Chancellor Carol Christ unveils 10-year ‘strategic plan,’ aims to double campus housing

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Joshua Jordan/File

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In the face of a $77 million campus deficit, an ongoing housing crisis and burgeoning student enrollment, Chancellor Carol Christ released an email Wednesday outlining a new strategic vision to guide UC Berkeley over the course of the next decade.

The preliminary report, which was drafted by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, is the first of its kind to be published since 2002. Among the goals listed in the report were increasing campus diversity, restructuring the campus financial model and improving the quality of student experience on campus.

In a previous interview with The Daily Californian, Christ said a new strategic plan was necessary to ensure the campus’s graduate programs could keep pace with other colleges: “We are no longer competitive with graduate student funding with our private peers.”

A handful of “high priority” recommendations were also identified in the report, such as doubling campus housing units for both undergraduate and graduate students, according to Richard Lyons, dean of the Haas School of Business.

“With respect to housing, the plan strongly endorses full implementation of the recommendation of the 2017 Housing Task Force that the campus roughly double housing for students within the next ten years,” Lyons said in an email.

Included in the 2017 recommendation were several potential sites for new housing developments: People’s Park, Oxford Tract, Albany Village and Richmond Field Station, among others.

Lyons added that students could expect to see concrete results from the strategic plan as early as next fall, when construction of “Bancroft-Channing housing” is slated to reach completion.

He pointed toward growing student enrollment as a hurdle to addressing high-priority issues such as housing.

“The campus is already struggling with the effects of rapid growth over the past several years,” Lyons said. “Growth is important if we are to continue to expand opportunity for Californians, but it requires careful planning and additional resources.”

In a previous meeting with the Daily Cal, Christ said the increase in student enrollment had a “degrading” effect on the quality of student experience.

In addition to the release of the preliminary report, Christ also invited students to provide input for the plan — either by filling out an online form or by attending campus town hall meetings. She stressed that student feedback was “critical” to the success of the plan.

Christ added in the meeting that she hoped to lay the groundwork for future chancellors to see the plan to completion.

“I’m not going to be chancellor 10 years from now, but I really hope that I would have set up the planning process for doing that … for the next chancellor,” Christ said in the meeting.

Contact Miyako Iwata at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalmiyako.