By Susan Hagstrom
May 30, 2002
At the L&S Colloquium on Undergraduate Education on April 23, 2002, Dean Kwong-loi Shun unveiled several new policies and procedures that are underway in L&S. As the audience of forty faculty, staff, students and administrators well knew, issues such as enrollment growth, large numbers of students "changing colleges" into L&S, and increasing numbers of undeclared students have put pressure on the already over-taxed College.
Dean Shun announced several new initiatives in the Undergraduate Division that promise to improve undergraduate education for native L&S students and transfer students alike. The following is a brief sumary of some of the changes afoot in the College.
Encouraging Major Success
In order to better insure that transfer students can declare and complete their majors in a timely fashion, the Office of Admissions will be screening transfers applications for specific course requirements identified by the major departments. Departments will also be reserving courses in lthe summer and fall terms for new admits who have been accepted to the College without meeting all of the established criteria.
In another effort to assist students with declaring their majors, the College of Letters and Science is creating a "pre-major" designation to help students identify their interests earlier. Students will be asked to name an intended major during their sophomore year. This will prompt students to think about majors sooner, will allow interested departments to contact students who are considering their major, and will permit the College to proactively contact students who may not be competitive for the major they are headed towards.
Additionally, the L&S Executive Committee and Deans will begin regularly reviewing all requests by departments to limit the number of students who can declare their major. Students applying to "capped" departments will be required to apply before they have reached an established unit limit. This change is designed to prevent students from applying unsuccessfully to the same major until they are well into their senior year.
Increasing Enrichment Activities
There are a number of new or expanded programs planned for students. L&S 1 (Exploring the Liberal Arts) is a new fall 02 course designed to give students an introduction to the intellectual landscape at Berkeley; L&S 1 will include participation by the Chancellor and L&S Deans. Freshmen and Sophomore Seminars, undergraduate research opportunities, the new summer fellowship research program, Education Abroad Program offerings for sophomores, and the UC-DC program are all intended to provide increased enrichment opportunities for students.
Tracking Student Progress
The College is now putting student records on-line; within three years all active student records will be electronic. This will allow improved student advising in the residence halls, other student service units, and throughout campus.
More Advice for the Dean
Two groups have been formed to provide advice to the Dean: the Departmental Advisory Group (comprised of staff) and the Faculty Advisory Board. Both groups are off to an excellent and active start.
The L & S colloquia, which take place once or twice each semester, provide opportunities to learn about and discuss the overarching issues affecting undergraduate education at U C Berkeley. For more information on upcoming or past programs, contact Alix Schwartz at email@example.com or (510) 642-8378.