UC Berkeley
Bear in Mind Conversations with the Chancellor  

Chancellor Berdahl


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An international campus

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The battle for Berkeley's future

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Confronting the challenges of the affordability and access to higher education

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The Hewlett Challenge, the Energy Biosciences Institute, and equity and inclusion

March 2007
The Energy Biosciences Institute

Dec. 2006
Exploring intercollegiate athletics at UC Berkeley

Oct. 2005
From stem cells to smart buildings: The world of research at UC Berkeley

May 2005
Christopher Edley, Maria Mavroudi, and Tyrone Hayes on the challenges facing UC Berkeley

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Introducing Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau

Sept. 2002 - April 2004
Episodes hosted by previous chancellor Robert M. Berdahl


Produced by the Office of Public Affairs in association with SNP Communications. Web streaming provided by Educational Technology Services.
Kristin Reed and Berdahl

Episode Ten, September 22, 2003

In this Back to School edition of Bear in Mind, Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl grills Ralph Hexter, Executive Dean of the College of Letters & Science, about the value of a liberal-arts degree; Psychology Professor Martin Covington about how he motivates students to forget grades and learn for learning's sake; and graduate student Kristin Reed about what the oil industry is doing in — and to — Angola. The chancellor concludes with his Top of Mind, in which he urges both Cal and California citizens to get out and vote in the recall election.

Share your thoughts on this episode and suggestions for guests via e-mail to bearshow@uclink.berkeley.edu.

The audio-only interviews below are in RealPlayer format.

audio Hear the entire episode from start to finish ...
38:41 minutes
audio Introduction
1:40 minutes

The Ralph Hexter interview
10:56 minutes | Read transcript transcript

Ralph Hexter, Executive Dean of the College of Letters & Science, explains how a liberal arts degree not only prepares students for life, but also makes them excellent job candidates; why Freshmen Seminars are a critical introduction to Cal; what the Peloponnesian War can teach us today; how to pick a major from his college's wealth of offerings; and why the breadth requirements aren't really so bad.


Ralph Hexter
audio The Martin Covington interview
11:39 minutes

Martin Covington has been teaching psychology to UC Berkeley undergraduates for decades while also scrutinizing how they learn. As the Presidential Chair in Undergraduate Education, Covington shares his research into how fear of failure can prevent learning, why students perform better when they have a hand in choosing the grade criteria, and how to motivate students to make even boring subjects interesting to themselves.
Martin Covington
audio The Kristin Reed interview
10:27 minutes

As chronicled in her Student Journal dispatches, graduate student Kristin Reed spent the summer in Angola investigating the impact of the oil industry on the local community. Here, she tells the chancellor about how being Africa's second-largest oil producer has affected fishermen and the environment — and how the "Publish What You Pay" program might help Angolan citizens discover where $4.2 billion in oil revenues has vanished to.
Kristin Reed

Bob BerdahlTop of Mind
3:58 minutes

Chancellor Berdahl shares what he's thinking about these days:

"Here are some thoughts on the top of my mind. California is in an unprecedented situation. Not only do we have a massive budget reduction, about which we've talked on this show, but we also have a recall election that is introducing a good deal of political uncertainty into the future of the state. As you may know, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley came to campus to talk about this unprecedented recall election and to help Cal students with their voter registration drives.

"We had with Secretary Shelley and a group of students and faculty a very spirited discussion in the hours that followed his visit to campus and to Sproul Plaza, where the student registration drive was going on. It became clear to everyone just how important this election is to all California and to those who care about higher education. The recall election and the possibility that California voters will select a new governor could potentially play a huge role in future support for the University of California and for all education in the state. We're also facing for the first time as a university, because of cutbacks in our funding, the fact that the master plan adopted 40 years ago with the promise to provide access to excellent higher education to students who come to the University of California the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates in the state we're facing the possibility that that master plan may not be able to be observed any longer, because of cutbacks in the university budget.

"In addition, on the ballot next month there will be Proposition 54, which seeks to end all classification by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in any of the state forms that are submitted. The UC Board of Regents has voted to oppose this initiative because it will prevent us from gathering data on the characteristics of those who apply to the university, for example, and it will also deny our researchers databases upon which they depend in order to develop important studies of California demographics.

"This election is a very important election. We encourage all students, staff, and faculty and citizens of California to vote. Our students have done a wonderful job of working to register voters. In the first two weeks of school, they have registered more than 1,200 new voters. The ASUC student government, the Cal Democrats, the College Republicans, and several groups like Cal PIRG, are all involved in these registration efforts. I think this is a mark of an activist student body committing to doing the right things and encouraging participatory democracy. Government works only when its citizens participate. That part is vital to all of our futures. I urge you to vote.

"And that's what's on the top of my mind."

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