Milestones, People

Carla Hesse relinquishing L&S administrative posts

By Public Affairs


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

Dear campus community,

I write to share the news that after serving in senior administrative roles within the College of Letters and Science (L&S) for a decade, Carla Hesse will return to her full-time faculty position after the completion of her terms next summer. A talented and versatile leader with a fervent belief in the power of a liberal arts education, Carla has served as executive dean of L&S since 2014 and as dean of its Division of Social Sciences since 2009.

Carla Hesse

Carla Hesse

As executive dean, Carla has worked tirelessly to strengthen the foundation of Berkeley’s largest college during a period of significant change. She spearheaded the creation of L&S’s first physical home in Dwinelle and Durant halls, established an external advisory board, oversaw record-breaking fundraising results and worked hand-in-hand with central campus to devise a viable financial model for the college. Additionally, Carla has maintained a particular interest in improving the student experience for L&S undergraduates, investing in improving the college’s advising and mentoring services, expanding opportunities for undergraduate research and implementing new pathways for engaging in interdisciplinary study.

Carla has also had a great impact on L&S’s Division of Social Sciences in her two terms as its dean. Notably, she helped restructure several of its majors and facilitated the creation of a new one in global studies. She also built up the division’s research infrastructure, establishing the Social Science Matrix as Berkeley’s flagship institute for social science research and creating the D-Lab, which provides students and faculty with resources and training in data-intensive research design. Finally, Carla reshaped the social sciences faculty at Berkeley, hiring 105 new professors and strengthening the campus’s research and teaching capacity in areas ranging from computational linguistics to African history.

In addition to these roles, Carla has made evident her staunch commitment to Berkeley and its mission through significant service at the campus level. She has been a member of many critical task forces and committees over the past decade, including co-chairing the Commission on the Future of the UC Berkeley Library in 2013. She also served as the lead for the creation of Berkeley’s undergraduate double-degree program with Sciences Po in Paris. Most importantly, Carla co-chaired the recent Chancellor’s Senate/Administration Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH) and served as the first campus lead in that area. In this capacity, she provided comprehensive oversight and coordination of all SVSH and Title IX efforts at a critical time for Berkeley.

Carla began her career at Berkeley as professor of modern European history in 1989, and I am pleased to report that after next summer she will remain on campus in her full-time faculty position. She is a world-renowned expert in modern French history whose stature has been recognized by numerous honors and awards over the course of her career, including her receipt of the prestigious Aby Warburg Prize, her appointment as the Peder Sather Professor of History, and her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Carla’s dedication to the teaching and mentorship of Berkeley students has also been recognized by her receipt of the Sarlo Distinguished Faculty Mentorship award.

In closing, please join me in thanking Carla for her dedicated service to Berkeley and in wishing her well on her final year as dean. I will keep you apprised as plans for her successor take shape later this fall.


A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost