Shawna Thomas, NBC News

Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will step down from her post later this summer to lead the University of California, NBC News confirms.

Napolitano is expected to leave the agency in about six weeks, when the school's fall semester begins.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the appointment, which comes after what the paper describes as a "secretive process" to make the unusual appointment of a high-profile political figure to lead the huge university system.