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The Plan

The Bowles Hall Residential College project is a unique public-private partnership between the Bowles Hall Foundation, UC Berkeley and a private-sector developer, architect and builder, to create a residential community that will foster the intellectual learning and personal growth through all four years of a student’s undergraduate experience.

The process began with the renovation of iconic Bowles Hall. Our 14 months of renovation began in May 2015, with BHRC to reopen in August 2016.

Elements of the plan include:

  • Complete restoration of the historic lounge, dining commons, entryway, central staircase, roof and building exterior (including every window)
  • Remediation of 84 years of deterioration, particularly roof, water-tight integrity, elevator, plumbing and electrical infrastructure
  • Compliance with building code requirements for registered historical structures, including life safety (sprinkler system, exits, seismic retrofitting) and ADA requirements
  • Restored kitchen and dining room to provide in-house dining, with meal service extending to the patio when weather permits
  • Redesigning of student living area to provide for 43 single rooms and 73 double rooms, each with an attached bathroom
  • Apartments for in-residence faculty House Principal and Dean and their families
  • Seismic retrofit and renovation of the Hart Library
  • Quiet group study areas and small meeting rooms and lounges
  • On-site food service
  • Enlarged game room
  • Replacement of original 1927 elevator and radiators

Renovation and refurnishing of the Hall are being funded by revenue bonds, tax-deductible contributions and grants from charitable foundations. The Bowles Hall Foundation will operate the Hall, with the support of experienced food service and property management partners, on a break-even basis, including the provision for future enhancement, replacement, repairs and renovation. The current BHRC operational financial plan intends for board-and-room rates to be among the lowest on campus for comparable accommodations while meeting the debt-service ratio requirements of the underwriter, establishing reserves for future repair and maintenance and renovation, and providing for the option of future resident selection on a need-blind basis.

Expected Outcomes

  • A community of undergraduate students committed to academic excellence in the pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree and fostering career readiness, participative citizenship, personal breadth and maturity
  • A higher four-year graduation rate for members of the residential college as compared to the University average
  • Graduates who are job-ready, possessing the ability to behave and perform in a manner that is professionally acceptable
  • Graduates who are community-oriented, possessing an ability to work with other people in achieving common goals
  • Development of academic, professional and social relationships that garner lifelong bonds to and support of UC Berkeley, the BHRC and fellow community members

Governance and Administration

Key aspects of BHRC’s governance and administration include:

  • BHRC Board of Directors: An independent, sole governing body, responsible for establishing the vision, mission, goals and strategic plans of the residential college. The BHRC Board of Directors will govern BHRC with membership drawn from the key stakeholders: the Bowles Hall Alumni Association, UC Berkeley faculty and administration, distinguished members of the larger UC Berkeley community, and resident leadership. The Board of Directors will be responsible for establishing the mission and goals, strategies and operational plans to accomplish them, appointment of Housemaster and Dean, contract management of the Property Management and Food Service partners and relationships with UC Berkeley and the UC System.
  • House Principal: A prominent, tenured, active or emeritus member of the UC Berkeley faculty living in-residence and responsible for operational leadership and all student-centered operations.
  • Dean: An active or emeritus member of the UC Berkeley faculty responsible to the House Principal for coordinating in-house academic support programs to facilitate student development.
  • Graduate residents: Four graduate residents will provide “pastoral care” and academic coaching.
  • Bowles Hall Association: The central element of resident self-government that establishes a culture of accountability and responsibility for all residents of Bowles Hall, its Fellows, and its alumni and Friends. Elected officers and members of the Bowles Hall Association (all residents) will be responsible and accountable for selection, design and implementation of residential college programs that involve civic activities of Bowles Hall, discipline, community service and outreach, social activities and intramural sports, and the like, and will be responsible for enforcement of house rules. Leadership opportunities include: Elected Officers (Executive Committee): President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.  Standing Committees, such as Social, Judicial, Communications, Programs, Events, Food Service and Property Management advisory and Landscape
  • Food Service: Will be contracted to a local caterer. Meals will be prepared and served on-site, to include three means per day on Monday–Saturday and two meals on Sunday, plus evening study-break snacks.
  • Property Management: Will be contracted to a vendor with experience in collegiate housing management.

Student-Centered Operations

Student-Centered Operations are a vital aspect of the residential college model and will lead to an enduring academic community. The objectives of student-centered operations are twofold: (1) to create and maintain an undergraduate living environment conducive to intellectual learning; and (2) to instill the principles of responsible adult citizenship and afford members opportunities to take leadership roles in community activities. Components of Student-Centered Operations include:

  • Resident self-governance, coached by the House Principal
  • Academic and career advisement
  • Student-selected self-enforcement of house rules
  • Student-created social and cultural programs
  • Community service and outreach programs
  • Guest speaker programs
  • Advisory to food service and landscaping
  • Peer mentoring
  • Tutoring assistance
  • Personal support
  • Intramural sports

Academic Programs/Career Support

The academic programs envisioned for Bowles Hall focus on facilitating academic advisement and development of lifelong learning skills through formal and informal interactions between residents and University faculty, graduate residents, the residential college staff and experienced undergraduates and Bowles Hall alumni. Academic programs and support are envisioned to include:

  • Guidance to help students select a degree program that matches their aptitudes and career goals; develop an academic plan for graduation and professional development; and the necessary assistance to help them stay on track to achieve their goals
  • Close monitoring by the Dean of the performance of all undergraduate residents, with the ability and authority to provide support or intervention when needed
  • Four in-residence graduate students who will serve as advisors, student advocates and community facilitators
  • Career counseling by volunteer alumni, Friends and faculty
  • Academic counseling provided by in-residence graduate students and volunteer faculty members
  • Upper-division residents mentoring lower-division residents
  • Tutoring assistance, adjunct courses in effective learning strategies, and remedial education in English, math and critical thinking
  • In-house academic programs such as a study strategies and support, freshman seminars, basic course selection and study groups
  • Fellows of Bowles Hall—UC Berkeley faculty and administrators—who will interact regularly with residents, including providing valuable academic and career guidance
  • Business and civic leaders, primarily from the ranks of the Bowles Hall Alumni Association, who will afford residents career guidance, internships and networking opportunities