In commemoration of UC Berkeley’s 150th anniversary, the Graduate Assembly, in partnership with the Graduate Division and the Cal Alumni Association, hosted a talk on the state of public graduate education featuring Senator Nancy Skinner and Chancellor Carol Christ. The conversation, which took place on April 20 in the Tilden Room of the MLK Student Union, was moderated by Kena Hazelwood-Carter, President of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly.
Over the course of the hour-long conversation, Chancellor Christ and Senator Skinner, a UC Berkeley alumna (’77, MA ’89), addressed questions posed by Hazelwood-Carter and took questions from the audience. Questions covered a variety of topics, ranging from funding, diversity, housing, and advocacy.
Two themes that the leaders addressed were the return on investment that the public receives from supporting graduate-level education, and the critical role that graduate students can play in advocacy. Chancellor Christ discussed the value of not only research done for the public good but also the direct benefits that come from UC Berkeley’s professional programs, highlighting the School of Social Welfare and the School of Law, among others.
Responding to a question from the audience, Senator Skinner outlined how graduate students can partner with state legislators and advocate more effectively. She stressed that, even with the many demands on graduate students’ limited time, there are ways to organize in a strategic, coordinated manner.