Gazette, 2/22/95


Catherine Landreth, professor emerita of psychology who helped begin the field of early child education in the 1920s, died at home in Berkeley Jan. 29. She was 95.

The author of widely read textbooks on early child learning, Landreth directed one of the nation's first university nursery schools at Berkeley, where researchers could observe the behavior of very young children.

She was among the first to show how environment modified the behavior of children in a preschool setting. Her study of children's ability to make racial distinctions based on color was among the research that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision against school segregation in 1954.

Landreth earned a doctorate in psychology here in 1936. After two years at the University of Chicago she returned to become professor of home economics and director of the university nursery school--precursor of the current Child Study Center, built in 1964, which Landreth helped design with architect Joseph Esherick.

She was appointed professor of psychology in 1962, when the old department of home economics was disbanded, and retired two years later.

A memorial service will be held March 5 at 3 p.m. in the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center at 2425 Atherton St. in Berkeley.

Around Cal

A Gala Affair

The sixth annual Wine and Food Gala at I House Feb. 10 attracted about 450 avid tasters. Proceeds from the event--part of Berkeley's Charitable Campaign--go this year to the state's flood victims. About 35 wine and food vendors contributed their finest. Prior to the gala, this year's campaign had raised about $120,000 from 519 employees.


Spring Workshops: UC Savings, Retirement

The UC Retirement Plan workshop will be given March 16, May 9 and May 23. This workshop focuses on how UC-sponsored retirement plans (University of California Retirement Plan and Public Employees Retirement Plan) fit into your overall retirement plans, how to calculate your retirement benefit and survivor benefits, options available to you at the time of retirement, health insurance benefits in retirement and integration with MediCare, and the Internal Revenue Code 415 annual pension limits.

The UC Savings workshop will be given May 4 and May 25. This workshop focuses on the variety of savings plans available to you through the university, how you may be able to reduce your taxable income through various tax-deferred funds, how you may invest in savings, stocks, bonds and mutual funds for your short- or long-term needs through the UC savings program, how to project your savings needs for retirement, how you may borrow against your UC tax-deferred funds and how to determine your maximum contribution limit to the 403(b) funds.

Enrollment forms for both workshops are available from your department benefits counselor. You must pre-register for each workshop, which are free to UC Berkeley employees.

Fidelity Investment Workshops

In addition, Fidelity Investments will return to the campus to offer another series of investment planning workshops April 4, 11, 18 and 25. These will include such topics as basic investing, asset allocation and distribution options. Fidelity will mail a letter to each career and casual employee announcing specific workshop titles, times, locations and a number to call to register for each workshop.

EE Savings Bonds Rate

The semi-annual interest rate for Series EE savings bonds issued between Nov.1, 1994, and April 30, 1995, is 5.92 percent. The interest rate on US savings bonds is adjusted on May 1 and Nov. 1 of each year to reflect changes in market interest rates.

The current minimum rate for bonds issued on or after March 1, 1993, remains at 4 percent. Savings bonds purchased before March 1, 1993, will continue to earn interest at the previously guaranteed minimum rate of 6 percent until redemption or maturity.

Savings bonds held for more than five years continue to earn interest at the higher of the guaranteed minimum rate in effect when the bonds were purchased or the market-based rate, which changes every May and November.

Insurance Contract Rate

The 1995 contract rate for the Insurance Company Contract (ICC) Fund is 8.60 percent. Contributions invested in the ICC Fund during 1995 will be pooled with existing money in the fund to produce a blended return that reflects the average yield of all the contracts currently in force.

Assuming that deposits in 1995 follow anticipated contribution trends, the Treasurer's Office (at the Office of the President) estimates the fund will produce an average annualized net yield of 8.0 percent in 1995.

The 1995 contract is with Principal Mutual Life Insurance Company which is rated A++ by Best & Co.

Staff Enrichment

Employee Development And Training

For more information, for copies of the 1994-95 Employee Development and Training catalog or for information on how to enroll in classes, call 642-8134.

Interview and Selection

March 8, 8:30 am- 4:30 pm, Room 24, University Hall

Learn how to use the personnel office employment unit to expedite the hiring of new employees, write focused interview questions and make final selections based on comparability factors.

