Contributions to Community

Support to agriculture

Working with farmers, UCSC researchers at the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems have been at the forefront of sustainable agriculture for years, developing alternatives to costly synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Success with some of the most chemically intensive crops--including artichokes, strawberries, apples, and cotton--has shown that alternative pest-management strategies can be effective. Stephen Gliessman, Alfred E. Heller Professor of Agroecology, conducts research at local farms. The Center for Tropical Research in Ecology, Agriculture, and Development (CenTREAD) is preparing undergraduate and graduate students to integrate human needs into research that addresses complicated environmental problems in the tropics.

Arts and culture

UCSC contributes to the cultural life of Santa Cruz through performances, exhibitions, films, and lectures by UCSC faculty, visiting lecturers, students, and others. Theater, art, music, and dance programs are offered to the public throughout the school year by the Division of the Arts. The Arts & Lectures series presents a variety of entertainers and speakers, while Shakespeare Santa Cruz, an internationally renowned theater company, stages a summer festival and a holiday production in November and December. Campus galleries present exhibitions by emerging and established artists. The annual Dickens Universe brings together community members and university, college, and high school teachers to study the works of the novelist and his contemporaries. Endowments in East Indian studies support programs in the arts and culture of India.

Health and safety

Researchers at UCSC are working with investigators from across the state and nation to tackle subjects ranging from the mystery of earthquakes to the secrets of life at the molecular level. Jin Zhang, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was honored in 2007 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In making Zhang a fellow, AAAS recognized his "distinguished contributions to the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology, particularly ultrafast studies of nanomaterials and their optical applications in energy conversion and biomedical detection." In 2008, the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) awarded Phil Crews, also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, the ASP Research Achievement Award; it recognizes Crews for "outstanding contributions to research on natural products." He and his research team have spent decades exploring the pharmacological potential of compounds derived from marine sponges. And research that originated in the lab of Bakthan Singaram, also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, offers a promising route toward a continuous glucose monitor to replace the finger pricks that are a part of daily life for many diabetics. Harry Noller, the Robert L. Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology; Professor Manuel Ares; and others at the Center for Molecular Biology of RNA study the structure and function of RNA molecules, shedding light on the workings of antibiotics and the regulation of gene expression. In psychology, Professor Dominic Massaro is investigating the link between vision and hearing in language comprehension. A "virtual white cane" is one of several tools for the visually impaired developed by Roberto Manduchi, associate professor of computer engineering, and his students, and electrical engineer Wentai Liu is working on an artificial retina to restore sight to the blind. In environmental toxicology, Professor Donald Smith studies the health effects of toxic metals such as lead and manganese in the environment.

Monterey Bay research

UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences, home to one of the premier marine-science research groups in the country, is a hub of activity for research focused on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. A branch of the National Marine Fisheries Service established its offices and laboratories next to UCSC's Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory. In addition, the California Department of Fish and Game opened its Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center next to Long Marine Lab to rescue and rehabilitate sea otters, seabirds, and other animals in the event of an oil spill. The $6.25 million Seymour Marine Discovery Center (named in recognition of a generous gift from H. Boyd Seymour Jr.) opened in 2000 to serve more school groups and attract additional tourists to the area. In 1998, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation made a $5 million award to UCSC to fund a Center for Ocean Health, which was completed at Long Marine Lab in spring 2001. The Monterey Bay Crescent Ocean Research Consortium (MBCORC) was created in 1998 by UCSC and other institutions to provide a framework and mechanism for collaborative educational, research, and operational ocean-related activities. In December 2007, the California Coastal Commission approved UCSC's Coastal Long Range Development Plan (CLRDP), a land-use blueprint for future development at the site of Long Marine Laboratory. The CLRDP enables UCSC's marine science center to continue its role as a model of integrated research and public education activities, facilitating the creation of informed policies and science-based solutions to address the complex environmental challenges facing California's coastline, oceans, and marine life.

Information technology

UCSC faculty, students, and staff are applying advanced technology to the area's business and research interests. For example, researchers at UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering are developing the complex data-handling and computer-graphics tools needed to better understand the flood of data coming from orbiting satellites, remote weather buoys, and sensors operating along the coast and on the deep seafloor. The extensive network will allow the region's burgeoning marine research community to gain a more detailed understanding of the Monterey Bay environment. In the arts, advanced research and production in animation and rendering, music composition, graphics, and World Wide Web development take place in two Arts Instructional Computing Laboratories.

Fort Ord development

At the former Fort Ord military base, UCSC is developing the Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center. Drawing on the scientific expertise already assembled near Monterey Bay and in Silicon Valley, the MBEST Center focuses on issues of environmental science and technology, biotechnology and bioresources, information science and technology, and multimedia. MBEST houses several start-up enterprises in a technology-related small-business incubator, hosts a 175-acre certified organic farm, and is home to the 606-acre Fort Ord National Reserve.

Volunteers in the community

According to a June 2005 survey (the most recent data available), 29 percent of UCSC students volunteered or completed an unpaid internship--for charities, public schools, and other nonprofits in Santa Cruz County--contributing over 550,000 hours to the community. During 2004-05, students were matched with local agencies by the Student Volunteer Connection, including Beach Flats After-School Tutors and Community Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Familia Center, Salvation Army, Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation, and Santa Cruz Libraries. In addition, 54 percent of faculty and staff voluteered locally--for nonprofits, charities, public schools, and religious organizations--contributing over 270,000 hours annually; 15 percent of faculty and staff reported that they held a leadership position in a local community group during 2004-05. The total value of the 820,000 hours of student, faculty, and staff service to the community was worth well over $6.5 million during the 2004-05 academic year. (Source: Economic Impact Report for 2004-05, Office of Planning and Budget, University of California, Santa Cruz.)

Partners in education

With dozens of collaborative projects with public schools, UCSC is a leader in the effort to improve K-12 education by reaching out and forming partnerships with local and regional schools. UCSC has a strong record of designing research projects in collaboration with schools that are addressing critical issues. UCSC students tutor youngsters in classrooms throughout the Monterey Bay Area. UCSC's Educational Partnership Center coordinates activities with public schools in the Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay Area in an effort to increase the number of underrepresented students attending four-year colleges and universities. UCSC is a partner in the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS), an international effort to improve science education by integrating the best of the informal learning that takes place in zoos, aquaria, and science centers with the formal instruction that takes place in schools. The Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Awards Program supports transfer-eligible community college students who enroll at UCSC.

Direct economic benefit

UC Santa Cruz, the largest single employer in Santa Cruz County (more than 4,500 FTE faculty, staff, and students in 2008-09), brings in a substantial amount of money from outside county borders, most of which is spent in the county. For detailed information on UCSC's budget, including income sources and expense data, go to the Office of Planning and Budget web site. In 2004-05, UCSC was responsible for nearly one billion dollars of economic activity in Santa Cruz County through spending by its faculty, staff, students, out-of-town visitors, and the university itself. Actual spending by the university and its employees, students, and visitors totaled $608 million; when calculated by an economic multiplier formula, the total jumps to $960 million. The economic multiplier is a calculation used by economists to measure not just the actual dollars spent, but the value of those dollars when they are spent again. In essence, the economic multiplier shows the ripple effect of each dollar spent in an economy. (UCSC's fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. The 2004-05 totals are the latest figures available.) (Source: Economic Impact Report for 2004-05, Office of Planning and Budget, University of California, Santa Cruz.) [More]

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