University of California Berkeley

  www.berkeley.edu
  www.berkeley.edu

University of California Berkeley Reviews

Updated October 15, 2014
Updated October 15, 2014
666 Reviews
3.9
666 Reviews
Rating Trends

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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 24 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

128 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Best of places, worst of places; best of times, worst of times.

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

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

    Pros

    --You get to work with fantastic people at all levels---brilliant, passionate, driven K-12 students, undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, fellow staff, professors, administrators, visitors---often *astonishingly* kind and humble too.
    --Absolutely gorgeous campus and weather, surrounded by delicious and amazing food--geographically perhaps the best place in the world to work.
    --Best library this side of the Mississippi
    --Intellectually stimulation beyond compare
    --connected to the cultural, technological and analytical pulse of the world
    -Many faculty are caring, wonderful people, dedicated teachers and deeply responsible managers and bosses
    --Spirit of service in working for a public institution that is still an enormously powerful engine of economic upward mobility, self-improvement and community service.
    -Great benefits, especially if you can stick it out.
    --Attracts amazing resources and generous, interested donors
    --Dirks seems like he really cares and is serious about leading, not just fundraising.

    Cons

    --You have to work with awful people at all levels---spoiled and/or arrogant and/or there-via-privilege-not-talent undergraduates, arrogant/snobby, narrowminded selfish &/or socially inept or even cruel and manipulative faculty and administrators, incompetent or complacent fellow staff, snobby graduate students and post-docs and visitors. Bizarre and inconsistent job security.
    --Buildings and office space managed more like medieval fiefdoms than community of learning---zero consistent HR policy wrt space and facilities for staff and students, and faculty who act more like selfish aristocracy rather than public servants.
    --Staff often exiled to far reaches of campus----ZERO thought given to esprit de corps, morale, job-satisfaction, benefits of face-to-face collaboration
    --Way too much non-native landscaping and sprinkler-use for our drought
    --Increasingly crime ridden
    --Internecine and compartmentalized and non-cooperative to point of extreme farce
    --Professors often maintain extreme, almost hostile tunnel vision and refusal to engage with wider community on or off campus
    --Professors, who are increasingly foreign and educated abroad or in private universities, often remarkably snobby and hateful regarding undergraduates. Many, especially in science, engineering, and economics/business, are shockingly apathetic and ignorant about CA K-12 education or economic challenges faced by majority of CA youth and families; often shocking entitled about their high salaries and openly dismissive about less educated or academically accomplished staff and underprivileged students.
    --faculty increasingly have less sense of public service or devotion to university's wider mission, often provoke exploitative bidding wars from rich private peer institutions to increase salary and power with no thought towards institutional loyalty or self-restraint for the public good.
    --young staff retirement benefits recently drastically undercut
    --HR and hiring totally opaque and network-based, not merit based.
    --subject to the extremely unstable California State Budget and the increasingly unreliable federal research budgets.
    -very little culture of professional development or nurturing and mentoring young staff, who are often treated as expendable by faculty.
    --Sitting on a major fault, and fewer and fewer people in charge have lived in California long enough to have an innate respect for earthquakes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use leadership and example to promote a return to culture of service and community, and discourage snobbery and prejudice.
    Use leadership, example, and real incentives/punishments to encourage faculty to engage with local and state-wide community, especially around economic and educational issues. Public university faculty who have never attended an American public institution or sent their children to one need to make understanding the people they serve a top priority, no matter what their field.
    Use leadership, example, real incentives/punishments to FORCE faculty and department/center heads to check each other out and collaborate.
    Use leadership, example, real incentives/punishments to FORCE faculty and top-level administrators to take their responsibilities as managers and talent-nurturers seriously with respect to staff, post-docs, and graduate students.
    Allow and even encourage staff to take initiative, write grant proposals, take advantage of intellectual and professional development resources on campus. REALLY. Not just with some web links.
    Force faculty to encourage rather than discourage staff and graduate students and post-docs to pursue professional development.
    Force faculty to prepare graduate students for non-academic employment and maintain ties with non-academic alumni for the good of the university.
    Discourage empire-building.
    Include teaching and service more actively in tenure evaluations---otherwise end up carrying a lot of brilliant but useless senior managerial deadweight.
    Force faculty to undergo sustained professional development both before and after tenure: they need more conflict resolution skills, managerial skills, writing skills, organizational skills, mentoring skills, listening skills, understanding of university and state's finances, understanding of challenges facing their students, anti-racism and anti-sexism skills, etc.
    Better verbal ESL training and resources at all levels.
    Take advantage of campus experts (I-school, Law School, Engineering school) for solving campus problems
    Reward and count service more equitably and transparently.
    Encourage more collaborative fundraising.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazing and Rewarding, yet Frustrating and Punishing

