Admissions director to leave post for UC Davis

UC Berkeley admissions director Walter Robinson will depart from his position effective Sept. 5 for a new role in undergraduate admissions at UC Davis, the Berkeley campus announced Friday.

Robinson — who serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Undergraduate Admissions — has worked on the campus for six years and overseen significant admissions changes, such as the transition to an online application process and an increased volume of undergraduate applications.

In addition to becoming the assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate admissions at UC Davis — the same title of his position at UC Berkeley — Robinson will oversee early academic outreach programs and visitor services for the campus. This expansion of responsibility will be a promotion with higher compensation, Robinson said.

However, he said a large draw for him to take the position at UC Davis is the campus’s hope to expand its number of both resident and nonresident students — in contrast to UC Berkeley’s restrictions on growth in undergraduate student numbers over the last 10 years.

“If Davis is successful in being allowed to increase, which is their desire, then that creates opportunities for every population and that, to me, is really super exciting,” he said. “It’s not a done deal yet, but that’s where Davis would like to go.”

Robinson has already overseen a large expansion of the undergraduate applicant pool at UC Berkeley, managing a database of about 100,000 prospective students through the Picture Yourself at Berkeley admissions portal and streamlining the application process electronically two years ago.

Each year, Robinson met the undergraduate admissions target within 1 percent of the campus’s expectations, something “remarkable among campuses as large as Cal’s,” according to Anne De Luca, acting associate vice chancellor of admissions and enrollment.

De Luca — who will work in Robinson’s stead while the search for a new admissions director is conducted — said in an email that her prior experience as deputy director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has familiarized her with the position.

In an announcement to the campus on Friday, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande called Robinson’s departure “a tremendous loss for Cal” and said the search for a new admissions director will begin immediately.

Robinson’s first challenge at UC Davis will be helping transition to a holistic application review process, now required of all UC campuses by the UC Board of Regents.

“The absolute most important thing is that I’ve been part of a process at one of the top universities in the world that has provided complete and fair reviews to thousands of undergraduate applicants,” Robinson said.

Alisha Azevedo is the lead academics and administration reporter.