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UC Berkeley welcomes students to fall semester 2002 with new housing, seismic upgrades, fascinating classes
22 August 2002

From Media Relations

Berkeley - Fall semester 2002 is just days away at the University of California, Berkeley, where most of the 32,500 students expected to enroll - including 3,652 new freshmen, 1,702 new transfer students, and about 2,800 new graduate students - start classes Monday, Aug. 26.

This week, known as "Welcome Week," is a time for settling into residence halls and apartments, taking tours, attending new student receptions, and heading today (Thursday, Aug. 22) to Calapalooza, an annual outdoor resource fair that draws several thousand new students.

Students are discovering the best housing supply in recent years, due, in part, to a new UC Berkeley student housing complex - the first on campus since 1992 - and a larger, more affordable array of East Bay rental apartments and homes.

Also new this fall are major seismic upgrades in several classroom buildings; a bolder, brighter Campanile; and, for visually impaired students, a tactile, 3-D model of UC Berkeley to help them better navigate the campus..

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and internationally-known geologist Walter Alvarez, known for his theory that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs, are just two of the many distinguished UC Berkeley professors teaching freshmen this fall. Hass will co-teach a course that uses literature to highlight environmental issues; Alvarez's freshman seminar is on what geologic maps say about earth history.

Other notable courses include more than a few on the timely topic of war; the campus's first class taught solely on the Web; a course on the World Trade Center towers by a professor who analyzed their collapse; another in which students will print a book using a hand press from the 1800s; and a journalism class on how to report on corporate business.

The new school year also marks the 100th birthday of the Department of Economics. It has produced four Nobel Laureates - including two winners in the past two years - and sent a stream of faculty members to Washington, D.C., to serve in the federal arena. A centennial symposium will be held Nov. 8.

Campus officials expect about 23,500 new and continuing undergraduate students to register this fall, and just under 9,000 new and continuing graduate students.

An estimated 3,652 freshmen are expected to register this fall, 190 fewer than last year. This drop reflects the campus's initiative to keep enrollment within limits established under a memorandum of understanding with the City of Berkeley.

The ethnic breakdown for fall freshmen is projected to be 45.7 percent Asian American; 30.1 percent white; 11.1 percent Chicano/Latino; 4.0 percent African American; 0.4 percent American Indian; and 8.7 percent listed as "other" or who declined to state an ethnicity.

Estimates show that women will continue to represent the majority of the freshman class, though their numbers are expected to slip slightly this fall, to 53.4 percent, from 55 percent last year.

New transfer students
The number of transfer students is expected to increase from 1,671 enrolled last year to 1,702 for fall 2002. This is consistent with an agreement between the UC system and Gov. Gray Davis to increase the number of community college transfers to UC campuses.

Of the transfer students who said they intend to register, 35.8 percent are white; 33.4 percent Asian American; 12.2 percent Chicano/Latino; 4.1 percent African American; 0.9 percent American Indian; and 13.6 percent listed themselves as "other" or declined to state an ethnicity.

Women are expected to comprise 55 percent of the class, up slightly from 54.6 percent last year.

New graduate students
The approximately 2,800 new graduate students expected to enroll at UC Berkeley this fall will comprise the largest graduate student class since 1986. According to the Graduate Division, the students were accepted to UC Berkeley during the most competitive year ever for graduate student applications.

UC Berkeley saw a 23 percent increase from last year in the number of graduate school applications - from 27,338 to 33,569. This number includes applicants to the campus's business and law schools. Of the 33,569 applicants, 5,700 were admitted, and about 2,800 have indicated plans to register. Last fall, 2,615 graduate students registered.

Women are expected to comprise 47.6 percent of the new group, up slightly from 47.1 percent last fall.

More applications poured into the Haas School of Business' full-time MBA program than at any other time in its 104-year history. Of the record 4,473 applicants, the Haas School had enrolled 241 as of Tuesday (Aug. 20).

This 37 percent increase from last year is "huge, huge, huge," said Jett Pihakis, director of domestic admissions for the Haas School's full-time MBA program. Pihakis said the poor economy may best explain the surge.

For the eighth year in a row, California residents attending UC Berkeley will see no increase in their educational and registration fees for the 2002-03 academic year and only a slight increase in their student health insurance and transit fees. The two percent increase reflects the addition of dental insurance to the students' mandatory health insurance plan and a student-approved increase in transit fees to cover a bus pass, called a Class Pass, for all students.

For in-state undergraduates living in residence halls, the cost of two semesters at UC Berkeley - including educational fees, mandatory health insurance fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation - is estimated at $17,676, an increase of $750 over last year.

