SAN FRANCISCO -- California Community Colleges on Thursday named a veteran administrator to lead the nation's largest system of public higher education as it confronts a host of financial and academic challenges.
Brice Harris, who previously headed the Los Rios Community College District in the Sacramento area, will become the 15th chancellor of the state's 112-campus system. He starts Nov. 6.
Harris will replace Jack Scott, who retired this month after more than three and a half years in the position. Scott recently joined Claremont Graduate University as a scholar in residence.
Harris will receive an annual salary of $198,500 plus benefits, the same as his predecessor.
"I am extremely confident that we have chosen the right person at the right time," board President Scott Himelstein said at a news conference in Sacramento. "He has the knowledge and the skills to lead this system during what we all know are going to be some difficult days ahead."
Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, called Harris an "excellent choice."
"He's a visionary. He's a good listener. He deeply cares about the educational mission of the California Community Colleges, and the students in particular," Lightman said.
Harris will be inheriting control of a higher education behemoth buffeted by budget cuts and debates about its mission and student success rate.