Berkeley Changemaker Courses

Spring 2021 Courses 

L&S C12 / UGBA C12 : "The Berkeley Changemaker" (Class #33085 and 33048)

Political Science 198: Berkeley ChangemakerTM: Topics In International Ethics (Class #23807)

COLWRIT R4B 016: Berkeley Changemaker™: Writing the Change We Seek (Class #25292)

(See below for course descriptions)

Summer 2021 Courses

Course 12: UGBA C12 / L&S C12: "The Berkeley Changemaker"

Spring 2021 Courses 

UGBA C12 "The Berkeley Changemaker" and L&S C12 "The Berkeley Changemaker"

Class #33085 and 33048

Spring 2021
2 units
Coordinating Instructor: Alex Budak
Contributing Instructors: Laura Hassner, Rich Lyons, Brandi Pearce, David Porter, and Mariana Somma

This course is rooted in the belief that all Berkeley students are in the process of becoming Berkeley Changemakers. Changemakers make their impact everywhere on the campus intellectual landscape – through scientific breakthroughs, artistic imagination, social action projects, and entrepreneurial ventures. It is a course for entering students, who will learn to employ creative and critical thinking to imagine better futures, and then develop leadership skills to mobilize others to help create them. The ultimate goal of the course is to help incoming students discover their own identity as Berkeley Changemakers through shaping their educational experience at UC Berkeley.

This special 8 week course runs from March 1 - May 2.  By taking this course which features all asynchronous lectures (and lots of optional but highly recommended synchronous group office hours), you will meet fellow Berkeley Changemakers and you can engage with lectures, assignments and readings at the time of day which works best for you.   Although the course begins after the add-drop deadline, you will be able to preview course lectures and content beginning immediately in January, although the class will not begin until March 1.
Our class is taught by an all-star team of 21 UC Berkeley faculty members, representing 16 diverse departments and 7 schools across our campus. Our guest faculty includes Chancellor Carol Christ, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and 8 Distinguished Teaching Award winners. 
Note that students can elect to enroll in either the Undergraduate Business Administration or Letters & Sciences course sections.

Political Science 198: Berkeley ChangemakerTMTopics In International Ethics

Class #23807

Spring 2021
1 unit
Instructor: Amy Gurowitz

As BERKELEY CHANGEMAKERSTM, how do we apply ethics to critical policy questions? Designed for students who have had, or are currently taking, PS 124C Ethics and Justice in International Affairs, this 1 unit course allows a small group of students to select and engage deeply with a critical policy question that emerges from the course. Working in groups to develop a specific question, you'll craft solutions grounded in the ethical theories of the course while gaining a new perspective on how to lead change by engaging with the practical implications of implementation. This course also features practitioners in areas such as humanitarian intervention, international criminal justice, etc. who provide their perspectives on both the ethics and courses of action required for implementing change.

The Berkeley Changemakers' inclusive curriculum activates your passions and helps you to develop a sharper sense of who you want to be, while providing you the tools to take those next steps. Our curriculum focuses on critical thinking, communication, and collaboration complemented by an emphasis on creativity, community, and belonging. 

In conjunction with PS124C, the two courses meet the following requirements: 

  • Meets International Studies, L&S Breadth
  • Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth
  • Meets Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth
  • Meets the Human Rights Course Thread

COLWRIT R4B 016: Berkeley Changemaker™: Writing the Change We Seek

Class #25292

Spring 2021

4 units

Instructor: Ryan R. Sloan

U.C. Berkeley has long been a place for innovative ideas and creative, out-of-the-box discovery. What role might you play on campus, in your communities and beyond as a passionate writer and thinker?

In this special R4B course, in collaboration with The Berkeley Changemaker™ series, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get into the thick of some of the most interesting and complex issues of our time. We’ll explore the extraordinary opportunities and ethical quandaries of CRISPR and bioengineering. We’ll look at big tech and social entrepreneurship in the Bay Area, balancing connectivity and access against privacy and the flood of misinformation online. We’ll learn about social justice in a time of polarization; environmental threats and opportunities for impact; public health and the rebuilding of trust in science; internet culture and personal identity; street art and social change; distance learning and the rethinking of what a liberal arts education can be.

