I'm pleased to announce that the grand opening of the co-designed homes at the Pinoleville Pomo Nation
will featured in an Open House next Friday, Sept. 21 in Ukiah, CA at 10 am.
Please come if you can!!!
Since March 2008, the Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES) has been partnering with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN) near Ukiah, CA to co-design culturally-inspired, sustainable housing and renewable energy power systems that utilize sustainability best practices, renewable energy technology, and reflect the long-standing culture of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation.
During that time, this partnership has secured roughly $1.5 million via CITRIS, DOE, HUD, and EPA for construction and funded 2 PhDs and 2 MS projects in the College of Engineering and the Department of Architecture.
Two of the co-designed homes have been built and the PPN conducted “green jobs” training sessions on strawbale construction materials, grey water, and renewable energy systems for its citizens and local labors participating in their construction.
This partnership has been honored with the 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Public Service in the Civic Engagement and has also been featured in UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering's Innovations (October 2008), College of Engineering's Engineering News (December 2008), College of Engineering's ForeFront (Spring 2009), and the University Relations’ Promise of Berkeley (Fall 2009).
Also see Luce video of the project here
This is a repost of an article written about the closure of the NSF funded Center for Underpresented Engineering Students (CUES) at UC Berkeley.Berkeley Engineering Dean Defends Student Services Shakeup by Corinna Wu
Students and faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, had a chance yesterday to air concerns about a major change in the status of diversity programs within the College of Engineering. But while Dean Shankar Sastry said he welcomed their input, he made it clear that his decision earlier this summer to fold the long-running Center for Underrepresented Engineering Students (CUES) into a revamped Engineering Student Services (ESS) office is a done deal.
"The decision to reorganize has been made," Sastry told some 60 people who attended a town hall meeting on campus. “I know that people are worried about change," he said, adding that "we will continue to have meetings like this." He also announced the formation of a faculty-student task force, to be headed by electrical engineering professor Ruzena Bajcsy, to provide ongoing advice.
Audience members pressed Sastry for details about why the change was being made and why he thought the new structure would benefit students. And they weren't happy with the answers they received. “I heard a lot of opposition from the students present and less-than-direct answers to many of their questions,” said Anne MacLachlan, a senior researcher at Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and the final speaker in the 90-minute dialogue.
Sastry said that integrating the programs under CUES into ESS would help address a 40% drop since 2005 in the number of minorities and women entering the college. “I’d like to be able to make sure that the underrepresented student part of student advising is not an island. I’d love to bring it in a little tighter with the faculty and students of the college. …That is the biggest single reason to bring it in,” he said. Acting ESS Director Kristen Gates said that the college hoped to offer new programs in peer advising, outreach, internships, and research opportunities for freshmen.
MacLachlan worried that parents of prospective students could interpret the new structure as evidence that Berkeley does not welcome students of color, she said, and that their concerns could undermine the goal of increasing enrollment. Others questioned the timing of the transition. “What’s the hurry?” asked Caroline Kane, an emerita professor of biochemistry and molecular biology with the Coalition for Excellence and Diversity in Math, Science, and Engineering. “It seems like we're dropping a bomb right when we’ve got students coming back to the college of engineering who are used to having a community and community space,” she said.
Here is a repost of an article
written today by Jeffery Mervis about the closure of CUES. Debate Today on Engineering Diversity Program at Berkeley
by Jeffery Mervis
"Unhappy students and faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, are expected to jam a campus town hall meeting
this afternoon to hear the dean of the college of engineering explain why he's dismantling a model program for underrepresented minorities and women.
the change last month, Dean Shankar Sastry said he hopes that melding the Center for Underrepresented Engineering Students (CUES) into a new Engineering Student Services (ESS) office will actually strengthen the college's efforts to promote diversity. The center’s three employees were told last month that their contracts would not be renewed, effective 30 September.
Although the university is under severe financial pressure, engineering officials say the reorganization is not being done for budgetary reasons and that ESS will not be jettisoning any staff positions. Karen Rhodes, head of marketing and communications for the engineering college, says that the school’s “yield”—the percentage of students deciding to enroll in the fall after being accepted in the spring—is much lower for incoming minority engineering students than it is for the campus as a whole. She says a study by an outside consultant also found that many engineering students were dissatisfied with the current level of services being offered. "We need to become friendlier and in tune with what they want,” says Rhodes.
In addition, the school has seen a sharp decline in the overall percentage of minorities in its entering class—from 11% in 2004 to 6% this fall. That "alarming trend," says Rhodes, has led the college to "rethink our approach to serving underrepresented minorities."
