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ERIC Number: EJ775943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
Conclusion: Lessons learned
Merritt, Karen; Lawrence, Jane Fiori
New Directions for Higher Education, n139 p135-138 Fall 2007
Planning, opening, and bringing to life a new institution of higher education is a challenging undertaking. At UC Merced, it has been a daunting and exhilarating experience for its founding administration, faculty, staff, and students. Campus pioneers had no road map, no playbook to tell them how to plan and build in the twenty-first century a public research university that shares the distinction of the nine established University of California campuses. The thirty-five years that elapsed between the opening of the University of California's most recent campuses and the beginning of planning for the tenth campus have seen changes in every aspect of student, faculty, and institutional life. All of these changes created more complexity and greater expectations. The availability of too few resources to carry out the ideals implicit in starting fresh was and continues to be the biggest challenge. The promise of a research university to its students is that they will be present, even participate in, the birth of new knowledge. The courses they take will reflect the newest knowledge in the field. Added to this, a new institution promises a setting for doing things better, improving on the givens of the current curricula and institutional practices. It was this promise that attracted so many faculty innovators to UC Merced. Founding President David Gardner made a considered choice in deciding that the tenth campus would grow independently rather than starting as a branch of an existing UC campus. Pros and cons of this decision are detailed. A final lesson from UC Merced's experience is the unique value of the planning period before opening. When the campus opens, the press of doing everything a full-fledged university must do makes finding the time and energy for innovation difficult to find.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A