University of California at Berkeley

Seeking a New Chancellor

Berkeleyans Address the Selection Committee

 by Marie Felde

The process to select a new chancellor began Oct. 23 when faculty, staff, administrators and students told a selection advisory committee what they wanted in a new leader.

There were lots of thoughts, but the clear message was a top-notch academic, a supporter of diversity and someone as caring and dedicated as Chancellor Tien.

The Chancellor's Search Committee, chaired by UC President Richard Atkinson, met with campus representatives in a closed all-day session at the Clark Kerr Campus.

The 17-member committee includes regents, alumni, students and faculty.

"This is President Atkinson's advisory committee," said UCOP spokesperson Rick Malaspina.

"The committee will narrow the field and he will choose a recommended candidate" to forward to the Board of Regents, which makes the final choice.

Atkinson hopes to have the recommendation to the board in March. Chancellor Tien has announced his plans to leave office no later than June 30, 1997.

Although the meeting was closed to the public, Malaspina described the day as "frank and productive."

Senior staff, including several vice chancellors, told the committee that it is most important to select the most qualified person for the job. They added that while Berkeley experience is extremely desirable, it is not essential.

They also stressed the need for the campus's new leader to be a top scholar.

Others who addressed the committee included a contingent of deans, student representatives, alumni and donors, community leaders and representatives of the staff, the only group to provide written comments.

Regent Ward Connerly, a member of the selection committee, did not attend the meeting, and his absence was noted by many.

"I was disappointed. Several of us had prepared our comments with him in mind. We wanted him to hear how important we think diversity is and this was our only opportunity to address him," said Denise Oldham, an analyst with the Sponsored Projects Office.

In her statement, she urged the committee "to rise above politics in its decision. A good chancellor must be able to steer the institution through the political maze of today and tomorrow, and we all know how quickly and often the issues that make up the maze can change."

Kathy Day-Huh, an administrative analyst who has long been active in staff organizations, told the committee the Berkeley chancellor has to "truly recognize staff and the contributions they make...and support staff by providing training and development."

In other action last week, the selection committee came under fire from some faculty members who told the San Francisco Chronicle they believe the selection of the regents to the committee, especially the appointment of Connerly, sets the wrong tone.

They said they fear politics rather than academic criteria could dictate the selection of Berkeley's new chancellor.


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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