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February 18, 2002

Regents get a look around UCSC campus

By Elizabeth Irwin, Ann Gibb, Tim Stephens, and Louise Donahue

Whether it was looking at sea lions, touring almost-finished buildings on Science Hill or hearing UCSC described as "this magical Hogwarts place," the UC Regents got a taste of what makes UCSC unique during a visit last week.

Regent Peter Preuss gets a close look at a sea lion as Brett Long, head trainer at Long Marine Lab, looks on, top photo. Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood leads Regents, including Judith Hopkinson, just behind her, through Science Hill, second photo from top. Students and others protest UC ties to nuclear weapons research, second photo from bottom. Sammy the Slug poses for a shot with Regent Odessa Johnson, bottom photo. Photos: Victor Schiffrin, UCSC Photo Services
The Regents began their February 13-14 visit at the Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory, where they heard public comments, toured the research and education facilities at the lab, and learned about UCSC's prominence in the marine sciences.

During the public comment period, the Regents heard mostly positive remarks about UCSC's role in the community and interactions with other organizations.

Roy Nelson, superintendent of the Santa Cruz City School District, praised the campus's partnerships with local schools.

In particular, he highlighted the value of field trips and teacher-training programs offered through the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

Churchill Grimes, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Santa Cruz Laboratory, described his agency's cooperative work with UCSC researchers. He noted that cooperative research projects involving NMFS and UCSC scientists are currently supported by $1.2 million in federal funds.

During their tour of the LML facilities, the Regents had an opportunity to meet the sea lions and other marine mammals involved in research projects at the lab, which were described for them by biologist Terrie Williams, who holds the Ida Benson Lynn Chair in Ocean Health.

Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS), gave an overview of IMS research, the history of Long Marine Lab, and the growing complex of marine research facilities at LML.

The Regents also heard from Mark Carr, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and graduate student Jennifer Brown, who described their work on the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project that seeks to integrate research, policy, and public outreach in addressing concerns about coastal ecosystems.

Later Wednesday, Dean Edward Houghton introduced the Arts Division to the Regents, noting that it is the smallest of the academic divisions, but one that has an enormous impact on the cultural life of the campus and the community.

Dean Houghton said the goal of the division's research and teaching is to "seek to understand and conserve the achievements of the past," while exploring the frontiers of artistic creativity today. A reception and concert at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center followed the presentations.

Breakfast with student leaders

A breakfast with student leaders kicked off Thursday's itinerary. Regents heard from Lee Ritscher, president of the Graduate Student Association; Brienne Douglas, a Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern; September Singh, a Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Scholar; and LaTrice Jones, the chair of the Student Union Assembly.

Students praised the quality of education and the individualized attention and support they receive at UC Santa Cruz. They also expressed some of their concerns, including the urgent need for affordable housing, the challenges of minority students, and issues of hate speech and personal safety in the aftermath of September 11.

After meeting with the students, the Regents heard an array of compliments and criticism during a short public comment session. David Regan, publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper and president of the UCSC Foundation, was among those highlighting the benefits the campus brings to the community, including the nearly $1 billion in positive economic impact.

Increased pay and stepped-up negotiations were on the minds of those speaking on behalf of the University Professional and Technical Employees union and lecturers at UCSC. Robert Kuhn, a biology lecturer for seven years, described lecturers as "unappreciated and under-compensated." Others used the opportunity to urge the Regents to cut ties to nuclear weapons research. "Stop the UC war machine. Bring morality back into the sciences," urged Tara Zorabji. Garry Spire, noting that he had "done hard time at UCLA" and other UC institutions, said some of UCSC's attributes, such as its support of the individual, may not be readily apparent to the visitors. Spire called UCSC "this magical Hogwarts place," a reference to the school of magic in the Harry Potter book series.

Next up was Francisco Hernandez, vice chancellor of student affairs, who described UCSC's efforts at outreach, including its partnership programs with high schools to increase the number of students completing courses required by UC campuses. Hernandez also noted the success of the summer science program, COSMOS, and the Magical School Bus trip that takes Los Angeles-area youths to UC institutions.

Human Genome Project role touted

In her presentation, Chancellor Greenwood noted the crucial role the campus played in the human genome project. "UCSC was a late entrant, but a critical player in sequencing the human genome," she said, noting that the sequence was first published on a UCSC web site.

