Campus appoints Oscar Dubón, Jr., next vice chancellor of equity and inclusion

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Chancellor-designate Carol Christ announced her appointment of Oscar Dubón, Jr., as the campus’s next vice chancellor of equity and inclusion, or VCEI, effective July 1.

Former VCEI Na’ilah Suad Nasir resigned June 15 to become president of the Spencer Foundation, an educational research foundation.

Dubón, a campus material science and engineering professor, most recently served as the associate dean of equity and inclusion in the campus’s College of Engineering and was awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity.

Dubón said in an email he has “led college-wide efforts to make Berkeley Engineering more inclusive and welcoming to all members of our community” and “participated in numerous activities around diversity and inclusion, particularly in the context of science and engineering.”

“I am excited … and look forward to earning the trust of all members of the Berkeley community by engaging with empathy and forming partnerships that are built on mutual accountability and a shared vision that access and fairness are central to our excellence now and in the future,” Dubón wrote in an email.

Dubón said in an email he intends on studying the work that has already taken place under Nasir’s leadership and hopes to work with various academic departments and other campus units “on initiatives that will help address climate issues” in the long term.

He added in an email that issues around campus climate are “not solved” but rather “constantly evaluated and addressed with interventions that are sufficiently general to be scalable yet sufficiently specific to be meaningful to the individual.”

“Groups on campus experience climate differently,” Dubón said in an email. “But one can find some shared issues: meeting certain important basic needs, such as housing and food security and personal wellness; making Berkeley accessible to students, staff and faculty; and having in place structures that help all groups thrive on campus.”

A search committee of multiple campus administrators and student leaders, including ASUC President Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris, provided a final list of three candidates for VCEI to Christ, who ultimately made the final selection of Dubón for the post.

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education Dean Prudence L. Carter, who chaired the VCEI search committee, said the job of the VCEI is a “vast portfolio,” including managing the campus climate and developing creative solutions for resource allocation.

Carter added that the VCEI position requires “a deep understanding and awareness of the processes of inclusion” and the committee looked for candidates with a “holistic understanding of the landscape.”

“This is a large job being pulled on by a multifaceted group of people and constituencies,” Carter said. “I applaud Professor Dubón for being willing to taking (the job) on. It takes a courageous person to step into such a position (and) I hope the various constituencies give him to time to acclimate and learn the landscape.”

In an email, Dubón called UC Berkeley a place he was able to both pursue his academic interests and explore his interest in social justice and personal identity, adding that he was “honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the entire Berkeley campus in the role of Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion.”

In her announcement of Dubón’s appointment, Christ cited Dubón’s experience supporting traditionally underserved and unwelcomed groups on campus “while integrating them into a broader cohesive framework of inclusive learning communities.”

“One of my most important goals as chancellor will be to foster a real sense of community and belonging at Berkeley, ensuring our campus is one where students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life can thrive,” Christ said in an emailed statement. “I know that Oscar shares these values and objectives, and I am confident that his long career at Berkeley, paired with his deep experience leading diversity and inclusion initiatives in the College of Engineering, make him a perfect fit for this most important of positions.”

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.