On Monday, UC President Mark Yudof announced the 14 initial members of the advisory committee that will begin the search for outgoing UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s replacement.
Per UC policy, the committee will consist of five UC regents, five UC faculty members — three from UC Berkeley and two from other campuses — one undergraduate student representative, one graduate student representative, a UC Berkeley staff representative, an alumni representative and a representative from the UC Berkeley Foundation.
Birgeneau announced in March that he will step down at the end of the calendar year, though he plans to maintain a faculty position in the physics and materials science and engineering departments after resigning. The search committee’s first meeting is scheduled for May 4, and it is expected to make a recommendation in November, according to a press release from the UC Office of the President.
UC policy states that the campus’ student government is responsible for nominating an undergraduate representative, and at the ASUC Senate meeting on April 4, ASUC President Vishalli Loomba was approved to fill that position on the committee.
However, UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said the committee had not yet named an undergraduate representative.
“Whether (the representative) has been approved by students, the committee has said that they still haven’t named a person,” Klein said. “We can’t speculate on who that would be.”
Loomba said she has contacted the office to find out the status of the position but has yet to receive a response.
Other committee members include UC Regents Richard Blum and Russell Gould as well as UC Berkeley faculty members Fiona Doyle and Donald McQuade, among others. The committee’s May 4 meeting will be held in closed session on the UC Berkeley campus. The daylong forum will include additional closed meetings with various campus groups, students, alumni and donors, according to the press release.
Since Birgeneau’s announcement, students have pushed for more input in the search process.
Through an application, Loomba and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab — the graduate student representative on the committee — selected students to discuss qualifications of the next chancellor with the committee at the May meeting. And at a student-initiated town hall meeting on April 4, students and faculty discussed ways to democratize the selection process.
“There is not any reason (the meeting) should not be open,” said UC Berkeley freshman Maggie Hardy, who participated in the town hall. “The fact that there is only one undergraduate representative and as many regents as faculty members on this committee is a little bit disappointing.”
Although the committee expects to make a recommendation for the campus’s next chancellor in November, Yudof will ultimately select Birgeneau’s successor, who will then seek the approval of the UC regents. Hardy, who is approaching the ASUC to push committee members to open their first meeting to students, called the purely advisory role of the committee “undemocratic.”
Yet UC spokesperson Brooke Converse said the committee plans to solicit comments from campus community members throughout the process by opening an email account and maintaining a website. She added that the students, alumni and donors invited to meet with the committee on May 4 have been selected by campus groups and committees.
Below is the current list of members of the advisory committee, according to the press release:
- UC Regents Richard Blum, Russell Gould, Monica Lozano, Leslie Tang Schilling and Bruce Varner
- Faculty representatives Robert Powell, vice chair of the UC Academic Council; Judith Stepan-Norris, professor of sociology, UC Irvine; Fiona Doyle, professor of materials science and engineering, UC Berkeley; Marjorie Shapiro, professor of physics, UC Berkeley; Donald McQuade, professor of English, UC Berkeley
- Staff representative Paul Riofski, manager of the Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute
- Student representative Bahar Navab, Graduate Assembly president
- Alumni representative Karen Leong Clancy, president of the Cal Alumni Association
- UC Berkeley Foundation Chair Arnold Silverman
- Ex-officio committee members President Yudof, convener of the committee; and Sherry Lansing, chair of the Board of Regents
Amruta Trivedi covers academics and administration.