Academic Senate Director to Retire
María Bertero-Barceló, the eyes, ears – and many would say heart – of the Academic Senate for the past ten years, is retiring at the end of June after 15 total years with the Senate and 35 years with UC.
Academic Senate Chair Michael T. Brown laments the loss. “Not only María’s skills, but also her spirit, dedication, and style will be greatly missed,” he says. “It is impossible to overstate how important she has been to the Academic Senate and shared governance and how impossible it will be to replace her. The faculty owe María a great and deep debt of gratitude.”
Bertero-Barceló first joined the University in 1973 as a senior clerk at UC Berkeley. She became director of the Berkeley Senate division in 1993, and in 1998, assumed the role of executive director of the systemwide Senate at the new UCOP building in downtown Oakland. She has worked with two presidents and 11 Senate chairs during her systemwide tenure, and has helped bring the Senate office into the 21st Century by transitioning Senate business to online forums, developing a dynamic organizational structure, and cultivating a cadre of professional analysts.
“Council chairs and committee chairs come and go,” says Chair Brown, “But what remains is the foundation and framework of shared governance represented in large part by this office, led by an executive director who keeps everything in place and highly functional. Maria has a deep understanding of the history of the Senate and how it relates to the administration and The Regents.”
Many of María’s other colleagues, both past and present, also speak highly of her:
- When María came on the scene, her energy and focus were intoxicating. We could all sense that the Senate office would never be the same... and it wasn't. We were organized and supported with the highest degree of professionalism, along with a “can do” attitude that made the quality of our work and our lives immeasurably better. And coming from the Berkeley Senate, she was well informed about academic policy and highly committed to faculty governance. We felt truly blessed!
– Sandra Weiss, 1997-98 Academic Senate Chair
- María is the most intelligent, responsible, and committed administrator whom I have had the pleasure to work with in more than 30 years at UC. The Academic Senate has been so very fortunate to have had her service during some difficult times for the Senate and the University. She keeps us all fully informed and “reminded,” manages the staff and its bailiwicks with aplomb, and is always upbeat and receptive. She has been a sheer joy to work with and will be greatly missed.
– Gayle Binion, 2002-03 Academic Senate Chair
- There’s no question that Maria was an essential backbone of the Senate during her time as Executive Director. None of the chairs could have done nearly so effective a job as they did without her, and the staff that she directed. I only hope that the new Director can find ways to tap into her incredible knowledge about the Senate and the University, certainly to the benefit of the faculty.
– Lawrence Pitts, 2003-04 Academic Senate Chair.
- María and I spent many hours discussing subtle and sometimes principled issued regarding shared governance at UC. I enjoyed those discussions immensely and learned a great deal from María, who had an astonishing ability to dredge up old Senate documents to buttress her points.
– George Blumenthal, UCSC Chancellor and 2004-05 Academic Senate Chair
- María and I have been colleagues and friends for nearly 20 years, going back to our years at the Berkeley campus. My early memories of María are when she ran an organized research unit that was plagued with problems of all kinds. From those first interactions, I remember marveling at her comprehensive knowledge of UC policies, whether related to research units, contracts and grants, travel, or HR, as well as her ability to identify and resolve issues before they become crises. She was and is always willing to help, and she always keeps the University’s best interest uppermost in her mind.
– Linda Fabbri, Executive Officer and Chief of Staff to the Provost
Please join the systemwide Senate in toasting María’s 35 years of UC service and as many more of relaxing and well-deserved retirement!
-- Ken Feer