Khalid Kadir, Lecturer

Closed (1) The Political Economy of the University of California

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The purpose of this project is to investigate and document the rapid changes occurring in the UC system over the past ~15 years, paying particular attention to changing financing models, budgetary priorities, and governance structures (including the regents, faculty governance, and student governance). In doing so we hope to better understand and make transparent precisely what changes are occurring and how these changes have taken place (i.e. how decisions are made throughout the UC system, both at the system-wide level and the campus-level).

Some of the areas we hope to investigate include: the UC regents, faculty governance, campus decision-making/power-mapping, tuition and fee changes, new financing models (including loans, donor-financing, and public-private partnerships), the history of protest, and human resource changes (including changes to pensions and health insurance, outsourcing, etc.).

While the main purpose of this project is to engage in a collective process of inquiry, a long-term goal is to make the information we find publicly accessible in an easily searchable format.

To complete this project, apprentices will work either individually or in pairs to: (1) find and organize academic, journalistic, and social media work related to the UC system; (2) write a paper, an op-ed, or create some sort of visual representation of the specific topic they are tasked with investigating; and (3) present their findings to a broader audience at the end of the semester.

Qualifications: Critical reading skills and strong writing abilities are required for this project. A background and interest in the political economy of higher education is preferred. Note - as this project has been going on for some time, we are at a point where we need some specific skill-sets. To that end, we are especially interested in students with the following skills/experience: Project Management - to keep individual researchers on task and manage the many moving pieces of this project; Primary Source Data Collection; Web Design (WordPress); Programming - to create a searchable database with data we have collected (programming language is open here - something that will integrate with WordPress is key); Programming - to create a mapping tool to map power and finances at the university with data that has already been collected (this will likely have to be completed in D3 - the first steps are done, but it needs to be built out and a nice UI created); Graphic Design - to create high-quality infographics with collected data.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website:

Closed (2) Public Universities as Free Speech Battlegrounds

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

This project explores the mania surrounding free speech and academic freedom at U.S. public universities since 2007 (in a period when public universities experienced massive federal divestment), focusing primarily on the ever-changing present state of the issue. The investigation seeks to deepen our understanding of the various constituencies that play roles in public university decision-making regarding the first amendment rights of students and faculty. UC Berkeley is the epicenter of the Free Speech Movement, and over fifty years later we are still receiving international attention for our free speech battles and academic freedom controversies, making it especially important that UC Berkeley contributes to the knowledge production of this topic. This project will document high-profile free speech controversies and examine the nuances of the cases. It will also study the perspectives of public intellectuals regarding academia’s commitment (or perceived lack thereof) to free speech over the past decade. The purpose of this project is to help make sense of the dynamic debate surrounding free speech—the ostensible hallmark of the U.S. public university system—in order to contribute to higher ed accountability efforts. This project is intended to be highly collaborative - while certain objectives are well defined, apprentice input for additional goals is highly encouraged.

Apprentices will divide their time between three tasks. (1) Conducting online research in order to stay abreast on the ever-evolving state of free speech on U.S. public university campuses, paying particular attention to current events at UC Berkeley. This will include reviewing official statements made by university administrations, journalistic press, as well as the social media accounts of relevant public intellectuals. (2) Organizing the data collected from the online research into a timeline of events as well as an analysis of the various constituencies and perspectives at play in the controversies. (3) Transcribing interviews conducted with academics regarding their thoughts on how free speech is valued and practiced in academia today. Through these tasks, and on-going dialogue with project mentors, apprentices will learn and refine research skills fundamental for successful graduate study.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Nicole Rangel, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Apprentices will have a genuine interest in public higher education and its social mission, as well as the important platform it serves for free speech and knowledge production in larger society. Apprentices will also have taken classes/studied the intersectionality of systems of oppression (such as white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism), and have an understanding of how these systems affect the the institution of schooling, individuals'/communities' educational experiences, and individuals'/communities' life opportunities. Apprentices will have strong critical thinking skills and writing abilities, and an openness and excitement to learn and grow through the research process.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs