A new vice provost for academic planning

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos send this message today to the UC Berkeley community: 

Dear colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of professor Lisa Alvarez-Cohen as Berkeley’s next vice provost for academic planning (VP-AP), effective July 1, 2018. Lisa is a world-class scholar with a long history of dedicated campus service, and I am thrilled to have her bring her energy and vision to the vice provost’s portfolio and the campus leadership team.

Lisa Alvarez-Cohen

Lisa Alvarez-Cohen

Lisa first came to Berkeley in 1991 as part of the prestigious UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow Program. Shortly after her arrival, she joined the campus faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and became a faculty scientist in the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. Lisa currently holds the Fred and Claire Sauer Professorship in Environmental Engineering, and her research focuses on the application of microbiological processes for the elimination of environmental contaminants. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and has received many honors for her excellence in research, teaching, and service to her field. She received her B.A. in engineering and applied science from Harvard University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental engineering and science from Stanford University.

In addition to her many accomplishments in research and teaching, Lisa has an impressive record of campus service. She was the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2007 to 2012. She has served on numerous Academic Senate committees including as chair of both the Committee on Educational Policy and the Graduate Council. Most notably, she is currently serving as the chair of the Academic Senate and the co-chair of UC Berkeley’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

The VP-AP serves as a leader and creative thought partner across a breadth of intellectual areas, coordinates opportunities for collaboration as they develop in academic programs, and supports the development and growth of current and emerging disciplines through program and space initiatives and reviews. The VP-AP will also serve as the Senior International Officer for the campus, representing our global engagement strategy and vision. The search committee was impressed with Lisa’s broad knowledge of campus, creative and strategic thinking, and ability to unite people toward a common vision. She is deeply devoted to Berkeley’s mission and to its tradition of shared governance, and I am confident that the campus will benefit greatly from her inclusive and transparent leadership style.

Lisa will be stepping down as chair of the Academic Senate in July, and the current vice chair, Barbara Spackman, will become chair.

I would like to thank our current vice provost for academic and space planning, Tsu-Jae King Liu, for her many contributions over the past two years. I am particularly grateful for her efforts to engage department chairs, deans and Academic Senate leaders in efforts to streamline the academic program review process and make it a more useful exercise, for her commitment to finding and funding creative solutions to our myriad space challenges, and for her important role in helping the campus coordinate and forge new international partnerships.

Please join me in welcoming Lisa to her new role. We look forward to her contributions and leadership.


A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost