With a focus on student success and the impact of research, UCSD President Michael F. Drake University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California President Michael F. Drake and his wife, Mrs. Brenda Drake, visit the University of California at Santa Cruz to learn more about campus work in driving undergraduate and graduate success.

The day-long visit included meetings with faculty, staff, and students to learn more about UCSD’s research, teaching, and learning – and the important work that supports the university’s mission as a Hispanic research university centered on student success.

“It was great to visit UC Santa Cruz and hear about the latest achievements of the Banana Slug community,” Drake said. “I am grateful for campus leadership on so many issues, from social justice to climate change, and I look forward to seeing all the progress coming.”

University of California President Michael V. Drake thanked the staff working in the campus dining halls for helping them feed students during the pandemic. (Photo by Caroline Lagatota)

since then Appointment in 2020 to lead the University of CaliforniaDrake sought to tour each of the regime’s ten branches, five medical centers, and three national laboratories affiliated with the regime. Drake has had a long and distinguished career in higher education, including serving as Chancellor of the University of California, Irvine for nine years, from 2005 to 2014, and as Vice President for Systemwide Health Affairs from 2000 to 2005. He served as President of Ohio State University from 2014 until his return to the University of California. Drake was last on campus in May, giving a speech at the John R. Lewis College dedication.

“It was great to have President Drake at the University of California, Santa Cruz,” said Chancellor Cynthia Larive. “While visiting before, this was an opportunity for him to interact more deeply with students, staff and faculty, and to learn about the deliberate work we do to support and guide diverse students pursuing degrees in science and engineering, to lead aquaculture into a more sustainable future. Creating spaces for students’ creativity and innovation.

The July 29 visit began with an outdoor lunch at the Coastal Science Campus with undergraduate students conducting research through STEM diversity research programs. Programs promote diversity in science by providing direct services that support students through STEM research training, professional development, and academic support.

Juliana Ortega, Director of STEM Diversity Programs, said it was great to have candid conversations with Drake and Larive and to hear about their personal and professional journeys, and experiences that resonate and inspire UCSC students.

Ortega said, “These interactions with leadership are very important to our students, as they reinforce their sense of leadership and see themselves as agents of change, and are very structural influences that define their academic, personal, and professional lives.”

From there, Drake headed to the residential campus to see Progress in Kresge College Renovation. The first phase, due to be completed in the next academic year, includes new residential and academic buildings. When complete, the expansion project will include housing for approximately 970 undergraduate students, about 600 more beds than the college originally had.

At College Nine and John R. Lewis College, Drake thanked a team of employees who work in the campus dining halls. The group included some of the staff who helped serve and support students through the pandemic and wildfires in the summer of 2020 that led to the evacuation of the campus for the first time ever.

“You devoted yourself to coming to campus every day to keep the campus moving, and it provided an opportunity for our students to learn, for our faculty to teach and do their research, and for us all to live,” Drake said. “You are the University of California.”

Drake met a group of faculty assembled on the lawn at the Quayle College Provost’s home. Through a conversation moderated by the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning Judy Green and Academic Senate Vice President Patti Gallagher, the faculty shared their challenges in teaching and research through the pandemic and their influential work to improve their pedagogical approaches to support learning equality.

Continuing to focus on teaching and learning, Drake met with students and professional staff who work on campus libraries and spoke about the library’s central role as a venue for the campus community.

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University of California President Michael F. Drake with students and library professionals about the importance of creating spaces for students to create, collaborate, and study.

Community Archives Rebecca Hernandez asked Drake to share an unforgettable library experience. made three, and shared how the university library where he met his son, he left home for law school, was with his future wife; How Ohio State participated in a discussion held in the library about the future of higher education. and how he was an undergraduate student at Stanford University studying in the university’s art library, where he found focus while studying organic chemistry.

The conversation has been expanded to focus on how libraries are transforming into a space for students to collaborate with each other.

Sky Casey, a college student at Digital Scholarship Innovation Studio. The space is designed to create a community and democratize access to technology. Resources include tools, such as 3D printers and laser cutters.

Drake concluded his campus tour with a visit to the UC Santa Cruz farm, where he learned about sustainable aquaculture and how the campus works to support the basic needs of students.

Environmental Studies professor Ann Kapusinski talks about her team’s work to make aquaculture more sustainable. With the world’s appetite for fish increasing, Kapuscinski is leading efforts to reduce the environmental impact of farmed fish. Her team is working to develop an ocean-friendly, algae-based food for farmed fish. Many fish farms use fishmeal and fish oils extracted from wild fish such as anchovies and sardines, putting these populations at risk.

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President Drake with students Marie Ianwali in the center and Nissa Fakry.

Tim Gallarno spoke with students Marie Ayanwali and Nissa Fekray, who specializes in agroecology education and research, about innovative programs to meet students’ basic needs, including Quill coffee shopa non-transactional café and a choice-based food pantry, and CASFS Mobile Food Hub.

The 16-foot food trailer will serve lunch, distribute products, and travel around the campus for catering for special events and workshops. The trailer will feature a rotating menu intended to celebrate a variety of diaspora cooking for students and be rooted in the use of local seasonal produce.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about the whole student,” said Tim Gallarno, agroecology education and research specialist, who also co-chairs the UCSD-wide Basic Needs Committee. “We are working to foster a supportive campus climate and a sense of belonging among students.”

From housing and basic needs to innovative research and teaching opportunities, Drake has seen firsthand how the university focuses on supporting its students and making sure they have a transformative experience at UCSD and are ready for successful careers and meaningful lives after graduation.

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