Announcing Berkeley’s new top human resources administrator

a man looks at the camera

Eugene Whitlock is UC Berkeley’s new assistant vice chancellor for human resources and chief human resources officer. (Photo Erick Howard)

Chancellor Carol Christ and Marc Fisher, vice chancellor for administration, issued the following message on Thursday, August 15, 2019:

After an extensive nationwide search with an external search firm, we are thrilled to announce that Eugene Whitlock has accepted our offer to join UC Berkeley as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources / Chief Human Resources Officer. The combination of Eugene’s skills, experience, and principles made a strong impression on the search committee and we are confident that he will be able to make an immediate contribution to Berkeley’s strategic human resources objectives.

For five years, Eugene served as Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, and General Counsel of the San Mateo County Community College District, which serves 45,000 students across three colleges. In his human resources role, Eugene led the District’s equity-focused recruitment which resulted in the increased hiring of staff and faculty from underrepresented backgrounds. He championed professional development opportunities for employees, developed workshops and training on harassment and discrimination, and led efforts to support faculty and staff in order to enhance the employee experience. As a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Eugene has been invited by the California Community Colleges State Chancellor, community colleges, and K-12 school districts throughout California to deliver training to Board members, administrators, faculty, and staff. In 2017, Eugene’s work was recognized by his peers who selected him for the “Progress in D iversity” award given for “Outstanding Achievement in Support of Diversity in the Higher Education Community.”

In his role as General Counsel, Eugene advised the District on general litigation, privacy and data security, wage and hour rules, disability, accommodations, leave policies, contracts, the Brown Act, the Education Code, and the Labor Code. Eugene also led the District’s International Student Program, focusing on growing the program’s enrollment of students from Africa and South America.

Prior to joining the Community College District, Eugene’s professional background includes legal, investment banking, and project management roles in the U.S., Germany, Japan, and Venezuela. He has a strong affinity for academia and learning that brought him to the Community College District, and now to Berkeley.

Eugene obtained his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and earned his law degree cum laude from the University of Michigan. He is also a fluent speaker of Spanish and German. He will assume his new role at Berkeley on August 28.

We are grateful to the search committee that committed to making this search inclusive, open-minded, and focused on Berkeley’s unique place in public higher-education. Please join us in thanking:

  • Heather Archer, Assistant Vice Provost, Academic Personnel
  • Oscar Dubón, Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion
  • Ann Jeffrey, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff, VC Administration
  • James Kao, Ex Officio, HR Advisor for Equitable Process
  • Therese Leone, Deputy Campus Counsel
  • Barbara Spackman, Chair, Academic Senate and Professor, Italian Studies and Comparative Literature
  • Steve Sutton, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
  • Suzanne Sutton, Assistant Dean, College of Chemistry
  • Valerie Ventre-Hutton, HR Service Delivery Manager, Professional Schools and University Extension

Special thanks also goes to the nearly 100 people who agreed to meet with the finalists and provide feedback through this search and interview process. There are too many names to list here, but their counsel and guidance were instrumental in achieving this successful search.

Finally, our deepest appreciation and thanks goes to Jo Mackness for serving superbly as Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer for the past two-plus years. Jo stepped into this role at a time of tremendous leadership turnover for Berkeley, and not only kept a steady-hand on the human resources function, but made several contributions which will have lasting impact on campus. This past spring, Jo successfully transitioned Berkeley into the systemwide UCPath system, a tremendous undertaking and one for which Berkeley was recognized as the most organized, proactive, and successful UC campus.

Jo’s passion has always been Berkeley’s people, and it is here that she made her most lasting contributions: launching a new talent acquisition model to promote mobility and diversity; piloting a new approach to performance management; implementing key learning and development opportunities for staff including the Faculty Leadership Academy and Leadership & Career Enhancement Program for Staff of Color; as well as revitalizing and expanding Staff Appreciation Week. Jo has graciously agreed to remain as Interim AVC of Human Resources until Eugene arrives and will then transition to the Vice Chancellor’s immediate office.

Please join us in thanking Jo for her tremendous service to Berkeley’s human resources function and in welcoming Eugene to UC Berkeley when he arrives.


Carol Christ

Marc Fisher
Vice Chancellor, Administration