Q&A - State of the Division 2015

What happened to Operational Excellence updates?

In short, centralized updates concluded at the same time the centralized coordination of Operational Excellence projects wrapped up. The OE Updates newsletter was developed to keep the University appraised of multiple developing projects. As projects have been implemented, OE transferred full operational ownership over to the offices and units that are responsible for managing them--that includes communication of updates on their progress.

If you’re interested in a comprehensive review of Operational Excellence programs and efforts, take a look at the OE annual report, which was just released in April. You can also learn more by reviewing the annual financial report.

There has been a noticeable increase of armed robberies on and around campus. What is being done to protect students?

For the recent robberies, please know that the University has taken many steps toward campus safety. Below are the efforts of the University Police (UCPD), noting that some incidents occur off-campus and fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Berkeley Police Department. UCPD works with campus housing each day to increase and promote safety efforts. Together, we continue toward promoting safety and toward providing higher-visibility patrols.

UCPD has increased their pedestrian interactions around housing environments. This is done by police officers (the department has approximately 70 sworn officers), security officers (approximately 53 officers) and student officers (approximately 55 officers).

UCPD has a full-time Sergeant assigned to the campus housing environments and he works with housing staff (Residential Directors, Residential Advisors, Security Coordinators, and Security Monitors). Additionally, each housing environment is paired with a police officer through our Residential Security Liaison program. Through these partnerships, UCPD attends meetings, builds networking relationships, and conducts outreach via safety presentations and literature. UCPD student officers also conduct walk-throughs of the housing environments; some environments have an assigned security guard.

Through the UCPD Crime Prevention Unit, UCPD provides access control services in the form of cardkey systems at building entries and video systems in some areas. UCPD also provides general safety presentations and defensive spray presentations to students in order to assist residents in becoming more aware of their surroundings and in utilizing the safety programs or safer practices offered from UCPD.

UCPD suggests the following safety tips:

  • Utilize the free Night Safety Services located at http://nightsafety.berkeley.edu
  • Travel with a friend or in a group
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings If you sense danger, be sure to:
    • Move away from the threat. Cross the street and increase your pace.
    • Join a group of people or enter an open business establishment.
  • Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas
  • Use well-lit, well-traveled routes
  • Do not display cash in a public area
  • Dress in clothes and shoes which will not hamper movement
  • When out and about, keep your electronic devices out of public view as they are a popular robbery target
  • If you need help dial 510-642-3333 on your cell or use a Blue Light emergency phone (located throughout the campus and identified by a blue light on top of the phone box or column).
  • Please do not delay in calling 911. UCPD strongly encourages the reporting of criminal or suspicious activity in a timely manner.
  • If a motor vehicle is involved in a crime report the following information: activity, direction of travel, license plate, color, make/model, unusual characteristics (e.g., dents, bumper stickers, graphics, wheels, tinted windows, lifted/lowered), number of persons, etc.

Is there an update on the Undergraduate Initiative? How is SA partnering to ensure effective collaboration?

Student Affairs is working very closely with the Undergraduate Initiative team. One of the first major projects we are partnering on is re-imagining how our new students are welcomed to campus, helping to create a more cohesive transition to their life here on campus. We are currently working to hire a project manager who can help us develop a plan for a new student orientation/fall welcome week approach. This position will work very closely with the office of the Dean of Students, New Student Services programs, and Residential Education.

People, especially students, seem confused about the Undergraduate Education Initiative, specifically the lack of forthcoming information and student input. What do you think can be done to address this?

The Undergraduate Initiative has a very large scope -- undergraduate education -- and much of it is still in the initial development phase. Student input, including feedback Student Affairs has shared, has been instrumental in identifying key priorities for the initiative and as ideas develop into projects, more formal pathways of student input will be established. Our partners on the Undergraduate Initiative will be working on a plan to share information about the initiative overall as well as individual projects so stay tuned.

William Deresiewicz is visiting to talk about his book, which is a scathing condemnation of the US News artifice of prestige and exclusivity, and of the paint-by-numbers student experience that follows the trumped-up lemming charge through the Admissions cycle. Berkeley could be a beacon for more world-aware, idiosyncratic students, one who needs room to wander and explore and experiment. Do you agree that this would be desirable and if so, can we do it?

This is a complicated topic, and Berkeley's very own Robert Reich has an interesting perspective on college rankings, selectivity, and the quality of a public education. The University has been at the vanguard of efforts to admit a vibrant, diverse, and curious student body. UC Berkeley pioneered the holistic review process at UC (now adapted by most of the UC campuses), enabling us to admit a diverse undergraduate class representing 53 states/commonwealths and 74 countries, with 17 percent who are first-generation college-going and 65 percent who receive financial aid. The goal of our selection process is to identify applicants who are most likely to contribute to Berkeley’s intellectual and cultural community and, ultimately, to the State of California, the nation, and the world. Learn more about the admissions process here.

This holistic review process for undergraduate Admissions seeks out well rounded students. The review recognizes a wide range of talent and creativity that is not necessarily reflected in traditional measures of academic achievement but which is a positive indicator of the student’s ability to succeed at Berkeley and beyond. Additionally, it's the education our students receive here, both in and out of the classroom, that helps them become more world-aware and shapes how they wander and explore and experiment.

Check back soon for answers to additional outstanding questions.