Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a campuswide email Friday on behalf of himself and incoming Chancellor Carol Christ announcing Diana Harvey’s appointment as the next associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs.
Harvey will administer Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, according to the email statement. Some of the position’s main duties includes offering counsel to campus leadership, managing internal communication and serving as “important” liaison to the UC Office of the President.
After former associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Claire Holmes departed from the campus last September, a search committee to find a replacement was immediately assembled, according to campus spokesperson Michael Dirda.
According to Dirda, Harvey was carefully chosen through a lengthy search process by a committee headed by Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy. After identifying a few communications professionals with backgrounds in higher education, a final interview stage took place in the spring, and Christ chose the AVC out of three final candidates.
“I think what Carol Christ and others who were on the search advisory saw in Diana Harvey was a lot of strong background in higher ed and communications,” Dirda said. “From many years as head of communications … she (has) a lot of background working in a public setting that would transfer over to Berkeley well.”
Harvey currently represents Duke University as director of communications, marketing and alumni relations programming for the Duke Global Health Institute and prior to that had served as chief communications officer and deputy chief of staff to the president at the University of Minnesota.
Harvey said coming to a public institution she will have to confront a specific set of issues that differ from those at a private institution, such as budget cuts and greater public scrutiny. She added that UC Berkeley is in a unique position as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement to take leadership in a turbulent political climate.
“Berkeley is in the news every other day with high profile cases that spark a lot of interest,” Dirda said. “She has had a lot of experience dealing with those situations.”
ASUC Senator-elect Taehan Lee said he believes there has been a lack of communication between administration and students in the past, adding that the position of AVC must assure the administration’s actions are always made aware to the campus community.
Harvey said she plans on creating a more collaborative campus while increasing communication of the chancellor’s priorities as a means of resolving issues the campus currently faces.
Outgoing ASUC Senator Rosa Kwak said the campus’s PR team has often been “retroactive,” as opposed to being on the forefront on issues impacting the community. Kwak added, however, that she is excited for new leadership under Christ and Harvey, and said it is a unique opportunity for the university to establish itself as an institution that listens to the voice of its students.