Stern Health Sciences fellows event

Introducing the Stern Health Sciences Fellowship Program

The Stern Health Sciences Fellowship program was created to pave the way for new innovation by supporting graduate students in leading-edge research while, at the same time, addressing the urgency of human health needs by making increased funds available immediately. The program was conceived and established through a generous donation by Eric H. Stern, B.S. Business Administration, Chair of the Graduate Division Executive Advisory Committee, and a Trustee of the UCBF Board.

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Peer Support Providers: Helping Navigate the Maze of Graduate Resources

Recently launched this fall, the Graduate Peer Support Providers program is designed to help Berkeley graduate students learn about and more easily access the types of basic needs, mental health, and academic support services available on campus. Graduate students themselves, Peer Support Providers (PSPs) provide support to their peers with understanding, experience, and respect, using an equity-based lens.

P2P participants

Demystifying and Illuminating the Ph.D. Journey

Built on learnings from the Berkeley Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty, the Path to the Professoriate (P2P) Program engages first-year Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds in workshops and structured activities around illuminating the route to assistant professorship in their discipline and establishing and building a publication pipeline.

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Tips for Finding Housing in Berkeley

One of the first challenges facing new Cal students is finding a place to call home, whether on- or off-campus. Cal Housing has some tips and suggestions that can help with your search.

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Join the Graduate Division as we #GoBigforGrads during this year’s Big Give! 

On Thursday, March 11, UC Berkeley’s annual 24-hour fundraising campaign kicks off and we could use your help. Big Give, designed to celebrate all that makes Berkeley special, provides thousands of alumni, current students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends an opportunity to show some school spirit and support Cal for years to come.

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15 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors Receive Teaching Effectiveness Award

Previously announced this May, 374 Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) were recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award, and were recognized for their exemplary teaching by the Graduate Division’s GSI Teaching & Resource Center. For the full list of the award recipients, visit this link. 

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Welcome to the Graduate Division, Dr. Denzil Streete

I am extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Denzil Streete to the Graduate Division as our new Chief of Staff & Assistant Dean for Diversity, beginning July 27th. Denzil joins Berkeley from Yale University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where he was Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity.

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Berkeley International Office Reminders and COVID Updates

The Berkeley International Office would like to share some modified end-of-semester reminders, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions regarding current or prospective international students. BIO staff have been working closely with Graduate Student Affairs Officers to communicate ongoing updates and information.

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Staff Profile: Marshall Glaze Q&A

Marshall Glaze recently started in the Graduate Division as the Content and Social Media Manager. Learn about his path to Berkeley and what he’s looking forward to in his first six months.

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I-House Story: The World Is My Family

In my time at International House, I have learned more about perspective, policy, geopolitics, culture, economics, climate change, engineering, and language than in any other span of time.

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Staff Highlight: Sarah Acosta Q&A

Read about about Sarah’s dedication to fostering an open and supportive community for all graduate students, her journey to Cal, and why she can’t leave this time.

