The University of California, Santa Cruz, also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC, is a public, collegiate university; one of ten campuses in the University of California. Located 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco at the edge of the coastal community of Santa Cruz, the campus lies on 2,001 acres (8.1 km²) of rolling, forested hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay.
Founded in 1965, UC Santa Cruz began as a showcase for progressive, cross-disciplinary undergraduate education, innovative teaching methods and contemporary architecture. Since then, UCSC has evolved into a modern research university with a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs, while retaining its reputation for strong undergraduate support and student political activism. The residential college system, which consists of ten small colleges, is intended to combine the student support of a small college with the resources of a major university.
Although some of the original founders had already outlined plans for an institution like UCSC as early as the 1930s, the opportunity to realize their vision did not present itself until the City of Santa Cruz made a bid to the University of California Regents in the mid-1950s to build a campus just outside town, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Santa Cruz site was selected over a competing proposal to build the campus closer to the population center of San Jose. Santa Cruz was selected for the beauty, rather than the practicality, of its location, however, and its remoteness led to the decision to develop a residential college system that would house most of the students on-campus. The formal design process of the Santa Cruz campus began in the late 1950s, culminating in the Long Range Development Plan of 1963. Construction had started by 1964, and the University was able to accommodate its first students (albeit living in trailers on what is now the East Field athletic area) in 1965. The campus was intended to be a showcase for contemporary architecture, progressive teaching methods, and undergraduate research. According to founding chancellor Dean McHenry, the purpose of the distributed college system was to combine the benefits of a major research university with the intimacy of a smaller college. UC President Clark Kerr shared a passion with former Stanford roommate McHenry to build a university modeled as "several Swarthmores" (i.e., small liberal arts colleges) in close proximity to each other. Roads on campus were named after UC Regents who voted in favor of building the campus.
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DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:1960 till:2008 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5 start:1960
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from:1961 till:1974 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Dean McHenry
from:1974 till:1976 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Mark Christensen
from:1976 till:1977 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Angus Taylor
from:1977 till:1987 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Robert Sinsheimer
from:1987 till:1991 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Robert Stevens
from:1991 till:1996 shift:($dx,-3) color:Invested text:Karl Pister
from:1996 till:2004 shift:($dx,-5) color:Invested text:M.R.C. Greenwood
from:2004 till:2005 shift:($dx,-5) color:Acting text:Martin Chemers
from:2005 till:2006 shift:($dx,-5) color:Invested text:Denice Denton †
from:2006 till:end shift:($dx,+1) color:Invested text:George Blumenthal
George Blumenthal, UCSC's tenth Chancellor, largely to allay community concerns, intends to mitigate growth constraints in Santa Cruz by developing off-campus sites in Silicon Valley. The NASA Ames Research Center campus is planned to ultimately hold 2,000 UCSC students - about 10% of the entire university's future student body as envisioned for 2020.
The 2,001 acre (8.1 km²) UCSC campus is located 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco, in the Ben Lomond Mountain ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Elevation varies from 285 feet (87 m) at the campus entrance to 1,195 feet (364 m) at the northern boundary, a difference of about 900 feet (275 m). The southern portion of the campus primarily consists of a large, open meadow, locally known as the Great Meadow. To the north of the meadow lie most of the campus' buildings, many of them among redwood groves. The campus is bounded on the south by the city's upper-west-side neighborhoods, on the east by Harvey West Park and the Pogonip open space preserve, on the north by Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park near the town of Felton, and on the west by Gray Whale Ranch, a portion of Wilder Ranch State Park. The campus is built on a portion of the Cowell Family ranch, which was purchased by the University of California in 1961. The northern half of the campus property has remained in its undeveloped, forested state apart from fire roads and hiking and bicycle trails. The heavily-forested area has allowed UC Santa Cruz to operate a recreational vehicle park as a form of student housing.
A number of shrines, dens and other student-built curiosities are scattered around the northern campus. These structures, mostly assembled from branches and other forest detritus, were formerly concentrated in the area known as Elfland, a glen the University razed in 1992 to build colleges Nine and Ten. Students were able to relocate and save some of the structures, however.
Creeks traverse the UCSC campus within several ravines. Footbridges span those ravines on pedestrian paths linking various areas of campus. The footbridges make it possible to walk to any part of campus within 20 minutes in spite of the campus being built on a mountainside with varying elevations. At night, orange lights illuminate the occasionally fogged-in paths.
There are a number of caves on the UCSC grounds, some of which have challenging passages.
The combination of porous limestone bedrock with torrential coastal winter rains can lead to sinkholes; there are two such 'bottomless' pits across from the Science Hill complex. The Jack Baskin Engineering Building, formerly known as the Applied Sciences Building, began sinking shortly after it was built; in the late 1970s, hundreds of tons of concrete were poured underneath its foundation to prevent it from sinking.
The UCSC campus is also one of the few homes to Mima Mounds in the United States. They are extremely rare in the United States, and, indeed, in the world in general.
