For Ann Jeffrey, UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff and incoming staff advisor to the University of California Board of Regents, “the University of California has always been central to my life. The mission and values of our university and the deep commitment of our faculty and staff have always inspired me.”
Jeffrey’s UC roots extend back to a grandmother who, along with her sisters, attended UC Berkeley in the 1920s (decades before Ivy League schools became coed). Jeffrey herself developed close ties to UC Riverside, where her father was a professor, UC Santa Cruz, where she graduated with a degree in English, and UC Irvine, where she began her career as a UC staff member — all before beginning her 36-year (and counting) career at her grandmother’s alma mater. No wonder Jeffrey considers UC “the backdrop to my life.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that Jeffrey was drawn to the opportunity as staff advisor to better understand “the big picture” of how the university works. “Seeing issues from a broader perspective is a little addictive. The more I learn about what this role offers, the more excited I am to get started.”
Jeffrey will join current staff advisor Kate Klimow in bringing the voice and perspective of staff to Board of Regents discussions. Departing staff advisor Sherry Main, assistant vice chancellor of Public Affairs at UC Irvine, completed her two-year term on June 30.
UC President Janet Napolitano selected Jeffrey as part of a systemwide process, with applications solicited across the UC system. A selection committee composed of systemwide and campus leaders and current and past staff advisors reviewed the applications and selected finalists for the president’s consideration.
“During Ann’s tenure at UC Berkeley, she has shown herself to be a problem-solver who always starts by listening. Her commitment to ensuring that staff members are heard, appreciated and understood will serve her well as she takes on the important role of staff advisor to the regents,” Napolitano said.
Jeffrey began her career at UC Irvine, and came to UC Berkeley in 1983. After serving as a research administrator and a management services officer in three campus colleges, she shifted to central administration in 1998. Her work has involved tackling complex challenges such as the transition to a regional shared services model, responding effectively to campus protests and staffing a planning task force on housing. As assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff, Jeffrey’s major recent focus has been on business process and service improvements.
Though Jeffrey brings a wealth of experience to the position of staff advisor, she doesn’t bring a set agenda. “One thing I’ve learned during my career at UC is that when you walk in the door, you never really know what you’re going to learn and gain. I’ll do what I can to get that broader view and context and bring it back to the regents. I’m committed to working toward policies and programs that will help staff — whatever form that work takes.”
Jeffrey knows she’ll have the support of the community that’s developed among those who have served as staff advisors to the regents.
“Three former staff advisors served on my interview committee — outgoing staff advisor Sherry Main, Bill Johansen who served from 2007 to 2009 and Penny Herbert, who served from 2010 to 2012. Penny’s advice stayed with me: ‘Don’t worry about trying to recreate the wheel. You have this incredible resource base, and we’re here to help you.’ Change at UC can take time. You need to understand what came before you if you want to make a difference.”