UCBEA FALL 2013 UPDATE
The UC Berkeley Emeriti Association since April has been paying close attention to the UC Health Insurance Plans, to its Mentoring Programs, and to expanding the visibility of Emeriti on Campus and the input from Departmental Emeriti to the Campus.
We have had the lunches, both informal and formal, that have highlighted our activities for many years. One of our speakers last academic year, Randy Schekman of Molecular and Cell Biology, has just received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Our first speaker this fall was John Swartzberg, MD, who spoke in September on the changing climate in healthcare in the United States. We have selected our Emeriti of the Year, Professor John Prausnitz of Chemical Engineering whose post-retirement activities would exhaust many active faculty! He will give the keynote at our December lunch meeting. We have worked even more closely with the Academic Senate Committee on University-Emeriti Relations to monitor and influence proposed Campus changes to Enabling Research Grants for Emeriti (at first, they were halved relative to active Faculty; they are now back to parity). We have also petitioned the Campus to provide opportunities for Emeriti to receive indirect costs from grant funds, indirect costs that have been announced as available for active faculty and have initially excluded Emeriti. That issue remains to be resolved.
Since not all the information is yet available on health insurance plans as of this writing, we remain watchful. In particular, we will be raising the concerns of our out-of-state Emeriti re: the options available for them. That their Health Savings Plans might be a beta test for all Emeriti has not gone unnoticed.
The Campus has been very supportive about mentoring programs for both faculty and undergraduates. An active faculty member, Kurt Agonista, has been hired for part of his time to set up a comprehensive mentoring program for faculty members that will include Emeriti among its (a) advisors to the overall program, and (b) mentors for faculty members trying to advance their careers. The mentoring activities for undergraduates, as in the past two years, have more students with interest in meeting with Emeriti than Emeriti with the option of participating. We are actively recruiting more Emeriti with interest in participating.
RE: expanding the visibility of Emeriti on Campus and incorporating Departmental Emeriti input for our activities and the activities of the Administration, we have two main foci. First, our new Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, will be hosting our fall reception for all recent retirees on the Berkeley Campus, faculty and staff. He will be provided with the summary of the BioBib reports that indicate the quantity and quality of Emeriti contributions to the Campus every year. Second, we have just solicited Deans and Department Chairs across Campus to nominate an Emerita/us from their Departments to represent them to the UCBEA; we anticipate active communication with these Emeriti Representatives and two meetings during the year to come together to discuss issues both distinct and in common among the Departments. We hope these Representatives will enlighten both their own Departments and the Administration about issues and activities of Emeriti that should be noted by the Campus.
We also are collaborating with all the retirement associations on Campus in a Transforming Retirement effort that we hope will (1) enable the institution (and its many departments) to be more cordial to pre-retirees and retirees and (2) provide more information and activities for pre-retirees and retirees to maximize the positive as they move to this next phase of their careers.
Another active year is underway.
Caroline Kane, UCBEA Chair 2013