The university offers 61 undergraduate majors and 31 minors, with graduate programs in 32 fields. Popular undergraduate majors include Art, Business Management Economics, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Psychology. Interdisciplinary programs, such as Feminist Studies, Community Studies, American Studies, Environmental Studies, and the unique History of Consciousness Department are also hosted alongside UCSC's more traditional academic departments.
As of 2006, UCSC's faculty included two members of the Institute of Medicine, 21 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and eleven members of the National Academy of Sciences. The young Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC's first professional school, and the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering are gaining recognition, as has the work that UCSC researchers David Haussler and Jim Kent have done on the Human Genome Project.
UCSC's organic farm and garden program is the oldest in the country, and pioneered organic horticulture techniques internationally. UCSC administers the National Science Foundation's Center for Adaptive Optics.
Off-campus research facilities maintained by UCSC include the Lick and Keck Observatories and the Long Marine Laboratory. In September 2003, a ten-year task order contract valued at more than $330 million was awarded by NASA Ames Research Center to the University of California to establish and operate a University Affiliated Research System (UARC). UCSC manages the UARC for the University of California.
The undergraduate program, with only the partial exception of those majors run through the University's School of Engineering, is still based on the version of the "residential college system" outlined by Clark Kerr and Dean McHenry at the inception of their original plans for the campus (see History, above). Upon admission, all undergraduate students join one of ten colleges, with which they usually stay affiliated for their entire undergraduate careers. Almost all faculty members are affiliated with a college as well. The individual colleges provide housing and dining services, while the university as a whole offers courses and majors to the general student community. Other universities with similar college systems include Rice University and the University of California, San Diego.
Each of the colleges has its own, distinctive architectural style and a resident faculty provost, who is the nominal head of his or her college. An incoming first-year student will take a mandatory "core course" within his or her respective college, with a curriculum and central theme unique to that college. College resident populations vary from about 750 to 1,550 students, with roughly half of undergraduates living on campus within their college community or in smaller, intramural campus communities such as the International Living Center, the Trailer Park, and the Village. Coursework, academic majors and general areas of study are not limited by college membership, although colleges host the offices of many academic departments. Graduate students are not affiliated with a residential college, though a large portion of their offices, too, have historically tended to be based in the colleges. The ten colleges are, in order of establishment:
In 2008, UCSC offered admission to a record number of 19,138 new undergraduate students out of 25,746 applications for the Fall term, representing an increase in selectivity to 74.3 percent from 82.8 percent admitted in 2007. UCSC hopes to contain the entering class to about 3,700 students. 6,608 applicants not admitted to UCSC were offered admission to other UC campuses that can better withstand growth. The students may also have already been accepted at other UC campuses. Applications to UCSC increased by 14 percent in 2007. In the Fall 2006 semester, UCSC enrolled 13,941 undergraduates and 1,419 graduate and postgraduate students, for a student body total of 15,360. In general, graduation and retention rates are above national averages but below the mean among UC campuses. Among students who entered in 1999, 70% graduated within six years, ten percentage points below the UC average. Earlier statistics show that the six-year graduation rate is above the mean for both NCAA Division I schools and a sample of major universities throughout the United States. About half of graduates pursue further education, and 13 percent proceed to advanced degree programs within six months of graduation.
For most of its history, UCSC employed a unique student evaluation system. The only grades assigned were "pass" and "no pass", supplemented with narrative evaluations. Beginning in 1997, UCSC allowed students the option of selecting letter grade evaluations, but course grades were still optional until 2000, when faculty voted to require students receive letter grades. The "pass-no pass" system is still available, but many academic programs limit or even forbid pass-no pass grading. Overall, students may now earn no more than 25% of their UCSC credits on a "pass-no pass" basis. Although the default grading option for almost all courses offered is now "graded", most course grades are still accompanied by written evalutations.
The McHenry Library houses UCSC's arts and letters collection, with most of the scientific reading at the newer Science and Engineering Library. The McHenry Library was designed by John Carl Warnecke. In addition, the colleges host smaller libraries, which serve as quiet places to study. The McHenry Special Collections Library includes the archives of Robert A. Heinlein, the mycology book collection of composer John Cage, a large collection of works by Satyajit Ray, the Hayden White collection of 16th century Italian printing, a photography collection with nearly half a million items, and the Mary Lea Shane Archive. The latter contains an extensive collection of photographs, letters, and other documents related to Lick Observatory dating back to 1870. As of 2006, a renovation and expansion program is underway at McHenry, scheduled for completion in 2009. The library will remain open during construction, with brief closures as needed. The new addition opened March 31, 2008. The original library will be closed for 18 months to two years pending seismic upgrades and other renovations.
