UC Berkeley News


Top UC administrator coming to Berkeley as associate chancellor
UC Associate President Linda Williams joins the chancellor's office, as John Cummins retires after 36 years on campus

| 20 February 2008

Linda Morris Williams, who rose through the ranks to become associate president of the UC system and chief policy adviser to President Robert Dynes, will soon join the Berkeley campus as Associate Chancellor - Government, Community, and Campus Liaison.

Linda Williams

The appointment was announced by Chancellor Birgeneau on Feb. 12. Williams will begin in her new post on May 1.

Williams will take over a number of responsibilities from John Cummins, associate chancellor and chief of staff for the Chancellor's Immediate Office, who is retiring on June 30 after a 36-year career at Berkeley. He will work together with Williams in May and June to ensure a smooth transition.

Cummins has been a key figure in the chancellor's office for 24 years - first as assistant chancellor and then as associate chancellor. During those years he has been a right-hand man to four chancellors, handling controversies and crises and overseeing, at various times, athletics, public affairs, government relations, and campus interactions with local communities.

In a message to the campus, Birgeneau recognized Cummins for his "calm, effective management in times of crisis. His wisdom, experience, and deep understanding of and commitment to the Berkeley campus have made him a unique and invaluable asset to the chancellor's office."

Williams has served as associate president in the UC Office of the President since October 2003. She began her UC career 20 years ago (as an office manager in Capital Planning and Budgeting at UC San Diego) and rose steadily, becoming associate chancellor at UC San Diego under then-Chancellor Dynes in 1997.

"I am very excited about being back on a campus, because that is where you see all the dots connect," she says about working again among students, faculty, and staff.

Berkeley is not only "our flagship campus but a role model for all of higher education," says Williams. She says she is looking forward to working with the campus's "phenomenal leadership team" and "helping to forward Chancellor Birgeneau's vision," which, she adds, is one of "social excellence" as well as Berkeley's overall academic excellence.

"I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Williams and interacting with her since the very beginning of my service as chancellor of Berkeley," says Birgeneau. "I have found her to be a very valuable help in making strategic administrative decisions. I have also been greatly impressed by her passion and effectiveness on issues of equity and inclusion for the UC system as a whole. I am confident that Linda will be a great addition to our leadership team."

In her new role, Williams will have lead responsibility for Government and Community Relations, will oversee the Office of Audit and Advisory Services, and will manage the implementation of Berkeley's Whistleblower Policy. She will also provide leadership from the chancellor's office on crisis management.

Her prior UC experience prepares her well for the Berkeley role. At UCOP she worked closely with senior-level officials in government, academia, and beyond on behalf of President Dynes. At UC San Diego she was the chancellor's liaison to community organizations, governmental agencies, and other nonprofits in the San Diego area. She also established UC San Diego's Omsbuds Office and oversaw its office for sexual-harassment prevention and policy.

She was on campus in Berkeley in December to conduct a forum as part of a systemwide Initiative on Women's Leadership, which she leads, and she also currently heads the UC Staff Diversity Council.

Chancellor's Office reorganized, in part

Birgeneau also has announced that, in seeking to replace Cummins' "unique and broad skill set and experience," he has decided to reorganize some aspects of the Chancellor's Immediate Office and separate the chief-of-staff functions from Williams' new role.

To that end, Assistant Chancellor Beata FitzPatrick will officially take on those functions and become Associate Chancellor - Chief of Staff. She will continue to provide Birgeneau with administrative and policy support and advice on a wide range of issues, including executive communications, and will also oversee the budget of the Chancellor's Immediate Office and its human, financial, and physical resources.

Also as part of the reorganization, the Center for Organizational Effectiveness (COrE) will be retooled. As announced in November, its departmental consulting work is being transferred to the new Center for Organizational and Workforce Development, part of the Health and Human Services group within Administration. COrE will become the Chancellor's Strategy and Alignment (CSA) group, headed by Phyllis Hoffman, who has been COrE's executive director and will become Assistant Chancellor.

For more on these announcements, read the Feb. 12 campus administrative memos online at calmessages.berkeley.edu.

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