An international campus
The battle for Berkeley's future
Confronting the challenges of the affordability and access to higher education
The Hewlett Challenge, the Energy Biosciences Institute, and equity and inclusion
The Energy Biosciences Institute
Exploring intercollegiate athletics at UC Berkeley
From stem cells to smart buildings: The world of research
at UC Berkeley
Christopher Edley, Maria Mavroudi,
and Tyrone Hayes on the challenges facing UC Berkeley
Introducing Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Sept. 2002 - April
Episodes hosted by previous chancellor Robert M. 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
College of Letters
& Science, about the value of a liberal-arts degree; Psychology
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.
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The audio-only interviews below are in RealPlayer format.
the entire episode from start to finish ...
Ralph Hexter interview
10:56 minutes | Read
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.
Martin Covington interview
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
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
Kristin Reed interview
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.
Top of Mind
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
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
"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."