Lisa García BedollaDear Graduate Student Community,

To our returning students, we are so glad to see you back! For our new graduate students, my message to you is simple: you belong here and we are lucky to have you. Welcome to our Berkeley community!

This fall semester is starting out very differently than usual, with all instruction taking place remotely. We know the uncertainty and continually changing public health conditions have been stressful for all of you. As Dean of the Graduate Division, my priority is to ensure your academic success and well-being, to see to it that you feel supported, and make certain you have access to the knowledge, resources, and services you need to thrive in your graduate studies at Berkeley, no matter where your desk happens to be.

A key goal of the Graduate Division is to expand the diversity of our graduate student body and improve the campus experience for Berkeley’s minoritized graduate students. In early July, our Graduate Diversity Task Force released recommendations supporting this goal. At the end of July, we also announced a set of Anti-Racism Initiatives to specifically address Black graduate students’ needs. Our new Graduate Division Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean for Diversity, Denzil Streete, will be leading these efforts. We are very excited to have him on our team as we move toward becoming the truly inclusive institution we strive to be.

Although all of our orientation and welcome events will be virtual, we have designed them to be as engaging, informative, enjoyable as possible. I invite you to register for and attend our New Graduate Student Orientation, August 18th–25th. We’re also excited to be able to co-host GradFest on August 25th. And for first-time GSIs, please join the Fall Teaching Conference, August 20th–21st.

On a more somber note, I want to acknowledge the passing of Mary Ann Mason, former Dean of the Graduate Division. Although I did not have the pleasure of working with Dean Mason, I benefited directly from her research and advocacy promoting equity and family-career balance for faculty, staff, and graduate student parents.

I understand this has been an exceptionally challenging time for all of us. Please know that the university is doing everything it can to ensure that your remote instruction is as good as it can be, that you are supported in your work as GSIs, and that you are able to conduct your research. We are working hard to develop plans to allow you to return to the physical campus safely when the time comes. This is a time when we need to be compassionate with ourselves and one another. Your department will always be your first source of support but know that the Graduate Division team is here to help you however we can. Please be well and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

Fiat Lux,

Lisa García Bedolla

Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division