March 16, 2017

CSHE Director Carol Christ Appointed Berkeley's 11th Chancellor

The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) community is delighted with the announcement that our Director, Dr. Carol Christ, has been appointed as U.C. Berkeley’s 11th Chancellor, effective July 1, 2017, after approval by the University of California Board of Regents. She is the first woman appointed Chancellor since the University was founded in 1868. “I feel honored and privileged to lead the campus at this challenging time,” Dr. Christ said. “It is a small way to give back for everything the university has given me. My experience at Berkeley has been transformational; it formed my ideas of higher education, and it formed my ideals of higher education. I look forward to working with Berkeley’s many communities in the months and years ahead in a way true to UC’s motto, ‘Fiat lux’ — ‘Let there be light.’”

Dr. Christ, as most of our readers know, graduated with high honors from Douglass College, the women's college at Rutgers University, and received her Ph.D. in English from Yale University. She came to UC Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1970 — at a time when only 3 percent of the faculty were women — and became chair of the English department in 1985. She was later appointed Dean of Humanities, and then Provost and Dean of the College of Letters and Science. In 1994, Christ was named Vice Chancellor and Provost, and later Executive Vice Chancellor. During her years at Berkeley, she earned a reputation as a highly effective administrator and a tireless champion of gender equality and diversity. She returned to full-time teaching in 2000 before leaving in 2002 to become the 10th president of Smith College, one of the nation’s most distinguished liberal arts colleges, where she was a prodigious fundraiser who greatly strengthened an already top-tier institution.

Dr. Christ retired from Smith in 2013, and returned to Berkeley as Director of CSHE in 2015, where she streamlined Center operations and spearheaded the Center joining the Goldman School of Public Policy. One of the notable projects that Dr. Christ has created is the Gardner Fellows program. This program invites graduate students writing dissertations on higher education to present their research and work with colleagues in other disciplines. During the 2016-17 academic year, for example, Gardner fellows are based in the Department of Economics, the Haas School of Business, the Department of Sociology, the Graduate School of Education, and from other UC campuses.

In May 2016, she agreed to take up her former role of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost on an interim basis where she has already had a major impact in reducing the campus budget deficit.

Dr. Christ holds dearly the values that have made UC Berkeley the world’s most distinguished public research university. The Center community is fully confident that Berkeley will achieve new levels of distinction under the guidance of her exceptional leadership.