Dear campus community,
I am writing to share the news that after eleven years at the helm of UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources (CNR), J. Keith Gilless will step down as dean and return to his full-time faculty position at the end of the 2017-18 academic year.
Over the course of his two terms as dean, Keith has devoted himself to enhancing the undergraduate experience at CNR, successfully bestowing the school with a “small college” feel within its research university setting. His efforts on this front have included an expansion of CNR’s Student Resource Center, significant investment in undergraduate research, the centralization of advising services for all CNR departments and majors, and support for a number of STEM outreach programs – all of which have led to dramatic increases in undergraduate enrollment at the college and an extremely positive response from students.
Keith has also used his skills as a facilitator and collaborator to advance new programs both within CNR and across campus. He has led major college initiatives, ranging from the physical expansion of UC-owned forest research lands, to the creation of international executive programs, to an important branding exercise that helped unify CNR’s wide range of academic offerings. A strong proponent of the notion that we must cross academic disciplines in order to understand and address societal problems, Keith has also been heavily involved in interdisciplinary pursuits including the Berkeley Food Institute, Energy Biosciences Institute, Innovative Genomics Institute, Berkeley Initiative for Global Change Biology, and a forthcoming campus-wide energy, environment, and climate initiative.
Aside from these projects, Keith – a forester and environmental economist by training – ably shepherded CNR through a difficult budgetary era while still maintaining its position as one of the very best places in the world to study the biological, physical, and social sciences. Today, thanks to his leadership, many of the college’s programs are the highest or among the highest ranked in the world. You can learn more about Keith’s work as dean in this story on the CNR web site.
In closing, I would also like to thank Keith for having been a tireless servant at the campus level. Keith has convened the Council of Science and Engineering Deans since the start of his tenure, and has served on all manner of task forces and administrative committees over the course of his time as dean. He has also brought a valuable perspective to our efforts to improve the campus’ financial situation.
I will keep you posted as plans for the search for Keith's successor take shape. For now I hope that you will join me in extending deep gratitude to Keith for a job extraordinarily well done.
A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost