New Role for Derek Van Rheenen

March 27, 2024

Dear Campus Community,

It is with great respect and mixed emotions that I announce the transition of Derek Van Rheenen, who has led the Athletic Study Center as Executive Director since 2001, as he returns to his faculty roots with the Berkeley School of Education. His last day in his Executive Director role will be June 30, 2024. 

Under his leadership, the ASC has become an intellectual and social community of scholars and a focal point for transformative academic development. The ASC helped the university rebound from low graduation rates for student athletes to a rate that now matches the general student body, with dramatic increases in the rates for players for football and both men's and women's basketball. The ASC has seen strong growth to provide adequate full time and student staff to meet student needs and the changing landscape of college sports. He also established the Degree Completion Program, which has enabled over 100 former Cal athletes with remaining academic requirements to complete their degrees. Derek will continue as a Special Advisor to the ASC for a transitional period and is confident the team he has built is well-prepared to continue the important work of the organization. 

Derek began his career at Berkeley as a faculty member in 1998. One of his first projects on campus was helping design an MA concentration at the intersection of sports and higher education. He was hired as the director of the Athletic Study Center in 2001, but he has remained an Adjunct Professor in the Berkeley School of Education and continued to co-direct the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education (CSSE) MA concentration. 

In his new role, Derek will develop and grow the MA program he has directed for over 20 years, focusing his energies on refining the program’s interdisciplinary curriculum; developing opportunities for student engagement in research, leadership and advocacy; expanding student enrollment; and helping to bring added prestige to the BSE and the campus at the important intersection of sport and education. He will continue to teach, advise, mentor and publish at this unique intersection. 

We are seeking nominations for an Interim Director of the Athletic Study Center and will embark on a national search to fill the role on a permanent basis. If you are interested in serving in this position or want to recommend someone for the interim role, please complete this nomination form by Wednesday, April 10, 2024. 

Please join me in thanking Derek for his decades of service to the ASC and wishing him the best in his next endeavor. 

With gratitude,

Oliver O’Reilly
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education 

This message was sent to all instructors and staff.