Faculty Strive to Craft '97 Admissions Policy
by Jesús Mena
Faculty who help craft campus student selection criteria face a serious challenge in the coming year as they work to redefine the admissions process for the fall 1997 class.
"It's a real challenge to the university community as a whole to absorb the new directives in a way that will prove fruitful and productive for higher education," said Jenny Franchot, associate professor of English.
Franchot is the incoming chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Admissions, Enrollment and Preparatory Education. This committee is charged with working with faculty and administration to help develop admissions criteria that comply with regents' policies.
The new policy eliminating race, ethnicity and gender as considerations in the graduate and undergraduate admissions process could alter the face of a campus that has greatly diversified its student population.
"Clearly a new era is upon us," said Franchot. "As an educational community, we need to respond with vision and renewed commitment to the principles that have made us such a fine institution."
David Auslander, who chaired the committee last year, said the admissions policies have traditionally been crafted after wide-scale consultation with faculty, administration and students. He said he was disappointed that the new policies did not get as broad an airing as he felt was appropriate.
"Such wide-scale consultation is critical because admissions is the heart of the university," said Auslander. "It determines the character of the institution. To a great extent, the institution is defined by the students who are here."
Auslander, who is professor of mechanical engineering, said he was concerned that the new admissions policy could result in a drop in the number of underrepresented students enrolled at Berkeley.