Two vice chancellor appointments announced

Jim Wertsch promoted to vice chancellor for international relations, John Berg promoted to vice chancellor for admissions

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced two important promotions, effective Oct. 1.

James V. Wertsch, PhD, the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences, director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, and associate vice chancellor for international affairs, has been promoted to vice chancellor for international affairs. He will be the university official responsible for international programs and initiatives.

John A. Berg, associate vice chancellor for admissions, has been promoted to vice chancellor and will continue to preside over an admissions and financial aid team that has been responsible for the extraordinary rise in the number of students who want to attend Washington University.

Wertsch joins Berg as a member of WUSTL’s University Council, which comprises the chief administrative officers and deans of the university.

“I am pleased to be able to recognize the contributions that Jim and John have made to the overall success of Washington University,” Wrighton says. “At the same time, these appointments underscore the importance and the impact of our international efforts and our admissions program. We would not be the same university without these essential areas and their outstanding leaders.”

James V. Wertsch


Wertsch has led the McDonnell International Scholars Academy since its inception in 2005. The academy’s mission is to develop future global leaders by recruiting outstanding graduates of partner institutions from around the world for PhD or professional degree programs at WUSTL.

“The academy has become WUSTL’s most successful international program,” Wrighton says, “and Jim’s leadership of and passion for the program are the key reasons for its success. The depth and breadth of Jim’s understanding of international relations and societal issues have made him an extraordinary leader of the academy since its very beginning.”

In addition to his work with the McDonnell Academy, he holds faculty appointments in anthropology, education, psychology and philosophy-neuroscience-psychology, all in Arts & Sciences. He joined the faculty of Arts & Sciences in 1995 as professor and chair of the Department of Education. Since joining the faculty, he has played a major role in developing several areas of research and teaching in Arts & Sciences. He is a guest professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Tsinghua University in Beijing and the University of Oslo, and also is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

An expert on collective memory and identity, he has particular interest in how these issues play out in Russia, Estonia and the Republic of Georgia. He is working on several projects in the Republic of Georgia, including collaboration with colleagues on efforts to understand the emergence of civil society and democracy in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as in the United States.

After earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1975, Wertsch spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Moscow, where he studied linguistics and neuropsychology. He then went on to hold faculty positions at Northwestern University, the University of California, San Diego, and Clark University.

He also has had visiting positions at Moscow State University (Fulbright Senior Scholar, 1984); the University of Utrecht (the Belle van Zuylen Chair, 1987-88); the University of Seville (visiting professor, 1992-93); the Scandinavian Collegium for Advanced Study in Social Sciences (visiting scholar, 1998); Bristol University (Benjamin J. Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor, 2000); and Oslo University (professor II, 2005-11).

Wertsch holds honorary degrees from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Oslo in Norway, and he is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Education.

John A. Berg


In 1994, after heading a planning team on admissions, John Berg took on the leadership of the university’s admission area and has since led a team effort resulting in a dramatic rise in interest in and applications to Washington University. More than 27,000 students now annually vie for places in the entering freshman class.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s of business administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Berg became general manager of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra in Georgia and then finance director of the Kennedy Center’s National Symphony Orchestra.

In 1987, he accepted the position of assistant to Chancellor William H. Danforth, now chancellor emeritus and life trustee. In that role, Berg helped many of the schools’ deans establish national councils, among his many other duties and responsibilities.

Two years later, he became associate vice chancellor for finance, a position in which he oversaw the University’s accounting, auditing and budgeting areas, before taking over the helm in admissions in 1994.

“Prior to John’s leadership, applications to WUSTL had remained about the same for well over 10 years,” Wrighton says. “He has seen to it that Washington University’s story is told honestly and accurately to prospective students and their parents.

“He has recruited the entire WUSTL family — students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni — to be a part of the admissions team. He is often heard to say that, while he has enjoyed everything he’s done in his career, nothing has been more rewarding than coming to work every day in the admissions office.”