Dean's Desk, Fall 2001

by Clayton H. Heathcock

As I sit at my computer to write this semester’s column, only a week has passed since the senseless acts of terror in New York and our nation’s capital. We in the College of Chemistry, like people all across the nation, have been transfixed by the images on television. Thankfully, we do not know of any member of our immediate College community who was directly touched by the tragedy in losing a family member or loved one. However, I will be very surprised if all of our alumni have been equally fortunate. Our day-to-day operations have been affected by the catastrophe in several ways. The College of Chemistry Advisory Board meeting, which had been scheduled for September 13–14, was postponed to a later date, probably late next spring. In addition, quite a few seminars have been canceled or rescheduled because of travel disruptions. Today, more than 12,000 members of the campus community gathered at noon in Memorial Glade for an hour of remembrance and to remind us all of the meaning of humanity.

The Latimer and Hildebrand seismic projects are continuing on schedule, with anticipated completion in the spring of 2002. The north and south facades of Latimer Hall are taking on a very different look as eight columns on each side have now been strengthened and the four reinforced concrete ‘spandrels’ on each side are now being poured. Inside the building, we are getting a full life-safety upgrade by installation of a modern fire alarm system and fire sprinklers. A number of bathrooms have been upgraded to meet ADA standards. We will soon start work on some of the deferred maintenance, in which the campus will replace antiquated ventilation ducts that serve our fume hoods and install a new roof on Latimer at a total cost of almost $5 million.

In Hildebrand Hall, reinforced concrete shear walls are now in place from the D-level all the way up to the 3rd floor on the north end and from the D-level to the 2nd floor on the south end. As soon as the interior seismic work in Hildebrand is completed, work will commence on retrofitting the 2nd and 3rd floors to serve as surge space for the structural biology group, which will be evicted from Stanley in mid-2002.

This diaspora of the structural biologists is necessary so that Stanley Hall can be demolished to make way for a new 145,000-asf (assignable-square-feet) Stanley replacement building (SRB). This new structure will be constructed on the site currently occupied by Stanley Hall and the adjacent parking lot, just to the east of Hearst Mining Circle. It will be the Berkeley home of the new Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Biomedical Research Institute (QB3), one of three new research initiatives recently funded by the California legislature. QB3 is a joint enterprise that involves Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz. Chemistry Professor Graham Fleming is the Interim Director of QB3, which has already come into being and will function in existing campus laboratory space while awaiting construction of the SRB, scheduled for completion in mid-2006.

Of considerable significance to the College of Chemistry is the fact that approximately 30,000 square feet of new laboratory and office space in the SRB is slated for occupancy by Chemistry Department faculty members. This will relieve some of the congestion that we are currently experiencing because of the seismic projects and affiliated surge activities. One of our greatest needs is for more space for undergraduate teaching laboratories, discussion rooms, and associated utility rooms. When SRB is completed and some space opens up in the traditional College of Chemistry buildings, we hope to be able to satisfy some of these needs.

One of the things that has been occupying my attention for the last few weeks is construction of a proposal to the campus administration about how we in the College will do our share to handle the anticipated enrollment increase over the next seven years. These are the individuals who were born in the 1980s. This large surge of school enrollments, dubbed “Tidal Wave II,” is currently working its way through the K-12 grades and is beginning to make itself felt in expanding college enrollments. The total enrollment in the University of California system is expected to grow by 65,000 by 2008. Most of this enrollment increase will be absorbed by campuses that have not reached their maximum size—UCD, UCSC, UCSB, UCI, UCR, and UCSD—and the new UC Merced campus, which will open in 2004. However, UCB and UCLA, both of which are at maximum size under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, have also been assigned an enrollment increase quota.

Berkeley’s assignment is to increase our student headcount from its current level of 30,000 to 34,000 by 2008. Furthermore, we are being asked to absorb this 13 percent increase in enrollment without increasing the number of students who are in residence during the fall and spring semesters. Therefore, we are planning to enhance our offerings in summer session starting in the summer of 2002, and we will continue to expand our summer session offerings each year until 2008, when we expect to be offering a total of 25 summer session courses in the College. This augmentation of our summer offerings is made possible by the California Legislature’s recent approval of state funding for summer session. Previously our summer session has been funded completely by tuition and fees paid by the matriculated students.

The anticipated increase in our enrollment will require an expansion of our faculty and also of our graduate student body, since we rely heavily on graduate student instructors (GSIs) to assist the faculty, mainly in laboratory instruction. To provide sufficient staff to handle this additional educational burden, I have asked the campus administration to create eight new faculty positions over the next six years, five in the Chemistry Department and three in the Chemical Engineering Department. I have also asked for a commensurate increase in our GSI budget and an expansion of our graduate student admission quota sufficient to increase the size of our graduate student body by approximately 50 students over the next five years. These proposals will be reviewed by the administration during this academic year, and I hope to report the outcome of this review in a future column.

College News

Dean Heathcock and Susan Slavick, building manager for the College, inspect the ongoing construction in Hildebrand Hall with John Bailey, project manager for Rudolph and Sletten.
One of the facts of modern academic life is that “public” institutions of higher education have become increasingly “semi-public” in nature. For example, the State of California provides only about 35 percent of the total funds that operate the Berkeley campus. Thus, we are increasingly dependent on the philanthropy of foundations, corporations, alumni and friends. One of my main goals as dean is to increase the endowment of the College. Our total endowment currently stands at approximately $14 million and provides annual income of approximately $560,000 that supports undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships, Distinguished Professorships, junior faculty startup funding, and housing assistance for new faculty recruits. During the last few months, we have learned of two additional very generous estate bequests by alumni and friends of the College. These two bequests, which are currently in probate, total approximately $5 million and will represent a 35 percent augmentation of the total College of Chemistry endowment. I hope that many of you will follow these fine examples and consider making a provision for the College when planning your estate.