Carol Christ first stepped onto the University of California Berkeley campus in the early ‘90s as a young, new professor. Now, at 73 years old, Christ is set to lead UC Berkeley as the oldest and the first woman to be appointed as chancellor of the university.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ spoke to Mercury News about her new position, and her many plans for progressing the university.
The interview with Mercury News revealed that while Christ, who is expected to earn a salary of roughly $532,000, was equipped to retire after serving as the president of Smith College and teaching as a Victorian literature scholar, she took on the chancellorship role because of her love for UC Berkeley.
Prior to being appointed chancellor, Christ taught at Berkeley when she was only 26, after earning a Ph.D from Yale. She eventually became the Chair of the English Department and the Vice Chancellor and Provost at UC Berkeley, before returning to teaching once more. It was only after 2000 that Christ left UC Berkeley and became president of Smith College.
“I deeply love this Campus,” Christ told the Mercury News.
Mercury News also reported that UC Berkeley faculty show great “optimism that Christ’s tenure will be a positive thing.”
In her former time spent at Berkeley, Christ helped with legal and political issues that the university faced, issues that still prove relevant today.
“She helped shape the school’s response to Proposition 209, a 1996 voter-approved law that barred public colleges in the state from considering race in college admissions,” reported Mercury News.
Reportedly, Christ plans to approach the current issues Berkeley is facing by having “conversations that cut across different groups.”
She described this as her most challenging obstacle when implementing her courses of action. Christ believes that establishing “a sense of community” on campus and starting a conversation will be her most pressing task.
“How do you have a shared conversation on a campus that is 40,000 students?” she asked in her interview with Mercury News. “I’m very concerned about that and it’s going to be one of my high priorities.”
Other issues she faces include the issue of sexual assault, which has sparked new conversations at the university. She also plans to make a number of improvements concerning housing shortages and equal racial representation and diversity.
Christ, Berkeley’s first woman chancellor, feels that she can “do some good” in her time as a UC leader.
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