Most importantly, this course is increasingly choose-your-own-adventure: what are the issues and ideas that most motivate you? We’ll engage with an array of inspiring and provocative talks by thought leaders across U.C. Berkeley. We’ll play with new tools and practice some vital skills: gaining confidence as a writer; learning to navigate digital resources; mapping ideas with visual thinking; learning to flexibly listen while interviewing others; persuading and engaging peers with public speaking; designing dynamic slides and an interactive writing website of your own. We’ll return to this core question: what does lasting change look like — and how might your own writing serve as a means to enact it?

This Reading, Research, and Composition Course satisfies Part B of the College of Letters & Science's Reading and Composition Requirement.

Current Courses

XL&S C12 "The Berkeley Changemaker: A Discovery Experience"

Fall 2020
2 units
Instructors: Alex Budak and Laura Hassner
Fall Program for Freshmen
This course is rooted in the belief that all Berkeley students are in the process of becoming Berkeley Changemakers. Changemakers make their impact everywhere on the campus intellectual landscape – through scientific breakthroughs, artistic imagination, social action projects, and entrepreneurial ventures. It is a course for entering students, who will learn to employ creative and critical thinking to imagine better futures, and then develop leadership skills to mobilize others to help create them. The ultimate goal of the course is to help incoming students discover their own identity as Berkeley Changemakers through shaping their educational experience at UC Berkeley.
This fully-online and aysnchronous course exceeded maximum enrollment and led to a waiting list.
Fall 2020
2 units
Instructor: Alex Budak
This course inspires, trains and equips participants to convert raw energy and enthusiasm for creating a better world into real leadership skills and mindsets which will empower you to create positive change at an individual, organizational and societal level.  Anchored in change leadership and bringing together the fields of entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership & social impact, the course is focused on moving from ideas to action; gaining inspiration from diverse changemakers across roles and sectors; learning how to navigate, shape and lead change in highly-dynamic environments; and helping you become the kind of leader our companies, our communities and our world need right now.
Everyone at Cal should be required to take this course. It gives an optimistic and change-making perspective to any discipline. It has genuinely changed my outlook on the world and how I want to go through life. Even if you think you are already a good leader, this class will teach you so much about being not just a leader, but a changemaker, wherever you go in life.
Upperclass student, describing Berkeley Changemaker pilot course
Student listening under "Lead with trust" caption

Photo credit: Jim Block

BERKELEY CHANGEMAKER is a trademark of The Regents of the University of California through its Berkeley campus.  It is not affiliated with any third parties using “changemaker” or similar terms

Additional Courses

L&S C12 "The Berkeley Changemaker: A Discovery Experience"(link is external)

Last offered in summer 2020
2 units
Instructor: Alex Budak
Contributing Instructors: Laura Hassner, Rich Lyons, Brandi Pearce, David Porter, and Mariana Somma

After raising the enrollment cap four times, enrollment for the first offering of this course in summer 2020 closed at 517 students with a sizeable wait list.

Staff Offerings

Staff Workshop: You are a Berkeley ChangemakerTM!

October 28 | 1-2 p.m. |  Zoom

Sponsor: Human Resources

Regardless of role or title, we can all lead from where we are. When we recognize opportunities for impact and agency, we have greater power to be intentional, to affect our culture and the world around us. This is the concept of the Berkeley Changemaker. Values like impact beyond oneself and questioning the status quo have drawn people to Berkeley for generations — this narrative doubles down on those values and is part of a suite of new courses being taught to UC Berkeley students. Our faculty are expanding these offerings through a customized workshop for staff. In this 60-minute workshop you will discover what it means to be a Berkeley Changemaker, learn how to build the changemaking skill of resilience, and leave inspired by stories from UC Berkeley faculty and staff.

Over 120 staff members from across the UC Berkeley campus registered for this workshop.

List of Spring Courses

Click below for our Berkeley Changemaker Course 12 Syllabus:

Being a part of this class is life changing and it truly shapes your identity, and I am so glad to be a part of this community.
Milo Harmon Maurer, Class of 2024
Discussion Breakout Session

Photo credit: Jim Block

I'm thankful that I've been able to learn so much from this course! I truly believe this is the greatest preparation I could have received going into my first year at Berkeley. I'm sad this has come to an end, but excited to apply the lessons and principles I learned into my Berkeley journey and my life!
Grace Kelly, Class of 2024, L&S12 Student, and Berkeley Changemaker