President Robert S. Nelsen announced Tuesday that Dr. Ching-Hua Wang will become Sacramento State’s new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
She will hold the University’s second-highest position. Academic Affairs is the largest unit on campus, made up of the seven academic colleges, the University Library, and the College of Continuing Education.
“I’d like to join my new colleagues at Sacramento State to make the University a leader in the California State University system for its educational distinction, innovative programs, inclusive and caring culture, and organic relationships with regional and global communities,” Wang says.
Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee has served as interim provost for the past year, since the departure of Frederika “Fraka” Harmsen. Once Wang begins her new position at Sacramento State on Feb. 1, Lee will return to his role as the University’s chief financial officer and vice president of Administration.
Wang currently is the dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Dominican University of California. In addition, she is a professor of immunology and microbiology, and she managed all extramural grants on the San Rafael campus, raising $9.3 million from private sources and corporations.
Prior to joining Dominican University, Wang was one of the original 13 faculty recruited out of more than 2,300 applicants to start California State University (CSU) Channel Islands in 2001. “While at Channel Islands,” she says, “I led the development and implementation of eight science and health science programs, and worked closely with colleagues in starting, advancing, and growing the university.”
In addition to teaching and doing research at CSU Channel Islands, Wang served as chair of multiple academic programs in sciences and health sciences, as the program director for the Bridges Stem Cell Research Training Program, and as director of the Master of Science in Biotech and Bioinformatics Program. She also was a special assistant to the provost.
“I am confident that Dr. Wang will help us continue to excel in our mission to provide a high-quality education for our students,” Nelsen says. “I look forward to working together to improve our students’ time to degree and their research experiences. I am excited about Sacramento State’s future under her academic leadership.”
Wang was born in Beijing, the oldest of four children. “While growing up, I experienced one of the darkest periods of Chinese history. I witnessed tremendous turmoil. My family was split into pieces, and I was sent to Inner Mongolia to get ‘re-educated.’
“When I was living in Inner Mongolia,” she says, “I served as an elementary teacher at a one-room schoolhouse. My interactions with students from extremely poor families left an indelible impression. The Tiananmen massacre happened in Beijing after my husband, Nian-Sheng Huang, and I completed our doctorates at Cornell University, and we decided to stay in the United States and bring up our two children in a democratic society.”
Prior to earning her doctorate in immunology from Cornell University in 1986, Wang earned a master’s degree in immunology from Peking University, Health Science Center, and her medical degree from Capital Medical University.
After graduating from Cornell, Wang and her husband explored a variety of job opportunities and decided to join the CSU “to teach students who are mostly first-generation college students and come from humble backgrounds,” she says.
Wang’s husband is a historian who specializes in early American history. Among his published works are Floating Poverty: The Poor in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts and Benjamin Franklin in American Thought and Culture 1790-1990. He is working on a new book. – Dixie Reid