Voice of the campus

Dean Ignacio/File

The voice of the campus is about to change. In June, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will step down and make way for Nicholas Dirks, the former executive vice president and dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Columbia University.

Birgeneau, who became the campus’s ninth chancellor in September 2004, said he stayed longer than originally intended due to “the extraordinary circumstances facing the University of California that emerged with the financial crisis and steep loss of state funding.”

Dirks has been described by his peers as a “soft-spoken intellectual” with a strong hand in running administration. Although Dirks was chair of anthropology, one of the more radical departments at Columbia, he has still shown himself to be a firm administrator.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the outgoing and incoming chancellors. The two come from different countries, experiences and fields of academic study, so it remains to be seen how the voice of the campus will change in the coming months.