THE university OF California, Berkeley, is the premier public research university in the United States, with 97 percent of its academic programs being among the top 10 in the country. Commonly referred to as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, and Cal, the university's academic excellence is sustained by a $2.46 billion endowment. Berkeley was founded in 1868 and is the oldest of the 10 University of California campuses. During the 1930s, the leadership of university president Robert Sproul helped Berkeley to establish itself as a leading research university, and by 1942 the American Council on Education ranked Berkeley second only to Harvard in the number of distinguished academic departments. A reorganization of the University of California system in 1952 resulted in the naming of Clark Kerr as the first chancellor for the Berkeley campus. Since then, there have been nine other chancellors; the current chancellor is Robert Birgeneau, who has filled this role since 2004.
Berkeley is a comprehensive university offering over 7,000 courses in 130-plus academic departments organized into 14 colleges and schools, offering nearly 300 degree programs. The university awards over 5,500 bachelor's degrees, 2,000 master's degrees, 900 doctorates, and 200 law degrees each year. With 33,558 students and 1,950 faculty, the student-faculty ratio is 17 to 1—among the lowest of any major university. Berkeley is the most selective school in the UC system and is one of the most selective universities in the country. For the 2006-07 academic year, 4,157 freshmen matriculated at Berkeley, from an applicant pool of just under 41,750 applicants. Graduate admissions vary by department, although in 2006 the university's doctoral programs admitted 1,058 students from a pool of 14,263 applicants.
Collectively, Berkeley's 32 libraries tie with University of Illinois for the fourth largest academic library system in the United States, surpassed only by the U.S. Library of Congress, Harvard, and Yale. In 2003, the Association of Research Libraries ranked Berkeley as the top public university library in North America and third among all universities. As of 2006, Berkeley's library system contains over 10 million volumes and maintains over 70,000 serial titles.
The scholarly achievements and excellence of the faculty and alumni have helped to build and maintain
Berkeley's excellent reputation. Berkeley scientists invented the cyclotron, discovered the antiproton, isolated the polio virus, created the Unix computer operating system, and discovered numerous transura-nic elements including seaborgium, plutonium, berke-lium, lawrencium, and californium. During World War II, Ernest Orlando Lawrence's Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley contracted with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb, and Berkeley physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942. Berkeley faculty have a no less distinguished record in fields outside the physical sciences: they include 221 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows, 83 Fulbright Scholars, 28 MacArthur Fellowships, 384 Guggenheim Fellows, 87 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 132 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 92 Sloan Fellows. Berkeley counts 61 Nobel laureates among its faculty, researchers, and alumni—the sixth most of any university in the world; 20 have served on its faculty.
Berkeley's reputation for student activism was forged in the 1960s. With the end of World War II and the subsequent rise of student activism, the California Board of Regents succumbed to pressure from the student government and ended compulsory military training at Berkeley in 1962. Then, in 1964, an impromptu response by students to the university's ban on campus political activity led to the beginning of the Free Speech Movement and, ultimately, the freedom of expression by students. This movement grew during the protests against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and early 1970s. Today Berkeley has over 700 established student groups, nearly 100 of which are political. There is also a strong sense of public service among Berkeley graduates. For example, Berkeley sends the most students to the U.S. Peace Corps of any university in the nation.
As part of its academic excellence, Berkeley is also a leader in environmental research. There are over 100 individual undergraduate and graduate programs at Berkeley that focus on the environment, in addition to dozens of top research centers. The university is also active in research concerning global warming and climate change, with several centers involved in research and advocacy on these and related issues. For example, the University of California Climate Change Center was established in 2003 by the California
Energy Commission to undertake a broad program of scientific and economic research on climate change in California. The center has sites at both the Berkeley and San Diego campuses of UC. The Berkeley center, based at the Goldman School of Public Policy, focuses on economic and policy analysis, whereas the site in San Diego (at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography) focuses on physical climate modeling. Several other departments on the Berkeley campus are involved in the work of the center including the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Department of City and Regional Planning, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Graduate Group in Energy and Resources (ERG), and the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The ERG is an interdisciplinary academic unit of the Berkeley campus that was created in 1973 to develop, transmit, and apply critical knowledge to enable a future in which human material needs and a healthy environment are mutually and sustainably satisfied. ERG conducts programs that include graduate teaching and research on issues of energy, resources, development, human and biological diversity, environmental justice, governance, global climate change, and new approaches to thinking about economics and consumption. The University of California Energy Institute (UCEI) is a multicampus research unit of the University of California system begun in 1980, whose mission has been to foster research and educate students and policymakers on energy issues. The Center for Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) is a campus initiative to foster interdisciplinary collaboration to investigate and address problems and opportunities posed by global metropolitan growth and change through research. The Berkeley Institute of the Environment (BIE) was established in 2005 and brings together and helps enhance diverse campus programs and research units by making research tools and understanding accessible across disciplinary lines to address complex environmental problems, while fostering collaboration and thinking about critical environmental problems. The Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) is one of the world's leading centers for transportation research, education, and scholarship. Research areas include transportation sustainabil-ity, future urban transit systems, and environmental effects. The UC Berkeley Transportation Sustain-
ability Research Center (TSRC) was formed in 2006 to combine the research forces of the five aforementioned centers, institutes, and groups (ERG, UCEI, GMS, BIE, and ITS). The TSRC is a multicampus unit that supports research, education, and outreach.
Other campus activities related to global warming include the research and advocacy work of the College of Engineering. For example, on August 2, 2007, the college released a blueprint for fighting global warming by reducing the amount of carbon emitted when transportation fuels are used in California. This low-carbon fuel standard is designed to stimulate improvements in transportation fuel technologies and is expected to become the foundation for similar initiatives in other states, as well as nationally and internationally.
There is also a Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability that promotes environmental management and sustainable development on the Berkeley campus. The mission of the committee is to engage the campus in an ongoing dialogue about reaching environmental sustainability and to integrate environmental sustainability with existing campus programs in education, research, operations, and public service. The committee is charged with advising the chancellor on matters pertaining to the environment and sus-tainability as it directly relates to the university.
Berkeley's tradition of student political action has also merged with global climatic change issues. For example, in March 2007, students organized the California Campus Climate Challenge Summit to learn about global warming, climate change, and methods for influencing policy change via student activism. Such activities also highlight the social justice aspects of issues concerning global warming and the desire by some to create an environmental and social movement to help raise awareness about this issue. Also, Berkeley alumna Sissel Waage has just coedited a book to address issues of climate change and global warming. The book features a wide array of authors ranging from activists to scholars to students, who each discuss what the average person can do to turn their private concerns into public action.
sEE ALsO: Carbon Footprint; Climate Change; Education.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Brief History of the University of California, Berkeley, www.berkeley.edu/about/history/; Edward B.
Fisk, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2005, 21st ed. (Sourcebooks, 2005); Jonathan Isham and Sissel Waage, eds., Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement (Island Press, 2007); Eric Owens, America's Best Value Colleges (Princeton Review, 2004).
Michael Joseph Simsik U.S. Peace Corps
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