Revving up for Fall
Novel Initiatives, Welcome Week Traditions Greet Some 31,130 Fall Semester Students
Posted August 18, 1999
Another drop in annual fees, a seminar on stress in the classroom, and a new center for transfer students are among the changes that greet Berkeley students arriving on campus this week for the fall 1999 semester.
Welcome Week -- devoted to orientation sessions, campus tours and student receptions -- kicked off Sunday, Aug. 15, with the annual Move-in Day, as thousands of students lugged their belongings into the campus residence halls.
The total number of students expected to enroll for fall '99 is 31,130 -- 22,600 undergraduate and 8,530 graduate students.
For the second year in a row, fees throughout the UC system have gone down. For all but graduate students in the professional schools, fees at Berkeley are $4,046, including health insurance, for the coming academic year.
Increased housing costs, however, have boosted the estimated total cost of a year at Berkeley for California residents from $14,598 last year to $15,044 this year. That amount includes fees, housing, books, transportation and personal expenses.
Richard Black, director of financial aid, said his office is monitoring the cost of housing and, as needed, will increase loan and work-study financial assistance for qualified students.
In anticipation of a housing scarcity, the campus recently converted some double-occupancy rooms to triple occupancy, bringing the total number of beds to 5,100 -- the most ever.
Other new initiatives and developments at Berkeley this semester include the following:
Transfer Students: Students who transfer from California's community colleges as juniors can find themselves with little time to adjust and feel connected to the campus. To help them out, Berkeley has opened a new center especially dedicated to serving the 4,000 transfer students on campus. The center, in the Chavez Student Center, will offer specialized advising, tutors and workshops.
Book Circles: Building on the popularity of the campus's annual informal summer reading list -- this year's list included "Winnie the Pooh," and the Bible -- two departments have teamed up to create book circles for freshmen living in the residence halls.
The "Reading Connections" book groups will allow students to talk with faculty members -- including Ron Lowinsohn, Bruce Birkett, Pedro Noguera, Joanne Ikeda, Alexei Filippenko, Jane Mauldon, Fred Wilt and Robert Berring -- who recommended books on the list.
"We thought that this might provide a great opportunity to help build the relationship between faculty members and students in an academic yet informal setting," said Michael Malone, resident director of Bowles and Stern halls.
More than 200 first-year students signed up for the program in advance of Welcome Week. Students have been encouraged to think about how the books might relate to their first year of college.
Going Green: Could the resurgence of the Green movement explain the wild success of Berkeley's new environmental science major in the College of Natural Resources?
Student enrollment in the major has jumped 500 percent, from 14 students at the close of last semester to 72 this fall, according to co-director Brian Wright, a professor in Agricultural & Resource Economics.
Judging from these students' research interests -- plants' effects on our psyches, stocking creeks with frogs, and bioengineering soybeans -- "green" has a whole new meaning.
"Our students want to make a difference in the real world," Wright says.
Student Burnout: Perhaps no one knows more about high school student burnout than college freshmen -- which is why Psychology Professor Christina Maslach is teaching a class called "Stress and Burnout in Schools."
By visiting high schools, interviewing teachers and collecting data, students will gain an understanding of what happens when teachers or students experience stress in school settings.
Maslach, who wrote the book "The Truth About Burnout," said she is "trying to relate their experiences to the kind of research I do on stress in high school settings."
Teachers for Our Cities: The state Legislature and the governor expect the University of California to take a leadership role in helping the state meet the challenges posed by population growth, reduced class sizes, and other problems faced by the state's urban schools.
Berkeley's Graduate School of Education is responding. This fall it will begin to recruit as many as 70 new students, who will be awarded scholarships to cover all fees in return for four years of service in urban schools.
And the summer of 2000 will see a major expansion of the school's master's degree and teacher credential programs.
"This challenge to make an intellectual and professional contribution to the field of education is directly in line with the mission of the Graduate School of Education," said Professor Eugene Garcia, dean of the school.