FAQs Regarding President Papazian’s Resignation from SJSU

Editor’s Note: The following are frequently asked questions regarding President Mary A. Papazian’s resignation from SJSU, which was announced Thursday, October 7, 2021. President Papazian’s letter to the campus community and the university’s official statement, are available online. 

Page last updated October 7, 2021

Question (Q): Why is President Papazian resigning from her position?

Answer (A): After thoughtful consideration and discussions with her family, President Papazian made the decision to step away as president of San José State University at the end of the fall semester.

Q: When is President Papazian officially stepping down as president?

A: President Papazian will step down as president on December 21, 2021.

Q: What is the succession plan to replace President Papazian?

A: California State University (CSU) Chancellor Joseph I. Castro will meet with campus stakeholders prior to naming an interim president. The CSU Board of Trustees will thereafter begin a national search for the 31st president of SJSU.

Q: What was the timeline of events leading up to President Papazian’s resignation?

​​A: Dr. Papazian discussed resigning from her position as president of San José State University with Chancellor Castro on September 25, 2021.

On October 1, 2021, Chancellor Castro informed the CSU Board of Trustees of President Papazian’s decision and the succession plan.

Chancellor Castro will meet with campus stakeholders prior to naming an interim president. The CSU Board of Trustees will thereafter conduct a national search for the 31st president of San José State University.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office is committed to transparency and will continue to provide regular updates regarding CSU matters and relevant topics that impact the 23-campus university.

Q: What are some of President Papazian’s notable accomplishments during her tenure at SJSU?

A: Dr. Papazian became the 30th president and third woman to lead the university on July 1, 2016.

During her tenure, SJSU was named the #1 Most Transformative University by Money magazine. She maximized partnerships with industry and technology giants such as IBM, LinkedIn, PayPal, and Adobe to elevate campus technology and provide SJSU students access to innovative enterprise grade student-focused resources.

In 2019, President Papazian established the Division of Research and Innovation, which is leading the growth of the university’s intellectual property portfolio of patents, copyrights, trademarks, licensing agreements, and supporting the entrepreneurial activity of students, faculty, and staff.

In 2016, President Papazian launched the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Since its inception, SJSU has been striving to be a diversified workplace that represents its student population.

In September 2020, President Papazian appointed a task force to study community safety and policing, mandated all managers to participate in training on racial justice and workplace inclusion, and charged her leadership council involving nearly fifty campus leaders to develop and implement action plans targeting systemic racism.

Q: What did Chancellor Castro say regarding President Papazian’s resignation?

A: In a recent statement Chancellor Castro stated, “President Papazian’s decision to resign from the presidency reflects her compassionate leadership. While professionally and personally difficult, this step demonstrates her commitment to the university moving forward. We are grateful for the innovative educational services and cutting-edge resources that she and her team have put into place, which have positioned San José State University as a transformational higher learning institution.”

Q: Will President Papazian continue her full duties until December 21, 2021?

A: Yes, President Papazian remains in the office of the president and will complete her duties as president until she steps down.

Q: What will President Papazian’s role be after December 21, 2021?

A: As part of the Executive Transition Program established in 2006 by the CSU Board of Trustees, President Papazian’s duties will, for one year, include assisting CSU executives on matters pertaining to the CSU and preparing for her return to a teaching position.

Q: What is the Executive Transition Program?

A: In 1992, the California Board of Trustees established an executive transition program for individuals appointed into executive positions. Through this program, former executives are given the opportunity to instruct in the classroom or perform highly specialized duties specific to their expertise to the benefit of the university. Effective 2006, the program was limited and was no longer made available to executives who retire from the CSU or accept non-CSU employment at the time of their resignation.

In accordance with the terms of the executive transition program, President Papazian’s compensation will be $290,580 (Term: December 22, 2021-December 21, 2022). This transition salary is funded by the Chancellor’s Office and is paid at the midpoint between the executive’s current salary and the maximum of the salary range for a 12-month full professor.

Following her transition year, President Papazian will have the right to return to the faculty at San José State University in the College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of English and Comparative Literature.