KRISTIN SOBOLIK, PHD
CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI–ST. LOUIS
Kristin Sobolik serves as the 8th Chancellor of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. With nearly 16,000 students, UMSL is the premier public research university in eastern Missouri and one of the nation’s leading anchor institutions promoting student success, innovation and thriving communities.
Sobolik was recruited to UMSL in 2017 to serve as its Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and after a nationwide search was appointed Chancellor in 2020. As the chief academic and executive officer, Sobolik has enhanced the university’s research and fundraising efforts – resulting in a 57 percent increase in research expenditures over the past five years and a 21 percent increase in private philanthropy.
Additionally, Sobolik has elevated the stature of UMSL’s inclusion, research and community engagement efforts by appointing first-ever vice chancellors for diversity, equity and inclusion and research and economic/community engagement, aligning the support structure of the university with goals of its strategic plan.
During her tenure, Sobolik led the development and implementation of the Strategic Plan 2018-2023 with specific goals and actions focused on student success, research growth, community and economic development, diversity and inclusion and sustainable administrative functions. She also led a highly successful reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission resulting in reaffirmation of UMSL’s accreditation for ten years.
Sobolik has introduced nearly a dozen new academic programs in areas such as Computing Technology, Cybersecurity, International Relations, Actuarial Science, Sports Management and Organizational Leadership. Further, she implemented an on-going Curricular Alignment Process to align course offerings to student learning outcomes to increase student success, decrease time to degree and student debt and provide clear assessment guidelines. Results helped lead to UMSL’s recognition for decreasing student debt and top in the nation rankings for social mobility.
Other highlights of Sobolik’s tenure include establishing the Community Innovation and Action Center, engaging UMSL’s executive leadership team in the USC Equity Institute, and launching the Student Academic Support Services unit to support student learning through a renovated centralized space in the Millennium Student Center that houses the new University Tutoring Center, Multicultural Student Services, Pre-collegiate Programs, and Student Enrichment and Achievement.
Sobolik currently serves on numerous St. Louis-area boards, including Greater St. Louis, Inc., Cortex Innovation District, Missouri Botanical Garden, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and BioSTL. Her accomplishments on and off campus prompted the St. Louis Business Journal to recognize Sobolik with a Most Influential Business Women award in 2020.
Prior to UMSL, Sobolik served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State University where she oversaw the modernization and expansion of the Creative Arts Center, including the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures, envisioned and implemented the New Media Incubator, and developed the Center for Liberal Arts Student Success for student retention and workforce development. Sobolik was honored as a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio for making significant contributions in STEAM fields and giving hope and inspiration to girls through achievements and passion for the community.
Sobolik began her academic career at the University of Maine, quickly distinguishing herself as a teacher, scholar and administrator in the Department of Anthropology, world-renowned Climate Change Institute and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, where she ultimately served as Associate Dean for Research and External Affairs.
Sobolik earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Iowa and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology at Texas A&M University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who has helped develop the fields of archaeobiology and paleonutrition, with more than 100 publications, books and presentations on the topic. She and her husband, Dr. Scott D. Peterson, reside in St. Louis and have four children.