The Chancellor’s Undergraduate Initiative (UGI) seeks to reimagine a Berkeley undergraduate education. Building on the enormous success of many curricular and co-curricular programs and initiatives already in place, the UGI will provide students with an education and set of experiences that are better-attuned to the challenges of the 21st century and will enhance students' sense of community at Berkeley and beyond.

As stated in his inaugural address, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks believes that a commitment to liberal education is the centerpiece of any progressive undergraduate curriculum. Attaining a comprehensive liberal education is more important than ever in light of our society’s growing reliance on science and technology, and the globalization of human affairs. Ongoing attention to assessing how UC Berkeley can extend and improve our undergraduate curriculum is one of the most important charges of the faculty and the university.

Guiding Principles

UGI competencies and dispositions

Timeline & Scope

In Fall 2014, Chancellor Dirks charged the Undergraduate Initiative Steering Committee, co-chaired by Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Claude Steele and Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Catherine Koshland, with developing a campus-level strategic plan to make Berkeley as highly-regarded for its undergraduate education as it is for its faculty research.

This committee comprised a broad group of faculty, including deans with responsibility for undergraduates, leadership from the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, senior administrators from Student Affairs, Equity & Inclusion, and University Relations as well as student leaders from the ASUC and Graduate Assembly. Over an 18-month period, the Steering Committee developed the goals for the Initiative and its general design relying on input from a broad and diverse spectrum of faculty, students, and key staff. Engagement activities included a charrette activitiy with 70 undergraduates from across campus. Learn more here.

The Steering Committee developed a compelling vision for improving the curriculum, co-curricular opportunities, student support, and residential life at Berkeley and in Fall 2015 passed the UGI torch to the Council of College Deans (CCD), charged with the further development, implementation, and governance of the Undergraduate Initiative. The CCD comprises deans of all units conferring undergraduate degrees and the chair of the Academic Senate as a non-voting member, and is convened by the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. 

The Initiative has a 3-5 year timeline, with phased implementation to allow the opportunity for engagement, change, and input from the entire campus community. The scope of the Initiative is campus-wide and will encompass all five of the undergraduate colleges: Letters & Science; Chemistry; Engineering; Environmental Design; Natural Resources; and the Haas School of Business Undergraduate Program. 

There are four components to the Initiative: 

  1. Creating a four-year liberal arts "College at Berkeley" as the undergraduate component of the College of Letters & Science;
  2. Facilitating curricular innovation--including developing the Berkeley Curriculum--enhancing advising, and student support;
  3. Renovating campus-wide instructional and student-learning facilities;
  4. Improving extracurricular and residential life. 

Governance

Council of College Deans (CCD) 

The CCD was charged in Fall 2015 with the further development, implementation, and governance of the Undergraduate Initiative. The CCD comprises deans of all units conferring undergraduate degrees and the chair of the Academic Senate as a non-voting member, and is convened by the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. 

Council of College Deans charge letter

Catherine P. KoshlandVice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (convener)
Anthony Cascardi Dean of Arts & Humanities, College of Letters & Science
Douglas Clark Dean, College of Chemistry
J. Keith Gilless Dean, College of Natural Resources
Frances Hellman Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, College of Letters & Science
Carla Hesse Executive Dean and Dean of Social Sciences, College of Letters & Science
Bob Jacobsen Dean of Undergraduate Studies, College of Letters & Science
Richard K. Lyons Dean, Haas School of Business
Michael R. Botchan Dean of Biological Sciences, College of Letters & Science
Robert Powell Professor of Political Science; Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate (2016-17)
S. Shankar Sastry Dean, College of Engineering
Jennifer Wolch Dean, College of Environmental Design
Cindy Bumgarner Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and Chief of Staff (staff)
Leslie Harlson Project Manager, Undergraduate Initiative (staff)

Undergraduate Initiative Steering Committee (2014-15)

Undergraduate Initiative Steering Committee charge letter

Claude M. SteeleExecutive Vice Chancellor & Provost (co-chair)
Catherine P. KoshlandVice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (co-chair)
Gibor Basri Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion
Scott Biddy Vice Chancellor, University Relations
Harry Le Grande Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Anthony Cascardi Dean of Arts & Humanities, College of Letters & Science
Carla Hesse Executive Dean and Dean of Social Sciences, College of Letters & Science
Brandi Wilkins Catanese Professor, Theater Dance & Performance Studies, African American Studies
Serena Chen Professor, Psychology
Ronald C. Cohen Professor, Chemistry
Abigail F. Dernburg Professor, Cell & Developmental Biology
Benjamin Hermalin Professor, Haas School of Business; Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate (2015-16)
Glynda Hull Professor, Graduate School of Education; Chair, Committee of Educational Policy
Bob Jacobsen Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies, College of Letters & Science
Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton Professor, Psychology
Maura Nolan Professor, English; Director, Berkeley Connect
Panos Papadopoulos Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate (2014-15)
John Ready President, Graduate Assembly
Pavan Upadhyayula President, ASUC
Nils Gilman Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff (staff)
Phyllis Hoffman Associate EVCP and Chief of Staff, EVCP
Cynthia Schrager Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (staff)

    Questions or comments about the Initiative may be directed to the team: Berkeley_UGI@lists.berkeley.edu.