Claude Steele Named Provost at the University of California, Berkeley

steeleClaude Steele was appointed executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California at Berkeley. Since 2011, he has been dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. “With its public mission and vigorous commitment to broad access and academic excellence, UC Berkeley holds a special place among the world’s great universities. I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity to serve this great institution and contribute to its mission,” Steele said.

Before becoming dean, Professor Steele served for two years as provost at Columbia University in New York City. Steele was a member of the Stanford faculty from 1991 to 2009. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 1991, he taught at the University of Utah, the University of Washington, and the University of Michigan.

Professor Steele is perhaps best know for his work on the underperformance of minority students due to stereotype threat. His most recent book is Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (W.W. Norton, 2010).

Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said, “Claude is world-class scholar, an extraordinarily gifted administrator and a visionary leader with a deep commitment to teaching, innovation and collaboration. He is uniquely qualified to help sustain and expand our public mission and ethos, maintain our academic excellence and access and advance on our commitment to diversity in every sense of the word.”

Professor Steele is a graduate of Hiram College in Ohio and earned a Ph.D. at Ohio State University.

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  1. This is a very interesting and intriguing move. First, it points to the importance of connections. Steele is friends with the newly appointed Chancellor of Berkeley. It is good to have friends in high places. Second, let’s hope this is not just a symbolic move that panders to the rhetoric of diversity. Yes, Steele is an accomplished administrator and scholar. His work on stereotype threat has been well-received, almost to the point of being over-rated. Given his apparent sensibilities about minority students, one hopes those that awareness translates into greater opportunities for Black students and faculty at UC Berkeley. At this point, the numbers are not pretty and knowing what I know about higher education, this will be an administrative move that benefits Dr. Steele and the perception, not the reality, of diversity at UCB.

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