Gibor Basri, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, to step down at end of academic year

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Kore Chan/File

Gibor Basri, UC Berkeley vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, will step down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year after eight years in the position, announced Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in a message to the campus community Monday evening.

Basri was appointed in 2007, becoming the first vice chancellor of diversity in the UC system. According to Dirks’ message, Basri intends to return to the astronomy department as a professor in the graduate school and to a research program in astrophysics.

Dirks has directed Claude Steele, executive vice chancellor and provost, to begin the search for the next vice chancellor of equity and inclusion. Basri has agreed to stay in the position until his replacement is found.

“Vice Chancellor Basri’s quiet yet effective leadership will be sorely missed,” Dirks wrote in the message. “It has been my honor to work with him in the 15 months since I became Chancellor.”

Former UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau created the position of vice chancellor for equity and inclusion in 2006. As vice chancellor, Basri has overseen a number of projects and efforts by the campus to promote diversity among faculty, students and staff as well as fundraising efforts.

During his time in office, Basri oversaw the division of more than 150 staff members, which generated more than $20 million in annual revenue. In 2009, Basri also helped to spearhead the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity: Pathway to Excellence, which laid out goals and strategies for the campus to improve access, retention and graduation rates and the campus climate.

In addition, Basri helped launch the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society: a campus think tank that researches issues surrounding equity, diversity and inclusion. He also secured a multimillion dollar gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund.

Dirks lauded Basri’s management of the division during the financial crisis as well as the fact that the division was able to exceed its fundraising campaign goal of $40 million.

“He ably guided the Division through the budget crisis of 2008-09, managing to preserve its direct student services while moving forward on implementation of the strategic plan,” Dirks wrote.

Basri was also instrumental in the launch and execution of a campus-climate survey, the results of which were released in March. Among the report‘s findings was that underrepresented minority students, in addition to transgender and gender-queer individuals, reported higher levels of hostility than did other groups.

Since joining the UC Berkeley faculty in 1982, Basri has been involved in a number of diversity and social efforts. Before taking on the position of vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, he sat in on the committees relating to diversity of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate and to the Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative Steering Committee.

Sophie Ho is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @sophanho.