The University of California announced Monday that a woman will, for the first time, hold the system’s second-highest post.

M.R.C. Greenwood was appointed UC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs during a special meeting of the UC regents. Greenwood, who has served as chancellor of UC Santa Cruz since 1996, will assume her new position on April 1.

UC President Robert Dynes submitted Greenwood’s nomination to the UC Board of Regents.

“M.R.C. Greenwood possesses tremendous energy, academic accomplishment and administrative skill,” Dynes said in a statement. “UC Santa Cruz is a campus on the move – a campus making dramatic strides in countless areas – and M.R.C.’s leadership has had a great deal to do with that. She leaves UC Santa Cruz with a strong leadership team that, I am confident, will continue the momentum she has created.”

Under Greenwood, UC Santa Cruz increased its number of academic programs by 52 percent and graduate programs by 41 percent. It also added its first professional school, in engineering, and raised more private donations than the previous total for the campus’s entire history.

Greenwood, 60, will replace C. Judson King, who is retiring after eight years in the position to return to the UC Berkeley faculty. Greenwood will oversee academic planning, research and academic policies, and supervise programs including the Education Abroad Program, outreach and the UC Press. She will be paid $380,000 a year.

“I dearly love the Santa Cruz campus, and I had not planned on leaving it so soon,” Greenwood said in a statement. “But President Dynes is a very persuasive man, and he convinced me that I can better serve the University in this new role.”