Just two of the many gleeful Berkeley professors

Just two of the many gleeful Berkeley professors

Do you ever get the feeling that your professors are incredibly excited to come to class every day? You know, that moment in a chem demo when a manly master of molecules lets out a girlish giggle after a methane explosion? Or in a philosophy discussion, as the instructor laughs maniacally watching the class struggle to prove the existence of the universe? Our professors seem so motivated. In fact, according to this Glassdoor poll of American professors in leading universities, Berkeley ranks within the top 10, with an average rating of 4.0 (very satisfied) of universities to work for. Wonder why? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you.

The campus


The true masters of Berkeley

Ah, yes, the trees. The way they sway in the bay breeze. Our beautiful campus emanates contentment. In addition to the abundant natural wildlife of squirrels, squirrels and squirrels, the majestic architecture gives the professors a sense of accomplishment. They feel proud to work at a site of grandeur, and their satisfaction reflects it. It almost makes all the construction worth it.

A social conscience

Our researchers are at a university with both a big enough pocketbook to support world class scientific research and the careful attitude that makes sure we spend the money in a way that provides the most benefit to everyone. Berkeley is the best academically, but it also looks at environmental and social consequences of its actions. This makes professors feel like people living among people — not robots forced to produce results, no matter the cost. Like at Stanford.

The students

photo (1)

Fiat lux, indeed

Imagine a school where professors are forced to educate giant turds. It is a sad picture, but for the professors at Stanford, that is what life entails. The professors at Berkeley are happy because their students are not giant turds but rather bright and enthusiastic young men and women who want to make the world a better place. For the most part, we Cal students do not go through the motions because we see it as a way to get a job —many of us are genuinely interested in our majors, and our enthusiasm shows it. No wonder our professors love us!

Image source: Global X, BinaryApe under Creative Commons and Kamin Kahrizi, The Daily Californian

20120315_192608Emmanuel Witzthum, a Jewish artist, went from embassy to embassy trying to get in touch with different artists from different cultural backgrounds. When he reached the American embassy he was told “Sorry, we don’t support culture.” Oh god, our cowboy hats and spurs are showing as some old kranky guy yells from a bar, “We don’t take too kindly to your type…” Luckily, this image faded, or dissolved really, through Witzthum’s artistry.

On a Thursday night at the Magnes museum, another barrier was broken: the barrier between young students and old Jewish art enthusiasts. Everyone turned out for a chance to hear from the great Emmanuel Witzthum. He is a famous composer, violist, curator and lecturer, who is the artist behind the piece Dissolving Localities (details here). It is a mix of sounds, and sites from Berkeley and Jerusalem that is a pleasure for the senses. This night was particuarly special because we got to see how this masterpiece was created. read more »

2323053026_267013487a_mThe next time you hear a professor complain about a pay cut, just mention the following fact. According to a report by the American Association of University Professors, UC Berkeley professors are among the top-earning in the nation. Berkeley has landed number 13 on the list of highest average annual salaries of university professors with a respectable $149, 100.

The highest paying university is Harvard (because no one was expecting that) with an average annual salary of $193, 800. And right above us on the list is fellow UC, UCLA, with $153,700. With all these budget cuts, it’s nice to see that at least some people at Berkeley are still getting money.

Image Source: ArghMonkey under Creative Commons
The Highest-Paying Colleges: American Association of University Professors Study [Huffington Post]

Zomg, LOVE!

Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

These five professors are quite the dapper fellows–the 2010 Guggenheim fellows, that is. Ah yes, looks like the newly-minted AAAS members weren’t the only Berkeley profs kicking AAAS-s and taking academic names. SHING! (That’s the sound of an awesome joke being made.) [NewsCenter]

Nobody wins … again. [Daily Cal]

People’s Park celebrated its 41st birthday today. People FTW! Parks FTW! Birthdays FTW! [Facebook]

They’re number one! They’re number one (round NFL Draft picks)! [Daily Cal]

Image Source: Connie Chen, Daily Cal [Through the Looking Glass]
Earlier: Not About the Super Bowl

Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

* Oh, BTW, we can totally make solar panels cheaper … in five to 20 years. [Daily Cal]

