These 12 people, in some ways the crème de la crème of this year’s top graduate student instructors, have effectively, and often cleverly, identified, addressed, and documented a teaching problem they encountered and, for the benefit of all, told how they solved it. Read, for instance, how Sonja Schwartz reinvented the bean jar.
So far, nobody’s let the cat out of the bag, so the surprise has been total in every case. Despite Berkeley’s long tradition of protest and California’s reputation for spontaneity, faculty members here simply don’t expect to be interrupted by outsiders while they’re teaching a class. When it dawns on them that the invasion brings unexpected but happy news for them personally, decorum goes out the window.
In August, the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation announced the winners of its half-million dollars worth of environmental fellowships and grants for 2011. There were 20 of them around the United States, master’s and Ph.D. students. Four — a fifth of the total — are pursuing studies at Berkeley.
Environmental Science, Policy and Management professor Gary Sposito is not fond of having his picture taken. When a friendly deputation (including his GSIs and departmental chair, colleagues, and staff and, oh, God, a photographer) invaded his Wheeler Hall classroom earlier this month to surprise him with an honor, his first impulse was to cross his arms in front of his face, not like a perp-walked mob boss, but more reminiscent of an exhausted exorcist facing the ultimate evil.
An environmental and health crisis ravaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been overlooked, says Dan Fahey. Despite years of bloody conflict, the region “wasn’t on the radar of the international community,” says Dan, a Ph.D. candidate in Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.