Announcement: Faculty Leader of Arts and Design

April 16, 2015

We are thrilled to announce the creation of a new faculty leadership position, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Arts and Design, and equally delighted to inform you that Professor Shannon Jackson has agreed to take on this role.  As the current Director of the Arts Research Center, and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Shannon is uniquely qualified and positioned to develop and advance our aspirations in the realm of the Arts and Design.

When I arrived at Berkeley, I outlined a range of priorities that I believed to be essential to a thriving campus culture, including the advancement of the arts as a constitutive element of undergraduate education, as a distinctive feature of our research and creative profile, and as a key part of our public mission given how arts and design can help form a vibrant bridge between our campus and our local and international community.  We are deeply grateful to Dean Anthony Cascardi, who led the visioning team that helped us re-imagine the future of thearts at Berkeley, and set the stage for the announcement of this pioneering position. It is now time to put the recommendations of that team into action and to ensure that we have the leadership to do so.  

The Associate Vice Chancellor of Art and Design (AVCAD) will have a dual reporting line.  Along with the directors of Cal Performances and the BerkeleyArt Museum/Pacific Film Archive, this position will report directly to the Chancellor; at the same time, this position will report to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, working in collaboration with deans of divisions and schools invested in the role of artdesign, and creativity on our campus.  Indeed, this position is charged with ensuring that such a creative ethos is accessible to all Berkeley students, regardless of major, and to tapping the enormous interdisciplinary strengths of our presenting organizations, our departments, and our faculty.  The Arts and Design Initiative will integrate closely with the undergraduate initiative: The arts and creative design fields provide opportunities for students of all majors to develop skills in project-based learn­ing, group collaboration, critical thinking, performance and self-expression, and vicarious imagining as individuals and as global citizens. The arts provide a platform for students to engage in practical experiences and apprenticeship programs on and off campus, in programs that fulfill UC Berkeley’s public mission and simultaneously prepare a millennial workforce for life after graduation. The Initiative, and our new AVCAD, will work closely with all the departments, colleges, and programs with interests and activities in arts anddesign, as well as of course Cal Performances (and its new initiative, Berkeley RadiCAL), and BAM/PFA  (with the new museum building coming on line in January of 2016).

At the same time, the AVCAD will position the arts and design as an essential bridge between our campus and our Bay Area community, as well as between our campus and a range of global partners. As a premier research university in the Bay Area, Berkeley has a special opportunity to address artistic and social questions of importance to national and international communities. Using our location within a technology hub and on the Pacific Rim, we will map a future for the arts and design in a globalizing, technologically complex world, where cultural differences remain challenging. With regard to our public mission, theArts and Design Initiative will also aim to reach emerging audiences reflecting class and ethnic diversity on a wide scale, making the arts a fundamental feature not just of our edu­cational but of our social and cultural prerogatives as well.

Beyond her home department, Professor Jackson has close affiliations in the History of ArtArt Practice, the Berkeley Center for New Media, and other centers and departments on campus. She has received numerous awards and fellowships for her research on the role of the arts and performance in social reform, in higher education, and in contemporary art and new media.  In Jackson's 17 years at Berkeley, she has established an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Performance Studies, served as Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and served on a range of Academic Senate Committees and initiatives devoted to faculty welfare, diversity and gender equity, and to infrastructural planning and collaboration in the arts anddesign.  More recently, she took over the Directorship of the Arts Research Center which she has developed into a thriving organization for our campus and our Bay Area community; during the same recent time period, she became a Member and eventually Chair of The Budget Committee, providing oversight on academic personnel for the entire campus and working with the Vice Provost of the Faculty to establish new campus guidelines for evaluating creative accomplishment.  Shannon is currently a Guggenheim fellow, which is allowing her to complete a project on literacy and coalition across the arts.  We have already asked her to realign the goals of the Arts Research Center as a central stream of activity within our broader campus initiative in art and design; she will commence as Associate Vice Chancellor for the Arts and Design in the fall of 2015.

For more on Professor Jackson and the Arts and Design Initiative, please see these new stories that have been posted to our online NewsCenter:


Nicholas Dirks                                    Claude Steele
Chancellor                                          Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost