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CALS Project Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

By Al Averbach, UCOP California Policy Research Center
Posted January 13, 1999

In a tribute to the dedication and accomplishments of its learners and tutors, and to the departments that support them, the CALS Project celebrated its fifth anniversary Dec. 8 with a party in the Lipman Room, Barrows Hall. About 120 people attended.

Unique among campus's staff education programs, the CALS (Cal Literacy and Skills) Project pairs volunteer tutors and learners from across the campus to build communication and other workplace skills that will enhance the contributions and self-confidence of the learners while also advancing the work of their departments.

First-year tutor and emcee Mark Gotvald, an adviser in the College of Letters & Science, spoke for many when he thanked the program for the opportunity to contribute to building a sense of community on campus by enhancing the career-building skills of other employees. The program has now served learners in 82 departments, and has attracted 335 tutor-learner pairs.

Reading and language instruction in English as a first or second language is the fundamental work of the program, but deciphering American culture and comparing different cultures is a close second. Many learners and tutors, as well as speakers, commented on the appreciation for diversity and the mutual education that result.

This theme surfaces repeatedly in "Reaching Out, Reaching Up," a collection of anecdotes and reflections from CALS participants that was distributed at the party.

In giving his tribute, Chancellor Berdahl complimented and thanked the program for exemplifying the "transformative power" of the university through the one-to-one teaching encounters of tutors and learners, providing each with "new perspectives and abilities."

Pat Lavelle, manager of Employee Development & Training (EDT), observed that the CALS Project succeeds because it is learner-centered: "Adults learn best when their learning activities are self-initiated, when learning can be self-paced, and when the subject matter is timely and linked directly to what they need to know."

The CALS Project is sponsored by EDT in Human Resources, and provides classes, consultation and resources to support tutor/learner pairs.

"This program is solid evidence that people on campus do care," CALS Project Coordinator Jane Griswold told the gathered tutors and learners. "They care about being the best they can be, and they care about other people."

A brown bag informational session for potential learners, tutors and others will be held Tuesday, Jan. 26 at noon in 24 University Hall. For information call 643-5280 or email


January 13 - 19, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 19)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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