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Fall semester 2003 arrives at UC Berkeley, where classes for most students start Aug. 25

– Fall 2003 classes begin Monday, Aug. 25, at the University of California, Berkeley, for most of the estimated 32,900 students expected to enroll - including 3,640 new freshmen, 1,625 new transfer students, and 2,800 new graduate students.

This week, traditionally known as "Welcome Week," is a time for students to settle into residence halls and apartments, visit campus departments, and attend workshops that range from how to choose a major and excel at college math to how to keep off poundage known as the "Freshman 15" and manage stress.

For the first time in many years, UC Berkeley students are seeing an increase in UC registration and education fees. Earlier this month, when the California Legislature adopted a 2003-2004 budget that left the UC system with deep cuts, the UC Regents approved a 30 percent student fee increase.

At a press conference this morning, Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl said the economic blow is being softened for many students by increased financial aid. "Still," he said, "we recognize that (the increase in fees) is a burden."

While the state budget's impact on UC Berkeley means dozens of layoffs, cutbacks in outreach and student services, reduced library hours, and less state money for research, Berdhal said the campus successfully is protecting "the core mission, the educational mission of the campus."

"I don't think that students are going to feel a profoundly adverse impact upon their experiences here," he said. "The very essential functions won't be substantially reduced in any important way."

This week, Berdahl is hosting receptions for all new undergraduates in the garden of his home, University House, and this morning, he welcomed new graduate students - from 68 countries and 48 states - to the campus. "We have an array of students from different backgrounds, cultures and countries that enormously enrich this campus," he said.

The chancellor also has been welcoming faculty and staff members to the fall semester at various UC Berkeley events.

MEET THE INCOMING STUDENTS

Campus officials estimate that about 23,400 new and continuing undergraduate students will register this fall along with about 9,500 new and continuing graduate students. Final registration numbers will be available later in the semester.

The oldest incoming student who indicated plans to register this fall is 77; the youngest is 12.

New Freshmen
An estimated 3,640 freshmen are expected to register this fall, essentially the same number as last year.

The ethnic breakdown of this group is projected to be about 44 percent Asian American; 30 percent white; 11 percent Chicano/Latino; 8 percent who declined to state their ethnicity; 4 percent African American; 1 percent "other;" and 0.5 percent American Indian.

Estimates show that women will represent about 54 percent of the freshman class, up slightly from last fall.

The new freshman class is one of the strongest ever. These incoming students generally scored higher than those in the previous freshman class on standardized tests, had higher grade point averages, and took more honors and AP courses. And more of them, about 35 percent, participated in an outreach program while in high school.

Overall, 85 percent of the new freshmen come from public high schools. About 30 percent of them are first-generation college students. The percentage of underrepresented minority students who are entering freshmen will be approximately the same as last year, about 16 percent of the class.

Geographically, roughly 37 percent of the freshmen are from the San Francisco Bay Area; 16 percent from other Northern California areas; 25 percent from Los Angeles County; and 22 percent from other Southern California areas.

New Transfer Students
The number of new transfer students, most of them from California community colleges, is estimated at 1,625.

The group's ethnic breakdown is expected to be roughly 38 percent white; 25 percent Asian American; 14 percent Chicano/Latino; 13 percent who declined to state their ethnicity; 4 percent African American; 3 percent Filipino; 2.5 percent "other;" and 0.8 percent American Indian.

New Graduate Students
About 2,800 new graduate students are expected to enroll this fall compared to 2,737 last fall. Campus officials believe the economic downturn may be a factor. Slightly fewer students were admitted this fall - 5,667 this fall versus 5,700 last fall - but more of the admitted students have indicated plans to enroll.

Women are projected to represent about 47 percent of the new graduate students.

STUDENT FEES JUMP

For California undergraduate students living in residence halls, the overall cost of two semesters at UC Berkeley, including educational fees, mandatory health insurance fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation is now estimated at $20,066 - up from $17,676 in fall 2002.

The increase is driven largely by the fee hike enacted by the UC Regents this spring and summer. For many students - those whose families meet federal guidelines for need - the fee increase will be covered entirely or in part through grants and other forms of financial aid.

THIS YEAR
Fees : $5,858**
Room & board: $10,313
Food: $899*
Books & supplies: $1,158
Personal: $1,208
Transportation: $630
Total: $20,066
*Beyond that included in campus meal plan
**Includes $608 student health insurance

LAST YEAR
Fees: $4,200**
Room & board: $9,747
Food: $861*
Books & supplies: $1,108
Personal: $1,156
Transportation: $604
Total: $17,676
*Beyond that included in campus meal plan
**Includes $506 student health insurance

NEW HOUSING CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES

Construction continues to add more student housing on campus. Four new residence halls containing suites to house 890 students are being built at Units 1 and 2 on College Avenue between Durant Street and Dwight Way. These halls, combined with the year-old College Durant Apartments and another housing project, the Channing Bowditch Apartments, scheduled for completion next fall, will add more than 1,200 rooms to the southside area.

This fall, the campus has completed seismic retrofitting of the last central campus classroom building rated seismically "very poor" - Wurster Hall. The last occupied central campus building with a very poor rating - the Archaeological Research Facility - also has been seismically upgraded in time for the new semester.

Seismic work now continues on buildings with a "poor" rating, including a portion of LeConte Hall, home of the physics department, and Hertz Hall, the music department's performance space. According to UC Berkeley Capital Projects, 60 percent of the square footage identified by the campus in 1997 as needing seismic retrofitting has been either strengthened or is currently under design or construction.

UNIQUE FALL CLASSES, PROGRAMS

This fall, freshmen reluctant to make use of professors' office hours are finding three new ways to change all that and discover the value of faculty-student communication. A handful of professors are turning the tables by heading to the residence halls to teach class.

