Welcoming a new chancellor
Last fall, Nicholas Dirks was named the 10th chancellor of UC Berkeley, succeeding Chancellor Robert Birgeneau when he retires on June 1. Dirks comes to Berkeley from Columbia University, where he served as executive vice president and dean of its arts and sciences faculty.
In his welcome interview on December 10, Dirks expressed his enthusiasm for Berkeley’s place at the forefront of science and technology, specifically about the work of the college. Berkeley Engineer asked him to elaborate:
“I think the new ventures that I’ve been reading about and talking to new colleagues about are extremely exciting. As I begin to explore and learn more about the extraordinary array of academic initiatives on the Berkeley campus, I have been struck by the extent to which the College of Engineering stands at the nexus of a wide range of endeavors that exemplify what our university is all about, and what sets us apart.
“When, for example, I look at work under-way at the Blum Center, new efforts to extend the reach and relevance of big data projects or the founding of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, I see compelling evidence of how our faculty, students and staff are confronting real-world issues by moving beyond conventional understandings—and using the resources of the college to find actual solutions—all the while posing new questions and setting new challenges.
“Each of these enterprises highlights Berkeley’s unique ability to bring together world-class talent from an incredibly wide range of disciplines, working collaboratively and innovatively to confront global challenges. I look forward to learning more about the work of the college in these and other areas in the years ahead.”