CSHE from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s

From its founding, the Center has offered a home for research on the history of the University of California.  In 1989, Center Research Associate Carroll Brentano organized and convened the University History Seminar.  The Center’s first historical publication, Chapters in the History of the University of California, was co-edited by Brentano and Rothblatt and co-published with UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies.  The Center subsequently published a UC history series under Brentano’s editorship, the University of California Chronicle: a Journal of University History, from 1998 to 2009.

In 1996, Arnold Leiman (Psychology) became Director, immediately following his service as Chair of the Academic Council of the university-wide Faculty Senate. Most unfortunately, he became ill soon after taking office and passed away in 1999. He was followed by two short-term interim Directors, Michael Heyman (Law, former Berkeley Chancellor, former Secretary, Smithsonian Museum) and Karl Pister (Civil Engineering, former Santa Cruz Chancellor). Then in 2004 Judson King (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, former universitywide Provost and Senior Vice President – Academic Affairs, former Berkeley Provost – Professional Schools and Colleges) became Director, serving through 2014. During these years, the Center moved to Evans Hall when South Hall Annex became slated to be demolished because of structural defects.

Several major programs were launched during this period:

The Clark Kerr Lectures program

The Clark Kerr Lectures program became fully established, endowed by grants from both the UC Office of the President and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  At two-year intervals, the program brings eminent figures from higher education to UC Berkeley for a week or more for discussions and talks.

John Douglass and SERU

University historian John Douglass was appointed to the Center in 1997 as Senior Research Fellow to undertake studies on a variety of issues. In concert with UC Santa Barbara Sociology Professor Richard Flacks, he identified the need for improved information on the student experience throughout the UC system as it entered a new era of enrollment growth and financial constraints. In late 2001, the Center proposed the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey, funded by the Office of the President and UC campuses and piloted in 2002. In 2008, SERU expanded the number of institutions administering the Survey, forming a consortium of large research universities that included several Association of American Universities (AAU) institutions in addition to the nine undergraduate UC campuses. The project consortium has become international and is under the leadership of SERU Consortium Director Igor Chirikov at the Center and Daniel Jones-White at the University of Minnesota. 

UC History Digital Archive (UCHDA) and the Research and Occasional Paper Series

Douglass also founded the UC History Digital Archive (UCHDA) in 1999 with funding from UC President Emeritus Richard Atkinson. The project digitized a wide swath of archival materials and books that the California Digital Library (CDL) then incorporated. Under Douglass’ editorship, the Center also initiated an on-line Research and Occasional Paper Series

Higher education in a digital world

A large research project during this period concerned the changing nature of scholarly communication (i. e., publishing, etc.), overseen by Center researcher Diane Harley and Director King.  This project was carried out with major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and was preceded by other research by Harley on higher education in a digital world.


In a related project, the Center’s open-access eScholarship site was initiated with book-length memoirs and historical studies. The Center also made use of the site when creating and housing President Emeritus David Pierpont Gardner’s presidential website. Content development for the site was supported by Karen Merritt with technical support provided by Kim Karl.

The Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education

Short courses of two natures were developed and offered. The Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education covered aspects of characteristics of research universities and university governance, given both as single courses for national and international enrollees during the summer, and as courses for organized groups from universities in other countries, tuned to their interests.  Ellen Switkes acted as program coordinator.  

CSHE Advisory Board

Director King established CSHE Advisory Board with members from a variety of senior academic positions. 

The Executive Leadership Academy

The Executive Leadership Academy or ELA was founded in 2011 by Josefina Castillo Baltodano (former president, Marian University) who continues to serve as the Executive Director. For the first three years, the ELA was presented in partnership with the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc. (AAHHE). The program is designed for individuals from all backgrounds who are currently serving in administrative positions in higher education and who are interested in preparing themselves for appointments to executive positions such as dean, vice president, provost, president, and chancellor. The Academy is an intensive and focused training institute which covers the organization and management of universities in an increasingly multicultural environment.

The experience is guided by the ELA Advisory Board, established in 2014. Samantha Rushing serves as Program Administrator and Executive Assistant. As of 2022, the network of ELA Alumni includes 542 of whom 26% are Hispanic/Latino, 29% are White, 23% are Black/African American, 12% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% are American Indian/Alaska Native, and 8% are International. From 2011 to 2022, the ELA has assisted 62 alumni in moving up in their careers, serving in positions as presidents/chancellors, vice presidents/vice chancellors/provosts, and deans in this country and throughout the world.

The ELA program is proud to have such a diverse and supportive community of alumni, faculty, and advisory board members, who tend to remain involved with the program. Founding Fellow Joseph Castro (past President, California State University, Fresno; past Chancellor, The California State University) has taken a lead in supporting advances and strengthening ELA. He has served on the Advisory Board since its founding and is a frequent ELA faculty member. Furthermore, he has sponsored over 40 professionals' participation in the program and has been a mentor to numerous fellows.