Carol Christ approved as UC Berkeley chancellor by UC regents

In July, Carol Christ, left, will become UC Berkeley's first female chancellor. She succeeds Nicholas Dirks.
Jasmany Flores/File
In July, Carol Christ, left, will become UC Berkeley's first female chancellor. She succeeds Nicholas Dirks.

Carol Christ, interim executive vice chancellor and provost of UC Berkeley, was unanimously approved for the position of UC Berkeley chancellor Thursday at a special meeting of the UC Board of Regents.

Christ’s nomination to the position by UC President Janet Napolitano was announced in a UC press release Monday. Christ will be UC Berkeley’s first female chancellor.

Christ expressed her excitement to assume the role, as well as the importance of the UC Berkeley campus to her personally, in a statement released shortly after her approval.

“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 in the statement. “I’m even more honored to serve the campus that I love.”

Christ’s appointment comes after a months long search for a replacement for Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who announced his intention to resign from the position in August 2016 amid several high-profile controversies. The search officially began in October 2016 after an advisory search committee was appointed in August and its 17 members were announced in September. The committee comprised Napolitano, five UC regents, three campus faculty members and one student representative each from the campus undergraduate and graduate student bodies, among others.

Dirks showed his support for Christ’s approval in a statement released shortly after the Regents’ vote.

“Carol knows this institution inside out, and she brings ample experience as well from her time as President of Smith College,” Dirks said in a statement. “She embodies and embraces the ideals and values that are fundamental to Berkeley: shared governance; student welfare; diversity, equity, access, and inclusion; freedom of expression; and public service.”

Christ first arrived on campus as an assistant professor in the English department in 1970, and then became dean of the College of Letters in Science in 1989. She left UC Berkeley in 2002 to become the 10th president of Smith College, but returned in January 2015 as director of the campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education. In May 2016, Christ became interim executive vice chancellor and provost.

The Regents set Christ’s annual compensation at $531,939, which is Dirks’ current salary, at their special meeting Thursday.

Christ will assume the position as of July 1.

Contact Harini Shyamsundar and Pressly Pratt at [email protected].

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  • Why did it take a “months long search” when she was right there all along?