However, supporters fear that the needs of minority students and women will get lost in the reshuffle. A precursor of the center was begun in 1981, and its cluster of activities—which include a summer bridge program, undergraduate research experiences, and academic and career counseling—have been emulated over the years by several other top universities. CUES’s supporters say that the current statistics argue for more, not less, emphasis on the needs of those students and that eliminating the center as an independent entity sends a signal that the college is diluting its commitment to broadening participation.
"I was absolutely shocked when I first heard the news," says Stanley Prussin, a professor of nuclear engineering and a former associate dean who oversaw CUES in the late 1990s. "It's been a model for the rest of the campus and for the entire country. The number of underrepresented minorities [within the college] is not what you would like it to be, but the problems have not disappeared. If anything, the need for a more intensive and independent approach to the problem seems to be greater than ever."
Ryan Shelby, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, says that CUES was a big reason he chose Berkeley. "I wanted to make sure I had a support system, and they showed me how much they care. Their sole mission is to increase diversity and minority participation in engineering. It's not just a collection of programs; it's their entire approach." Shelby is a leader in a student group
that is asking the dean to conduct a more thorough review of the center's impact before making any changes."
Although I did not attend UC Berkeley for my undergraduate degree, I participated and received support from an organization similar to CUES at the University of Michigan while I was a visiting undergraduate research student from Alabama A&M University. This organization allowed to experience first hand what it was like to be a graduate student and the wonders that come from conducting research at a graduate level.
The coordinators and administrators in this organization treated me like I was a person and not just another number on a checklist. They interacted with me in a way that let me knew that they cared about me as a person and not just someone that can crank out papers for the next 5 years. My experience at Michigan during the summer of 2004 in this organization and its programs is really what made me decide to pursue my graduate studies.
When it came to choosing which graudate school I wanted to attend, my first choice was the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. When I visited the University of Michigan, I knew that there were people and an organization present that were going to help guide and support me (emotionally, financially, and academically) throughout my graduate career.
The University of Michigan invested time and money to bring me to their Dept of Mechanical Engineering to perform research at graduate level They even sent people down to my school, Alabama A&M University, to talk about the opportunities at Michigan and give them tips and techniques to apply to Michigan for graduate school or for the summer research opportunity program.
By having a organization and personnel solely dedicated to actively recruiting underrepresented students and helping me receive my graduate degree(s), I knew that the University of Michigan was serious about establishing and maintaining a diversified environment in its engineering programs.
I was able to personally connect with the people at University of Michigan because I new they cared about me and my overall well being and success. I felt a sense of loyalty to Michigan because of the kindness they bestowed upon me and the resources that committed to my success in graduate school at Michigan and other top tier schools.
The CUES organization and its programs at Berkeley are also identical twins to the organization and program at Michigan. After I became familiar with CUES and its personnel, I knew that no matter what happened at Berkeley during my graduate career they would always be there to provide me a support network.
The only reason I came to UC Berkeley over the University of Michigan was that the people I personally connected with at Michigan were going to retire few my first year in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
No matter where I went to school, I knew I was going to be successful. However, I wanted to make sure that the graduate school I went also wanted me to be successful and was willing to support to me. It was hard for me to say "No" to Michigan after all the things they had done for me, but I knew in my heart that I wanted to go to a school that cared about me as a person and was going to support me no matter what happens. There was not a doubt in my mind that CUES and the people that make of CUES would always be there for me while I was at Berkeley.
CUES is an organization whose solely purpose everyday is to recruit and graduate future engineers in the UC Berkeley's College of Engineering's undergraduate and graduate programs.
CUES is an excellent program that has had an extensive and successful track record of providing academic, social, and monetary support to students in their undergraduate and graduate endeavors as well. It is, in a nutshell, a close knit family that cares about the academic, professional, and social well being of the people it serves.
When I go to that office, I know that every person, every scrap of paper, and every dollar in that place is dedicated to one thing and one thing only: increasing the number of underrepresented groups such as women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Latinos that attend and graduate from the undergraduate and graduate programs in College of Engineering at UC Berkeley.
The ESS will never be CUES because its primary focus is not to increase the enrollment and the graduate rates of the above mention underrepresented groups. In ESS, the focus on the above mentioned underrepresented groups will take a tertiary role at best.
This move to reorganization/eliminate CUES is Dean Sastry's first statement and act about diversity at the College of Engineering. What this move shows is that the College of Engineering no longer places a high priority on recruiting and graduating more women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Latinos in the undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley.