Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New horizons for university in '08-'09

New horizons for university in '08-'09
By Shauna Marsh

When UC Davis begins classes on Sept. 25, a whole new chapter opens for faculty, staff and students.

Of course, many new student faces will be seen around campus. About 4,570 new freshmen will move into the residence halls this weekend, and the total enrollment for fall is expected to be 31,160, including undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

On the classroom front, students will be able to enroll in a new major, Middle East/South Asia Studies, that reflects the university's continued ascent as a globally aware institution. Offering 70 courses from anthropology to music, it is one of only a few undergraduate programs across the nation to focus primarily on this region, which includes 44 countries and one-third of the world's population.

At UC Davis, interest in the region and culture has existed for years in the form of student organizations.

UC Davis alumna Sonia Saini said that a big part of her involvement in creating the program at UC Davis was, "to show that there was a growing student interest." She made use of already existing student-run groups on campus such as Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association, the South Asian Student Organization and a student group for classical Indian music. In recent years, hundreds of students signed petitions for classes in Middle Eastern and South Asian languages, indicating support for this type of major. A minor program was established in 2004.

"The students on this campus have been so committed to the development of this program," said program director Suad Joseph, professor of anthropology. The program expects about 50 student majors within five years.

The major draws a diverse group of students, said third-year Shruti Banerjee, who is taking the program. While the Middle East and South Asia have been political hot spots and of economic interest, they have also been known for their art, literature, religion, languages and history, she said.

This fall's new students are making history as members of UC Davis' Centennial Class, entering 100 years after the first students came to live on campus for the 1908-09 academic year.

About 5,000 new freshmen are expected to enroll this fall. This is an increase of about 45 students from last fall. The total number of new and returning undergraduates expected for the fall quarter is 24,010, an increase of 511 from last fall. Graduate and professional students are expected to total around 7,150, a decrease of 36 from last year.

Overall, UC Davis expects to have 31,160 students enrolled in the fall 2008 quarter. This total is an increase of 475 students, or 1.5 percent, from last year.

The total number of students is expected to average 29,950 over the three academic quarters. This is an increase of 378 students over the three-quarter average from last year.

About 43 percent of an estimated 1,900 new transfer students have participated in the Transfer Admission Guarantee program. It gives written guarantees of admission to prospective transfer students who fulfill certain conditions.

Enrollment estimates are based on an April 22 projection by the Office of Resource Management and Planning. An official count of enrolled students is made later in the fall.

Financial aid, fees
Undergraduate students who are California residents will pay an estimated $8,639 in fees this school year. Resident academic graduate students will pay a total of $10,618 this year.

The interim director of the Financial Aid Office, Katy Maloney, estimates that about 65 percent of undergraduates will receive some kind of financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. She says that more than $325 million in financial aid will be disbursed to UC Davis students this coming year.

About 4,570 freshmen will move into residence halls Saturday and Sunday. An additional 1,820 students will be living in privately managed housing on campus, such as the Russell Park Apartments for student families.

Special programs and activities
- UC Davis will continue celebrating its centennial with a public Fall Festival from Oct. 10 to 15. The event will include the grand opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, Homecoming (the Aggies play Southern Utah), a 5- and 10-kilometer run-walk, a downtown Davis street fair, open lectures with faculty and alumni, and much more.
- Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder's book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, will be the focus of the seventh annual Campus Community Book Project.
- Students at UC Davis will switch this fall to Google Inc.'s Gmail as their campus e-mail service, an e-mail system with vastly expanded data storage space, more features and access to popular communication tools. Implementation begins in early October, and students will continue to use their existing ucdavis.edu e-mail addresses.
- Starting in winter quarter 2009, the College of Biological Sciences will offer a new three-quarter Introduction to Biology course series, emphasizing the fundamental principles of genetics, genomics, evolution and ecology in shaping the "Tree of Life." The new series replaces the current Biological Sciences 1 series.
- The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will offer new classes in environmental science and management. They include freshman-level courses along with one upper-division course for students to study sustainable agriculture.
- New minors will be available this year in: civil and environmental engineering; evolution, ecology and biodiversity; human physiology; and watershed sciences.

- This fall marks the completion of the new $74 million Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The institute will bring the departments of Viticulture and Enology and of Food Science and Technology together in one building to investigate the future and quality of food.
- Construction began during the summer of 2008 for the $2 million Unitrans bus terminal on Hutchison Drive. Anticipated to be completed mid-fall, this transit plaza will provide: space for eight active in-service buses; space for seven layover buses on standby for peak-hour service; pedestrian walkways and passenger waiting areas; and bicycle parking.
- Construction began this summer for the new Graduate School of Management building, to be named Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall. It is anticipated that construction will be completed by September 2009.
- This summer, King Hall, home of the UC Davis School of Law, began its $22 million renovation and expansion project to provide more academic offices, classrooms and library space.
- The $65 million Earth and Physical Sciences Expansion is due to open in winter quarter 2009. This new building will provide instructional laboratories for the departments of geology, chemistry and physics; and research laboratories, research offices, academic and department administrative offices and support space for the department of geology.
- The new student Health and Wellness Center is under construction this fall. This $50.3 million project will house Student Health Services, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Construction is expected to be complete in winter of 2010.
- Work is to begin in early 2009 to renovate the ASUCD Coffee House in the Memorial Union. This $9.3 million project will create one connected area for dining, upgrade food service and cashier areas, relocate the bakery, and modernize the kitchen.
- New construction for student residence halls in the Tercero area is to begin in the winter of 2009. This $55 million student housing project will provide 600 new on-campus student beds by fall 2010.

More information: Middle East/South Asia major, mesa.ucdavis.edu; UC Davs Centennial, centennial.ucdavis.edu.

Shauna Marsh is a student intern in University Communications.