Carol Christ, Chancellor of UC Berkeley
THURSDAY LUNCHEON SPEAKER
From Wikipedia: In 1970, Christ joined the faculty at the University of California Berkeley, and was chair of the English department from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, she was appointed dean of humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. She also served as provost and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. In 1994, Christ was appointed vice chancellor, assistant manager, and provost (and later became executive vice chancellor) at Berkeley. Christ was the highest-ranking female administrator at Berkeley until she returned to full-time teaching in 2000.
Christ became the 10th president of Smith College in 2002. At Smith, Christ led an energetic and wide-ranging strategic planning process to identify the distinctive intellectual traditions of the Smith curriculum and foster initiatives to further develop students’ essential capacities. Throughout her administrative career, Christ has maintained an active program of teaching and research. She has published two books: The Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian Poetry and Victorian and Modern Poetics. She also edited a Norton Critical Edition of George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and co-edited the Norton Anthology of English Literature and Victorian Literature and The Victorian Visual Imagination. Until recently, she was professor of English at Smith, offering seminars on science and literature and on the arts.
Christ was the president of Smith College from 2002 to 2013. She announced in May 2012 that she had, along with the Board of Trustees, began the search for her successor. She retired in June 2013.
In May 2016, Christ returned to her role as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (interim) at the University of California, Berkeley, replacing Claude Steele, who stepped down. On March 13, 2017, Christ was named by University of California President Janet Napolitano as the new Chancellor-elect of the University of California, Berkeley. On March 16, 2017, the Regents of the University of California confirmed her appointment. On July 1, 2017, Christ became the 11th UC Berkeley Chancellor and the first woman to serve in this role, succeeding Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks.
At the start of her first academic year as chancellor, Christ responded to the 2017 Berkeley protests in which protests against conservative speakers led to violent outbreaks. In a letter to the campus which quoted John Stuart Mill, she affirmed the administration's commitment to free speech and urged the community to remember its roots as part of the free speech movement. She later took other steps in this direction which included moderating a panel on free expression and committing $800,000 to providing security for controversial speakers. In a September 2017 interview, she stated that some students find the concept of free speech objectionable.
Christ serves on the board of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and is a trustee of Sarah Lawrence College and Dominican University of California.