The University of California regents voted unanimously on March 16 to approve Carol Christ as UC Berkeley’s next chancellor. Christ will assume the position on July 1, replacing Nicholas Dirks, who announced his resignation in August.
Dirks resigned amid mounting pressure from faculty in response to his relaxed handling of sexual misconduct cases, his alleged misuse of public funds and the $110 million deficit under his chancellorship. He will continue as a professor at UC Berkeley once Christ becomes chancellor.
Because of waning financial support from the state, part of Christ’s job as chancellor will be cutting UC Berkeley’s deficit nearly in half within a year of assuming the position. In a letter to the campus after her appointment, she said she plans to collaborate with the UC Berkeley community in remedying the budget shortfall.
Christ will be UC Berkeley’s 11th chancellor and the first woman to assume the role. She has been hailed as a champion of gender equality and diversity and has held administrative positions at UC Berkeley involving bettering the status of women at the university, according to a news release from the UC Office of the President.
“I am deeply honored that the president and the regents have chosen me to lead Berkeley at this critical moment in its history,” Christ said at the March 16 regents meeting.
Christ first came to UC Berkeley in 1970 as a literature professor and has since held many administrative positions, the highest of these being executive vice chancellor. She left Berkeley in 2002 to become Smith College president and retired from the position in 2013. Christ then returned to UC Berkeley as director of the campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and now serves again as interim executive vice chancellor.
“Her deep knowledge and appreciation for our university’s traditions of access, excellence and shared governance, her championship of diversity and inclusion, her genuine concern for student welfare and [her]outreach to alumni and the local community will serve as the bedrock of her leadership,” said UC Berkeley Vice Provost Tsu-Jae King Liu, who led the chancellor search team’s faculty subcommittee, in a UC news release.