LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley said on Tuesday he is resigning, telling faculty and students in a letter it was time for someone else to handle the financial shortfall that has beset the highly-ranked research university.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks also cited in his letter posted on the university's website the "institutional challenges" that the Northern California campus faces.
Dirks has faced steady criticism from professors at UC Berkeley over his handling of the university's budget deficit and sexual harassment cases involving high-profile faculty members, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dirks, who took over as chancellor in 2013, previously told the Chronicle he hoped to remain in his position for 10 years.
But in his letter to faculty, staff and students at the university dated Aug. 18, Dirks said he would step down once a successor is selected and in place.
"I pledge my total commitment to ensuring a smooth transition as I leave this post," Dirks wrote. The historian added that he planned to remain at UC Berkeley as a faculty member.
University of California President Janet Napolitano in a statement confirmed that she had accepted Dirks' resignation.
UC Berkeley is ranked the top public university in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Diane Craft)