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July 19, 2000

UCSC names NASA Ames Research Park as preferred site for Silicon Valley Center

By Elizabeth Irwin

In a report given today to the UC Regents, Chancellor Greenwood announced that planning for UCSC's Silicon Valley Center will focus on the proposed NASA Ames Research Park as the preferred site for a permanent location. Further planning studies will lead to a final proposal to the Regents.

Chancellor Greenwood has written a letter to the campus community with a progress report on UCSC's Silicon Valley Center. See administrative messages.

Among the criteria for siting the center are visibility, accessibility, opportunity, net cost, and alignment with the teaching, research, and service mission of UCSC. A number of sites throughout Silicon Valley were evaluated and, after in-depth study, the NASA site was advanced for further consideration.

Ames Research Center is one of ten field centers of NASA. The proposed site is part of a collaborative R&D campus currently being developed by NASA Ames that includes a range of research, education and museum activities. UCSC's Silicon Valley Center would be included on a parcel within the NASA Research Park, which is located adjacent to the existing campus of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field.

"NASA's proposed R&D park fulfills the location criteria for our Silicon Valley Center," Greenwood said. "NASA's innovative vision for a research complex that emphasizes synergy among participants is compatible with our campus's goals. Because of our existing research collaborations with NASA Ames and numerous other educational partnerships between UCSC and Silicon Valley institutions, we already have a strong foundation on which we can develop further academic programs of benefit to the region. Additionally, the opportunity for housing students and faculty, plus direct access by light rail and two freeways, makes the location very appealing."

NASA Ames Director Henry McDonald commented, "We are delighted that UCSC has designated the NASA Research Park as the preferred site for their new Silicon Valley Center. We believe this is a very positive move, and we are excited that UCSC is taking steps toward being our partner in the creation of a unique, world-class educational and R&D campus."

The center is expected to serve as a portal to the UC system, connecting all of the campuses to Silicon Valley, especially in the areas of research. The University of California and NASA share many research areas of interest and strengths, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, planetary sciences, and astrobiology. In addition, research is expected to be conducted on issues of social justice, education, labor, and economics, among other topics.

It is expected that UCSC will offer classes for both undergraduates and graduates at the Silicon Valley Center. The specific curricular offerings and subjects of research are to be determined through planning by faculty, which now is under way and will continue parallel to site planning.

UCSC currently provides extensive services in Silicon Valley through UCSC Extension, which enrolls more than 50,000 students in Silicon Valley courses for professional development and lifelong learning. In addition, UCSC is engaged in teacher training and retention programs, including services performed by the Silicon Valley New Teacher Center in collaboration with Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

Other UCSC activities supporting education in Silicon Valley include curriculum development and work with underrepresented students in partnership with the East Side Union High School District and San Jose Unified School District. The campus is engaged in collaborations with San Jose State University in areas including teacher preparation and engineering, and with all of the area's community colleges to streamline the transfer process and to increase the number of students that transfer from community colleges to the University of California.

The UC Office of the President provided seed funding to advance planning for the center during the 1999-2000 fiscal year. The 2000-01 state budget includes $1.1 million for UC to continue the planning process. As planning proceeds, the UC Regents will consider a formal proposal for the Silicon Valley Center in spring 2001. Groundbreaking would occur shortly thereafter, with the first students enrolling at the center in fall 2003.

For more information, go to the UCSC Silicon Valley Center web site.

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