According to a 2002 study of first year students, most students come from mass affluent backgrounds and are more likely to identify as liberal than the national average. The median household income UCSC students reported for their families of origin was $80,600, roughly 87.5% above the national average in 2002. 25% of admitted students receive federal Pell grants. In terms of political orientation, the student body was far more liberal than the general U.S. population, but more centrist than the national average for professors. The majority of respondents, 59%, identified as liberal, 34% as "Middle of the Road" and 8% as conservative. Though UCSC students come from throughout the United States and the world, a large majority are from California. The following tables show the ethnic and regional breakdown of the student body:
|Ethnicity, 2007|| Under-|
|Hispanic or Latino (Non-Mexican)||4.7%||3.9%|
|Not stated (U.S. residents)||7.9%||15.2%|
|Monterey Bay area and Silicon Valley||16.1%|
|San Francisco Bay Area||31.9%|
|Other Northern California||2.5%|
|Central Valley and adjacent areas||10.7%|
|Los Angeles and Southern California||24.7%|
|San Diego and desert areas||7.7%|
|Other U.S. states||3.1%|
UCSC students are known for political activism. In 2005, a Pentagon surveillance program deemed student opposition to military recruiters on campus a "credible threat," the only campus antiwar action to receive the designation. In February 2006, Chancellor Denice Denton got the designation removed. Military recruiters declined to return to UCSC the following year, but returned in 2008 to a more low-keyed student reception and protests using elements of guerrilla theatre, rather than vandalism or physical violence. Thanks to students passing a $3 quarterly tuition increase to support buying renewable energy in 2006, UCSC is the sixth-largest buyer of renewable energy among college campuses nationwide.
UC Santa Cruz is also well known for its marijuana culture. On April 20, 2007, approximately 2000 UCSC students gathered at Porter Meadow to celebrate the annual "420 day." Students and others openly smoked marijuana while campus police stood by. The once student-only event has grown since the city of Santa Cruz passed Measure K in 2006, an ordinance making marijuana use a low-priority crime for police. The 2007 event attracted a total of 5000 participants. The university does not condone the gathering, but has taken steps to regulate the event and ensure security for all participants.
Another well known tradition is what is known as "First Rain". Students run around campus naked or nearly naked to celebrate the school year's first night of rain. The run starts at Porter and proceeds to travel to the other colleges.
The Student Union Assembly was founded in 1985 to better coordinate bargaining positions between students and administration on campus-wide issues. All the residential colleges and six ethnic and gender-based organizations send delegates to SUA. There is a total of 138 recognized student groups as of 2008.
Student media organizations are funded by a student council referendum of $3.20 per student per quarter.
All of the colleges, except for Kresge, have both residence halls and apartments. Kresge is all apartments. Apartments are typically shared by four to seven students, have common living/dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, and a combination of shared and private bedrooms. Apartments at colleges other than Kresge are generally reserved for students above the freshman level.
In addition to the residential colleges, housing is available at the Village on the lower quarry, populated by continuing, transfer, and graduate students; the University Inn, a remodeled hotel in downtown Santa Cruz that accommodates all students; and the University Town Center, also located downtown, that primarily serves international students. Graduate Student Housing is available near Science Hill, and UCSC also offers Family Student Housing units as well as a Camper Park for student-owned trailers and RVs.
UCSC competes in Division III of the NCAA as an Independent member. There are fourteen varsity sports (men's and women's basketball, soccer, water polo, volleyball, swimming and diving, women's golf, and women's cross country). UCSC teams are nationally ranked in tennis, soccer, mens volleyball, water polo and swimming. After defeating Emory to win the 2007 National Championship in men's tennis, UCSC has won six men's tennis team championships, and have been defending champions in tennis for two of the past three years. The Banana Slugs were also runners-up in men's soccer in 2004. In the 2006 season, the men's water polo team won the Division III championship, as well as an overall ranking of 19th in the nation. However, both the men and women's water polo teams were cut in 2008 due to budget constraints. UCSC is one of the largest but one of the least funded NCAA Division III members.
In addition to its NCAA sports, UCSC maintains a number of successful club sides including its women's rugby team, which won the Division II National Collegiate Championship during its '05-'06 season. UCSC also fields an often victorious men's lacrosse team, which competes against other western universities in the WCLL. After a highly successful 2008 season, the team traveled to Texas for nationals. Although UCSC never had a track, the residential colleges regularly competed in an improvised "Slug Run" every spring from 1967 to 1982. Approximately 25% of the student population participates in intramural athletics, which tend to be better funded than the intercollegiate athletic programs.
UCSC's mascot is the banana slug (specifically, Ariolimax dolichophallus). In 1981, when the university began participating in NCAA intercollegiate sports, the then-chancellor and some student athletes declared the mascot to be the "sea lions." Most students disliked the new mascot and offered an alternative mascot, the banana slug. In 1986, students voted via referendum to declare the banana slug the official mascot of UCSC—a vote the chancellor refused to honor, arguing that only athletes should choose the mascot. When a poll of athletes showed that they, too, wanted to be "Slugs," the chancellor relented. A sea lion statue can still be seen in front of the Thimann Hall lecture building, and a sea lion is still painted on the floor of the basketball court used for league play. In February, 2008 ESPN Sports Travel named the UCSC Banana Slug as one of the top ten best nicknames in college basketball. The "Fiat Slug" logo prominently featured on campus is a trademark of UCSC owned by the Regents. It was developed by two students during the mascot controversy, who later incorporated as "Oxford West" and licensed their design from the Regents to produce clothing inspired by the university.