UC Berkeley alumna Katherine Newman was appointed as the provost of the University of California.
Newman received undergraduate degrees in philosophy and sociology at UC San Diego and her doctorate degree in anthropology at UC Berkeley, where she studied at campus’s language-behavior research laboratory. Shortly after graduating, Newman’s doctoral dissertation led her to start teaching at the newly formed jurisprudence and social policy program in the Berkeley School of Law.
Newman will be replacing the current provost, Michael Brown, effective January 2023, according to a press release by the UC Office of the President, or UCOP.
“Dr. Newman is a distinguished leader, and I know that she will serve the university well as provost,” said UC President Michael Drake in a UC Regents meeting Tuesday. “We are very excited to welcome her home to California.”
Newman’s official title will be Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. She currently serves as the system chancellor for academic programs and senior vice president for economic development at the University of Massachusetts.
Previously, Newman served as provost of UMass Amherst, directed Harvard University’s Wealth Distribution, Inequality and Social Policy program and has authored 15 books on multiple sociological issues.
She was selected for her “terrific” career as an academic and higher education leader, according to Drake.
“Newman is an expert on topics that are critically important to the university,” Drake said in the meeting. “Her expertise in these areas will be invaluable as we continue to pursue our goals of increasing UC capacity and serving our communities broadly and evenly across California.”
As provost and chief academic officer, Newman will lead the university’s efforts to advance academic opportunity and inclusivity across the 10 campuses, according to the press release.
According to Newman, her new role is an opportunity to give back to a university that nurtured her and many other generations of Californians.
“The most enjoyable aspect of working in any university setting is the opportunity to interact with students,” Newman said in an email. “I hope I have the chance to connect to students at Berkeley and learn more about what they care about and want to see happen at Cal.”
She added that she most looks forward to helping the university increase access and lower the financial burdens on students and families.
Newman also stated that she has a special appreciation for students who come from modest backgrounds like herself.
“My time at Berkeley was enormously meaningful: stimulating, collegial, and a strong foundation for the rest of my professional career,” Newman said in the email. “You can see why I’m so pleased to return to UC!”