Compared with last year, the standard estimated budget for in-state undergraduates in residence halls is:

Fees: $4,200
Room & board: $9,747
Food: * $861
Books & supplies: $1,108
Personal: $1,156
Transportation: $604
Total: $17,676
* Beyond that included in campus meal plan

Fees: $4,088
Room & board: $9,073
Food: * $973
Books & supplies: $1,072
Personal: $1,130
Transportation: $590
Total: $16,926
* Beyond that included in campus meal plan

Many campus facilities once in dire need of seismic upgrades stand strong this fall following major capital improvements. Among them is the historic Hearst Memorial Mining Building, which will reopen by Monday (Aug. 26) after three years of massive renovation. The 95-year-old structure now is supported by base isolators to allow it to survive a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. It will house classrooms, offices and world-class research laboratories for the College of Engineering's Department of Materials Science & Engineering and for an emerging nanoscience initiative.

A rededication ceremony for the grand building, designed in 1901 by John Galen Howard, is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22.

Seismic retrofits of Latimer, Hildebrand and Barrows halls -buildings with significant classroom and lab space - and of Wurster Hall's north wing will be done in time for classes next week. An upgrade of Barker Hall will wrap up early this fall and a retrofit of Wurster's south wing by year's end.

Early next year, work will begin to demolish Stanley Hall, a seismically poor building that is home to researchers in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology. In the coming months, its occupants will be temporarily moved elsewhere on campus. A new building -the Stanley Quantitative Biosciences and Bioengineering Facility - is scheduled to open in late 2005.

Memorial Stadium also is undergoing seismic work, and sports writers covering the first football game this season won't be sitting in the 32-year-old press box, which was rated seismically very poor. In its place is a temporary box with more than 100 seats for reporters and booths for broadcasters.

The Campanile, closed for elevator and modernization work, is expected to reopen in late November. In the meantime, the landmark has been undergoing other improvements. A much brighter beacon will be installed this month at the tower's top, and brighter lighting already was added to its base. These lights bring added safety and drama to the bell tower, where carillon concerts continue despite these projects.

Campus construction noises during the past year, along with high winds, constantly interrupted attempts to record a new CD of UC Berkeley carillon music. But ultimately, "All Hail! Blue and Gold" was produced, a collaborative effort between the campus's music department and the Berkeley Historical Society. It goes on sale Sept. 1.

The dot-com bust and economic downturn, along with the construction of new campus housing, have produced the best student housing outlook in years, campus officials said. There's no waiting list for UC Berkeley's supply of 5,300 beds, and "For Rent" signs abound for private apartments and homes.

The campus's College-Durant Apartments - the first new UC Berkeley student housing complex since Cleary Hall opened in 1992 - just opened for 120 upper division and graduate students.

"This is the best I've ever seen it," said Becky White, assistant director of Faculty & Community Housing, which operates Cal Rentals, the counseling and rental referral office for students. Her office is logging 120-150 calls a day - compared to 60-80 last year - from people placing new rental ads, many for Berkeley properties.

UC Berkeley is committed to providing rooms for students, in an economic boom or bust, said Harry LeGrande, assistant vice chancellor for Residential & Student Service Programs. Four new campus residence halls and one apartment-style complex in the Southside neighborhood are scheduled for completion by 2005. They will offer safe and affordable student housing within walking distance of campus.

The campus also is building a central dining and student services office center on the east side of Bowditch Street, between Haste Street and Channing Way. Scheduled to open in late January 2003, it will be the main site for student food services at the Units 1 and 2 residence hall complexes.

The center is designed to remain operational in event of a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault and will replace two separate dining halls in Units 1 and 2 that were deemed seismically vulnerable.

Meanwhile, a dining hall that remains open in Unit 1 now features a "Deconstruction Diner" construction theme and the "Bear Market," open for quick meals until midnight.

The campus welcomes five new deans to the new school year.

Tom Campbell, a former Stanford law professor and former congressman, became dean of the Haas School of Business on Aug. 19.

Paul Ludden, a noted biochemist, begins his duties overseeing the College of Natural Resources on Sept. 1 after 21 years in the biochemistry department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Earlier this summer, W. Geoffrey Owen, professor and chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, became dean of the Biological Sciences Division in the College of Letters & Science.

Stephen Shortell, a prominent researcher in health policy and organizational behavior at UC Berkeley, will become dean of the School of Public Health on Sept. 1.

