UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Heading back to school

– The University of California, Berkeley, shifts back into high gear today (Monday, Aug. 28) as fall 2006 classes begin, thousands of new students navigate the transition to life at a top-ranking campus and plans get under way to enhance diversity and inclusion among faculty, students and staff.

More than 33,000 students are expected for the fall 2006 semester, including 4,235 freshmen, 2,015 new transfer students and 2,775 new graduate students. Overall, enrollment is up slightly from last year, with several positive trends continuing.

For the third straight year, first-generation college goers in the freshman class have increased, rising from 16.5 percent of the class in 2005 to 19 percent this year. Meanwhile, women comprise 55 percent of the class, the same as in fall 2005. Ethnically, the new freshman class is projected to be 47 percent Asian-American; 30 percent Caucasian; 12 percent Chicano/Latino; 3.4 percent African-American, and 0.5 percent Native American, with the remainder declining to report ethnic status or checking "other."

Overall, new freshman and transfer students represent 44 states and 40 countries. The youngest incoming undergraduate is 15, and the oldest is 72.

After Labor Day, a national search begins to fill a newly established position at UC Berkeley, a vice chancellor for equity and inclusion. The high-level administrative post will be charged with working to enhance access, climate and inclusion in all areas of campus life. And, under the new Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative, funding will be provided for new faculty positions to study inequities in urban public schools, the root causes of health disparities among diverse populations, and diversity and democracy.

Back-to-school story tips:

Two UC Berkeley professors opt to live in student housing

Not too many college professors would jump at the chance to live in on-campus student housing. But UC Berkeley now has two faculty members living in residence halls. Associate professor and food microbiologist George Chang is entering his second year with the faculty-in-residence program, which grew out of a campus-wide effort to bridge the social gap between students and educators. He's been teaching Tai Chi and motivating students to read newspapers - his project is called "Papers with the Prof" - among other activities. "I'm having the time of my life," said Chang, 64, who grew up in New Mexico and has been on UC Berkeley's faculty since 1970. He lives in a three-bedroom apartment at Towle Hall with his wife, Abby Jang. He's arranging to extend his two-year appointment in the program.

And this semester, Duncan Ryuken Williams, a new UC Berkeley professor of Buddhist and East Asia studies, will move into an apartment in Slottman Hall. He'll offer mentoring, informal chats and "Tennis with the Prof" one evening a week. Williams, 37, certainly has the credentials: He arrived in the United States as an international student from Japan when he was just 17. He says he really benefited from his informal interactions with faculty members while he was an undergraduate at Reed College in Oregon and a graduate student at Harvard University. "I think that having an approachable adult presence in the residential units can be very helpful for students," Williams said. "It also helps us professors understand the rhythms of student life, whether it be athletics, party nights or when students tend to put forth most effort in their studies."

For more information, visit: http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/student/osd_resfac.html.
Duncan Ryuken Williams can be reached at duncanw@berkeley.edu, and George Chang can be reached at (510) 664-0924 or gwchang@berkeley.edu

Faculty dine out with students

A freshman seminar program called "Food for Thought" is catching on with faculty. Under the plan, faculty who teach freshman seminars register to receive free meal cards to take students out to campus dining facilities. This allows class discussions to continue in more casual surroundings.

"I am joining the program because it is an effective and interesting way to get to know students outside of the classroom," said UC Berkeley music professor John Thow. "Conversations can become less structured and more spontaneous."

Sam Haber, a professor emeritus of history, uses the gatherings to find out more about his students and their goals, including their choice of majors and career ambitions. "Such questions are more easily discussed in the informal atmosphere of taking a meal together," he said.

To learn more about the program contact Troy Gilbert, acting director of Residential & Academic Programs, at (510) 643-9843 or troyg@berkeley.edu

UC Berkeley gets greener and greener

Expanding upon their award-winning, eco-friendly "green" room in Putnam Hall, students will unveil a two-bedroom "Green Apartment" next month at the campus's Channing-Bowditch student housing complex. The room, which received an Environmental Achievement Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is outfitted with recycled-content materials, energy-saving appliances and environmentally sensitive products

In addition, Cal Dining launched the nation's first organic certified kitchen on a college campus in April, rolling out a 100 percent organic salad bar at the Crossroads dining commons. Following on this success, two other dining commons, Clark Kerr and Foothill, were certified organic this August and will be offering organic salad bars starting this fall.

Meanwhile, Nathan Brostrom, vice chancellor of administration, has instructed his Business and Administrative Services division, the largest provider of services to campus staff and a significant provider of services to UC Berkeley students, to use only printer and copier paper that includes at least 30 percent recycled content. "We will spare 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of energy for every 20 cases of (recycled-content) paper," according to Brostrom.

To support these efforts, UC Berkeley will host a green products fair for vendors to showcase their wares. The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Vendor Fair will be held Oct. 30, 11-2 p.m., in the Pauley Ballroom, MLK Jr. Student Union. For more information, contact Lisa Bauer, UC Berkeley manager of campus recycling and refuse services, at (510) 643-4612 or lisabauer@berkeley.edu.

New 'Loop' service helps students with disabilities navigate the campus

UC Berkeley students with physical disabilities, including temporary injuries such as a broken leg, will have an easier time getting to classes this fall thanks to a new transportation service. "The Loop" will provide individualized golf cart service to help students with disabilities get around the hilly main campus from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., weekdays. For more about The Loop, visit: http://loop.berkeley.edu.

Police party patrols are cracking down on alcohol problems

UC Police Department (UCPD) is using party patrols and decoy operations to crack down on underage drinking and other alcohol-related crimes and nuisances. The effort is made possible by a $40,000 grant from the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, and coincides with back-to-school parties and Greek Life recruitment events. In a party patrol, campus police coordinate with Berkeley city police to track down alcohol-related problems, particularly during evenings when the likelihood of partying and heavy drinking is high. For more information, contact UCPD Lt. Doug Wing at (510) 642-0799.