Special committee appointed to select next UC president

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With UC President Janet Napolitano stepping down this coming August, UC Board of Regents chair John Pérez has appointed a Special Committee to Consider the Selection of a President.

Regents Gareth Elliott and Sherry Lansing will serve as chair and vice chair of the special committee, respectively. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Pérez will serve as ex officio members of the committee. Pérez said the committee aims to reach a decision and select the new UC president by July 2020.

Pérez added that the committee’s structure is dictated by the regents’ policy and that members were chosen with the goal of representing California’s diverse population.

“If you look at the committee, you have geographic and demographic and gender diversity expressed,” Pérez said.

Additional committee members include Regents Michael Cohen, Cecilia Estolano, Lark Park and Richard Sherman. Student Regent Hayley Weddle and Alumni Regent William Um will also serve on the committee, according to the press release.

An executive search firm will help facilitate a national search and identify candidates, according to the press release. In addition, the committee will consult with advisory committees of students, staff and alumni to determine the criteria for candidates.

According to Pérez, advisory committees will include at least one representative from each of the UC campuses.

“This is much too important to limit to just the thinking of 10 people,” Pérez said. “This is an incredibly important time for the university and an incredibly important process. I know the committee will take this seriously.”

Pérez added that an online portal will be created to nominate candidates for consideration.

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ hopes the new UC president will work closely with stakeholders, enhance the student experience, expand campus research, make a strong case for public education and maintain the UC system’s ability to be an “engine” of socioeconomic mobility.

“Christ is confident that the search committee understands and appreciates Berkeley’s needs and interests, as well as our unique position and role in the realm of higher education,” Mogulof said in an email.

The committee will search for a replacement for Napolitano, who has served as UC president for six years.

Napolitano previously told The Daily Californian that she will use her last year in office to make progress toward multiyear goals adopted by the board, such as increasing the number of degrees given by the UC, strengthening sexual violence and sexual harassment policy, improving housing and basic needs, and making progress toward carbon neutrality.

According to Mogulof, Christ appreciates Napolitano’s service to the UC.

“The Chancellor believes that throughout President Napolitano’s time in office, she worked diligently in support of Berkeley’s academic excellence and financial health,” Mogulof said in an email.

Maya Akkaraju is a higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.