UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Fall 2007 semester kicks off

– The first day of fall semester 2007 is Monday (Aug. 27) for more than 34,500 students expected to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. This fall, students will see new faces in several top campus leadership positions and the unveiling of new facilities, including Stanley Hall, a state-of-the-art home for bioengineering and nanotechnology.

"I'm excited about the start of another school year. We are moving forward on important areas of research and expanding opportunities for our students," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

A diverse student body
The campus continues to attract the best and brightest students from California and elsewhere. Enrollment for the 2007-08 academic year is up slightly from 2006, with 34,525 students — including at least 24,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduate students — expected to register. That includes 4,275 new freshmen; 2,020 new transfer students and 2,890 new graduate students. Women likely will comprise 55 percent of the freshman class.

The entering class of freshman and transfer students is projected to be 36.4 percent Asian and Pacific Islander; 31.6 percent Caucasian; 12.4 percent Chicano/Latino; 3.5 percent Filipino, 3.3 percent African American; 0.6 percent Native American and 4.6 percent international, with the remainder declining to report ethnicity or checking "other." See more details on the entering class.

Incoming students hail from every corner of the state, with 90 percent of the class from California, and at least one-third of those from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Fees for California undergraduates, including health insurance, total $8,384 for the 2007-08 academic year, a slight increase of around $600 over the previous year. Non-resident undergraduate student tuition and fees are $19,620 this year. More details are available online include 2007-2008 undergraduate student budgets and the Office of the Registrar's fee schedule archive.

New faces in leadership
Gibor Basri, a UC Berkeley astrophysics professor, is the new vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, a position created by the chancellor to recruit, retain, promote and welcome to UC Berkeley a broad diversity of faculty, students and staff. At the College of Engineering, S. Shankar Sastry, an electrical engineering and computer sciences professor, is the new dean.

History professor Jon Gjerde is the new dean of social sciences in the College of Letters & Science; Andrew Szeri, a professor of mechanical engineering, is the new dean of the Graduate Division; and psychology professor Sheldon Zedeck is vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare.

Better facilities
From more parking spaces to state-of-the-art facilities for scientific and technological innovations, improved facilities will be sprouting across campus. In late September, a formal dedication and open house will be held for Stanley Hall, which will host the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), as well as an innovative bio-nano center for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). Both QB3 and CITRIS were launched in 2000 as part of former Gov. Gray Davis's California Institutes for Sciences and Innovation.

Construction of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library/Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies is nearing completion. The new facility will house the campus's extensive East Asian collections and is expected to open to the public in the spring.

As new buildings rise, old buildings will fall. Seismically poor Warren Hall, former home of the School of Public Health, is scheduled for demolition in early 2008. A new five-story Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences will take its place and house teaching and research on the molecular basis for disease, with a strong focus on stem cell research.

Meanwhile, improvements in Albany at University Village, campus housing for students with spouses and children, will continue throughout the academic year, with 324 additional units scheduled to be occupied by July 2008. The new construction is replacing 1940s- and 1960s-era buildings. Nineteen additional buildings from the 1940s will also be demolished before 2008 at the village.

The new Underhill Parking Facility will be unveiled Monday (Aug. 27) at College Avenue between Haste Street and Channing Way. It will replace a seismically poor parking facility torn down in 2000 and will provide 1,000 parking spaces on four levels. On the top of the new parking facility comes another welcome addition: a new lighted sports field for intramurals and other student uses is expected to open this fall.

Blue and gold goes green
Once again, UC Berkeley is ramping up its environmental responsibility. The model program Cal Climate Action Partnership (CalCAP), managed by a campus sustainability specialist and steered by a committee of faculty, staff, administrators and students, will launch pilot initiatives this fall to reduce energy use on campus. Projects will include replacing incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient fluorescent lighting; ensuring campus computers run more efficiently; and determining if campus buildings can accommodate rooftop solar panels.

In April, Chancellor Birgeneau committed the campus to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2014, six years ahead of the target mandated by the state's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32).

Expanding classroom technology
This fall, nearly half of UC Berkeley's 240 classrooms will be equipped with high tech teaching tools such as wireless networking, DVD players and digital and video projectors. All instructors will have access to an online "learning environment," called bSpace, where students can obtain course syllabi, class notes and assignments, take quizzes, discuss class projects, provide feedback to instructors, turn in assignments and access grades. Nearly 60 percent of all undergraduate courses took advantage of bSpace last spring, and the campus expects a higher percentage of faculty to use it this fall.

Back-to-school story tips:

  • Former street tough's meteoric ascent to UC Berkeley
    When Derick Brown started community college in 2004, he planned to get just enough education to qualify him for a counseling job with the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department. A lifelong resident of the city's Western Addition housing projects, Brown's first mentors were gang members and drug dealers. He barely graduated from George Washington High School. But his ambitions skyrocketed once he got to City College of San Francisco (CCSF). After acing his first two years, he was elected CCSF student trustee, and he applied to UC Berkeley. This summer he served an internship in the San Francisco office of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Next week, the 28-year-old father of two starts his junior year at Cal. "Growing up, Berkeley was just off limits. African Americans where I come from, we just can't get in," he said. "But I took a chance and enrolled in community college, then things started happening, and look at me now. I'm floating on a cloud."
  • Positive psychology with a Berkeley twist
    This fall, UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, an interdisciplinary research center that publishes the quarterly Greater Good magazine, will begin charting the biological and social roots of emotions like compassion, gratitude and awe. Unlike positive psychology programs elsewhere that focus on individual happiness, the center is exploring the positive emotions that promote social well-being. Sarina Rodrigues, a postdoctoral research scientist who has studied brain circuitry at Stanford University, will lead the effort.
  • Cal Dining purges the trans fats
    Further elevating UC Berkeley's reputation as a hub for healthy eating, Cal Dining, with its 11 campus eateries, is going trans fat-free, eliminating virtually all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils from its meals. In addition, all four of Cal Dining's residential dining commons now offer 100 percent organic salad bars and are green-certified by the Bay Area Green Business Program.
  • New program in poverty studies
    UC Berkeley's Blum Center for Developing Economies is offering a new undergraduate program this fall for students who want to help alleviate world poverty. The "Global Poverty and Practice" minor will give students hands-on experience and training, enabling them to work closely with organizations on the front lines of the war on global poverty. The program is so popular that there is a waiting list.
  • Preventing Internet piracy at campus residence halls
    UC Berkeley's residence halls are stepping up efforts to educate students about the dangers of illegally downloading music. The move is in response to the Recording Industry of America Association's crackdown on illegal audio and video file-sharing at college campuses nationwide.