Campus moves to virtual instruction for the rest of the semester and will close nonessential services. Details...
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Interim Chief Executive Officer for RF and RESP

May 22, 2019
Debra S. Larson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Effective May 31, Dr. David Hassenzahl, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, will begin serving as the Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Research Foundation (RF) and Research and Sponsored Programs (RESP). This temporary appointment is necessary as we reorganize the structure and approach of both organizations into one 501(c)3 organization to efficiently and effectively support the University’s interest in growing sponsored project activities, self-support services, and entrepreneurial and innovative pursuits. 

The merge solution came from a year of study that included data gathering, numerous interviews and feedback sessions, and many discussions with stakeholder groups including the governing board of the 501(c)3, currently known as the RF. The merge solution was discussed at the April 12 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, and it was presented to the Academic Senate on May 2. The presentation can be found at (PDF). The details of this reorganization will be incrementally evolving over the summer as the interim CEO, the executive director, the staff of RF and RESP, and other stakeholders work together to construct the merged organization to achieve the identified goals.   

Hassenzahl’s responsibilities and focus during this temporary assignment include, but are not limited to:

  • serve with the full authority of the CEO position;
  • focus on merging and reshaping the existing two organizations into one 501(c)3 entity;
  • make recommendation for a new name for the unit;
  • make progress on process improvements within the new structure;
  • ensure software integration occurs; and,
  • assist with the search process for the permanent CEO.

Dr. Steve Robinow will serve as the Acting Dean for the College of Natural Sciences during this temporary assignment. He has been serving as the college’s Associate Dean.

A national search for the CEO – who will be an employee of the 501(c)3 - will occur over the summer. If you have an interest in serving on the search committee and are familiar with sponsored opportunities and/or related business and fiscal services, please contact Russ Wittmeier ( by May 23.

Please join me in supporting Drs. Hassenzahl and Robinow during this temporary assignment to this critical leadership role at Chico State. I wish to thank the College of Natural Sciences in their flexibility and support of Dr. Hassenzahl during his temporary assignment to this important, future-focused position.

Furthermore, please join me in supporting Executive Director Jessica Bourne and the staff of the RF and RESP, who have already begun working together to construct an optimal and future-forward merged organization.