Forbes’ No. 1 ranking underscores that private universities are often engines of wealth inequality
Nationalism and the future of higher education
(These remarks were delivered at the opening of a Nov. 16-17 conference observing the 60th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education, held in partnership with University World News, and exploring the influence of nationalism on major national universities around the world.) With varying levels of intensity, university are extensions of the … Continue reading »
Assessing gender and racial disparities in economics
The gender disparity in the economics discipline is no secret. For UC Berkeley undergraduates, a glance around the classroom is enough evidence of an imbalance. As a part of the nationwide Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) Challenge, we attempted to quantify this apparent disparity. The data collection described below is a first step in this … Continue reading »
Canada should welcome America’s ‘dreamers’
By Irene Bloemraad and Ratna Omidvar This commentary is reposted from The Globe and Mail in Canada, where it originally appeared in February 2017. We are now witnessing the casualties of new United States policies arriving at Canadian borders. More might soon follow as those who lack residence documents face a grim future and the … Continue reading »
On sexism in economics
An undergraduate honors thesis written by UC Berkeley economics major Alice Wu exposes the rampant misogyny cluttering Economics Job Market Rumors, an anonymous forum.
It can happen to you: How to end sex hunting on campus
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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 »
What’s a university to do about climate change?
About a year ago, I blogged about the fossil-fuel divestment movement at universities, arguing that it is unlikely to have any effect, and that even if it did it would be to raise fuel prices, which we could do more directly with a carbon tax. I said that those of us at the University of … Continue reading »
Title IX and babies?
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 »
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”
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
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
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
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?
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 »