And on Sept. 1 at UC Extension, the continuing education division of the University of California, historian James E. Sherwood assumes the deanship. He most recently was associate dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Division of Continuing Studies.

Just as new classes last spring examined the aftermath of Sept. 11, the continued unfolding of terrorism in our world has spawned more than a few new classes this fall to help broaden students' understanding of violence on a mass scale.

"I really wanted to push beyond the day-to-day news coverage of that (Sept. 11) tragedy and try to offer a deeper understanding of violence on a mass scale," said Darren Zook, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, whose new course, "Selected Topics in Comparative Politics: War, Violence and Terrorism," examines acts of war and terrorism throughout history. "What drives individuals, groups, cultures and nations to commit such acts of violence? How do they justify it, and how can we evaluate, understand or condemn such justifications?"

Zook said his department is looking for a larger room for his class, since he has 150 students and 80 more on a waiting list.

"Student interest in courses on war crimes, human rights, genocide, and
tribunals has been growing considerably over the past few years," added rhetoric professor David Cohen, who is co-teaching a graduate seminar on war crime trials with Eric Stover, director of UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center.

"War Crime Trials: Pre-Trial Investigation to Judgment" will explore the inner workings of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia through the lens of eight trials and selected readings. Guests speakers have worked for or provided testimony to the tribunals.

Other war-related courses this fall include:

* "War and Peace in the 20th and 21st Centuries," an upper division history class that includes an exploration of the Sept. 11 attacks and U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

* "Covering Terrorism," a Freshman Seminar about reporters' efforts to cover terrorism amid increased obstacles to obtaining information and heightened personal risks.

* "The War on Terrorism: The West, Islam and the Arab World," a journalism class taught by Arab reporter Lamis Andoni on how the "War on Terrorism" affects media coverage of conflicts, wars and the relationship between the United States and Arabs and Muslims.

* "Understanding Genocide," a Freshman Seminar that will look at national and international legal responses to threats to peace and security.

* "The Cinema of War," a film studies class, will explore American war movies set during World War II and the Vietnam War. Students will examine the representation of combat and how film-makers may have been influenced by reporting, photojournalism, TV or documentary projects.


"Gems and Gem Materials," a new undergraduate class this fall, is the first on campus to be taught solely through the Web. Faculty members are anxious to hear what students think of the course created by Jill Banfield, a professor of earth and planetary sciences.

All the materials - from text and video demonstrations to quizzes - will be accessible through the Web at Banfield and her teaching assistant will offer face-to-face contact with students during office hours, and students' presence is required in class for midterms and final exams. But the primary interaction between student and instructor will be via e-mail.

"In this day and age, most students will not come to class if there is a reasonable option in the course," said Banfield. "Online courses offer a good opportunity for students who are not scientifically inclined or want to learn at their own pace."

"We haven't been very aggressive in promoting online courses, so Jill's offer to teach the gems course caught us by surprise. This is a wake-up call for many people," said physics professor Robert Jacobsen, who was on a small subcommittee of UC Berkeley's Academic Senate that reviewed the course materials and gave its approval for a test drive.

Nearly one year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, students at UC Berkeley will begin a detailed look at how the landmark World Trade Center towers were designed and built in a new Freshman Seminar, "World Trade Center: Design, Construction and September 11 Events." Freshman Seminars, taught by some of the campus's most distinguished scholars, are special courses for no more than 15 freshmen.

This seminar will be taught by Abolhassan Astaneh, professor of civil engineering at UC Berkeley and one of only two engineers awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to study first-hand the collapse of the towers. It will touch upon various designs and techniques that can improve a building's seismic safety and bomb-resistance.

"The World Trade Center towers were remarkably resilient for having been hit by Boeing 767s, but the intense, jet-fueled fires ultimately led to the collapse," said Astaneh. "We'll look at how changes in fire-proofing codes at the time affected the towers' ability to withstand the flames that ensued after the planes hit."

Discussion also will include the role legislation and politics play in the construction of monumental buildings.

Class guests may include speakers from the Safe Skyscraper Coalition, a group formed by the families of the World Trade Center victims; a person who escaped from the towers; and engineers from the firm that designed the structure of the towers.

More information about the course is at

We've read that eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat is the best way to lose weight, but we've also heard the opposite is true. We've been told to drink eight glasses of water a day, but some doctors now question that advice. The list goes on.

"Nutrition in the News," one of this fall's Freshman Seminars, will help students make sense of conflicting news articles about various nutrition or diet regimens.

