Campus to expand reading and composition curriculum

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer announced in a campuswide message yesterday (Wednesday, March 10) that the campus will be allocating a significant increase in funding to academic departments to support additional Reading & Composition (R&C) courses. The intent is to ensure that all UC Berkeley students can complete this important requirement before entering their junior year.

This decision is part of a comprehensive campus planning effort to ensure that undergraduate students have access to the courses they need. It also underscores the commitment by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Breslauer and other senior administrators to use some of the revenues generated from undergraduate fee increases, as well as from increasing out-of-state enrollment, to protect the quality of undergraduate instruction and to shield the undergraduate curriculum from the effects of the budget shortfall to the greatest extent possible.

The Chancellor and the provost have allocated $770,000 annually to meet demand from new incoming students, as well as $1.3 million over two years to address the backlog of sophomores, juniors and seniors still needing to satisfy the requirement. This additional funding will provide seats to accommodate all juniors and seniors who have yet to complete the requirement over the next two years, while simultaneously ensuring that freshmen and sophomores can take R&C courses during their first two years, when these courses are most helpful to them. Beginning in fall 2012, colleges will begin enforcing the requirement that students complete R&C before the end of the sophomore year, and all R&C seats will be reserved for lower division students.

Janet Broughton, dean of arts and humanities, praised the decision: “I’m delighted the campus is increasing its support for R&C courses, which help our students to become sharp-eyed readers and lucid writers. Students need these skills to make the most of their time at Berkeley and to succeed after graduation.”

Students who have not yet completed the requirement should take advantage of expanded course offerings in fall, spring and summer, 2010-11. Students and advisors can find additional information on the Office of the Registrar website.

Campus leaders continue to study the curricular needs of undergraduate students and expect to announce, later this year, additional support for large, lower-division courses in the sciences and for foreign-language instruction.