Marcia Gee Riley and Zackary Hull

Meet the Berkeley Ombuds

I sat down with Marcia Gee Riley and Zackary Hull to discuss the purpose of the Ombuds Office, the highs and lows of their roles, and how graduate students can utilize the office to discuss concerns, learn about resources, or discover new methods for dealing with personal or professional conflicts. What does a university ombudsperson do? MGR: We are a resource for undergrads, grads and postdocs facing difficult situations. We help visitors talk through their stories, understand what types of resolutions or outcomes are available to them, and offer as many options to pursue those resolutions as possible.  That’s our main objective — to be a confidential, neutral, and informal space for our visitors to be able to talk through and understand what options are available to them. This includes other resources, coaching, and clarification around policies and procedures (as you know, there are many on our campus), and avenues to others spaces, because we don’t profess to be the be-all and end-all place, either. On the flip side, we do collect data and demographics in a non-identifiable way so that university leaders can see what types of issues people are bringing to our office. We do want to be able to inform senior leaders and decision makers about how they can create positive change for students and other visitors. ZH: That’s a very thorough explanation of what our office does. In short, it’s a place for students to feel heard, regardless of the issues they’re facing. Marcia mentioned “difficult situations.” Often, that’s why people come to our office, but difficult is relative.  It doesn’t have to rise to a level of senior leadership on this campus. It can be something difficult they’re going through with a peer on campus. There’s no one category of issue that we listen to. We’re here to listen to whatever issue students bring to us. MGR: Zac brought up a good point too, because we’re sometimes a place where something doesn’t reach the threshold of being a formal complaint or policy violation, but the person is still seeking some sort of resolution or avenue for action or healing. We can be passive or active in terms of our engagement. It’s really up to the visitor. How do your roles differ? ZH: Simply, they differ in terms of experience and inexperience. Marcia is the director of the office, has been working as an Ombudsperson for the past 11-12 years, and has been a UC Berkeley employee for more than 30 years. So Marcia is the experienced professional here. I was hired in April, so I’m new to this office and new to this kind of work.  MGR: And already doing an awesome job. That’s on the record. Zac is the first point of contact for our office. As you noticed when you walked in the door, we’re not exactly a drop-in sort of space. People are referred to us by peers, staff, faculty — or they find us through our website. We don’t use email; we don’t do drop-in visits; so visitors need to call in to do an initial inquiry and make an appointment, if desired.  Zac does a great job of clarifying for people what it is that we actually do. We don’t really turn people away, ever, for the most part, but he does prepare people to help them understand what we do, so that their expectations are clear. When people call for appointments, they fill out a non-identifiable intake form. We collect this non-identifiable data in order to paint a picture of the challenges that students are facing on this campus, and to learn about how we can make a difference.  What are the highlights of your job and what are the challenges? ZH: The highlights for me are when visitors appreciate that they were able to say so much and not be interrupted, stopped or questioned. I have so many people say, “Thanks for listening. I just had to get that off my chest.” That’s a service where I don’t do anything other than just listen. That’s not entirely what Ombuds professionals do, but that’s a big part of it. Another highlight is seeing our efforts ultimately help our visitors.  The challenges are feeling heartbroken for students that are experiencing hardships or difficulties. On top of that, since we are an impartial office and not an advocacy office, we can’t and don’t argue for specific outcomes, even if the outcome seems like the moral or just thing. That’s not our role. Our role is to be impartial and neutral when dealing with individual cases. MGR: The gratifying moments are at the end of the appointment when someone says, “I’m so glad that you’re here. I had no idea what an Ombuds was. I wish more students actually knew that this existed because it’s so helpful.” Empowering people to resolve their own issues feels really good.  One of the other great things about the job is that every case is different and I’m never bored. I still learn something about this campus every day because often cases involve investigating some new facet of a program, resource, or policy.  On the flip side, sometimes we never know what happens. We’re not a place of record or report. We don’t keep any files. People are not obligated to tell us what happens in terms of whether they resolve their matter or whether they do anything.  Is there anything else you’d like graduate students to know about the Ombuds Office? ZH: I want to make it clear that we’re a confidential resource. Any visitor that comes to the Ombuds Office or contacts the office — there’s no data that links back to that person. The only way anyone would know that a visitor contacted our office is if the visitors themselves gave permission for us to share it.  MGR: We’re one of the very few staff on campus who are not mandated reporters or responsible employees in cases of sexual assault or harassment. …

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Berkeley Journalism’s Annual Excellence Awards Announced

Each year, the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism convenes representatives of the local journalism community to decide whom they want to single out for outstanding work that exemplifies what the school most values.

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Rethinking the Graduate Student ‘Culture of Busyness’

When you ask a fellow graduate student how they’ve been, how often do you get one of these responses: “It’s been crazy busy!” “I pulled three all-nighters this week.” “I was in lab until 4 a.m.” The graduate school experience can be a prime example of hustle culture — a place full of smart, ambitious people each trying to optimize their way through their degree to get to where they’re going next, or in many cases, just make ends meet. There is an unspoken rule that in order to be successful, you have to be putting in the work, and the best way to show that is by putting in long hours. This mindset can actually lead to many negative impacts, including lost productivity, burnout, imposter syndrome, and feelings of intense anxiety and guilt about being unproductive. The reality, however, is that we all have individual circumstances that determine how much we’re able to dedicate to any project or life circumstance at any given time. What’s important is to define what your priorities and goals are, establish realistic (and forgiving) timelines, and then make sure you’re using the strategies that work for you to achieve them. Be on the lookout for burnout, and acknowledge the feelings. Be open to talking about it with your peers and and raise awareness. Give yourself permission to do something for fun (or nothing at all!). Understand your own goals, keeping in mind external influences and your internal values. Consider short-term gains and long-term health. Make room for boredom. We need boredom to be creative – so if you find yourself stuck on a particularly difficult problem, don’t be afraid to take a break and harness subconscious thought. Go for a walk, take a shower, or go get some coffee. Don’t underestimate your own resilience. We have limited capacity to spend on a world of projects and priorities. Trust yourself enough to know that you will make the most of whatever you choose to spend your time and effort on.