Nancy Hudson, a lecturer in the Department of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology in the College of Natural Resources, will use news clips from around the country in class as well as a local newspaper's weekly food section. "Our goal is to develop critical reading skills," she said. "We'll be looking at what is being said in these articles and discuss whether or not it would be worthwhile to change our eating and drinking habits based upon the facts presented."

The feared, revered and quickly annihilated California grizzly, which lives on today as the state animal, will be saluted in "Bear in Mind," a new exhibit of nearly 100 objects to be displayed Aug. 26-Nov. 27 at The Bancroft Library.

Among items in the exhibit chronicling the brief history of the bear will be diaries detailing the pre-Gold Rush slaughter of grizzlies; the original manuscript of Theodore Hittell's "The Adventures of John Capen," also known as "Grizzly Adams;" and a map and journal detailing grizzly sightings in Berkeley.

The California grizzly also "serves as a fitting microcosm for the study of California history from the 1700s to the present," said Charles B. Faulhaber, the James D. Hart director of The Bancroft Library.

"Through the lens of time, one can view the brutality, ignorance, romance, guilt and 'redefinition' that characterize our treatment of this icon of California history."

Recent financial scandals, the latest in a long line, underscore the need for reporters to keep close tabs on business, said Molly Williams, a former Wall Street Journal reporter teaching "Business Watchdogs," a new class at the Graduate School of Journalism.

Williams, who once covered Intel, Hewlett-Packard and other technology companies from the newspaper's San Francisco bureau, will coach students on how to read company financial statements and balance sheets, decipher basic accounting and better understand the complex facets of corporate business coverage.

"It's crucial for reporters to understand financial journalism and how to cover companies," she said. "These stories are no longer relegated to the business pages, and they impact every aspect of readers' lives."

Guest speakers will include reporters who covered the Enron scandal for major newspapers, and each student will study one company through its public announcements, financial reporting, government filings, interviews and media coverage.

This fall, students in "The Hand-Printed Book in its Historical Context" class at The Bancroft Library will set metal type by hand and print a small book using the library's Albion hand press, manufactured in London in the mid-1800s. They will draw text from the rich collections of the library's unpublished material.

Instructor Les Ferris said he does discuss digital typesetting and printing with his students. "But I don't think the printed book is going to disappear any time soon," he said. "The codex (the bound book) is a wonderful container for information: simple, portable, inexpensive. Flip through the pages. No scrolling. No crashes. And the book, at its best, aspires to and attains the state of art."

This fall, visually impaired students have a new navigational tool: a 3-D, tactile model of UC Berkeley in the lobby of the campus's Disabled Students Program.

The model replicates campus terrain, architecture and landscaping, including pathways, sidewalks, fences and even Strawberry Creek. What distinguishes it from traditional models is the use of textures and Braille. Two small rods, for example, indicate crosswalks; smooth wires mean pathways; a rough surface marks a paved street; saw-toothed edging stands for fencing; a gritty, sand-like substance indicates building entrances.

The model also will assist students with mobility issues. Students with cerebral palsy or chronic fatigue syndrome, or those who use wheelchairs, can use the model to see the terrain of the campus and choose the best route to their destination.

Earth and planetary science professor George Brimhall designed the model with staff research associate Abel Vanegas and several students in the Earth Resources Center Digital Mapping Lab. Equipped with portable pen tablet computers and global-positioning units mounted in special vests, the students walked every inch of the campus to map its terrain. It took nearly two months to plot every nook and cranny.

Little about the course title, "Introduction to Environmental Studies," makes it stand out. It's the instructors and required reading that reveal a fresh approach to studying today's global environmental issues - through a combination of science and the humanities.

Garrison Sposito, professor of environmental science, policy and management in the College of Natural Resources, and Robert Hass, professor of English and former U.S. poet laureate (1995-1997), are co-teaching the freshman course. In addition to the behavior of ecosystems, students will learn how the California landscape inspired writers from John Muir to Jack London to Joan Didion.

"We're providing a seamless survey of environmental studies within the context of literary analysis with the goal of leading students towards responsible environmental stewardship," said Sposito. "In the real world, everything is connected, so it makes sense to have a class that is integrative rather than compartmentalized."

The course, taught twice before, in 1998 and 1999, returns this fall with material from Natural State, a literary anthology of California nature writing, poetry ranging from Horace to Gary Snyder, and essays on a variety of environmental dilemmas.

"We will read an essay by John Muir in which he sees a big Sierra storm coming, climbs up and lashes himself to a pine tree in order to experience the full force of the wind and rain," said Hass. "We are seeing the natural world through a unique lens, and that makes students more alive to and more analytic about how they feel about the natural world."