DeCal aims to involve students in Operational Excellence

In an ongoing effort to increase student involvement in UC Berkeley’s cost-cutting Operational Excellence initiative, student government leaders will launch a new DeCal class in September that will give students the option of working directly on initiative projects or conducting research projects.

On Sept. 6, about 20 graduate and undergraduate students will meet in the ASUC Senate chambers for the first meeting of the Deconstructing Operational Excellence DeCal, which will be facilitated by Cooperative Movement Senator Elliot Goldstein, ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Julia Joung and Graduate Assembly Affairs Vice President Philippe Marchand.

The DeCal will alternate its every other week meetings with Student Operational Excellence Committee meetings, which will be open to the public as well as the members of the DeCal class. At the meetings, students will discuss the history of the initiative and hear from various guest speakers.

“It’s a way of having students directly involved in the process where in the past that hasn’t always happened,” Goldstein said.

Undergraduate students will have the option of sitting on project implementation teams or preparing research projects to present at a campuswide teach-in on Operational Excellence in November organized by the DeCal members.

“All of the students in the students in the DeCal will contribute to the teach-in,” said Badr Albanna, the ASUC student communications liaison to Operational Excellence. “The particular form won’t be set until we meet the students, but the general idea is that they will be required to document what they’ve learned and then be part of the larger event.”

Meanwhile, graduate students will be able to work as research assistants on implementation teams for stipends, which will be paid with Operational Excellence funds and distributed by the Graduate Assembly according to Navab.

Joung said the DeCal’s organization has been an “organic process” and that the student government plans to heavily publicize it.

“Last year we saw a lot of student reaction and we want to encourage that, but there are a lot of misconceptions and ideas running around and we want the campus to be knowledgeable,” she said. “This is a platform for students to a) get more knowledge and b) get more involved so that their input is put into consideration.”