REPORT TO THE COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EMERITI ASSOCIATIONS
On behalf of the University of California, Berkeley Emeriti Association, I am pleased to submit the following report of activities for the 2011-2012 academic year. Since most of our programs were detailed in my report to CUCEA at the October 26, 2011 Davis meeting, I refer you to that report and will concentrate on developments over the past six months. The earlier report can be found in the November 2011 issue of the Emeriti Times, located at http://thecenter.berkeley.edu/ucbea-bet.shtml.
The UCBEA mentorship program for undergraduate students who are the first in their families to attend college/university became operational with the beginning of Spring 2012. Currently ten Emeriti faculty are working with ten current or former SAGE (Student Achievement Guided by Experience) Scholars drawn from majors throughout the campus. Another four Emeriti are mentoring six engineering undergraduates referred by Engineering Student Services. My colleagues and I are optimistic that, given this auspicious start to the undergraduate mentoring program, we will be able to involve more Emeriti and serve more students during the 2012-2013 academic year.
In order to concentrate on the undergraduate program, we deferred launching the mentoring component directed toward assistant or associate professors new to the campus until Fall Semester 2012. This aspect of the mentoring program is intended to facilitate the academic and personal adjustment of newcomers to Berkeley who desire and would benefit from the wisdom and experience of emeriti. We are holding a reception in mid-April for the “newbies” and have identified emeriti who wish to mentor members of this cohort.
Professor Emerita Caroline Kane (Molecular and Cell Biology) has been the creative and highly effective chair of the UCBEA Mentorship Committee.
Distinguished Emerita/Emeritus Professor of the Year
After considering nominations from campus faculty and administration, the Awards Committee recommended an internationally prominent emeritus colleague for the annual award conferred by UCBEA. The Executive Committee concurred unanimously. The honoree’s identity will be revealed at the Association’s annual meeting on May 5.
Luncheon Speaker Series
Each year UCBEA holds five Saturday luncheons (at the Faculty Club) for emeriti and their guests. Typically, 50-70 people attend. The luncheon consists of an informal social hour, served lunch and a faculty speaker, frequently drawn from the Berkeley faculty. The September speaker was Professor Emeritus Charles H. Townes, Nobel Laureate in Physics and inventor of the laser, who received the Emeritus lifetime achievement award. Other speakers since the last CUCEA meeting were Professor Charles Henry (African American Studies), Professor Kenneth Goldberg (IEOR and New Media Center), and Justice Goodwin Liu, California Supreme Court, and Professor, Berkeley Law School. On May 5, Professor Paula Fass (History) will speak at the final luncheon of the year. We already have commitments from several faculty members to speak at our 2012-2013 luncheons.
Beginning with spring semester 2012, UCBEA initiated a twice-monthly (second and fourth Thursdays) Emeriti Luncheon Table at the Faculty Club. A table is set-aside at noon exclusively for emeriti faculty to gather for congenial collegial conversation and repast. Although attendance has varied, typically six to eight emeriti/emerita participate.
The current membership of UCBEA is about 200 out of a little over 1,000 emeriti faculty, down somewhat from its high mark of 300 several years ago. A priority for the 2012-2013 year remains to enlarge the UCBEA membership with special emphasis on recruiting newer emeriti and encouraging lapsed members to rejoin.
The Emeriti Times (which is published five times a year prior to the luncheon meeting) is now being distributed primarily online with a special “opt out” option for the members who still wish to receive a paper copy. Cost reduction and the ability to produce a more attractive publication on-line are the motivating factors for the change.
Older Adult Housing
Members of the UCBEA Executive Committee remain involved with the UC Retirement Center and campus senior housing experts in discussions with campus administration concerning the development of an older adult housing project attractive to emeriti faculty located contiguous with Albany Village. Although discussions are progressing, no final agreement has been signed with a private developer.
In summary, the 2011-2012 year has been a busy time for UCBEA. Fortunately, the organization has an excellent Executive Committee, which has shared leadership responsibilities for our various endeavors. I greatly appreciate their support.
Edwin M. Epstein
President, UC Berkeley Emeriti Association