A higher ed dispatch from UC Berkeley

Matt Krupnick, our higher education reporter, tells us about the entering class at UC Berkeley, from the chancellor’s point of view, on the first day of classes.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert BirgeneauA variety of media types gathered at UC Berkeley today – the first day of classes – to get Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s annual take on the university’s state of affairs. It was his seventh such briefing, if my math is correct, and mine as well.

While Birgeneau previously used this event to announce news, they have become more wide-ranging in recent years. He provides a look at the entering class and updates on other items of interest.

The 2010 version featured a lot of discussion about minority and low-income students. Berkeley, always known for its allegiance to the poor, enrolled a record number of low-income freshmen this year, Birgeneau said. More than one-third of the entering class of 5,000 freshmen – 37 percent – is eligible for the federal Pell Grant, a need-based scholarship.

But Birgeneau also mentioned his concern about the low number of underrepresented minority students. Just 3.2 percent of the class of 2014 is black, while 12.2 percent are Latino, 31 percent are white and 45.6 percent are Asian-American.

Additional income from the growing number of out-of-state and international students, who pay higher fees, will help UC Berkeley recruit more California minorities, he said.

The chancellor also talked about his concern for undocumented-immigrant students, who are unable to get state or federal aid for college. Birgeneau was scheduled to meet with a group of those students this afternoon, and he said he is working “as a private citizen” with an advocacy group on that issue.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Hot R

    I thought the University cancelled outreach programs designed to recruit worthy minorities while raising all their fees. Thus it should not be a surprise to the Chancellor that African-American and Latino admissions are down. Now they say they are admitting more lower income students (presumably Asian since they are not Latino or African-American) eligible for Pell Grants and will pay for new outreach efforts by using fees from out-of-state and foreign students (although it is an open secret that the majority of the “international” students are also Asian). But what he is not saying is that some group is NOT getting admitted in as great numbers as before. Which group would that be?

  • Nextset

    Berkeley has a long history of admitting unqualified minorities especially blacks for political reasons knowing full well they will flunk out. The administration by experience knows exactly what student profile will graduate within 6 years and which profile will drop out in one or two years.

    By missmatching the student to the campus they take someone who is more likely to actually graduate from a less competitive college such as a State University (or a HBC) and place that person in danger by enrolling them at UC. They do this for their own political reasons will little regard for the damage they inflict on the missmatched students.

    The minority recruitment consists of taking the middling students from the middling colleges and placing them where they are highly likely to fail. There are only so many minority students who can handle the competition in a national university like UC. It is wrong to go outside of that group and bring in unqualified students doomed to fail. Simply put it’s wrong to populate UC with black students whose SAT scores are a fraction of the UC average. That’s not fair to the black students or the white and asian students.

    The black drop rate was 8 out of 9 or something like that last I heard, anyone have the current stats? And then you have the issue of people graduating in “black studies” or some such non-subject becoming unemployable with high, non-dischargable student loans.

    I have no sympathy for these pious white administrators complaining about their “problems” with the race stats. They make things much worse for the black students with their admissions policies. They’d do better by eliminating all the AA nonsense as the law requires. The problems would better sort themselves with openness and fair treatment of all the students.

  • Transparency

    public universities are into a phase of creative disassembly where reinvention and adjustments are constant. Even solid world class institutions like the University of California Berkeley under the leadership of Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer are firing staff, faculty and part-time lecturers through “Operation Excellence (OE)”. Yet many employees, professionals and faculty cling to old assumptions about one of the most critical relationship of all: the implied, unwritten contract between employer and employee.
    Until recently, loyalty was the cornerstone of that relationship. Employers promised work security and a steady progress up the hierarchy in return for employees fitting in, accepting lower wages, performing in prescribed ways and sticking around. Longevity was a sign of employer-employee relations; turnover was a sign of dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply today. Organizations can no longer guarantee employment and lifetime careers, even if they want to. UC Berkeley senior management paralyzed themselves with an attachment to “success brings success’ rather than “success brings failure’ and are now forced to break the implied contract with employees – a contract nurtured by management that the future can be controlled.
    Jettisoned Cal employees are finding that the hard won knowledge, skills and capabilities earned while being loyal are no longer valuable in the employment market place.
    What kind of a contract can employers and employees make with each other? The central idea is both simple and powerful: the job or position is a shared situation. Employers and employees face market and financial conditions together, and the longevity of the partnership depends on how well the for-profit or not-for-profit continues to meet the needs of customers and constituencies. Neither employer nor employee has a future obligation to the other. Organizations train people. Employees develop the kind of security they really need – skills, knowledge and capabilities that enhance future employability.
    The partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor

  • http://Moravecglobal.com Transparency

    Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudoff. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, & new knowledge”.
    Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world – lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
    The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
    There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
    Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.

  • http://Moravecglobal.com Transparency

    Cal Senator DeSaulnier refutes published figures on decline of Lation student enrollment UC Berkeley 2010. Senator says correct figure is -0.4% decline in enrollment. Senator not concerned about decline: no need to do anything! Contact senator 916 651 4007 925 942 6082
    Paa it on!

  • http://Moravecglobal.com Transparency

    # 5 letter from Senator dated Sept 9