Community college and university officials this week dedicated the newly completed Sacramento City College Davis Center at UC Davis West Village. The Davis Center will open its doors to more than 2,000 students this Saturday, Jan. 14. It’s the first community college extension built on a University of California campus.
While recent years have seen a trend of universities offering courses leading to bachelor’s degrees on community college campuses, this project marks a new direction for collaboration between higher education institutions in California. Last fall, about 160 students transferred from SCC to UC Davis.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said the new center is emblematic of the ways UC Davis is working to make it easier for California community college students to transfer to UC Davis. “We want to build bridges,” she said. “I know this center will become that bridge for more and more students.”
[Photo: Chancellor Katehi, left, with students Mitchell Laust, Leng Mut, and Andrea de la Torre. All three transferred successfully to UC Davis after studies at SCC. On the right is UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Fred Wood.]
New opportunities for students
SCC President Kathryn Jeffery said of the transfer possibilities for SCC students: “Our new center enhances educational opportunities for SCC students and creates a stronger likelihood that they will move more seamlessly into UC Davis or another four-year university.”
Some students who have already made that transfer were on hand for the dedication.
Although the regimentation of high school rubbed Mitchell Faust, 25, the wrong way, the Sacramento resident said he knew he wanted a four-year degree. Faust earned three Associate in Arts degrees in English, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at SCC. A Transfer Admissions Agreement helped him meet the requirements to transfer to UC Davis, where he is studying English and African American and African Studies. Faust remembers walking one day from the community college’s old Davis Center, where he took classes in philosophy and Western civilization, to the UC Davis campus. “The second I stepped on campus, it was really exciting,” he said. He is on track to graduate from UC Davis in June, and just completed applications to programs for master’s and doctoral studies.
A native of Peru and resident of Florida, Andrea de la Torre, 22, came to Sacramento to intern at a church. She ended up living across the street from Sacramento City College. De la Torre’s time interning and working at Sacramento’s St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children motivated her to complete two Associate in Arts degrees in sociology and social studies at the college in May and seek a four-year degree. She transferred to UC Davis in fall 2011 and is now studying part time in pursuit of a sociology major in organizational studies. She wants to manage a nonprofit. De la Torre became a U.S. citizen in December. She said having a community college center located on a four-year campus can not only make things easier but also serve as a motivation. “It’s good to be close to what you want to do. It keeps you focused on what you want.”
Sacramento City College and UC Davis are important steps on Leng Mut’s journey from a ruralvillage in Cambodia to chemical engineering studies and research. A farmer’s daughter, Mut, 32, worked as factory sewer, domestic maid and cook before coming to the United States in 2004. At Sacramento City College, Mut studied English as a second language and, through a Transfer Admissions Agreement, met the requirements to come to UC Davis. She enrolled at UC Davis last fall as a chemical engineering major, and is participating in the McNair Scholars and MURALS programs that prepare students for graduate studies. She is now applying to present her research on the toxicity of carbon nanotubes at the undergraduate research conference at UC Davis this spring.
Phase one of the SCC Davis Center spans 20,000 square feet and includes a learning resource center, computer lab, classrooms, and administrative and student services spaces. Future phases of the SCC Davis Center will include additional classrooms, a bookstore and laboratory spaces.
The SCC Davis Center has had a number of homes since it was established in 1968. The new building will be more than twice the size of the current location in South Davis.
UC Davis’ Katehi said the center’s place on campus “also underscores the strong spirit of partnership that helped create West Village as a model of sustainability and innovation.”
UC Davis West Village is the largest planned zero net energy community in the country, designed to generate as much energy as it consumes in the course of a year. The community includes housing for students, faculty and staff; a recreation center; and commercial space.
“West Village offers a unique environment for students: close to the student culture and activities at UC Davis, close to the many exciting projects of the Energy Efficiency Center, and in the midst of a neighborhood that is itself a living laboratory,” said Don Palm, dean of the SCC Davis Center.
In addition to high-tech, sustainable spaces and flexibility for future programs, the SCC Davis Center is designed to LEED Silver certification standards. LEED certified facilities are designed, constructed and operated using a more sustainable approach.
Construction for the $7.4 million center is funded by the Los Rios Community College District with Measure A bond proceeds, as approved by Sacramento voters in the 2002 election.
The center’s strategic presence on the UC Davis campus comes as a timely homage to the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The 1960 document provided a framework for the concerted growth of community colleges as well as University of California and California State University campuses.