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A time to reflect and move forward together

Carol Christ, Chancellor | September 28, 2017

The past several weeks have been trying ones for Berkeley. In demonstrating our firm commitment to the free speech protections of the First Amendment, this week we have seen speakers come to campus who brought with them ideas that run counter to our Principles of Community and to our belief in the fundamental value of every individual … Continue reading »

Retirement by fiat

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor |

“Farewell Angelina, the sky is on fire and I must be gone.” Now that my fete/festschrift is over, my colleagues here and abroad have posed the obvious question: Why in the world did you retire? But I had threatened to do so for many years. Once in the late 1980s I filed papers for early retirement … Continue reading »

The false media focus on violence: If it bleeds it still leads

Jen Schradie, research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | September 7, 2017

On Sunday, August 27, in downtown Berkeley, I witnessed thousands of protesters raising their voices against a planned white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” rally. In my decades as a documentary filmmaker of activism and now an academic studying movements and media, it was one of the most positive, diverse and unifying gatherings I ever experienced. While … Continue reading »

Free speech is who we are

Carol Christ, Chancellor | August 23, 2017

This fall, the issue of free speech will once more engage our community in powerful and complex ways. Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense. The law is very clear: Public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus … Continue reading »

Back to school, and my priorities

Carol Christ, Chancellor | August 15, 2017

The beginning of the school year is always a magical time for me — a blank sheet of paper, the first page of a novel. You feel the excitement of all the beginnings that surround you — new students embarking on their college or graduate school years, new faculty beginning their Berkeley careers. It was … Continue reading »

My thoughts on Charlottesville

Carol Christ, Chancellor | August 14, 2017

I, like so many of you, am horrified by what occurred in Virginia over the weekend. Today, I join with millions of others to condemn the reprehensible acts of the racist groups that brought violence and mayhem to Charlottesville and to the University of Virginia campus. We must now come together to oppose what are … Continue reading »

110/111: Football, CTE and risk-taking

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | August 1, 2017

Human beings, like other animals, take risks because in some situations it pays off. We have evolved to value and perhaps even enjoy risk-taking.  My brother-in-law was a famous climber.  A mountain in Antarctica, “Clinch Peak,” honors his name.  Several of his close friends died in climbing accidents. In conversation Nick Clinch would admit that … Continue reading »


Carol Christ, Chancellor | July 5, 2017

I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys as I begin my time as chancellor. I still vividly remember the first journey I took to California—across the country by car, the first time I had been west of Philadelphia—to begin my faculty appointment here. It was then, in those first months of teaching, that I fell … Continue reading »

American history: beyond a selective remembrance

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society |

Yesterday on the Fourth of July, many celebrated U.S. history, or at least part of it, while others were thinking about the many parts we are inclined to ignore. We are a country deeply divided in the way we look at our history. There are some Americans who think “real” Americans are, and always have … Continue reading »

Lessons from the London high-rise fire

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | June 16, 2017

Every catastrophe has multiple causes, so there will be lots to learn about this one as the facts come in. Whatever they are, they will include irresponsible, probably corrupt, behavior by people who should have known better.

Why London is safer than Oakland

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | June 7, 2017

I am glad that next week I will fly to the safety of the United Kingdom. The terrorist attacks in Manchester (22 killed and 119 injured) and London Bridge (7 deaths and 48 injured, some critically) are horrible tragedies and I don’t want to diminish their significance. But for an average individual citizen walking the … Continue reading »

Join us for learning, networking and fun – and sustain the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | May 4, 2017

The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program is a three-week summer program that has trained more than 600 professionals, leaders and concerned citizens interested in issues of sustainable development, the environment and natural resources. It provides policy, conflict resolution, climate change, supply chain management, and marketing through interactive learning, group interaction, field trips, and projects. It helps … Continue reading »

Irma Adelman (1930-2017): A leading economist and outstanding Berkeley faculty member

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 28, 2017

I was very sorry to learn that Irma Adelman passed away February 24, 2017. A brilliant woman whose life story and achievements were truly awe-inspiring, Irma lived through some of the most important events of the 20th century and her research tools and ideas have impacted the lives of countless people. We were privileged to … Continue reading »

Ken Arrow – A Great economic theorist, but an even Greater humanist

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 6, 2017

When I was an undergraduate student in Israel, I remember asking one of my professors, ‘Who is the greatest economist in the world today: Samuelson or Friedman?’ His answer surprised me: Arrow. I was embarrassed not to know him, and asked “Who?!” My professor replied, “If you go to graduate school, you’ll learn about him.” … Continue reading »

Implementing change in Berkeley

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | February 14, 2017

Some of the readers of my blog post on reenergizing Berkeley asked me: How do you suggest to implement all these changes, and this is my perspective[1]. First I believe that we have been operating without a long-term plan for some time now and our decisions have become piecemeal. We need to establish a coherent … Continue reading »

A new social compact for America

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | February 7, 2017

Our society is undergoing a profound shift. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many of our foundational values and assumptions about our democracy are being called into question. Our core institutions and norms are under attack and in need of defending and reclaiming. There are certain things that most people consider not up for … Continue reading »

When “PROTEST!” is wrong

Bruce Newsome, Lecturer in International Relations | February 2, 2017

Another protest, another unsafe campus, another strike against free speech. On Wednesday evening, some protesters carried placards reading “hate speech is not free speech,” and they succeeded in stopping the free speech of an invited speaker (Milo Yiannopoulos). What would he have said? What is the crowd’s counter-argument? Who represents a crowd? In this case, … Continue reading »

A new vision for undergraduate education

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | January 5, 2017

I appreciate David Zilberman’s apt and inspiring message (Re-energizing UC Berkeley). We need new thinking if we are to remain the great university we have been in the past. I’m using this blog to focus on what I consider an exciting and needed innovation in undergraduate teaching. An innovation that can be used to help … Continue reading »

Re-energizing UC Berkeley

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | January 3, 2017

For years, Berkeley has been ranked by the National Research Council number 1 in terms of elite graduate programs, but over the last few years, I feel that Berkeley is in malaise. Berkeley possesses a unique combination of breadth, depth, beauty and charm. Berkeley is a hub of nuclear power and the peace movement, biotechnology and … Continue reading »

My annual review 2016

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | December 23, 2016

This year wasn’t a good year in many aspects. On February 13, we lost Leorah’s mom, Hana, who was 94. She stayed with us during the last 18 months of her life and Leorah did an incredible effort to make her last few months on earth as pleasant as possible. We miss her and will … Continue reading »