Alberto Ledesma

Starting Position:

Student Affairs Officer II, School of Optometry

Current Position:

Writing Program Coordinator, Student Learning Center

Length of time on Campus:

23 years, including time as undergrad and graduate student

Tell us what you find most rewarding about working for UC Berkeley.

Chief among the reasons that I find Berkeley such a great place to work is its combination of a unique academic environment, its great community of highly-talented professional staff, and the always brilliant and energetic student body. As someone who has held various student, staff, and teaching positions inside and outside of Berkeley, I have long admired the dynamic environment that exists on this campus.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting their career at UC Berkeley?

I would advise new staff who are just starting out to take a balanced approach to their work. Berkeley has always had high-performance expectations for staff. However, for new staff, I also think that they need to learn how to pace themselves when making their optimal contributions. New staff often measure themselves according to their more experienced colleagues. However, they can easily burn out of they don't take a more deliberate approach to their work.

What has been the most exciting project you've worked on here? What was the scope and audience it reached?

One of the two most exciting projects I have worked on while at Berkeley has been the Chancellor's Task Force on Undocumented Immigrant Students. As a volunteer member of the Immigrant Students' Issues Coalition (ISIC), my colleagues and I proposed the creation of the task force to study and assist with the support of our entire immigrant student population (still in the high 60 percent). I was thrilled when, as a result of our work, a few of us were selected to be part of the Chancellor's Task Force.

I am also proud of the work that I and my student discussion leaders have done with our SLC- and English Department-sponsored Other Voices Lecture Series course. That course has continued to bring high-profile writers and scholars to campus to lecture in a class designed for students who are interested in literary study, but who may feel unsure about how to enter the field.

What are you most looking forward to working on next?

As Berkeley enrolls more and more international students, the Student Learning Center will be offering a comprehensive array of services to help them meet our university's high writing and academic expectations. In the Fall, we plan on bringing back our conversation practice service. I am also looking forward to sharing strategies, materials, and ideas with faculty about how to better integrate writing activities within their courses.