UC Berkeley News


News Briefs

07 December 2006

Berkeleyan returns in early January

This is the Berkeleyan's final issue for 2006; we resume publication on Jan. 11. Until then, look for campus news updates on the online NewsCenter, newscenter.berkeley.edu.

New 'Bear in Mind' webcast highlights athletes and athletics

Chancellor Birgeneau's occasional webcast focusing on campus issues returns in December with an episode devoted to athletics, particularly as it relates to academics at Berkeley. In this installment's three segments, the chancellor interviews Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, a trio of student-athletes, and three campus figures who play a significant role in structuring academic support for Cal's athletes.

Formerly streamed only to those with RealAudio software, "Bear in Mind" can now be viewed on Google Video, which eliminates the need for special software; it is also available as a podcast feed in MP3 format. Viewers can watch or listen to the entire edition or to individual segments. The segments are also transcribed, for those who prefer to read rather than listen.

Visit newscenter.berkeley.edu/chancellor/bim/index.shtml to access the program.

Energy curtailment

The campus's annual end-of-year energy curtailment - when heat is turned off in most facilities and employees are encouraged to take a break from work - will occur this year between Monday, Dec. 25, and Monday, Jan. 1. Four of those days (Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 25 and 26; Friday, Dec. 29; and Monday, Jan. 1) are paid holidays; Wednesday, Dec. 28, and Thursday, Dec. 29, are not. For a detailed CalMail message on the energy curtailment, including employees' options for leave, alternative work schedules, or reporting to work on Dec. 28 and 29, visit newscenter.berkeley.edu/goto/curtailment. For a list of buildings affected by the energy curtailment, see physicalplant.berkeley.edu/grams/annc_curtailment_2006.asp.

Where travel warnings are in effect, campus suspends courses

The campus is adopting a new policy regarding courses that it offers in foreign countries. Specifically, it will not offer courses of instruction in any country where a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is in effect. The new policy applies to courses year-round, including those offered by Summer Sessions and University Extension.

A Q&A providing detail on the new restrictions is available on the website of the executive vice-chancellor and provost (evcp.chance.berkeley.edu/).

Staff group seeks holiday donations for local Native community

The campus's Native American Staff Council is coordinating a toy, coat, and food drive for members of the Bay Area Native community. Donations of unwrapped toys (for infants to teenagers), coats (for youth, single parents, and elderly), and canned goods will be distributed at a Christmas party at Oakland's Intertribal Friendship House. Drop off donations through Monday, Dec. 18, at 598 Barrows (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.) For information, contact Carmen Foghorn at 642-3228 or carmenf@berkeley.edu.

CITRIS symposium to showcase new energy technologies and markets

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) will host "CITRIS Symposium 2006: Engineering a Better World," from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14. The event will feature presentations on emerging energy technologies and new markets for IT, as well as students' interactive demonstrations and exhibits on innovative CITRIS projects. Discussion panelists include Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Vice Chancellor for Research Beth Burnside, Engineering Dean Richard Newton, CITRIS Director Shakar Sastry; Professors Arun Majumdar and Eric Brewer; David Tennenhouse, vice president of A9.com; and Berkeley students. To register, e-mail CITRIS_RSVP@coe.berkeley.edu.

Nominations due Feb. 20 for 2007-08 Regents' Professorships

UC's Regents' Professorships and Lectureships Program each year brings to the University distinguished persons whose careers in arts, letters, sciences, or business have been substantially outside the academic profession. To identify potential recipients, faculty members typically suggest names of potential recipients to department chairs or deans, who in turn submit formal nominations for consideration. For the 2007-08 cycle the deadline for nominations (and all supporting letters) is Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007. Details are at vpaafw.chance.berkeley.edu/regents_professor.html.

An optimistic view of public research universities' competitiveness

Administrators of large public research universities who worry about the growing disparities between their institutions and the top private U.S. research universities - in endowment growth, salaries for top academics, and a range of other competitive factors - overlook the many ways in which they outcompete the privates. So writes UC Riverside sociologist Steven Brint in a new paper published by the campus Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), "Can Public Universities Compete?" The key factor, says Brint, is size, particularly when it comes to enrollment. Having more students allows the publics "to operate more programs, field larger faculties, and generally win more research funds as well..They also produce more total research than private universities." And, as will not surprise the many at Berkeley who participate in interdisciplinary research, the large publics "can put together teams in important new areas of research without expending scarce capital to build new programs more or less from scratch."

The paper, one in CSHE's Research and Occasional Papers Series, is online at cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/papers/papers.html.

Boalt profs weigh in on K-12 integration case now before Supreme Court

In the pair of high-profile K-12 school-integration cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court, Law School Dean Christopher Edley Jr. and Assistant Professor Goodwin Liu have filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 19 former UC chancellors. Their brief urges the justices to affirm voluntary efforts by local school boards to achieve racial integration in K-12 public schools. The high court heard arguments Dec. 4 on the two cases, challenging policies in Seattle, Wash., and Jefferson County, Ky., that use race as one factor in school assignments; both policies were upheld by the lower federal courts.

In their amicus brief, Edley and Liu represent former chancellors from all 10 UC campuses, including former Berkeley chancellors Berdahl, Bowker, and Heyman. Liu says the pending cases offer a "chance for the court to affirm . fundamental aspirations of integration and equality" established by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The ruling of the newly configured Supreme Court on this pair of cases could have broad effects on hundreds of school districts across the nation. The brief is online at law.berkeley.edu/news/2006/Seattle-Louisville_amicusbrief.pdf.

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