Maslach appointed vice provost for undergraduate education

By Marie Felde, Public Affairs


Christina Maslach

06 December 00 | Christina Maslach, professor of psychology and chairwoman of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, has been appointed the new vice provost for undergraduate education.

The new position in the senior administration underscores Chancellor Berdahl's commitment to enhancing undergraduate education and completes a restructuring of the senior administration, aimed at seizing opportunities in teaching, technology and research, that was begun last summer.

"My goal is to ensure that the Berkeley undergraduate education is the best there is," said Maslach, who assumes her new post Jan. 1, when she will step down from her position with the Academic Senate.

"We are heading into a new century, and this is a time for change and new visions, a time for asking questions about what we do and what we could do. At the same time, technology is transforming our world and we really have to think about how we can unlock the potential out there," said Maslach.

Maslach joins Jan DeVries, vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare, and William Webster, vice provost for academic planning and facilities. They report to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Gray, the campus's chief academic officer.

"Christina Maslach is an exceptional person with an outstanding track record of achievement and contribution as a scholar, as an innovator in undergraduate education, and in campus leadership," said Gray. "She will play a key role as the campus strives to improve the undergraduate academic experience. We are indeed fortunate to have her as part of the campus administration."

Although the office titles are somewhat similar, the office of Vice Provost-Undergraduate Education will focus on the academic education of undergraduates while the office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Affairs will continue to oversee its full range of responsibilities in admissions and student life-related programs and services.

Maslach said her work will focus on assuring excellence in teaching and learning across school, college and division boundaries and, in concert with the Academic Senate, will promote curricular reform and innovation.

She will also oversee advances in educational technology and its implementation on campus. "We want to make the most of new technology but the questions we have to ask are 'in service of what pedagogical goals? Is it so students learn better, or because it provides flexibility or what?' Our focus has to be on the education of our students."

A faculty assistant focusing on educational technology will be a key component of the new office. In addition, the new vice provost will oversee the Office of Media Services, the Instructional Technology Program and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

She'll also work closely on educational technology with The Library, Information Services and Technology, and the schools and colleges.

Maslach said she hopes to bring the research expertise that is at the heart of the Berkeley campus to bear on teaching and student learning. "Mostly we'll be in a position to ask what would this campus like to achieve for undergraduate education. But I also hope to be assessing whether these things work."

As the single point of contact for undergraduate education on the campus, Maslach said she will be working "hand-in-hand" with the Academic Senate, which has sole authority over the undergraduate curriculum, and the College of Letters & Science, where three-fourths of the undergraduates study.

Maslach, 54, has been a member of the Berkeley faculty since 1971. Ten years ago she chaired the campus's Commission on Responses to a Changing Student Body, which resulted in the "Maslach Report." Its recommendations on ways to improve student success have been largely implemented over the past decade, she said.

Maslach has been recognized as both an excellent teacher and a leader in her academic field. She was awarded the campus's Distinguished Teaching award in 1987 and served as faculty assistant on the status of women from 1994 to 1997.

In 1997, she was named "Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Academic and administrative service to Berkeley runs in her family. Her father, George Maslach, is former dean of the College of Engineering and served in several senior administrative positions, including as a provost and a vice chancellor. Her mother, Doris Maslach has been active in promoting student housing and other town-gown interaction. One of the Clark Kerr residence halls will soon be named in honor of George and Doris Maslach.

Maslach lives in San Francisco with her husband, Philip Zimbardo, a popular professor of psychology at Stanford University. They have two daughters who are completing their university educations in New York and California.






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