Previous Presidential Chair Fellows Projects

The Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grant Program provides an opportunity for a team of two or more faculty members from a department to develop, improve, transform, and examine core areas of the undergraduate curriculum. The grant is a means to engage in a systematic, forward-looking curriculum project expected to render fundamental and breakthrough ideas which will enhance and transform Berkeley's undergraduate experience. For the upcoming grant cycle, we will be soliciting proposals where faculty will engage in intentional design of student learning opportunities that lead to a Discovery Experience [1] for undergraduate majors in academic departments.

The purpose of this grant and learning community program is to make funds available to carry out curriculum enrichment efforts that are meaningful and achievable. The grant program will fund up to four projects, each up to $22,000 over the one-year grant period. Funds are intended to make curriculum enrichment projects possible at the department or program level that may involve curricular revision or the introduction of new curricular components that address a specific need or opportunity for Discovery Experience. In order to seed the broadest number of sustainable efforts, we will provide no more than one grant per department. Departments who have not previously been awarded a grant from the Presidential Chair Fellows program will be given priority consideration during review.

Past PCF Grant Projects



Project: “BeArS@Home, A Choose Your Own Adventure Online Laboratory Platform”

BeArS@home brings resilience to UC Berkeley's chemistry curriculum by creating a versatile digital platform for our unique laboratory coursework. Our team of teaching faculty, graduate student researchers, and instructional support staff created online versions of 64 experiments in support of 9 unique chemistry classes, serving 5900 students across 4 semesters. We will present an initial assessment of the effectiveness of the BeArS@home platform which has spread to other UC campuses. Our platform not only allows laboratory instruction to continue during a global pandemic, but also increases the accessibility of chemistry coursework to students experiencing illness, family emergencies, etc. for semesters to come.

  • Alexis Shusterman
  • Anne Baranger
  • Michelle Douskey
  • Peter Marsden


Project: "Resilience in Geospatial Learning"

This talk discusses the promises and pitfalls of teaching geospatial courses remotely, from the technical to the theoretical.  It reflects on a suite of educational research investigating the outcomes of a small survey of students who participated in remote geospatial courses in Fall 2020; the format of available geospatial software and tools; and, best practice in online-only delivered geospatial courses from across the US. Finally, it argues that preemptive course design, underpinned by active technical and theoretical learning, and the educator's choice of software is critical for success in teaching geospatial content in uncertain educational futures.

  • Clancy Wilmott
  • Jeffrey Chambers 
  • John Isom


Project: "Self-Paced Videos for Improving Access in an Introductory Music Course"

Music has always presented an exceptional set of challenges to the classroom instructor. Studying music involves being guided repeatedly through works or performances in real time—sonic experiences that, in turn, stand in a complex relation to the various technologies and visual props that capture and mediate them. Funding from the Resilience Grant Program has allowed us to create initial components of digital tools that place students in active dialogue with musical works and concepts. These materials are intended to be self-directed and self-paced: students are able to consult and revisit them as needed in order to hone their comprehension of new concepts as the semester progresses. Some of the videos we have produced have a built-in component of self-assessment, incorporating questions or exercises that allow students to measure their mastery of material and work to improve it. Students in Music 27 this term got a preview of these materials, which we hope to continue developing for use in future semesters.

  • Emily Zazulia
  • Mary Ann Smart
  • Nicholas Mathew

Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies

Project: “Teaching Dance Under Covid-19 as a Practice of Community, Social Justice, and Wellness”

TDPS Dance faculty members Katie Faulkner, James Graham, SanSan Kwan, and Latanya Tigner centered their PCF project around the cultivation of wellness, community, and social justice within the remote dance classroom. Dance practice classes, and the essential in-person demands of learning embodied skills, have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic. Our team has collaborated on developing pedagogical strategies that not only continue high-level skill-building across remote platforms, but that do so in ways that acknowledge the distinct mental health challenges of this time. By inviting guest teachers, devising community-oriented curricula, and designing more equitable assessment strategies, our team has developed more resilient tools for supporting our students both remotely and, ultimately, in person.

