Gibor Basri to step down as vice chancellor

Chancellor Dirks sent this message to the UC Berkeley community late yesterday (Monday, Sept. 29):

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you that after eight ground-breaking years as UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, Gibor Basri will be stepping down from that position at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. He plans to then return to the Astronomy Department as a professor of the graduate school, and to a full research program in astrophysics. Given the importance of equity, inclusion and diversity to Berkeley’s public mission and the character of our campus community, I have directed Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele to begin a nationwide search for a successor to Vice Chancellor Basri.

Gibor Basri

Gibor Basri

At the direction of former Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in 2006, the faculty and the administration came together to design the mission and structure of Berkeley’s first Division of Equity & Inclusion. After a nation-wide search, Gibor became the division’s founding vice chancellor, and the first vice chancellor for diversity in the UC system in August 2007.

Gibor immediately set about building Equity & Inclusion from a three-person office to a full-fledged division of over 150 staff and over $20 million in annual revenue. He led the campus in developing the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity: Pathway to Excellence – one of the most comprehensive plans of its kind at a research university. During his tenure the Division exceeded its fundraising campaign goal of $40 million. He ably guided the Division through the budget crisis of 2008-09, managing to preserve its direct student services while moving forward on implementation of the strategic plan.

During his time in office, Gibor also helped secure a multimillion-dollar gift from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to help fund endowed faculty chairs in diversity research, student scholarships, new courses in American Cultures, and innovation initiatives across the campus. He was instrumental in launching the Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society, whose seven research clusters explore society’s most pressing and pivotal issues related to vulnerable and marginalized populations. The institute is now supported by eight endowed multidisciplinary chairs and is led by john powell, a professor in law, ethnic studies, and African American studies.

Under Gibor’s leadership, programs in the Division of Equity & Inclusion have flourished, initiating ground-breaking services for undocumented immigrant students, military veterans, persons with disabilities, former foster youth, members of the LGBTQ community, and underrepresented students of color. Many of these programs now serve as models of best practices for colleges and universities nationwide. He also created a network of departmental Faculty Equity Advisors who help ensure that diversity and equity are considered in faculty searches, graduate admissions, and departmental climate. Under his direction, Equity & Inclusion was an early investor in the campus Enterprise Data Warehouse (CalAnswers) and has greatly strengthened Berkeley’s capacity and infrastructure in relevant data analysis and strategic planning.

Gibor has led or served on diversity-related bodies at every level, in addition to a number of important policy bodies at the Cabinet level. He has recently chaired the Chancellor’s taskforces on undocumented community members and multicultural student development, and co-chaired the system-wide work team on the UC-wide Campus Climate Study.

Vice Chancellor Basri’s quiet yet effective leadership will be sorely missed. It has been my honor to work with him in the 15 months since I became Chancellor. In order to facilitate the transition to his successor, Gibor has agreed to stay in the VCEI position until it is filled.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Gibor for his tremendous service to UC Berkeley and the UC system, and to wishing him the best in his future endeavors.

Best regards,

Nicholas B. Dirks