In October, the Graduate Division hosted the reception for 63 newly hired faculty, many of whom gathered at the Morrison Reading Room in the Doe Library to become acquainted with resources available to faculty working with graduate students.
Andrew Szeri, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Graduate Dean, welcomed the new faculty by recalling how he discovered the Morrison Reading Room nearly 20 years ago prior to the interview that led to his faculty position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
“I was early and very nervous, so I came to Morrison to relax before the interview,” said Vice Provost Szeri. He noted that one of the main reasons he left his former faculty position to come to Berkeley was for the extraordinary caliber of faculty colleagues and graduate students he would have the opportunity to work with.
The new faculty were introduced to some of the key functions of the Graduate Division, such as approving departmental recommendations for admission of graduate student applicants, administering graduate student fellowships and grants, serving as a resource on housing, childcare, and other student welfare issues, coordinating activities aiding the professional development of graduate students, and overseeing the academic quality of graduate programs, among other roles critical to students and faculty.
Vice Provost Szeri delighted attendees by announcing that all new faculty would receive one summer fellowship for a graduate student they would like to support in 2014. “That’s your door prize for coming!,” he quipped. Such fellowships are a way to begin fostering research mentoring relationships among new faculty and their graduate students.
Janet Broughton, Vice Provost for the Faculty, and Tom Leonard, University Librarian, also welcomed the new faculty during the reception. “You are the future of the University and we are thrilled to finally get to meet you,” said Broughton.
For Scott Moura, who attended the event, getting hired earlier this year as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was a dream come true after he graduated from Berkeley with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2006.
“I am Blue and Gold through and through,” said Moura, who played in the Marching Band and was once a student in Dean Szeri’s fluid mechanics class.
Moura went on to obtain his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. While completing doctoral studies there, he received a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, which encourages women and minority Ph.D. recipients to seek academic careers within the UC system.
“Berkeley is a big, big place,” said Moura, adding that even though he is familiar with UC, the presentations at the new faculty reception broadened his knowledge of campus resources available for graduate students to be successful in their studies and future careers.