Enter talking

The smart money was right. As insiders suspected, Dalen Chaing was chosen June 7 to be the new dean of Chico State University’s College of Business.

Chaing was the only one of the “final four” candidates who didn’t call me back last week. Turns out he had good reasons: Chico State reps were in town for a visit, and, he added in a telephone interview from Cleveland State University in Ohio, “Now that they [Cleveland State] know I’m leaving, they’re going to look at my long-distance calls to Chico.”

He sounds like a nice guy with a good sense of humor. And I especially like the fact that he didn’t give me that “I’m just here to watch and learn for the first few months” shtick so common of new dean-types. Chaing already has big plans. No sooner will he start work (Aug. 1) than he’ll be off to the East Coast to scout for a couple of open positions in the Management Information Systems Department. “Getting great faculty is one of my top priorities,” he said.

Also, Chaing believes the master’s programs in business administration and accounting are way too small and need to be expanded. He has set a five-year time span during which Chico State’s should become “the best business college, teaching college, in the state of California.” He wants to hold some classes outside of Chico, like near Sacramento. The overall goal, he said, is to “put Chico on the map.”

Of course, Chaing acknowledged, “my view has to be augmented by the faculty and higher administration. … I cannot just do what I want to do. This is not a dictator job.”

Chaing is well aware that there’s a salesman component to the state universities of today, meaning they must raise funds and pair up with private companies as well as teach. “I told them I can sell the university, so I’m going to sell the university,” he said. Still, he said, “education is the absolute, No. 1 priority.”

It was Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Byron Jackson and Professor Gail Corbitt, chair of the search committee, who traveled to Cleveland to see Chaing on his home turf. Chaing was also impressed when he came to Chico and visited with President Manuel Esteban and Provost Scott McNall, whom he called “a dynamic team.”

Chaing, 54, said his family is going to stay in Ohio for another year so his youngest child can finish up high school there. Chaing himself is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He has been interim chairman of the Department of Operations Management and Business Statistics and the Department of Finance at Cleveland State, where he’s worked for the past 25 years.A $150,000, city-sponsored art project is quickly taking shape on Park Avenue near Meyers Street. The placement at that end of town is especially appropriate because the sculpture was designed to honor Chico’s agricultural heritage.

It’s going to be some kind of cool plowman with his plow and team of horses—but really abstract-looking. The artist is John Young of Seattle, Wash., not to be confused with John W. Young, the News & Review’s calendar editor and theater critic, who is known for clever line drawings on cocktail napkins.