New UC Berkeley chancellor appointed

University of California President Mark G. Yudof announced on Nov. 8 that he selected Nicholas B. Dirks as UC Berkeley’s 10th chancellor, succeeding Robert Birgeneau.

Dirks was formerly at Columbia University as the executive vice president and dean of the faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“There was a Chancellor Search Committee that was created including faculty, staff and student leaders including External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab,” said Klein Lieu, Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) senator at UC Berkeley.

The appointment will need to be confirmed by the UC Regents at their meeting, which began Tuesday and ends Thursday.

Since 2004, Dirks has been the executive vice president for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University and has overseen the academic administration, operations and financial management, both long- and short-term. He has managed over 29 departments for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and six schools during his time at Columbia.

Most prominently, he led major diversity initiatives for the department of Arts and Sciences at Columbia and has helped in building academic classes for them in ethnic, African American and gender studies.

“I hope he brings a passion for creating a more inclusive campus community by making multicultural student developments and Equity & Inclusion programs and services a priority for UC Berkeley,” said ASUCD senator Daley Vertiz.

Before serving at Columbia, Dirks taught history and anthropology at the University of Michigan, where he co-founded the Ph.D. program in anthropology and history and directed the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. Additionally, he taught Asian history at the California Institute of Technology for nine years before his move to Michigan.

“I am delighted that President Yudof has chosen to recommend Nicholas Dirks as the 10th chancellor of UC Berkeley,” said Robert Birgeneau, UC Berkeley chancellor. “Professor Dirks has a distinguished record as a scholar and teacher as well as broad experience as a senior university administrator. His experience in outstanding public and private universities will have prepared him well for his new leadership position at Berkeley.”

The UC Board of Regents will vote on his terms at a UC Regents meeting this week.

NATASHA QABAZARD can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.