Tidal Wave II

Viewpoint: Alter the mindset: see campus in regional context

By Robert C. Spear, Chairman of the Academic Senate
Posted 26 Jan 2000

The notion of increasing enrollment at Berkeley by roughly 10 percent over the coming decade is not initially an appealing idea, whether you are faculty, staff, student or Berkeley resident.

Providing classroom and research space is already a challenge in the face of seismic reality; current students have great difficulty in finding adequate housing; the staff is stretched thin; and the concerns of Berkeley residents over current adjustments in our facilities at the margins are a matter of daily news.

On the other hand, Berkeley is an integral part of the greatest system of public tertiary education in the world, and we share the university's longstanding commitment to provide a quality education to the best of California's high school graduates. So the question is not if we should accept our fair share of Tidal Wave II, but how to do so without compromising the quality of the educational experience for the students nor the quality of life for the rest of us.

Put more positively, the issue is how to turn obligation into opportunity for us all. This is not a challenge that will be solved by any part of our community acting independently, but in little pieces welded into a coherent whole by the goodwill and cooperation of many constituencies.

There is a great deal of planning and thought going into these issues on the part of the campus administration. The faculty is only now beginning to ponder the implications at the level of departments and schools. I believe these efforts will be significantly aided if we can alter our traditional mindset that the Berkeley experience occurs between Bancroft and Hearst and Oxford and Gayley Road. While that will always be the heart of our campus, we need to think of Berkeley operationally -- as well as intellectually -- as a national and international enterprise. Certainly we need to think of our physical presence in a regional rather than local context.

An invigorated and expanded education abroad program, new opportunities for students in San Francisco, and a re-evaluation of the utilization of our space and facilities at a different spatial and temporal scale are examples of options being considered. The situation definitely calls for creativity and innovation, as well as cooperation and collaboration, as we cope with this new challenge.

return to main Tidal Wave II page

Produced by the staff of the Berkeleyan in the Office of Public Affairs. Questions or comments? E-mail berkeleyan@berkeley.edu.
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.