Campus launches credit-bearing summer orientation

Richard Hughey
Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Richard Hughey

Dear faculty and staff,

I am delighted to announce the 2021 launch of credit-bearing summer orientation.

The ten versions of College 1A Introduction to University Life and Learning for new frosh, and Kresge 1T Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts for new transfer students, will orient students to our campus and to university life, while promoting community-building and effective habits of mind for academic success. College 1A will emphasize introduction to the Academic Literacy Curriculum and higher learning success, while 1T will promote an effective transition to research universities and the liberal arts.

Over the past four years, UC Santa Cruz has been on the leading edge of UC and the nation in ensuring access, consistency, and success through innovation in its orientation program. The work across a multitude of offices across campus, led by Orientation Director Rosa Plaza, to shift summer orientation to an online format proved effective in increasing knowledge delivery and retention by spreading the material over the entire summer; improving effectiveness while simultaneously reducing workload; and moving orientation into the digital era. For me, one of the most important impacts has been on access, as no longer do families need to decide between the high cost and lost wages of a multi-day trip to Santa Cruz, or a 4 a..m. to 11 p.m. day trip north. Although not planned, the 2019 shift to online summer orientation positioned our campus well to face challenges brought on by the pandemic.

The Council of Provosts (following their successful work with the Writing Program and Academic Senate on the initial steps of engaged scholarship, the joint Academic Literacy Curriculum) have worked closely among themselves, with Campus Orientation, and with the Academic Senate, to tie together the learning objectives of summer orientation and existing or revised summer academic engagement with fall’s College 1.

Kresge Provost Ben Leeds Carson, Professor of Music, and Crown Provost Manel Camps, Professor of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, have led development of the new integrated courses and their learning objectives. With the Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) approval, each college has tuned aspects of the curriculum to their own unique college, to fully integrate the remote course with the living and learning community.

The courses have many goals and learning objectives, including introduction to the campus, demystification of the “hidden curriculum”, beginning to address inequities in preparedness, starting to build a sense of belonging to the campus and the student community, and building intellectual momentum.

The course is a collaboration among a multitude of units and offices, including the Council of Provosts, Campus Orientation, Office of Campus Advising Coordination, Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students, Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, The Division of Student Affairs and Success, Office of the Registrar, Summer Session, Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services, Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Student Health Center, Business and Administrative Services, academic programs and departments across campus, academic and institutional support units across campus, and the Academic Senate.

As a unit-bearing summer course, completion will place students a small step toward completing the required 180 units. As with other summer session courses, there is tuition ($279) associated with the course, but there is no longer an orientation fee. Chancellor Cynthia Larive has waived the campus fee for students taking just this 1-unit course during summer, and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will provide an Orientation Grant fully covering this tuition to the 50% of students with “financial need.” For the first year, in support of this important new program, Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer will provide scholarships to all remaining students covering half of the tuition. No additional application or paperwork will be needed for either of these grants.

Please join me in thanking the many people who have worked to make UC Santa Cruz Orientation a transformative course experience for our students.