Two new vice provosts at UC Berkeley, who will play central roles in academic administration, have been selected, officials announced Tuesday.
History and economics professor Jan de Vries will oversee academic affairs and faculty welfare while engineering professor William C. Webster will take the lead for academic planning and facilities.
“I am delighted that Jan de Vries and Bill Webster have agreed to serve in these senior positions. The foundations of Berkeley’s excellence have always been the faculty and the quality of the education we provide. With these appointments, our faculty and our students will be well served,” Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl said in a statement announcing the appointments.
The vice provost positions, which are pending the UC Regents’ approval, are key components of a restructuring of the senior administration that is aimed at seizing opportunities in teaching, technology and research as UC Berkeley moves into the 21st century.
“Jan de Vries and Bill Webster know this campus, its faculty and its academic mission inside and out. But what impresses me most is their commitment to ensuring that the future of UC Berkeley is as distinguished as its past. I could not have asked for two more experienced and skillful partners,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Designate Paul R. Gray, who will assume his post on July 1, said in the university news release.
With the appointment in the near future of a vice provost for undergraduate education and instructional technology, the new senior management team will be complete. Earlier it was announced that professor Mary Beth Burnside will become vice chancellor for research in January 2001 and that Mary Ann Mason, a professor of social welfare, will become dean of the Graduate Division on Aug. 1.
As vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare, de Vries will be responsible for all aspects of the academic personnel process for UC Berkeley’s 2,500 faculty members. He also will provide leadership in academic affirmative action and will oversee the offices of Academic Compliance and Faculty Equity Assistance.
“In the coming years, we must renew and further develop the best faculty in the world. I can’t think of a greater academic responsibility and look forward to the challenge it represents,” said de Vries.
A UC Berkeley faculty member since 1973, de Vries, 56, is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of European History and a professor of economics. He served as interim dean of the social sciences in 1999 and was chairman of the history department from 1987 to 1991. He recently was awarded the A.H. Heineken Prize for History and has published widely on European and Dutch economic history.
Webster, who served as the associate dean of the College of Engineering from 1991 to 1999, will assume primary responsibility for planning, coordinating and implementing academic planning initiatives as the vice provost for academic planning and facilities.
He will also be responsible for operations of self-supporting academic units, including University Extension and Summer Sessions.
“What excites me about this new position is the opportunity to help determine what the ‘shape’ of the university should be so that we can better address the problems and opportunities California and the world will face in the coming decades,” said Webster.
In addition to a number of positions in academic administration, Webster, 62, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has been a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley since 1969 and holds the James Fife Chair in the department.
He is a world-recognized expert in the motion of ships and off-shore platforms such as oil rigs and floating airport run