  • James Graham 
  • Katherine Faulkner
  • Latanya Tigner
  • SanSan Kwan


Haas Business School & Theater, Dance & Performance Studies

Project: "Collaborative Innovation: Underpinning Frameworks for Creating Interdisciplinary Discovery Experiences"

The collaborative curriculum project between Business and TDPS explores the underpinnings of discovery and learning and how they might be leveraged to create a variety of interdisciplinary experiences for undergraduate students. It identifies the learning outcomes associated with framing and solving problems, developing inner, other and outer focus, and teaming and how those outcomes can be achieved across disciplines. With such shared understanding, we aim to develop students who are more able to tackle the complex problems they will face upon graduation, more aware of who they are and how they can contribute, and more competent at collaborating or co-creating with a diverse team of others.

  • Sara Beckman
  • Lisa Wymore
  • Rachel Victoria Dzombak
  • Angela Marino

Music Department

Project: “Technology for Musicianship Curriculum Enhancement"

A team from the Music Department will review creative music outcomes from musicianship courses 20A, 52A, 52B, 152A and 152B, in order to create an online database of musicianship resources and utilize them to enhance student learning. Fall 2019 offerings of these courses will incorporate new or technology-enhanced projects involving: 1) online engagement with materials available on this site, and 2) contributing new work to the site. Resulting accrual of creative examples will provide new opportunities for future student discovery experiences and increased exposure for successful outcomes.

  • Matthew Hough
  • Edmund Campion
  • David Milnes


Project: "Enhancing Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Physics Using Data Science Techniques for Data Analysis and Simulation"

Physics Department aims to increase student participation in Discovery Learning and Experience by adding new data science components to the curriculum. Elements of the proposal are: 1) Development of data enabled homework assignments for two upper division classes. Assignments for Physics 129 will highlight strategies and techniques for data analysis. Assignments for Physics 112, a core course requirement for Physics majors, will demonstrate the use of simulations to model complex phenomena. 2) Incorporation of a data intensive option into the capstone Advanced Experimentation Laboratory. 3) Enhancement of the mentored research experience by developing guidelines for scientific presentations and providing a forum for such presentations.

  • Marjorie Shapiro
  • Armin Jazaeri
  • Uros Seljak

Plant & Microbial Biology

Project: “Comprehensive Revision of Core Courses for Microbiology Biology Majors Incorporating Discovery Experiences and Active Learning.”

Faculty from Plant & Microbial Biology will comprehensively redesign the core curriculum for Microbial Biology undergraduate majors to highlight Discovery Learning. The lab course, PMB/MCB C112L, will be converted to a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience, while active learning methods will be implemented throughout two lecture courses, PMB/MCB C112 and C148. Learning goals for all three core courses will be reformulated simultaneously to ensure that they include key knowledge, concepts, and skills that every Microbial Biology major should have, regardless of future career plans. Scientifically supported pedagogical methods will be spread to other PMB courses and faculty through a department-based learning community.

  • Kathleen Ryan
  • Matthew Traxler
  • Arash Komeili
  • Steven Brenner
  • Michi Taga


African Studies

Project: “Enhancing African Studies: Expanding Undergraduate Course Offerings and Advising by Leveraging New Global Studies Framework”

The project will expand undergraduate course offerings and advising in African Studies to meet growing cross-campus needs by leveraging the new Global Studies major and minor framework. The team will develop new core courses that are informed by document reviews of peer programs and syllabi, a review of learning outcomes, faculty town hall meetings, and a student focus group. In collaboration with the Career Center, advising resources to better support students for post-graduation placement will also be created.

  • Leonardo Arriola, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Martha Saavedra, Associate Director of Center for African Studies
  • Manuela Travaglianti, Lecturer of Peace and Conflict Studies


Project: “Enhancing Student Evaluation of Evidence: Modules to Integrate Research Skills into the Bioengineering Curriculum” 

This project aims to enhance undergraduate research skills in bioengineering by creating three “evaluating evidence modules” embedded across courses in the Cell and Tissue Engineering concentration. Module 1 engages students in analysis of primary research papers to understand science and the process of research. In Module 2, students apply scientific evaluation skills to solving a specific and current biomedical problem in a group. In Module 3, students will present the outcome of directed research in a public poster session and dedicated website. The long term goal will be to implement the modules in all other concentrations of the the Bioengineering curriculum. 

