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Professor Christina Maslach named new vice provost for undergraduate education at UC Berkeley
06 Dec 2000

By Marie Felde, Media Relations

Berkeley - Christina Maslach, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an internationally known expert in the field of job burnout, has been appointed UC Berkeley's vice provost for undergraduate education.

Christina Maslach

Christina Maslach. Peg Skorpinski photo

The new position in the campus's senior administration underscores Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl's commitment to enhancing undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. The appointment completes a restructuring of the senior administration that was begun last summer by Berdahl and is aimed at seizing opportunities in teaching, technology and research.

"My goal is to ensure that the Berkeley undergraduate education is the best there is," said Maslach, who assumes her new post on Jan. 1, 2001. UC Berkeley serves 22,700 undergraduates studying in approximately 100 majors.

"We are heading into a new century, and this is a time for change and new visions, a time for asking questions about what we do and what we could do," said Maslach. "At the same time, technology is transforming our world, and we really have to think about how we can unlock the potential out there."

The vice provost for undergraduate education joins two other new vice provosts - one for academic affairs and faculty welfare, the other for academic planning and facilities. They report to the campus's chief academic officer, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul R. Gray.

"Christina Maslach is an exceptional person with an outstanding track record of achievement and contribution as a scholar, as an innovator in undergraduate education, and in campus leadership," said Gray. "She will play a key role as the campus strives to improve the undergraduate academic experience. We are indeed fortunate to have her as part of the campus administration."

Maslach said she will work to assure excellence in teaching and learning across school, college and division boundaries and, working with the faculty's Academic Senate, will promote curricular reform and innovation.

She will also oversee advances in educational technology and its implementation on campus. "We want to make the most of new technology," said Maslach, "but the question we have to ask is, 'In service of what pedagogical goals? Is it so students learn better, or because it provides flexibility, or what?' Our focus has to be on the education of our students."

Maslach, 54, has been a member of the UC Berkeley faculty since 1971. Ten years ago, she chaired the campus's Commission on Responses to a Changing Student Body, which resulted in the "Maslach Report." Its recommendations on ways to improve student success have been largely implemented over the past decade.

Maslach has been recognized as both an excellent teacher and a leader in her academic field. In 1997, she was named "Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In her selection as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991, she was cited for groundbreaking work on the applications of social psychology to contemporary problems.

She is best known as one of the pioneering researchers on job burnout and is the author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the most widely used research measure in the burnout field. She also authored several books and an organizational assessment program. She intends to continue her research while serving in her new position.

Maslach is currently chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate for the University of California. She will step down from the post at the end of the fall term. Academic and administrative service to UC Berkeley runs in her family. Her father, George Maslach, is the former dean of the College of Engineering and served in several senior administrative positions, including as a provost and a vice chancellor.

Maslach lives in San Francisco with her husband, Philip Zimbardo, a popular professor of psychology at Stanford University. They have two daughters who are completing their university educations in New York and California.