chancellor a success.”
The university’s previous chancellor resigned last year, stating how difficult it was to lead the school in “today’s polarized society,” apnews reported.
Prior to Robinson’s confirmation as the chancellor, he also served as the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “I’m looking forward to serving our campus in its entirety and greatly appreciate the support and confidence shown in me to be a good steward of the land-grant mission,” Robinson said.
Robinson has been with the university for over 23 years in various capacities. In 1999, he began working as an assistant professor of history. Later, he was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, including director of the African and African American Studies Program, vice provost for diversity, and vice chancellor for Student Affairs, before being named provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, as well as interim chancellor.
Throughout his tenure at the University, he has consistently led institutional progress in student success in terms of recruitment, retention, and graduation, while articulating new academic initiatives and goal development to better serve the campus and meet the needs of students.
The university built Adohi Hall, a $79 million campus project that is the only residence hall in the United States to use cross-laminated timber, while he was vice chancellor for Student Affairs. Robinson, as provost, “continued his strong efforts for student success while augmenting support for faculty and managing the challenges of the pandemic,” according to the University. As interim chancellor, he has worked to “better manage university resources, expand student success services, increase scholarship dollars for Arkansas students, support the expansion of research, and position the university as an employer of choice,” according to the university.
His research and teaching interests include Southern history and race relations, African American studies, sexuality in history, and civil rights, among others. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, Arkansas Student Alumni Board Teacher of the Year, and induction into the university’s Teaching Academy. He graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in history from Rice University, and a doctorate in history from the University of Houston.
He has also written a number of books, including Remembrances in Black: Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience at the University of Arkansas, Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South, and Forsaking All Others: A True Story of Interracial Sex and Revenge in the 1880s South.