  • Hayley Lam, Lecturer of Bioengineering
  • Irina M Conboy, Associate Professor of Bioengineering 

Ethnic Studies

Project: “Enhancing the Interdisciplinary Core Courses in Comparative Ethnic Studies”

The project team will engage in curriculum renewal of four core courses (2 lower division and 2 upper division methods courses) in the Comparative Ethnic Studies program. The curriculum renewal effort is guided by the following questions: (a) What are the central competencies we expect of students by the end of the Core? (b) How are we meeting those objectives? (c) What kinds of enrichment might benefit the Core Courses moving forward? In order to respond to these questions, the team will learn from student and faculty interviews, past course materials and syllabi, course enrollment and evaluation data, and curriculum information from peer undergraduate Ethnics Studies programs. 

  • Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
  • Raul Coronado, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

College of Letters & Science, Statistics

Project: “Statistical Methods for Data Science: A New Course to enhance Berkeley’s Data Science Curriculum”

A new course (STAT 28) will be created to fill a gap in course offerings in the Department of Statistics to allow students in various disciplines (non-statistics or –CS majors) to learn relatively advanced statistical methods without the need for extensive pre-requisites, all within the statistical programming language of R. The course will build on the unique pedagogical approach developed in ‘The Foundations for Data Science’ (STAT 8/CS 8), and add to Berkeley’s current Data Science offerings.

  • Elizabeth Purdom, Associate Professor of Statistics
  • Adityanand Guntuboyina, Assistant Professor of Statistics 


College of Letters & Science, Division of Biological Sciences

Project: "Upgrading and Coordinating Biology 1A and 1B" 

Fellows propose to revamp the Biology 1A and 1B sequence by (1) revising cell and organ physiology laboratory exercises and creating a lab manual, so that there will be consistency in quality and evaluation criteria across instructors, and (2) ensuring that lectures and lab components are woven together across the curriculum.

  • Feldman 
  • Garriga
  • Koehl
  • Machen

Environmental Science, Policy and Management and School of Public Health, Department of Community Health and Development

Project: "Survival 101: Taking Control of Your Future"

Fellows will develop a large, multidisciplinary, undergraduate course with the goal of mobilizing students to understand and seek solutions to the unprecedented challenges they will confront during their professional careers, and over the rest of their lives. The pilot version of the course is cross-listed in the School of Public Health and College of Natural Resources, and continued course development goals aim to fulfill a breadth requirement for Berkeley students.

  • Castillo
  • Potts

College of Letters & Science, International and Area Studies Academic Program

Project: "A New and Coherent Design for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Curriculum"

Fellows propose a complete revamp of their undergraduate curriculum by (1) threading case-studies and theoretical and analytical framework across the curriculum, and (2) developing a new year-long (2 semester sequence) capstone seminar (PACS 190). The design of the new capstone seminar will involve benchmarking pedagogical practices with peer institutions, identification of needs and gaps from past 190 sections, and working with the Career Center to guide students for post-graduation.

  • Bartu
  • Bhangoo Randhawa
  • Ogata
  • Travaglianti
  • Zook

School of Law

Project: "Engaging Undergraduate Students in Human Rights Research"

Fellows will redesign an interdisciplinary research course (LS154 International Human Rights). The course will immerse 80-100 undergraduate students from various disciplines into real-world human rights problem-solving and policy-making from an empirical lens. Fellows will explore how the course can meet curricular needs for interdisciplinary research methods in various majors.  

  • Koenig
  • Stover

College of Letters & Science, Department of Art Practice

Project: "Field Work: Research as Studio Practice"

Fellows will develop a junior seminar course that will bridge a current curricular gap between the foundation course (ART 8) and the senior capstone course (ART 185). The course will include a research component where students will be engaged in the inquiry process of studio practice.

