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January 17, 2000

Governor's budget proposal recognizes UCSC's excellence

By Jennifer McNulty

Governor Gray Davis has made education his top priority, and he is increasingly turning to the University of California, including UCSC, for help in generating tangible results. His latest budget proposals are further endorsement of UC's work assisting public schools.

See related article: Governor's budget gives major boost to UC
In his budget proposal that was unveiled last week, Davis is seeking a major expansion of UC's professional development programs for K-12 teachers. Davis's endorsement of UC's current efforts in these areas was underscored by his funding of several new institutes for high school math, science, and English teachers that will be operated by UC in collaboration with California State University, several private colleges and universities, and K-12 schools and districts.

"The faculty and staff of UCSC have distinguished themselves through their work with K-12 schools," said Francisco Hernandez, vice chancellor for student affairs, who oversees the Educational Partnership Center. Several statewide programs are housed at UCSC because of the campus's innovative ideas and statewide leadership, he noted.

"More than ever, schools are asking us for assistance as they address the critical issues of student performance and teacher preparation," said Hernandez. "With the governor's support, we are prepared to provide an even higher level of service."

One of UCSC's existing programs that is slated for funding is the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national resource that ties together research, practice, and policy in support of the development of the teaching profession, with a particular focus on new teachers. Davis's budget includes $600,000 for the NTC, which director Ellen Moir said will help the center expand its offerings.

"We're already an important voice across the state and on the national scene regarding teacher induction, and we're doing intensive work in the Monterey Bay region and Silicon Valley," said Moir. "This support will allow us to do more in those regions and to increase our capacity statewide."

In addition, Davis singled out the UCSC-based UC College Prep (UCCP) Initiative for $3 million. UCCP offers online advanced placement courses to students in schools throughout California that offer few or no AP classes. The pilot program, which began in 1998, was expanded to reach about 200 students in seven counties this past fall, and project director Elaine Wheeler said Davis's proposal would help to further expand UCCP, which has the potential to reach thousands of students.

"Our program's growth is based in large part on our successful partnerships with high schools," said Wheeler, noting that UCSC's team tailors offerings to the needs of each school. "This has the potential to become a cost-effective way that UC can help fill some of the curriculum gaps in what high schools have to offer."

Current offerings include AP and college-prep courses in chemistry, composition, physics, biology, mathematics, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and statistics. Online courses can help students boost their grade-point average and enhance their college applications, said Wheeler, adding that providing these courses online increases opportunities for underserved students to compete.

Finally, if the governor's proposed budget is approved, the campus's plans to establish a regional center in Santa Clara Valley would benefit from a $1.1 million infusion of state funds. Efforts are currently under way to identify potential sites for the center, which would offer research, teaching, and community service opportunities for UCSC faculty, students, and staff, while also raising UCSC's profile in Silicon Valley.

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