UM-Flint Chancellor Debasish Dutta is leaving to take a position as senior adviser to the president at the University of Illinois.
President Santa J. Ono announced Dutta’s departure July 18 in a universitywide email message and said he would name an interim chancellor in the coming weeks while he and U-M’s leadership team “carefully consider the next generation of leadership for the Flint campus.”
The university will launch a national search for UM-Flint’s next chancellor in the coming months, Ono said. Dutta’s resignation is effective Sept. 15.
“Chancellor Dutta has been a strong advocate for the UM-Flint campus even before he was appointed chancellor in the fall of 2019. He accepted this key position knowing the challenges that lay ahead — even before the pandemic disrupted everything,” Ono said.
“He has maintained that commitment and strongly advocated for the transformation of the UM-Flint campus to better align the academic programs with the skills sought by employers throughout mid-Michigan. I applaud him for this essential work that seeks to create new opportunities for UM-Flint students and the entire Flint community.”
Ono said the change in leadership at UM-Flint will require a pause in the transformation work that had been announced for the campus.
In September 2022, then-President Mary Sue Coleman charged Dutta with developing a strategic plan to transform UM-Flint and address “unprecedented challenges,” including declines in enrollment and six-year graduation rates.
“The Board of Regents and I remain firmly committed to a brighter future for the Flint campus. I want to assure you the transformation work will move forward once we have a new campus leader in place,” Ono said in his message.
In a separate email message, Dutta thanked his UM-Flint colleagues for their commitment to the campus community and for “working together on a transformation plan for the UM-Flint campus to better align academic programs with job opportunities for our graduates.”
“Transitions are always difficult. But I believe this change at the UM-Flint campus will provide an opportunity for a new leader to take all of the work that has been done up to this point and mold it into a brighter future for UM-Flint and the greater Flint community,” he said.
Dutta began as UM-Flint chancellor Aug. 1, 2019, after previously serving as chancellor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and in administrative positions at Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began his career at U-M as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in 1989 and moved through the ranks to professor in 2000.