April 29, 2010
UC DAVIS TO TAKE HELM OF UC CENTER SACRAMENTO
SACRAMENTO -- The University of California's satellite teaching, research and public service center near the state Capitol, suspended last year, will be restored and operated for the entire 10-campus system by UC Davis, university officials announced today.
The move will preserve the popular public policy and public affairs journalism programs that offered UC students from throughout the system an opportunity to learn through internships in and around the Capitol. The center also will provide a forum for public policy researchers from all UC campuses to address key issues facing the state.
Many students who went through the programs are now employed by state lawmakers, the Legislature's policy committees and numerous state agencies.
"We are excited by the opportunity to lead the UC Center Sacramento on behalf of the University of California," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who made the center a top priority shortly after arriving in Davis last summer.
"UC Davis is in a wonderful position due to location and the strength of our programs to lead this center," Katehi said. "Our mission is to provide the best possible internship opportunities and an environment where scholars from all UC campuses can come together to provide important analyses on critical state issues."
UC Provost Lawrence Pitts also welcomed the resumption of classes at the center, which he said serves state government as well as students from all the UC campuses.
"Our students look forward to expanded access to a broad academic experience both in Sacramento and on the UC Davis campus, and to hands-on experience in the executive and legislative work of the state," Pitts said. "UC is committed as the state's research university to supporting the government in its complex activities, and involving our students in these fascinating tasks."
The center has operated since 2004 as a unit funded by the UC Office of the President. It is located and will remain in a UC-owned office building at 12th and K streets, one block north of the state Capitol.
More than 600 UC students -- an average of 120 a year -- have enrolled in UC Center classes here. But, in the face of a sharp reduction in state funding, the president's office concluded last August that the university could no longer afford the center's nearly
$1 million annual budget.
Under an agreement between UC President Mark Yudof and UC Davis, the president's office will continue to provide transitional funding as the Davis campus attempts to make the center self-supporting with restructuring and a portion of existing student fees.
"We're not just trying to do the same thing on a smaller budget. We'd like to do more," said Ron Mangun, dean of the Division of Social Sciences, which assumes responsibility for the center. "It's not just saving money; it's advancing the mission of the UC system on behalf of the people of California."
The center will resume summer journalism classes and internships in June. Public policy classes will follow in September. UC faculty also plan to launch a variety of research projects, including studies of climate change, water issues and economic challenges facing the state.
A much leaner $400,000 budget will be financed in part by redirecting a portion of the fees associated with students who enroll in classes to the center. In the past, the students' home campuses received all of their fees.
"It creates this opportunity to not only have an important organization for our own campus, but to get involved in an organization that's going to pull all of the campuses together," said Robert Huckfeldt, a UC Davis political science professor and director of the Institute of Governmental Affairs who will be the new director of the UC Center Sacramento.
Under the agreement with the UC Office of the President, UC Davis will take responsibility for the continued operation of a reconfigured center that pursues three primary goals:
* Connecting UC research scholars, including collaborative efforts among all the campuses, with state policymakers in the Governor's Office, the Legislature and state agencies.
* Creating a public policy research center focused on significant state and national issues.
* Maintaining an academic public policy program, which includes internships, as well as continuing a collaborative relationship with UC Berkeley to sponsor the summer journalism program.
In addition to Huckfeldt's role as the center's director, the Institute of Governmental Affairs will provide administrative support for the operation. UC Davis faculty members also will teach a seminar for the public policy students and oversee the academic internships.
The center's leadership will work with faculty and administrators on all of the campuses to create an ongoing series of lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences that address pressing public policy issues as well as aid in the development of collaborative research.
Over the years, the center has drawn strong reviews from students, such as UC Davis Spanish and communications major Ignacio Torres, who interned in the Sacramento bureau of the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion last summer. Torres said he was assigned important stories that had to be reported and written quickly for the Los Angeles-based newspaper.
"I think it's rare to find that in an internship," he said, "where you're given that much responsibility, where you have to go to the governor's press conference, where you have to talk to the speaker.
"That's what made it different from any other internship that I had, in the sense that it was valuable work that I was doing for them and for myself as well."
About UC Davis
For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world.
Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
* Robert Huckfeldt, UC Center Sacramento, (530) 752-2042, email@example.com
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