Staff Diversity Program

For more information, call the staff affirmative action office at 642-5002.

Managing Diversity at UCB:

An Overview

March 9, 8:30 am-12:30 pm, Room 24, University Hall

This workshop for UC Berkeley managers defines diversity and uses exercises, discussion and lecture to explore the interaction of diversity and management, including the role of manager, skills needed to manage effectively in a multicultural environment, the relationship between diversity and affirmative action and resources available to campus managers.

Health Beat

Don't Become a Casualty of the Computer Revolution

Carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. Everybody's talking about these repetitive strain injuries that can be tied to intensive computer use. They can be painful, sometimes permanently disabling and can interfere with all aspects of daily life, including work, the simplest of household chores, hobbies and social events.

"If anything good can be said about repetitive strain injuries, it is that they are often preventable or reversible. With basic changes to your workstation, your work habits or both, you can avoid becoming a casualty of the computer revolution," says health educator Barbara Pottgen of the campus Occupational Health Program.

Preventive measures

"Prevention requires a combination of a user-friendly workstation and a job designed to promote healthy work habits," says Pottgen.

One of the most important determinants of a user-friendly workstation is keyboard and mouse height. You should be able to sit with your shoulders relaxed, upper arms at your side and elbows bent with forearms, wrists and hands straight and parallel to the floor.

This often requires that the keyboard and mouse be lowered through use of an adjustable computer table or keyboard tray or that the chair seatpan be adjusted higher.

"Getting the keyboard and mouse at the right position is one of the most important factors in avoiding bent wrists, a key risk factor for repetitive strain injuries," says Pottgen. Adjusting the keyboard angle and using a padded wrist rest may help you keep your wrists straight and avoid resting them on hard, sharp surfaces. "Wrist splints, sometimes prescribed to treat certain repetitive strain injuries, should never be used as a preventive measure to keep wrists straight," cautions Pottgen.

The computer monitor should also be adjusted to allow your head to be straight while viewing the screen. Adjusting the top of the monitor screen to eye level is usually the best height, both for neck comfort and viewing angle.

If you wear bifocals, you may need to readjust the monitor screen to a different height or get a pair of specially prescribed glasses for computer use. A document holder, adjustable to screen height, can also alleviate awkward neck postures.

It's also important that your chair promote comfortable posture. The chair back or a back pillow should support your lower back. A footrest may be required to ensure that your feet aren't dangling.

But even the best designed workstation is not a cure-all. A well-designed job that promotes short, frequent stretch breaks and job task rotation is equally important.

According to University Health Services physical therapist Mel Terry, a one or two-minute stretch break is needed every half hour or so to give the tendons and muscles a much needed rest. "Get up and move around to get your blood circulating and relax tensed muscles," he advises.

Terry also recommends breaking up long stretches at the computer with alternate job tasks such as meetings, phone calls or copying. Alternate tasks give you an opportunity to stand up, stretch and move around.

"Not only will you feel better at the end of the day, but your productivity levels will be higher as well," says Terry.

Look Out for. . .

- Pain, swelling or tenderness in the hand, wrist or forearm;

- Numbness and tingling in the hand, thumb and fingers, often during the night;

- Weakness in the hand or difficulty grasping objects.

If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with a health care provider, preferably an occupational health specialist. "It's much easier to treat and reverse a problem in its early stages," says Pottgen. "Ignoring pain could lead to chronic or serious injury."

For More Help . . .

Workshops on computer health issues and workstation design are offered free to campus employees and departments.

The next Computers at Work classes are March 16, 10:30 am-noon; April 13, 2-3:30 pm; and May 11, 2-3:30 pm at University Health Services--Tang Center. Call Health*Matters at 643-4646 to enroll.

Healthy Office fact sheets for computer users are available through campus mail from Health*Matters.

Medical care for university employees with work-related health problems is available at the University Health Services Occupational Health Clinic in the Tang Center. For an appointment, call 642-6891.

Health Beat is produced by University Health Services. It appears the fourth Wednesday of each month.


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail