photo of Lisa Garcia Bedolla standing on the steps of Sproul Hall

Dear graduate student community,

One of my primary concerns as Vice Provost for Graduate Studies is ensuring that you feel well and supported during your time at Cal, particularly given all the challenges you have experienced due to the pandemic. This means equitable access to financial resources, fellowships and grants, mental health and wellness support, professional development training and experiences for all types of future careers, and a safety net for food, housing, and other basic needs.

While central units like the Graduate Division are making changes and improvements at a central level to address many resource concerns, we are also working alongside our wonderful academic and professional department partners to align and improve how we meet your needs throughout your academic life cycle. As part of this work, we, along with the Office for Faculty Equity and Welfare and the Division of Equity and Inclusion, are co-organizing a Graduate Diversity Leadership Academy for faculty and staff, designed to help equip departments to focus on the domains of admissions, belonging, climate, and data for equity. Our meetings will focus on a wide range of topics, including making admissions processes more equitable, welcoming neurodiversity in graduate education, preparing students for diverse career paths and life options, moving from advising to mentoring, and collecting and using data for impact. I share this with you as evidence that collectively as a university, we are making efforts to ensure that all students, and minoritized students in particular, have the same opportunities and access to resources as others.

As part of our efforts to foster a healthy and supportive departmental and campus climate for graduate students, I want to announce the creation of the Graduate Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. This office was created to provide assistance to both departments and graduate students in matters related to academic integrity and conduct, and will support our student academic employees and hiring departments in developing collaborative solutions to employment-related concerns and conflicts. We have hired Ksenia Sidorenko as our inaugural Academic Conduct and UAW Support Specialist, and we plan to make a campuswide announcement soon, so stay tuned!

In the coming weeks, I will also be sharing news about a new initiative for all graduate students to assist with your navigation of mental health resources on campus.

Additionally, our Diversity and Community Fellows are ready and eager to support you with any peer-related (or graduate study) questions you may have. Read through our fellows’ profiles and reach out to them for advice or questions regarding your experience at Cal, or with questions about resources and services for graduate students. We were also thrilled to welcome our second doctoral student cohort in our Path to the Professoriate Program, designed to demystify the route to becoming a faculty member and establishing and building a publication pipeline.

Our campus’s graduate student affairs officers, graduate support staff, faculty, and administrators have been excellent partners in our work to continuously improve the graduate student experience at Berkeley. I am so grateful to work with such a dedicated and inspired community. If you have questions about our many campus resources, I encourage you to sign up for a 15-minute virtual appointment with our Director of Graduate Student Life.

Fiat Lux!