  • Reiman
  • Syjuco


Department of Bioengineering

Project: "Revisions and Extensions to the Computational Biology Track in the Department of Bioengineering"

Fellows will revamp the computational biology track in the Department of Bioengineering through (1) review, revision, broadening and strengthening of the computational biology track in the Department of Bioengineering undergraduate curriculum, (2) development of two new courses in foundational concepts from computer science, math and statistics to improve the effectiveness of advanced computational biology algorithms courses offered in the department, and (3) creation of an online repository for Computational Biology and Data Science curricula and tools which other departments can use in developing their own tracks.

  • Sjölander
  • Mofrad
  • Head-Gordan
  • Nielsen

Department of English

Project: "Foundation Work: Developing the Research Component of the English Major"

Fellows will design a supplement to the English department curriculum that targets the teaching of research skills. First, fellows will create a website dedicated to the teaching of research methods that will serve as a resource library for all faculty members in the department. Second, Fellows will design a one-unit online course called “Research Bootcamp: The Foundations of Critical Writing.” This course will introduce students to the skills they need to master to do research, providing a progressive series of lessons that will prepare them for success in advanced seminars.

  • Saul
  • Donegan

College of Letters and Science, Department of History

Project: "The Development and Implementation of a New Introductory Course on the Foundations of Historical Studies"

Fellows will develop a new course, History 1, that will give students a critical overview of the foundational concepts of the discipline while also introducing them to the kinds of questions that historians have been asking over the past fifty years—and that have not had a significant impact on high school curricula or in our own lower-division offerings.

  • Norena
  • Schneider
  • Laqueur

College of Letters & Science, Department of Physics

Project: "Course Revisions of the Physics Major Undergraduate Curriculium for Enhanced Integration and Interactive Learning"

Fellows will develop specific and detailed course materials needed to commence implementation of a new lower-division course sequence that will (1) clearly delineate, by way of course revisions and new course development, parallel lower-division curricular sequences for undergraduates majoring in physics and those satisfying major requirements from other disciplines, and (2) develop new interactive courses to foster peer learning and enhanced student engagement.

  • Kolomensky
  • Spike
  • Siddiqi

School of Public Health 

Project: "A Capstone Course for the Undergraduate Major in Public Health" 

Fellows will enrich the core curriculum for the undergraduate program in public health by developing a capstone course to review, integrate, and apply concepts and methods presented in the core courses. This capstone project is proposed as part of a larger planning effort to expand and better integrate the core curriculum in the Undergraduate Program in Public Health.

  • Satariano
  • Barcellos


College of Letters and Sciences, Social Sciences Division

Project: "Introductory Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences"

Developed a new course in introductory quantitative methods designed specifically for undergraduates in the Social Sciences. 

  • Johnson-Hanks
  • Carson 

College of Chemistry

Project: "Development of a Teacher-Scholars Development Program"

Created a community of undergraduates responsible for facilitating scientific discussion, the Teacher-Scholars Program, in both non-majors and majors in introductory, general, and organic chemistry courses, which are required for students in many or most STEM majors. 

  • Baranger

  • Arnold

  • Marsden

  • Robak

Environmental Science, Policy, & Management

Project: "Flipping the Classroom: Revitalizing Gateway Environmental Science Courses in ESPM”

Revamped and enhanced ESPM’s gateway environmental science education to better align course content with ESPM’s evolving vision and more importantly to provide students with an experimental learning experience.

  • Potts
  • Fung
  • Firestone
  • Goldstein
  • Rhew 

Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major

Project: "Data Collection for Program Improvement"

Gathered quantitative and qualitative student pathway data that served as the basis to develop an overall revision and reform of the ISF Major. As a complementary effort, the project examined the effectiveness of a new capstone research methods course for ISF majors.  

  • Sahlins
  • Bhandari

Department of City and Regional Planning

Project: "Design, Cities and Ecology: Innovations in Undergraduate Education"

Undertook research into innovative pedagogy within the CED disciplines in order to pilot new approaches to teaching undergraduates about the built environment and work collaboratively across the three gateway courses to coordinate themes, assignments, and evaluation. 

  • Reid
  • Rael
  • Hill