Other new classes are stretching students' imaginations, challenging them, for example, to design more humane office spaces and to trek in the California wilderness to better understand the work of writers including John Muir and Gary Snyder.

"Getting to Know UC Berkeley Faculty"
Instructor: Christina Maslach, UC Berkeley vice provost for undergraduate education

According to Maslach, a psychology professor, research shows that faculty-student contact plays a key role in the quality of the undergraduate experience. Then why don't students often jump at the chance to meet their instructors and visit them during office hours? In this Freshman Seminar, students will do their own research on the topic, become better skilled at meeting their professors, and develop recommendations on how students and their instructors at UC Berkeley can better communicate.

Getting to know one's professors "is probably one of the most important things you can do while you are here," said Maslach. "You will get advice and guidance about what courses to take, what major to choose, what research opportunities to try, and what career options to consider - and eventually, you may be able to get research mentoring and recommendations to help you pursue your chosen path."

"Freshman Seminar Program Dinner Series"
Coordinator: Alix Schwartz, director of academic planning, College of Letters & Science undergraduate division (510-642-3878 or alix@uclink4.berkeley.edu)

For the first time this fall, a handful of professors in the Freshman Seminar Program have chosen to teach courses late in the afternoon, then continue class discussions over dinner in the dining commons at UC Berkeley residence halls. Schwartz said the series is designed to help freshmen overcome their reluctance to meet with professors who are not only brilliant, but often well-known.

"Some of the students are so shy," she said, "you really have to build a bridge for them."

About 95 to 98 percent of new freshmen live in the residence halls, as do a large number of transfer students, added Troy Gilbert, associate director of academic services in Residential & Student Services, so life in student housing is an important gateway to the university experience.

"The residence halls offer classes on study skills and help with tutoring, so this (dinner series) fits right in," he said. "It's a way to introduce students to the university's intellectual community and make the dining commons a place for intellectual discussions. I hope it really catches on."

Professors George Chang and Allen Goldstein ("Global Environment House Freshman Seminar"); Samuel Haber ("Movies as Historical Documents: America 1920-1945"); Robert Tracy ("Contemporary Irish Theater: The Plays of Brian Friel"); and Lowell Dittmer ("Problems in East Asian Politics") are among the faculty members participating in this new series.

A few of the seminars are even being held in meeting rooms at the residence halls, to be closer to their dinner discussion sites.

Global Environment Residential Theme Program
Contacts: Allen Goldstein, program chair and associate professor of biogeochemistry in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management (510-643-2451), and Troy Gilbert, associate director of academic services at the Office of Residential & Family Living (510-643-9843)

Twenty students who share an interest in the social, economic and scientific issues affecting the environment are moving this week into Foothill Residence Halls' "Global Environment House," a new residential theme program.

Professors and lecturers will lead seminars at Foothill each week for this small group of students, most of them freshmen, and take them on weekend field trips to such environmentally sensitive areas as Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County and the vernal pools in Merced County.

"Bringing faculty into residence halls to teach seminars can help break down barriers that sometimes exist between new students and faculty members," said Goldstein, program chair. "We are very interested in creating closer communication between faculty and students, particularly when they first arrive at UC Berkeley."

The new program, which earns students one unit of credit each semester, also includes evening lectures that will be open to the campus community.

The campus's Office of Residential & Family Living initiated theme programs two decades ago to provide a learning environment for residents who share an interest in a particular cultural or academic theme.

Global Environment House, co-sponsored by the College of Natural Resources, is the sixth theme program to be offered by UC Berkeley. Others include the African American, Women in Science & Engineering, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender theme programs.

More information about these theme programs is available at http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/theme/index.html.

"The Post-Dilbert Workspace"
Instructors: Galen Cranz, professor of architecture (510-642-5910 or gcranz@uclink4.berkeley.edu); Sara Beckman, business professor; Seth Roberts, psychology professor; Arnold Wasserman, design consultant

Graduate students will have a chance to think outside the "cube" in this interdisciplinary class offered in the Management of Technology program at the Haas School of Business. Students will learn to create a high-performance work space that blends the traditionally disparate areas of human relations, information technology and workplace design.

While cubicle-bound office workers are ready for a change, instructor Cranz said, employers often aren't. But "Dilbert spaces have got to go! They hurt people physiologically, for a start," said Cranz, an architectural sociologist who wrote in her 1998 book on the chair that right-angled seating is inherently stressful, and cumulatively deforming, to the human body.

The interdisciplinary team of instructors will help the students - through lectures, readings, guest speakers, labs and in-class exercises - consider many factors when designing a work space.

In addition to Cranz, the instructors are Beckman, who teaches operations management, manufacturing strategy and product design and development at the Haas School; Roberts, who researches how the environment controls mood, weight and sleep; and Wasserman, who specializes in the multi-disciplinary design of workplace products and services.

"Writing the Sierra"
Instructors: Susan Schweik, professor of English (510-642-4333 or sschweik@uclink.berkeley.edu); Gene Rose, a retired journalist and veteran outdoorsman

In this Freshman Seminar, Schweik will share her love of the high Sierra with students not only through the writings of 19th and 20th century nature lovers, but by taking students to the California wilderness to experience it firsthand.

In addition to their regular Monday class, students will spend Sept. 19-21 in Kings Canyon National Park, camping, hiking, keeping journals and chatting with guest nature writers including Kevin Starr, a California historian; William Alsup, a U.S. district court judge and author of "Such a Landscape;" Gold Rush author J.S. Holiday; "California Grizzly" author Susan Snyder of The Bancroft Library; and Dean Shenck, a national park ranger who edited "Ramblings in the Sierra."