UC BERKELEY EMERITI ASSOCIATION SPRING 2014 REPORT

 

The Berkeley Emeriti Association (UCBEA) has begun a new program.  Interested Departments designate an Emerita/Emeritus Representative to the Association and the Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty.  Our first meeting in February had 10 Departments represented, and a second meeting in May is sure to have more.  Issues of importance to specific Departments, or shared by Departments, will become a focus for the Association and the Campus Administration as Berkeley works to make itself more "retirement friendly" to both faculty and staff.

 

UCBEA also has enjoyed four lunch speakers so far this Academic Year.  These have included John Swartzberg, a member of our Board and a recently retired faculty member in Public Health who talked about aging and health in the 21st Century; our Emeritus of the Year, John Prausnitz from Chemical Engineering who talked about Undergraduate Education issues; Silvia Bunge from Psychology who talked about how we learn and maintain memory; and most recently Severin Borenstein from the Haas School of Business and the University of California Energy Institute  who talked about Energy Issues and Carbon Emission Reduction.  Our last speaker this spring will be David Schaffer from Chemical Engineering who will talk about recent advances in Stem Cell and Gene Therapy.

 

Our undergraduate mentoring program continues with nearly a dozen students meeting Emeriti informally to discuss academics, personal and professional issues.  Our faculty mentoring program, led by UCBEA First Vice President Shelly Zedeck and Board Member Ruth Collier, is launching this semester with more planned activity in the 2014-2015 Academic Year. This faculty mentoring effort collaborates with a campus effort to work with professors on campus, regardless of rank, spearheaded by the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and Special Assistant for Faculty Mentoring Kurt Organista, from Social Welfare.

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 As with our fellow Emeriti Associations, we are paying very close attention to health insurance outcomes for UC retirees.  With the assistance of the Retirement Center, UCBEA just sent out a questionnaire to members living out of state to poll them on their experiences enrolling into new health plans this year.  The results will be shared with CUCEA and CUCRA.  In the health insurance concerns, we are joined by our Academic Senate Committees on University-Emeriti Relations and Faculty Welfare.  In addition, the active faculty are also voicing concerns both through the Academic Senate and through the Berkeley Faculty Association.  Concerns revolve around those changes being planned at the Office of the President that might detrimentally impact recruitment, retention and even retirement.  We continue to strategize with our active faculty colleagues on anticipated responses from the Office of the President to concerns raised with her in a letter from the Academic Council.

 

We also continue to work with the Retirement Center and our partner local retiree associations on developing a Center for Transforming Retirement, envisioned to make a more retirement friendly campus for faculty and staff.  The UCBEA is working with a subcommittee of the Policy Board of our Retirement Center to develop a toolkit of resources for those considering retirement, those in the midst of retiring and those who have already retired.  This toolkit will provide information and contacts for being as active as one would like, for being as engaged as one would like, for making good financial and health decisions, for making appropriate housing decisions as we age, and for enjoying retirement and all the new activities that might entail.  We are collaborating with UC Davis and UCLA on evaluating this toolkit, initially for faculty and eventually for staff, with the hope that our findings will be informative broadly across the UC system and even nationwide.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Caroline M. Kane

Professor in Residence Emerita of Molecular and Cell Biology

President, UC Berkeley Emeriti Association