It is with a mixture of both sadness and pride that I write to announce that Vice Chancellor of Equity & Inclusion Na’ilah Nasir will be leaving UC Berkeley in June to become president of the Spencer Foundation, one of the nation’s leading educational research foundations. This was a very difficult decision for Na’ilah – who has deep ties to Berkeley as an alumna, a longtime faculty member, and an administrator – but we wish her the best in an exciting new role. Her last day at Berkeley will be June 15.
Na’ilah was appointed Vice Chancellor of Equity & Inclusion on November 1, 2015, and under her leadership the Division of Equity & Inclusion (E&I) has made great progress towards ensuring that the Berkeley campus is a place where all members of the community feel safe, welcome, and respected. As Vice Chancellor, Na’ilah undertook a major reorganization of the E&I division in an effort to provide better service to campus academic units under a more sustainable financial model; launched the STEM Diversity Initiative to catalog diversity support programs across campus and create opportunities for greater collaboration; developed an implementation plan for the African-American Initiative, including the opening of the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center; and established the Chicanx/Latinx Task Force to provide recommendations for addressing the needs of this important community. Na’ilah also worked to improve disabilities services on campus, served as a liaison between students and the administration throughout real estate space negotiations with bridges and as well as other situations involving equity and inclusion; and convened advisory groups and many events designed to support underrepresented and underserved populations on the Berkeley campus.
Na’ilah was a close friend and advocate for many; she embodies dignity, poise, authenticity, compassion, and empathy in her role as Vice Chancellor. She has approached her work with tenacity and sensitivity, all the while maintaining a sense of humor in the midst of difficult situations.She will be missed, but I have every confidence that the strong and capable team that Na’ilah put in place will continue working towards the legacy of advocacy, collaboration, engagement, and partnership that she so effectively modeled for the campus.
In the very near future, the administration will launch an internal search for a new permanent Vice Chancellor of Equity & Inclusion. I have no doubt that we will find a very strong candidate to continue the division’s work towards fostering a more welcoming, inclusive, and supportive campus climate.
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost