Carla Hesse, executive dean of UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science, to step down

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UC Berkeley announced Monday that Carla Hesse, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, or L&S, and dean of the L&S Division of Social Sciences, will be stepping down from both positions at the end of next summer.

Hesse became the dean of the L&S Divison of Social Sciences in 2009 after being a faculty member of the UC Berkeley history department since 1989. As of summer 2019, Hesse will have served a full term as the executive dean of L&S and two terms as the dean of social sciences, according to an email from campus spokesperson Michael Dirda.

“It’s been the most thrilling 10 years of my life, serving the students of L&S and helping sustain Berkeley’s distinctive culture and stellar academic reputation,” Hesse said in an email.

In spring of 2016, Hesse was also appointed the interim lead for issues relating to sexual violence and harassment. She held this post until linguistics professor Sharon Inkelas began her three-year term as the special faculty adviser to the chancellor on sexual violence and sexual harassment in July 2017.

While serving as the executive dean of L&S, Hesse oversaw the creation of a physical home for L&S in Dwinelle and Durant halls. Hesse also engaged in various financial projects for the college, such as directing fundraising results and constructing a financial model with the central campus administration. In addition to these projects, Hesse established an external advisory board, which comprises mostly UC Berkeley alumni and faculty.

Along with Italian studies and comparative literature professor Barbara Spackman, Hesse co-chaired the Chancellor’s Senate/Administration Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. The committee, which convened in spring 2016, reviewed campus policies and procedures relating to sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention and response.

In January 2017, the committee released a report detailing its recommendations to the administration, Dirda said in an email.

“Dean Carla Hesse stepped up at a very difficult time for the campus, taking on the role of interim lead for our campus efforts to improve and enhance the university’s response to sexual harassment and assault,” Inkelas said in an email. “She showed inspired leadership in working with campus partners to take the energy produced by turmoil and direct it towards constructive improvements.”

Hesse will resume being a full-time campus faculty member once she completes her terms next summer, according to a press release from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos.

Nomination calls for the successor will be issued later this fall by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and the office will assemble an internal search committee to lead the candidate selection process. The new dean will be announced late next spring and instated by next summer, according to an email from Dirda.

Contact Thao Nguyen and Alexandra Stassinopoulos at [email protected].