Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer announces retirement

Danielle Lee/File
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer speaks in Sacramento at a rally with students in support of higher education in 2011.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer will retire from his post in December, he announced last week.

Breslauer, who became executive vice chancellor in 2006, is stepping down after 42 years as a faculty member at UC Berkeley. The campus has initiated a search for a new executive vice chancellor and provost following the announcement.

The search for Breslauer’s replacement will involve the formation of a committee to interview candidates for the job — a process that will be headed by Chancellor-designate Nicholas Dirks, who will make the final decision on who will fill the position. The makeup of the committee has yet to be finalized, pending input from the incoming chancellor, according to UC spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

“The provost has to be a good listener, has to have a steady hand, has to have a reassuring voice, has to win confidence as an honest broker,” Breslauer said. “The next wave of leadership is going to have to ensure that we stay on course to make sure we ensure the continuation of excellence and access.”

Breslauer spent his entire academic career at UC Berkeley and was recognized as both a professor and administrator. A scholar of political science, Breslauer came to UC Berkeley in 1971 as a specialist on the Soviet Union and foreign relations. He was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in social sciences in 1997 and was later appointed as a chancellor’s professor for service to the university.

In his tenure, the executive vice chancellor took on many roles, serving as the head of the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the chair of the department of political science and the executive dean of the College of Letters and Sciences before becoming executive vice chancellor in 2006.

Breslauer was at the forefront of many student issues in his seven years as executive vice chancellor, a position second only to the chancellor himself. While in office, he played a part in navigating through several student fee hikes, revising the UC Berkeley student code of conduct and overseeing the launch of Operational Excellence. He also played an active role in negotiating for the campus during student protests — his response to Occupy Cal November 2011 prompted some students to call for his resignation.

Breslauer, who originally planned on retiring in June, will spend his final months at UC Berkeley assisting Dirks as he acclimates to his job as chancellor. Dirks will assume office in June.

“I look forward to the opportunity to relax,” Breslauer said. “Once I get tired of being spontaneous, the wonderful thing about the university is I can continue my research, I can continue teaching. We’ll see.”

Libby Rainey covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rainey_l.

The caption for the photo accompanying this article previously may have indicated that Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer was speaking against fee hikes. In fact, Breslauer was speaking in support of public higher education along with students at a rally in Sacramento.