Special update: Carol Christ named next UC Berkeley chancellor
On March 13, 2017, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that Carol T. Christ, UC Berkeley’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost and the former president of Smith College, would become the campus’s next chancellor and the first woman to serve in the role.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks announced on August 16th, 2016(link is external) his intention to step down from his position and return to teaching and research once a successor is selected and in place. Shortly afterward, the University of California Office of the President began a global search for Berkeley's next chancellor.
The search committee
Per Board of Regents policy(link is external), an advisory committee consisting of faculty from Berkeley and the rest of the University, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, Regents, and UC Berkeley Foundation representatives was involved in recruiting, screening, and conducting interviews with candidates for the position. The committee worked throughout the fall with the aim of presenting a new chancellor to the Board of Regents for their approval in early 2017.
The search for UC Berkeley's next chancellor was assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.
Search details and timeline
On October 6, the search advisory committee for the next chancellor of UC Berkeley convened for the first time. This meeting, called Campus Day, enabled the committee to hear presentations from a wide range of campus constituencies including faculty, students, and staff. In addition to Campus Day, in October and November UC Berkeley representatives on the committee hosted additional opportunities for input by members of the campus community.
The chancellor position was advertised nationally to raise awareness about the search. The president also sent out requests for nominations to her counterparts in other leading universities and invited other UC chancellors to submit nominations.
Informed by the various learning sessions with campus constituencies, the committee developed a position profile for the chancellor role, a public document intended to frame the opportunities and challenges facing the next chancellor, as well as the desired experiences and qualifications of potential candidates. The committee, led by the five-member faculty subcommittee, used the input they received during Campus Day and the listening sessions to begin identifying and vetting a longer list of potential candidates for review and discussion, in addition to reviewing all individuals nominated and those who have applied. During a series of meetings, with assistance from the committee’s search consultants, the group narrowed the list to a series of semifinalist candidates to be interviewed by the full committee. Those interviews featured questions from all members of the committee, rooted not only in the description found in the position profile, but also the candidates’ own professional histories.
Following those interviews, the search advisory committee provided the president with its input on the qualifications of the semifinalists and recommendations on which candidates should continue to be considered. Based on that input, the president continued her due diligence, reviewing a thorough set of references and background checks completed by the search firm, as well as performing her own reference checks. The president made her final recommendation to the Board of Regents on March 13, 2017.