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It can happen to you: How to end sex hunting on campus

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | March 15, 2016

Just a month ago I shared my reflections with Berkeley News on the 2015 film Spotlight and the history of the Vatican cover-ups of clerical sex abuse of young children and adolescents over the past decades. A few weeks later, Spotlight got its much-deserved Oscar for best picture of the year. Meanwhile, another Oscar contender, Lady … Continue reading »

Free college tuition would only increase inequality

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor | February 29, 2016

Free tuition at public colleges and universities — it’s a rallying cry in Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, and it sounds like an effective strategy for ensuring that the widest range of students can graduate from college without burdensome debt. But zero tuition actually runs counter to Sanders’ core principle of reducing income inequality. In this … Continue reading »

DREAMers and the future of our nation

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor | October 6, 2015

By Allison Davenport, clinical instructor, UC Berkeley School of Law; and Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor emeritus, UC Berkeley As the autumn semester begins, thousands of college students are back on campus preoccupied with class schedules, roommates, and pursuing their majors. But undocumented students at our nation’s universities are focused on more pressing concerns. Because they … Continue reading »

The campaign for real social science

Bruce Newsome, Lecturer in International Relations | September 7, 2015

Where is the science in the social sciences? In recent decades, the social sciences have been reduced to social studies. This is not just a matter of literacy. Teaching the “social sciences” as mere “social studies” is to the detriment of (ironically) society. Academic programs that call themselves “social scientific” but ignore the science inevitably … Continue reading »

UC education: Cadillac product, Chevy price

Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy | September 1, 2015

In an overheated article (“UC Fails to Hit In-State Goal on Admissions”), the San Francisco Chronicle scolds UC for appearing to decline $25 million offered by the Legislature to admit 5,000 more in-state students this year. That’s $5,000 per student which would supplement the $15,000 in tuition and fees that UC charges each student — … Continue reading »

To ensure access and excellence in our public research universities, we need a 21st century Morrill Act

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor |

At the present time, Congress and the Obama administration are addressing two important issues, the progressive deterioration of the nation’s physical infrastructure and the enormous sums of money that are being held offshore by U.S. corporations unwilling to pay federal taxes on these funds. Any repatriation of these offshore funds will inevitably involve some compromise … Continue reading »

Higher education: Should college be free for all?

Carol Christ, director, Center for Studies in Higher Education | May 23, 2015

Should college be free for all? Bernie Sanders thinks so. So did John Adams. “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people, and must be willing to bear the expense of it,” Adams argued. That belief motivated the establishment of land grant colleges, in the 1862 Morrill Act, “to promote … Continue reading »

Title IX and babies?

Mary Ann Mason, professor, Berkeley Law | December 3, 2014

This fall, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills that could greatly improve the lives of women in California higher education, and serve as models for the nation. The first, the “yes means yes” law makes  California the first in the nation to have a clear definition of when people agree to sex. The law goes further … Continue reading »

Which University?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 1, 2014

As I start this post, I hear voices on bullhorns in Sproul Plaza (ground zero for the Free Speech demonstrations 50 years ago) calling Berkeley students to walk out of classes today (Nov. 24) to protest the tuition increases approved last week by the University of California Regents for the entire ten-campus system. Many details … Continue reading »

U.C. Berkeley and the “Arts Race”

Anthony Cascardi, dean, Arts & Humanities | November 17, 2014

The New York Times recently (Nov. 16, 2014) proclaimed what many of us have long known to be true: there is an “arts race” among the nation’s elite universities. In recent years, some of the finest universities have invested large sums of money in arts facilities, in some cases remodeling existing buildings but also building … Continue reading »

What ‘Ivory Tower’ gets wrong

Nicholas Dirks, UC Berkeley Chancellor | July 23, 2014

The documentary film Ivory Tower takes on national debates about higher education and renders them as compelling dramas, stories, and scenes. Andrew Rossi, the film’s talented director, previously used similar techniques to raise probing questions about the future of print journalism in an age of digitalization in his film Page One. Now Rossi asks whether “college is … Continue reading »

Thoughts on Robert Skidelsky’s Rant Against the Current Economics Curriculum

Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong | June 18, 2014

Over at Equitable Growth: The extremely wise Robert Skidelsky has an excellent rant against Anglo-Saxon economics departments: Robert Skidesky: Knocking the scientific halo off mainstream economists’ teaching and research: “The growing discontent of economics students… …with the university curriculum…. Students at the University of Manchester advocated an approach ‘that begins with economic phenomena and then … Continue reading »

Seeking an alternative to the World Class University model

John Douglass, senior research fellow, Center for Studies in Higher Education | May 14, 2014

The concept of the World Class University is cited across the world, but it represents a paradigm that is not achievable or useful for many countries. There is a need for another paradigm – the Flagship University – a model that does not ignore international standards of excellence focused largely on research productivity, but is … Continue reading »

Well, it’s the end of Nicholas Dirks’s first semester as Berkeley Chancellor, so why not offer him some unsolicited advice?

Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong | December 11, 2013

So how is new UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks doing, anyway? As you may or may not remember, I think that the historic tasks of a UC Berkeley Chancellor today are three: two financial (with concomitant implications for the deployment of Berkeley’s resources) and the third technological. The financial tasks are: to rebalance Berkeley’s finances … Continue reading »

A Supreme Ruling: more than 41,000 winners

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | June 7, 2011

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a California judge’s ruling last year on a California state policy that treats graduates of California high schools as residents for the purposes of tuition, regardless of their immigration status. The immediate beneficiaries of their order dismissing the appeal, according to the LA Times, … Continue reading »

Women graduating

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 26, 2011

It’s the season of graduation in America and, increasingly, that means it’s the season of women, too. This year, about 3 women will get their B.A. degrees for every 2 men who do. About 50 years ago, the ratio was about 2 men to every 1 woman. In a society that treats a college degree … Continue reading »

The real economic lesson China could teach us

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | January 20, 2011

Highlighting the summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Obama is China’s agreement to buy $45 billion of American exports. The President says this will create more American jobs. That’s not exactly right. It will create more profits for American companies but relatively few new jobs. Nearly half of the deal is for two … Continue reading »