* Stop bugging your GSIs. Chances are, they’re depressed. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* They’re probably depressed they’re not as wanted as our Boalt professors. Sad face. [Contra Costa Times]

* Say goodbye to Healthy Heavenly Foods in the Bear’s Lair? But what of our cheap sandwiches and banana eggrolls?! [UCB LJ]

Image Source: Shannon Hamilton, Daily Cal
Earlier: The Crazies and the Crazed

As the new President-elect meditatively contemplates a buckling economy, gears in the political machine are a-turnin’, and the new administration’s eyeing fresh meat for key appointments in high positions. Who out of the Berkeley academic crypt could possibly be so well-regarded as to deserve such a lofty designation? read more »

And this year, UC Berkeley bagged exactly none. That’s one down from last year, when a Cal scientist was awarded her cool half mil for doing what Berkeley does best.  (Saving the environment, dammit! Spare us the tree-sit jokes.)

This past week, MacArthur genius grant recipients learned in a single phone call from the Foundation that they will each receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years.

Ostensibly this means they can slag off their academic duties and canoodle with loved ones in exotic vacationing spots across the world, but past MacArthur fellows have shown themselves more inclined to, oh, investigate lava. Build sculptures out of Scotch tape and paper clips. Research the aerodynamicism of fruit flies.  We dig.

This year’s batch includes 13 in the science fields and eight involved with the arts.  You can check out the breakdown here.

Image Source: leekelleher under Creative Commons
25 New MacArthur Fellows Announced [MacArthur Foundation]

Guggenheim GoodnessSix Cal profs were among “190 artists, scientists and scholars,” chosen from almost 3,000 applicants (all of whom, we assume, are much smarter than we could ever hope to be), who received 2008 Guggenheim Fellowships. This means that they will get lots of moneys to continue their work on lots of things that smart people work on, like Psych professor Arthur Shimamura’s “examination of a neurocognitive approach to the psychology of art and aesthetics,” and Philosophy professor Paolo Mancosu’s analysis of “the interplay between the philosophy of mathematics and mathematical logic.”

Guggenheim Fellowships, brought to you by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation since 1925, are awarded every year to cool people “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts,” quite a number of whom are also Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Plus, we know from experience that if it’s got a Guggenheim’s stamp of approval, it’s got to be pretty darn interesting.

Image Source: Finlay McWalter under GNU Free Documentation
Six Professors Win Prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships [Berkeley News Center]
Guggenheim Fellowship [Wikipedia]
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation [Wikipedia]

goldendeliciousShe’s the rock star who teaches every class in a pencil skirt and vertiginous heels. Her lectures are so inspiring that she has to request her students withhold their applause at the end of each one. She’s the chair of the undergraduate urban-studies major and the associate dean of academic affairs in the International and Area Studies department. Her name is Ananya Roy, and she’s out to make you care, damnit.

A week ago, delivery interrupted a graduate seminar that Roy was teaching to heap much adulation and apples and purty flowers upon her unsuspecting person. The formal Golden Apple Award ceremony will take place in Dwinelle Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, when she’ll deliver her “Ideal Last Lecture” and rack up a couple of grand for being just that awesome.

Roy teaches the wildly popular course, “Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes in the New Millenium”, every fall semester. Reportedly, the class started out as an eight-week seminar with space for about a couple dozen students. Then it expanded. And expanded. And kept right on expanding. It was like the universe or Google or something. read more »

tortureAfter discovering the latest omen of the world’s coming demise, the Clog encourages Berkeley students to put down their books and enjoy their short-lived time on earth. (Or not, in this case.)

A recently declassified 2003 memo authorizing brutal interrogation methods on Guantanamo Bay detainees wouldn’t be news, really, because we’re jaded like that. The catch? The damning signature on the memo belongs to a lawyer cum professor, and that professor teaches law at a school of ultra liberal, Bush-bashing yukkity-yuks: our very own UC Berkeley.

Dubbed by national media as the John Yoo torture memo, the piece argues that the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections and the Eight Amendment’s ban on cruelty fails to apply to Guantanamo Bay prisoners because they’re aliens, damnit. read more »

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