NEWS RELEASE, 8/21/97
Fall classes at UC Berkeley get underway on Aug. 25 with new chancellor on board
Berkeley -- The fall '97 school year officially gets under way at the University of California at Berkeley when classes begin Monday, Aug. 25. Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl, who has been welcoming new students as they move in, starts the year as the campus's eighth chancellor.
The total number of students expected to enroll for fall '97 is 29,975, with 21,525 undergraduates and 8,450 graduate students.
As usual, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley's law school, began classes Monday, a week ahead of the rest of the campus.
For the first time since World War II, the entering class has a majority of women. Some 50.7 percent of the freshmen and transfer students this year are female, making it the first non-war year in the university's history that women have outnumbered men.
The greater percentage of women reflects a national trend in higher education and is probably not a chance happening, said Gregg Thomson, director of the Office of Student Research, which analyzed applicant data on students who said they would register this fall.
"I think the trend toward more women will continue," said Thomson. He said small liberal arts colleges have shown a decisive trend toward more women for several years, adding that the male majority at UC Berkeley and other large public universities has often been traced to the size of schools of engineering which are traditionally male.
In other fields, however, more women than men are seeking college degrees at a national level, and at UC Berkeley in the past few years, a higher percentage of women have graduated.
It used to be that graduation rates for men were higher, said Thomson.
Again this year, as in recent years, the mean high school grade-point-average for freshmen climbed above straight A, reaching the lofty height of 4.10. The average SAT score of more than 1,300 points is also the highest ever.
The cost of undergraduate fees for California residents this year is holding steady for the third year in a row. State residents will pay $4,354 for the year, including health insurance. The cost of out-of-state tuition and fees is $13,338 for the year, including health insurance. That's an increase of $590 from last year.
Those enrolling in professional schools, however, are seeing a sizable increase. Newly enrolled law and business students will pay $6,000 per year above the basic fees and tuition; new optometry students will pay an additional $3,000.
FINANCIAL AID IMPROVES
Students will begin to benefit this year from the campus's efforts to raise scholarship money. For the first year in many, expectations concerning how much money a student is expected to earn and borrow will decline.
Last year, undergraduates were expected to contribute from $6,100 to $6,650 toward their total yearly budget, including fees and living expenses. This year, they are expected to earn and borrow between $6,100 and $6,400. Self-help expectations for independent students who do not have a parental contribution have been lowered from $7,900 to $7,000.
The lowered expectations indicate that more support is coming from other sources, including donations to the university and a $300 increase in the amount of federal Pell Grants, up from $2,400 per year.
"It's good news that self-help expectations have been reduced for most students," said Financial Aid Director Richard Black. "We are making good progress. Gifts, bequests and endowments are working."
Black added that increased grant aid from the federal government has also made a difference for students this year.
Several high-profile building projects may inconvenience new and returning students this fall, but all promise much improved facilities down the road.
The most obvious is the expansion of the old Harmon Gymnasium into a larger basketball arena. Financed solely with private funds, the new $42 million Haas Pavilion will nearly double seating from 11,000 to 12,000.
In the center of campus, Memorial Glade will begin to look like a real glade thanks to $700,000 in gifts from the classes of '45, '46 and '47. The centerpiece will be a memorial pool in memory of members of the campus community who lost their lives in World War II. The project will re-establish the missing link in the series of "outdoor rooms" that comprise the Central Glade corridor from Oxford Street on the west to Gayley Road on the east.
Ongoing seismic repairs on the main library early in the fall semester will force the temporary relocation of several Doe Library services.
Meanwhile on the north side of campus, McCone Hall is receiving a long-overdue seismic upgrade along with renovation of space allotted to several departments, including geography, geology and the Seismographic Station. Seismic work is also set to start around the end of summer on the Dance Facility at 2401 Bancroft Way. The former First Unitarian Church was built in 1898 and is a registered historic landmark.
The humanities will move into new office space in January after completion of an $11.5 million renovation and expansion of Dwinelle Hall. The project provides two extra floors plus state-of-the-art computer communication.
Unseen but vitally important to the university, the campus's communications network as a whole will be getting upgraded with construction of new underground conduits for fiber optic and copper cables. The upgrade will take several years to cover the entire campus, but in the end will provide greater capacity for telecommunications.
A Freshman's Weightiest Issue
You're a freshman and your scale shows you've gained the legendary "freshman 15" pounds. What to do? Enroll in UC Berkeley's "Nutritional Sciences 24: The Freshman Experience." Taught by nutrition expert George Chang. "We tackle questions freshmen will be wrestling with until the end of time," he said. His dietary advice? Get some perspective. "In America, freshmen, especially women, think they should be a lot thinner than they should be."
(Contact: Kathleen Scalise, (510) 643-7741.)
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This fall a student "term paper" may not be a paper anymore. Multimedia projects presented on computer are starting to one-up the classic term paper, not to mention senior thesis or doctoral dissertation. The first UC Berkeley multimedia dissertation was pioneered last semester, on the topic of women in art history. "To me this implies a whole range of possibilities since students can include textual material along with other forms of media," said Gary Handman, head of UC Berkeley's Media Resources Center. But every innovation has a downside and in this case the price to pay is time, since multimedia development takes a lot of it, compared to typing a paper, said Handman.
(Contact: Gary Handman, (510) 643-8566, or email, email@example.com)
First Students Enter Information School
The new School of Information Management and Systems, created by UC Regents in 1995 to replace UC Berkeley's former School of Library and Information Studies, opens its door to students this fall for the first time. The mission of the school is to turn out graduates skilled in locating, organizing, manipulating, filtering and presenting information. A total of 40 students -- 31 for the master's program and nine for the PhD are expected. Most completed their bachelor's degree in the social sciences or humanities and ultimately hope to work in information systems, digital library or library projects. "We're delighted to see such a diverse, intelligent and highly motivated group of people as the first entering class," said Hal Varian, dean of the school.
(Contact: Hal Varian 510 642-9980, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A new course this fall explores parallels between the treatment of gays today and the treatment of early Christians by the Romans. According to Ralph Hexter, a professor of classics and comparative literature, students in the seminar will find many similarities and differences between the two periods. For example, Christians in the Roman army faced prejudice similar to that suffered by lesbians and gays in the U.S. military. Both groups faced charges of moral decadence, sexual promiscuity and lack of patriotism, while individuals in both situations faced the choice of passing or coming out. Hexter teaches ancient and medieval literature and culture, with some of his most recent work focusing on emerging sexual subjectivities and identities in late medieval Europe.
(Contact: Ralph Hexter at (510) 643-2443)
Fall '97 at a Glance:
-- Total number of students expected to enroll for fall 97: 29,975
-- Number of new freshmen: 3,520
-- Number of new transfer students: 1,730
-- Number of undergraduates: 21,525
-- Number of graduate students: 8,450
--Cost of fees for California residents: $4,354 for the year, including health insurance (no change from last year).
--Cost of out-of-state tuition and fees: $13,338 for the year, including health insurance (up by $590 from last year).
--Additional cost, above fees and tuition, of professional schools for newly enrolled students: law and business, $6,000 per year; optometry, $3,000.
-- The cost of campus housing with 14 meals a week ranges from $6,660 a year in a triple room to $9,240 in a single room suite.
Ethnicity of new freshmen (based on statements of intent to register):
African American, 7.3 percent
American Indian, 0.7 percent
Asian American, 40.4 percent
Chicano, 11.2 percent
Latino, 2.3 percent
White, 28.2 percent
Other, 2.1 percent
Not given, 5.3 percent
Foreign, 2.5 percent
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