Catherine Koshland, a member of the UC Berkeley community since 1984, has agreed to serve as the interim executive vice chancellor and provost, or EVCP, while campus launches a nationwide search for a permanent replacement for Paul Alivisatos per campus policy.
Koshland serves as the Wood-Calvert professor in the campus College of Engineering, a professor of environmental health sciences and a member of the Energy and Resources Group faculty, according to a campuswide email from Chancellor Carol Christ. She also served as vice provost for academic planning and facilities and serves as vice chancellor for undergraduate education.
“(She) was chosen for this role due to the depth and breadth of her skill and experience in leadership roles, her extensive accomplishments, and her understanding of the challenges and opportunities the campus is facing,” said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof in an email. “She is one of the very few people who can, on short notice, step into a critical, complicated role like this without missing a beat.”
According to Mogulof, the chancellor and EVCP share responsibilities and work as a “tightly-integrated team.” He added that the EVCP “wears two hats” as both chief academic officer and the leading senior executive for day-to-day operations.
With Christ and Koshland holding campus’ top leadership roles, two women will be at the helm of campus for the first time ever.
“It’s very exciting, and I think it speaks to the landscape of higher education — and lots of professions — where women are being recognized for their skills and capabilities and are being encouraged to take leadership positions,” Koshland said.
In this role, Koshland said she aims to advance teaching with digital resources and find a work-life balance for students and staff who have become accustomed to working remotely.
Koshland added that to address issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, she plans to work with students and colleagues to “listen deeply to the various communities and then respond.”
Professor and associate dean of graduate education, division of computing, data science and society Oliver O’Reilly, who was Koshland’s co-chair on the Task Force for Instructional Resilience, said much of campus’ current digital infrastructure, from bCourses to course evaluations, would not have been possible without the architecture she has worked on throughout the years.
“Cathy’s knowledge of the campus is encyclopedic, her concern for students is exemplary, and her dedication and commitment to UC Berkeley is remarkable,” O’Reilly said in an email. “I believe she has the confidence of the campus to serve as an effective partner with Chancellor Christ to lead us successfully through this historic transition period as we recover from the pandemic.”
According to Richard Russo, associate vice chancellor of undergraduate education, who has served under Koshland for more than 15 years, she is a “pleasure” to work with.
As someone who has worked with five former provosts, Russo said Koshland also intimately understands issues facing the campus.
“I care passionately about Berkeley — it’s been an amazing place to be as a faculty member,” Koshland said. “To be able to give back in this form of leadership is really special, and I feel very blessed to be able to do it.”