Carol Christ named interim executive vice chancellor and provost

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent this message to the campus community today:

I am delighted to announce Professor Carol T. Christ as interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, effective May 1. She will replace Claude Steele, who announced his resignation April 15.

Carol Christ

Carol Christ

Professor Christ is a renowned Victorian literature scholar who returned to UC Berkeley in January 2015 as director of the university’s Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE). Before that, she served as the 10th president of Smith College, one of the country’s most distinguished liberal arts colleges, since June 2002. Her tenure at Smith was known for its energetic outreach and innovative approach to challenges and opportunities that positioned the college for continued academic excellence and financial stability.

Prior to joining Smith, Professor Christ was UC Berkeley’s executive vice chancellor and provost from 1994 until 2000. During her six years as Berkeley’s top academic officer, she sharpened the institution’s intellectual focus and helped build many of our top-rated departments in the humanities and sciences.

A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Philosophical Society, Professor Christ was the highest-ranking female administrator at Berkeley until she returned to full-time teaching in 2000. She has a well-established reputation as a champion of women’s issues and diversity; her first administrative position was as an assistant to the chancellor on issues involving the status of women.

She joined the English faculty at Berkeley in 1970 after receiving her Ph.D. from Yale University. She served as chair of the Department of English, dean of the Division of Humanities (as it was called then) and provost for the College of Letters and Science.

For these and many other reasons, I am thrilled that Professor Christ has agreed to step into this important role as interim executive vice chancellor and provost. Her extensive experience on this campus coupled with her significant career accomplishments position her to provide exemplary leadership for Berkeley’s academic enterprise. In particular, I know that Professor Christ is eager to collaborate with the deans and the leadership of the Academic Senate to advance the strategic planning process that is bringing our campus finances back into equilibrium.

While you will be hearing more from Professor Christ in the days ahead, for the moment she has asked me to convey the following:

“I am honored to serve the campus again in the capacity of executive vice chancellor and provost. I love Berkeley, and am ready to do whatever I can at this crucial moment in the university’s life.”

I know you will join me in welcoming Carol, and in thanking her for continuing her excellent service to our university.

In the coming days, Professor Christ will work with Dean Henry Brady to appoint an interim director to oversee the CSHE.

Nicholas B. Dirks
Chancellor