UCSC's high rankings in everything from research funding to the number of graduates in the Peace Corp were also highlighted.

In addition to these accomplishments, Greenwood outlined some of the major challenges facing the campus, including housing affordability and lack of space on campus.

"We are building housing as fast as we can," she said, adding that attracting, developing, and retaining staff in the least affordable region in the nation is no easy task.

Looking ahead, Greenwood told the Regents how she hopes to be able to describe UCSC in 2010: "I would like to say we're the finest public research university in the nation for undergraduate education, with top-ranking graduate programs."

Asked about town-gown relations, Greenwood said the relationship is improving. "We try to engage in the no-surprises approach."

Following Greenwood's talk, the Regents toured Science Hill, including a walk through the almost-completed Center for Adaptive Optics and the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building.

Protesters stage two rallies

A group of students and other protesters, many with signs opposing any relationship between UC and nuclear weapons research, greeted the Regents as they walked outside the science buildings. A second rally attracted approximately 200 employees outside the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building; the noon-hour protest called on the Regents to make more of an investment in salaries.

After the tour, Regents heard presentations on major research initiatives in science and engineering. Steve Kang, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering, set forth his vision for the School of Engineering as a distinctive engineering school tailored to promote technological innovation. With areas of excellence in information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, the school's focus is unique, Kang said.

Kang also highlighted the engineering school's involvement in interdisciplinary partnerships with other divisions on campus, as well as with other UC campuses through the California Institutes for Science and Innovation. UCSC's engineering faculty are involved in two of these multicampus institutes, the Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).

David Kliger, dean of natural sciences, emphasized the influence of UCSC researchers in their fields, as documented by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). ISI's analyses of papers published in scientific journals have shown that UCSC researchers are among the most influential scientists in the country in the biological and physical sciences.

Kliger also gave a few highlights from the broad range of activities in his division, including the accomplishments of Harry Noller, Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology, and his colleagues in the Center for Molecular Biology of RNA; the involvement of the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics in major international physics projects; the recently established UCSC branch of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics; and the achievements of the Science Communication Program.

Sandra Faber, University Professor of astronomy and astrophysics, gave an overview of UCSC's excellence and leadership in astronomy through the UC Observatories/Lick Observatory, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Center for Adaptive Optics.

David Haussler, UC Presidential Professor of computer science and director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, described his group's work on the Human Genome Project and the promise of new interdisciplinary endeavors that combine information technology and biomedical research.

Commitment to undergraduates emphasized

Lunchtime brought a talk from Social Sciences Dean Martin Chemers, who emphasized his division's commitment to innovation, its embracing of change, and its emphasis on interdisciplinary work. The latter focus takes advantage of "the amazing potential for synergy possible between research, teaching and public service," he said. He also noted that the commitment to undergraduate education permeates the division's activities.

Provost Campbell Leaper underscored that commitment to undergraduates with his overview of the vision for Colleges Nine and Ten, which embrace intellectual themes consonant with some of the academic strengths of the Social Sciences Division.

Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology, described how the research, teaching, and service aspects of her work align, giving a case study of a forensic investigation that involved teaching of undergraduates and graduate students, shed new light on the discipline, and offered an invaluable service to the family of a murder victim.

Manuel Pastor, professor of Latin American and Latino studies, spoke about the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community, which he directs. The work of the many faculty affiliated with the center combines academic rigor with social relevance and the "reach" that results in direct influence on urgent social issues, he said.

Later Thursday, University Librarian Allan Dyson welcomed the Regents to Special Collections in McHenry Library. In his opening remarks he noted that UCSC circulates more books and journals to undergraduates than any other UC library. Dyson spoke of UCSC's philosophy of building library collections in collaboration with faculty, resulting in library resources which form "not a museum, but a critical adjunct to academic programs."

Rita Bottoms, head of Special Collections, gave a brief overview of some the items on display in Special Collection, including photographs and portions of collateral materials from several photographers' collections held at UCSC. She explained that collateral materials, such as a photographer's notebooks and travel records, make the collections an invaluable resource for students and researchers. Each Regent received a commemorative keepsake featuring a reproduction of a photo from UCSC's photography collection.

Wlad Godzich, dean of humanities, also addressed the Regents during their visit to McHenry Library. Godzich spoke about the challenges of information overload in mastering academic disciplines, and the role the humanities play in shaping critical thinkers.

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