Hiram College alumnus Claude Steele has been appointed the top academic officer at the University of California at Berkeley.
Steele, who graduated from Hiram College with degrees in psychology and music in 1967, will take on the role of provost and executive vice chancellor, upon formal approval of the University of California’s regents. He is currently dean of Stanford University’s graduate school of education, and he previously served as provost at Columbia University (from 2009-2011).
Steele is widely known for his groundbreaking research into the effects of stereotypes and his theory of “stereotype threat.” His research also focuses on negative self-image and addictive behaviors, particularly alcohol addiction. “Stereotype threat” refers to the threat felt in particular situations in which stereotypes relevant to one’s group identity exist, and the mere knowledge of the stereotypes can be distracting enough to negatively affect one’s performance in a domain related to the stereotype.
In May 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Steele to be a member of the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board.
U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said of Steele:
“Claude is a world-class scholar, an extraordinarily gifted administrator, and a visionary leader with a deep commitment to teaching, innovation and collaboration. He is uniquely qualified to help sustain and expand our public mission and ethos, maintain our academic excellence and access and advance on our commitment to diversity in every sense of the word. We look forward to welcoming him to Berkeley.”
Steele earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. His wife, Dorothy, serves on Hiram College’s Board of Trustees.