Over the course of 2014-15, the College of Environmental Design welcomed an extraordinary cohort of new students, as talented as any before them and increasingly diverse in terms of demography and geography. Again, we are proud to have the largest share of undergraduates who are underrepresented minorities, from households with modest incomes, or coming from international locales of any academic unit on campus. At the same time, CED students received a wide range of prestigious prizes and awards, both for discipline-specific projects and also cross-disciplinary team efforts. The latter included a #2 Prize at the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition in Singapore.
We welcomed new faculty members Christopher Calott, Iryna Dronova, Carol Galante, Richard Hindle, and Simon Schleicher and worked to recruit two new appointments who we hope will be joining us in the near future. At the same time, three members of the faculty retired, and one joined our sister institution UCLA – Elizabeth Deakin, Michael Dear, Paul Groth, and Ananya Roy, respectively. Their presence and many significant contributions will be sorely missed in their departments, the college, and campus. Overall, CED’s faculty was amazingly productive and entrepreneurial this year, attracting major extramural grants, winning high profile competitions and awards, and creating start-up ventures, as well as publishing books, journal articles, and blogs.
Three new academic programs were launched this past year. Students entered new graduate certificate programs in geographic information science and technology, and in real estate (both collaborations with other partners across campus). And our initial cohort of Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) undergraduate majors arrived, which is already 50 strong – and growing fast.
Wurster Hall projects continue, although not always as quickly as we would prefer! Larger projects including the café and west patio, and the new shop yard, have taken longer than anticipated but should be under construction this year. However, many smaller yet vital projects were completed or are now underway. These include a redesign of the 2nd floor lobby to create a more comfortable student lounge and workspace; handsome fencing around the North Entrance to Wurster Hall; a remodel of the 1st floor AV Technology Office; and critical improvements to the 4th floor Student Computing Lab.
Importantly, the philanthropic generosity of our alumni and supporters, along with redoubled efforts to generate resources, allowed us to weather further reductions in CED’s state funding. In particular, we were successful in our campaign to raise $500,000 for the redesign of Studio Floor 7, and plan to be ready to begin this important pilot project in May 2016.
Lastly, the entire CED community is extraordinarily proud that the QS Ranking of World Universities, one of the foremost metrics we use to judge our performance, ranked UC Berkeley’s architecture/built environment field as #4 worldwide, and #2 in the USA. Way to go CED – and Go Bears!
Jennifer Wolch, William W. Wurster Dean,
Professor of City & Regional Planning