University of California Berkeley

  www.berkeley.edu
  www.berkeley.edu

University of California Berkeley Reviews

Updated October 9, 2014
Updated October 9, 2014
670 Reviews
3.9
670 Reviews
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University of California Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks
Nicholas B. Dirks
77 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The benefits are outstanding, and having work-life balance is actually possible (in 25 reviews)

  • Flexible hours, I can basically try to work on the job at whenever a I want (in 33 reviews)


Cons
  • the pay is low but it is made up by tuition remission (in 20 reviews)

  • budget cuts make very basic needs (eg office supplies, custodial services) go unmet (in 23 reviews)

More Highlights

45 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Inefficient, negligent, and unaccountable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The diversity of experience that one can attain here is enormous -- tens of thousands of people, thousands of professors, participation from dozens of countries, and strength in many -- if not most! -- fields of research.

    Cons

    Fundamentally, Berkeley suffers from a lack of oversight despite an already bloated bureaucracy. There are amazing teachers and -- more commonly -- terrible teachers. There are good graduate advisers and -- again, more commonly -- terrible advisers. And, of course, there are incredible administrators and many more terrible ones.

    But most of all, when subjected to the negative consequences of this failure of oversight, whether in the form of a neglectful instructor, an abusive adviser, or an ineffective administrator, there is simply no recourse. Everyone has their own little fiefdom here, and no one -- from the faculty, to the deans, to the administration -- is interested in changing the culture if it means potentially stepping on someone else's toes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make everyone accountable for their actions. Graduate students who cannot speak English should not be allowed to teach. Professors who refuse to put effort into teaching should be reprimanded. Advisers who exploit their graduate students should be exposed. And most of all, loath though I am to suggest more bureaucracy, a department of human resources -- or something like it -- is dearly needed to properly address and manage complaints and allegations of mistreatment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Working experience as a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor)/part-time instructor in IEOR

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley

    Pros

    Good to practice teaching and communication skills if you feel like teaching.

    Cons

    Not generous compensation and just enough for everyday life and sometimes depends on the enrollment in your class, which does not make sense.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set up a compensation standard which is not related to enrollment

  3.  

    Engineering GSR: A half-employee in an aggressively unhelpful place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    UC Berkeley is a top institution. You get to work with a lot of wonderful smart people. The culture between researchers is pretty friendly. In engineering, pretty much all PhD students get GSR funding by their second year. Pay rates are usually higher than the national average.

    Cons

    Nobody is in charge. Every PI is their own fiefdom. Our office was moved on almost a yearly basis, often for no reason. Several times, we were not paid for up to two months because of clerical errors or slowness. Administrative staff and bureaucracy is sometimes so unhelpful that it seems by design. Departments don't communicate. Infighting between PIs will often cancel projects partway through and vendettas between PIs prevent a lot of collaboration. Often private research endowments are preferred, which means that real research is put on hold for the sake of money. Even though the pay rate is pretty high, it only keeps up with cost of living in fits and starts. Alos, your hours are what your PI says, and ain't nothing going to change that. There is a union, but they only enforce GSI hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be more hierarchy in the system and less animosity between PIs. The current system only works for the PIs themselves, but us GSRs suffer from a system that is run more like a coalition than a university.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Few options for advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time

    Pros

    Full benefits, can usually limit the day to a strict 9-5. Working on a college campus is refreshing. Numerous and easy transportation options. Work with some very bright people. Work can be very fulfilling in certain departments.

    Cons

    Little opportunity for career growth due to the high number of very long-term employees in mid-level and senior roles. Even in administration, extreme focus on credentials/degree over competence/ability.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good enough for government work...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Consultant in UC Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - IT Consultant in UC Berkeley, CA

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The amount of work and timing of deadlines were reasonable. Management was clear and unambiguous. Much less stress at a state institution like this compared to a company.

    Cons

    Disorganization compared to other University of California locations. Little opportunity for creative input. The work I was doing was largely unnecessary from a systems analysis perspective, but it checked off boxes on their project plan. Getting set up as a vendor is a huge hassle due to insurance liability requirements. Going through an existing vendor cuts the salary in half to $45-$50/hr.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve efficiency by running the IT units more like a business. There's a wealth of talent in the area so it's surprising some of the permanent employees seemed not to know what they were doing and had just been shuffled into an IT position without regard for prior skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    where are my foodstamps?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Instructor in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Instructor in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart and motivated undergraduate students; a lot of leeway in determining the Reading & Composition syllabus for one's own class.

    Cons

    UC Berkeley pays its Graduate Student Instructors (GSI's) less than a living wage. Rent here is around $800-1000 a month, and you get, after taxes, about $1500 a month. You can't buy groceries or books on that. It makes your life utterly miserable as a graduate student. You either have to take out a sizable loan every year, beg your parents for money, tap into savings or work two or three extra jobs, which doesn't leave any time to study. So: if you get a TA or GSI offer at another school, sit down and calculate the living costs there and compare them to those in Berkeley. If at all possible, don't come to Berkeley. You'll be sorry you did.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raise the Humanities Graduate Student Instructor salaries!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Intern at Feldman Lab

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Undergraduate Research Assistant in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Undergraduate Research Assistant in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    Staff are knowledgeable.
    Projects generally have a real world application to them.
    Work environment is neither rushed nor demanding.

    Cons

    No organized meetings to discuss the progress of projects with student researchers.
    Language barriers between staff and students lead to problems of inefficiency & misinformation.
    Little interaction between graduate and undergraduate students.
    Lots of repetitive tasks that require very little knowledge from applied coursework.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give the undergraduate students tasks that require them to think creatively rather than work mindlessly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    My experience was not a good one, there was racism in the department and management was weak.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant II in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant II in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    There are many positon that are open and departments that have openings with in various fields that a person can apply for. They have part time and full time positions.

    Cons

    There is no room for growth within your current position. A person must transfer to another job instead of being promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Gain some backbone.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Okay but isolated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant III in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant III in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Was good to be in the college atmosphere, access to libraries, online tools, campus events.

    Cons

    Very isolated, everyone seems overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do. Budget cuts mean everyone is doing the job of 3+ people. Add to that the bureaucracy that means inefficient use of time/resources anyway... and, well, not much gets done.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more on education, revisit and revise organizational structure and practices, fire people who aren't doing their job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Extremely boring, quick employee turnover

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley part-time

    Pros

    working with other students your age
    incentives to get donations

    Cons

    terrible management
    no accountability
    extremely long hours of tedious training
    bad job in general -- none of the numbers even pick up so you're sitting there for hours in silence

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