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

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Working on the UC Berkeley campus was wonderful, looking out the window to see students and faculty coming and going, feeling like a small part of that culture, knowing that my work in Athletics helped student athletes excel at both sports and academics by supporting the coaches and staff.

    Cons

    No one with anything like my excellent abilities and experience, inexhaustible positive energy and love of higher education should be stuck in one entry-level position for six years. Every time there was an opportunity for advancement, I was looked over for someone much younger and usually from out of state. It was sad and ridiculous.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please consider the excellent people you already have before bringing in new blood to fill open positions. There is so much amazing talent there, right in front of you. Encourage your people to take classes to learn new skills, if they don't have exactly the skills you need for the next step on the ladder. Don't ask them to work extra hours without extra pay. Pay them a wage they can more than just barely survive on in the Bay Area. Follow through with retirement promises you've made.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Working in a large university system is disconnected from the real world.

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

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Prestigious name, decent benefits. Potential for fulfilling work, depending on what you are doing and the department in which you work.

    Cons

    Management is exceptionally weak. Most managers in location in which I work have been there for decades and moved up to management positions. No one has gained any effective management experience. I've experienced and witnessed unethical and illegal behavior.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you hire people with managerial experience, let them do their jobs.

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

    Large employer varied experience

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

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are not bad, but not nearly as good as UC tells you they are. You get a bunch of time off, so work/life balance is good.

    Cons

    As with all academia, this is full of difficult people with challenging personalities running their very own little fiefdoms. There is almost no room for advancement, but because the salary and benefits are slightly better than average, it is easy to get stuck here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut down on the bureaucracy. Reward people who actually want to be useful, and cut out the bloated middle managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good, supportive

    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Marketing in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Marketing in Berkeley, CA

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

    Pros

    supportive and management always trying to develop your skills and focus on growth

    Cons

    I was sometimes put on tedious work and I never got to see the results of my work

    Recommends
  7.  

    Great place for science, poor financial support for postdocs with families.

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

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

    Pros

    There are a lot of ground-breaking science going on here, and intelligent professors, students and postdocs. Learning environment is excellent.

    Cons

    The salary for postdoc is lower than the industrial positions for a fresh college graduate. No extra benefits for childcare. UC berkeley has its own daycares, but they are also the most expensive ones in the area.

  8.  

    Meh

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resource Coordinator in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Human Resource Coordinator in Berkeley, CA

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

    Pros

    Great benefits, well-developed and new offices (it is Berkeley, after all), lots of opportunities for growth and upward mobility. Also diversity, they strive to hire lots of women and underrepresented ethnic and racial groups.

    Cons

    No room for individual creativity and ideas, corporate atmosphere, stiff, chain-of-command type leadership, creepily quiet offices, old people, bad coffee, lots of ass-kissing to maintain reputation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more in staff development and engagement. Fill workspaces with color, create atmosphere to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Nurture community. More open space. Be adaptable and flexible to new solutions. Don't make anyone sit in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day in a dark cubicle, it's bad for health and performance. Open up workspaces so people can interact and share ideas.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    postdoctoral researcher

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of smart ppl over there. Beautiful campus, big name.

    Cons

    I did not find the right lab that matches my background and interest.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Various experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley

    Pros

    Many equipments that we can use

    Cons

    Working is highly depending on funding situation

  11.  

    Mixed bag

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

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time

    Pros

    Great being a part of the educational and research environment. Very interesting work being performed by academic staff. Some really nice folks working there. Good benefits in general.

    Cons

    Poor Administration and IT execution - feel that both generally are letting down the academic mission of the university. Weak and disconnected senior management. Lack of accountability, not very empowered staff. Very political, and ironically, not very collegial at times. Lots of analysis paralysis - agility not really valued. Not terribly strategic Bogged down with little progress made on key structural financial issues.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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