Saturday, September 5, 2009

APIEL NOW! Survey/Questionnaire

Please provide your name and e-mail and list what language(s) you have taken, or want to take at UC Berkeley. Then respond to the questions below. If you would prefer your response to be anonymous, or would prefer to send your response by e-mail, then send a message under the subject heading "APIEL NOW! Survey Response" to

1. Please describe your experiences when enrolling in Fall 2009
language and/or culture classes. What were some of the challenges,
obstacles, or positive experiences you encountered?

2. Please describe your experiences when signing up for and taking
language and/or culture classes throughout your academic career at
Berkeley thus far. As you answer, please feel free to comment on
things like class size, being on and getting off of the waiting list,
switching sections, class availability (the number of available
sections, the types of classes offered, section times, etc.), and also
consider any similarities or differences between the different
semesters and classes.

3. Is there anything else you wish to tell us about your enrollment
experience in language and/or culture classes?

4. Do you give permission for APIEL NOW! to quote from your responses in materials used to promote increased access to API language education and expanded programs of study in API languages?

Friday, September 4, 2009

An EALC Major's Perspective on Overcrowded Classes

So the first official week of school is almost over! How has it been for all of you? Busy? Running around all over the place? Or just chilling? For me it’s been pretty busy. I’m a Chinese and Japanese double major, and I know if I hadn’t been a declared major for both of them, I would be a lot more stressed out about getting into my classes (and not being waitlisted.) Yep, that dread word—WAITLISTED. All my classes are full or overenrolled (and they all happen to be, surprise, in the EALC department). Day by day, people have been dropping like flies either to—horror of horrors, especially for a five-day-a-week-language class—eight o’clock section or simply, dropped.

It’s easy to place the blame on the most obvious target: the budget cuts. Overcrowded buses that come less frequently, libraries closed on Saturdays, sections cut, classes canceled, the rising cost of a UCB education… Yet I think that this overenrolled, overcrowded situation in many of the classes in the EALC department is not a budget crisis thing. It’s something that I’ve been seeing with the EALC department for a while now. It’s been consistently non-majors and graduate students being dropped to early morning sections, and classes growing larger and larger.

Take my Chinese 110 class for example. It’s a literary Chinese class that’s a requirement for majors and basically everyone in the class is a major or minor. You’d expect it to be full, or almost full right? Wrong. Completely overcrowded to the point where you gotta open all the windows and let the air in. Around sixty people were in class on the first day for a thirty people class. The professor teaching—Professor Ashmore—told me how he was shocked at how the class has grown since he’s last taught it a few years ago. It used to be from fifteen to twenty five people. Now the official roster is almost fifty people. In a few years. This is how fast the program has grown. Same with Japanese. My professor for Japanese 120—literary Japanese—told us how the class used to filled up two small rows of students. Now it’s over seven rows of students in a completely over enrolled class, just like the literary Chinese class. Isn’t it crazy?

You’d expect demand to be answered with supply, but instead, it’s just been answered with stuffy classroom overcrowding. It’s been this university consistently placing languages in the service education category, impervious to blatant signs of over enrollment. With the budget cuts slashing left and right, it won’t be long before overcrowding becomes downsizing what should have been expansion.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More Links
(Analysis by UC-AFT Pres. Bob Samuels), (Letter to Students from TDPS Prof.
Catherine Cole)

News and views aggregators on the UC budget crisis:,

An economic analysis of the UC buget by Physics Professor Emeritus
Charlie Schwartz, aka "The Man Who Devoted His Retirement To Parsing
What Little Of The UC Budget The Regents Made Public"
Also see his series, "Financing The University" at

Marc Bousquet's blog about the casualization of higher ed., (Faculty on food stamps!
Grad students turn to sex work to pay the bills! Freeway flyers! Ph.D.
Casino! The collpasing tenure system!)

Also two must-reads from Bousquet:, The Waste Product of Graduate
Education: Toward a Dictatorship of the Flexible
The Rhetoric of "Job Market" and the Reality of the Academic Labor

George Lakoff on Privatization and the UC Budget Crisis:

SAVE (Save The University)--Faculty Group:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UC Faculty Walkout 9/24/2009

UC faculty have announced plans for a system-wide walkout on September 24, 2009 to protest President Yudoff's assumption of "emergency powers" and the deceptive implementation of furloughs on "non-instructional" days. For more information see the following link:

Welcome Back - Fall Meetings

APIEL NOW! will have weekly meetings every Friday at 4pm in 591 Barrows Hall. Our next meeting is September 4, 2009. If you're concerned about API language education at UC Berkeley, then come and bring your friends and classmates. See you there!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Links about the Budget Crisis

*UCLA Faculty page about the UC Budget Crisis

*UC Berkeley English Department Blog w/ Responses to the Budget Crisis

- UC Berkeley Budget Crisis

- Charlie Schwartz's blog:

- Charlie Schwartz's series, "Financing the University"

- Chris Newfield's blog (probably the most comprehensive updates about the crisis system-wide):

Links to Information on the UC Budget Crisis

- John Vasconcellos's take on the CA budget crisis:

- Helpful interview with AFT President Bob Samuels on Dan Tsang's radio show (KUCI) about UC budget cuts

- Professor Charles Schwartz's website, which contains a very comprehensive numerical analysis of the budget, among other critiques of the university administration's lack of transparency:

- Excellent but upsetting article (2007) about the death of the UC Pension Plan, which is very relevant right now since faculty and staff will be required to contribute to the pension plan starting next year for the first time in many years.

- UCSB Professor Chris Newfield's blog ("Remaking the University"), which has a comprehensive compilation of helpful links, op-eds, petitions, etc.: