Lisa García Bedolla

Dear Graduate Student Community,

Welcome back! I hope you were able to find time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones during the break. It’s a new year with much to look forward to this semester!

The ratification of new graduate student worker contracts ensured that UC graduate student workers will be among the best supported in U.S. public higher education. The strike underscored our interdependence within our campus ecosystem and how essential postdoctoral scholars, academic researchers, and graduate student employees are to our teaching and research mission. We are grateful for the intense and difficult effort it took to arrive at these final agreements. As Chancellor Christ outlined in her statement earlier this month, we have a lot of work ahead of us. The Graduate Division will be working diligently with departments and programs to implement the new contract terms. 

The strike challenged our campus community in numerous ways. It unearthed systemic issues that will require a new, more sustainable model for doctoral education. As co-chair, along with Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Sunny Lee and Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos, of the Campus Climate and Healing recovery workstream, I am committed to analyzing the impacts of the strike on graduate programs moving forward and helping employees, faculty, and students navigate rebuilding our community. To stay abreast of these efforts and updates, I encourage you to visit the campus post-strike recovery website. My hope is that with grace and intention, we can come back together stronger, healthier, and more resilient. You can read more about my sentiments as we move forward together here

As we launch into this spring semester, I’m pleased to announce two new faces in the Graduate Division. Martha Chavez will be filling the new position of Assistant Dean of Graduate Diversity, supporting the day-to-day operations of the Office for Graduate Diversity. Prior to joining Grad Div, Martha served as Associate Chief of Staff at the Office of UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, having previously held the position of Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Dean of Students at the Goldman School of Public Policy.

Shelly Kim is our new Director of Admissions, Recruitment, and Enrollment. Shelly will be collaborating with campus partners to support a holistic strategy to ensure diversity and inclusion in graduate admissions. Shelly holds a BA in Political Economy and Social Welfare from Cal and over the past six years, has supported admissions in Berkeley’s School of Information.

In other news, we’re very excited to see the opening of the Inclusive Excellence Hub this spring! The Hub, at 2515 Channing Way, will host special learning communities like Path to the Professoriate, workshops to help students build dissertation writing skills, and resident faculty mentors of color and Diversity and Community Fellows, to provide academic guidance and help build a sense of belonging and community among our students. Keep an eye out for more news, including a new webpage listing details, such as programs and staff, and our grand opening event.

Lastly, I want to continue to emphasize our commitment to your success and well-being. Recovering from the emotional stresses of the strike on top of the pandemic stresses of recent years will take time. To support your mental health and guide you through your academic journey, I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources available through the Graduate Division. Amy Honigman can guide you through the mental health options available to graduate students. For assistance navigating resources, schedule an appointment with one of our campus Graduate Peer Support Providers, find your community by connecting with a Diversity and Community Fellow, or get professional development support from a Professional Development Liaison or through GradPro’s Check-in program. Remember: we are here to support you.

Wishing you much success this semester!

Lisa García Bedolla

Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division