Hacker Named Director of Student Affairs for PhD Program

Melissa Hacker, BA 02, the new director of student affairs for the Berkeley-Haas PhD program, brings a wealth of graduate program experience and a depth of financial expertise to her new role.

Hacker succeeds Kim Guilfoyle, who retired after nine years in the job. Hacker started at Haas Aug. 18th.

Hacker, who grew up in San Francisco, spent more than seven years as undergraduate and graduate student services advisor in the UC Berkeley Department of Music. As graduate advisor, she worked closely with all 55 PhD students on all aspects of the graduate program, guiding them through the qualifying exams, degree requirements, and dissertation filings. 

She also managed multi-year financial packages and fellowships.  In addition to developing financial projections to determine funding and yield strategies, she also evaluated and advised on fellowship nominees.

Most recently, Hacker served as program administrator with the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley, where she directed operational, administrative, and financial functions for the Center.

Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction Jay Stowsky and PhD Program Director Martin Lettau appointed Hacker.

Stowsky says he was impressed by her proven ability to manage the complicated structure of Berkeley’s music department, where she oversaw three PhD student concentrations. “Melissa is used to managing in a complex environment, where there are different subject matter groups, as well as a need to work to attract external resources,” he says. 

Last year, Dean Rich Lyons established a new financial model to strengthen the PhD program. Enrollment this year is up to 79 total students in six fields of study: accounting, business and public policy, finance, marketing, management of organizations, and real estate.

“That structure needs to be managed by the director and we’re confident that Melissa will keep the program strong,” Stowsky says, adding that Hacker will benefit from a strong Berkeley campus network she’s built over the years, as well as the guidance she received from having Guilfoyle as her staff mentor in the staff Mentorship Program. “She learned from the very best,” he says.

As director of student affairs, Hacker, who works closely with Assistant Director Bradley Jong, oversees academic advising, financial aid, recruitment, and PhD admissions. Hacker will also advise the associate dean, group chairs, and faculty in areas needing clarification or review and in identifying solutions to new challenges in the PhD program.

The incoming class of 14 PhD students is a diverse group, half international, with students hailing from China, Pakistan, Israel, the Netherlands and Russia. They enter Haas from institutions including UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Columbia, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Tsinghua University, and the London School of Economics. About 36 percent of the class is comprised of women.