Regents approve Dirks as new UC Berkeley chancellor

November 27, 2012 10:03:27 PM PST
The University of California Board of Regents voted today to approve the appointment of Nicholas Dirks, Columbia University's executive vice president, as the new chancellor of UC Berkeley.

But the appointment of Dirks, 61, as the university's 10th chancellor came only after Gov. Jerry Brown, who is on the board, said he would vote against Dirks' compensation package because "it assumes a level of state finances and tuition increases that is not acceptable."

Noting that Dirks will make 11 percent more money than outgoing Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, 70, who has been chancellor since September 2004, Brown said the increase "does not fit in with the servant leadership that the state needs for the next several years."

Brown said California voters passed a tax increase earlier this month to help better fund education and other programs and he said, "We must use those funds judiciously."

Brown joined other regents in voting 14-0 to approve the appointment of Dirks but he was one of three regents who voted against Dirks' compensation package, which was approved 11-3.

The other regents who voted against Dirks' compensation were Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Charlene Zettel.

Dirks will get an annual salary of $486,000. University of California President Mark Yudof, who selected Dirks after a six-month search, said $436,000 of that amount will come from state and other sources and the remaining $50,000 will come from private donors.

Dirks also will receive a $30,425 relocation allowance, an annual auto allowance of $8,916 and housing on campus.

Yudof said at a news conference after today's regents meeting that Dirks actually is taking a pay cut, as he makes $500,000 a year at Columbia, where he is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History at Columbia and the dean of that university's faculty for Arts and Sciences.

UC officials said that as the dean since 2004, Dirks has overseen the academic administration, operational and financial management and overall direction of 29 departments for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and six schools.

After the regents approved his appointment, Dirks said, "I am deeply honored to take on this role, which is the opportunity of a lifetime."

Dirks said he plans to be "an incredibly responsible steward of taxpayer dollars" and that he believes UC Berkeley can continue to be "both academically excellent and accountable."

Dirks will succeed Birgeneau on June 1. Birgeneau, who announced in March that he would step down at the end of the year, has agreed to serve through the end of May.


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