While the search for chancellor Carol Christ’s replacement has not yet begun, two student representatives have been appointed to the search committee.
Graduate Assembly president McKalee Steen and ASUC president Sydney Roberts were appointed to the committee by their respective organizations.
The announcement of Christ’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year was followed by a string of resignations and retirements: UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced his retirement Aug. 3, and President of Stanford University Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced his intended resignation amid alleged research misconduct and manipulation, according to a statement released by Stanford.
This leaves three major institutions searching for new leadership at the same time.
For UC Berkeley and UCLA, the UC Board of Regents members of the search advisory committee, will include UC President Michael Drake, Chair of the Board Richard Leib, five regents to be appointed by Leib and five faculty members appointed by Drake, according to the Regents policy.
The committee will also include representatives from the alumni association and a UC Berkeley Foundation representative and staff representative both chosen from a panel by Drake.
The policy states that the president will first meet with the regent committee members prior to the appointment of the other members of the committee to discuss the members and the search for the new chancellor.
Once all of the members have met, the committee then searches for, evaluates and interviews candidates.
The finalists from this process are presented to Drake, who selects the candidate and brings them to the Board of Regents for approval.
However, the hiring process hasn’t always been this way — 20 former chairs of the Academic Senate and faculty representatives to the Board of Regents wrote a letter to the Board of Regents collectively opposing a 2020 proposal that made changes to the hiring process.
The proposal consisted of 17 recommendations, including moving the candidate screening process to a non-university search firm and requiring that the UC president gain approval from the hiring committee before recommending a chancellor to the board.
Faculty leaders in the opposition letter stated that the above recommendations would reduce their role in the search process, according to the letter.
Regent Lark Park, chair of the board who created the proposal said that the intention behind it was to reduce bias while increasing diversity and allow for more public input, as reported by the L.A. Times.
Lark’s proposal was approved despite resistance from faculty leaders.
As each campus goes through a transitional period with its leaders, Roberts noted she hopes each campus will prioritize supporting students both with academic and social-emotional needs.
Roberts said she is “glad” the student population will be represented.
“I hope the next Chancellor continues to push Berkeley in a progressive way and at times challenges societal normalities surrounding academia— for students that means better support systems and greater access for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds,” Roberts said in an email.