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Cover page of “Study what is in your backyard”: Professor Virginia Jansen and the UC Santa Cruz Campus

“Study what is in your backyard”: Professor Virginia Jansen and the UC Santa Cruz Campus


Virginia Jansen was raised in Dayton, Ohio and attended Smith College as an undergraduate, where she earned a degree in German language and literature. She earned her PhD at UC Berkeley in the History of Art. After a few years teaching at colleges in the Bay Area, Jansen arrived at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the fall of 1975 to teach medieval art and architecture for the Art Department (or Art Board, as it was then known), where she taught for more than three decades.

In the mid-seventies, UCSC had no freestanding program in art history and Jansen helped build an art history major at the fledgling university. Her passion for delving into the history of architecture inspired her to turn to “study what is in your backyard” and focus on the unique architecture of the UC Santa Cruz campus. She soon became known as an expert on campus planning and architecture and in 1986 co-taught an undergraduate art history seminar entitled The History and Implementation of the Santa Cruz Campus Plan with the Reyner Banham, the renowned English architectural critic, who was a professor of art history at UC Santa Cruz in the 1980s. That course resulted in an UCSC exhibit and book The First 20 Years: Two Decades of Building at UCSC.

Decades later, in 2015, Jansen once again contributed her knowledge of campus architecture by working with UCSC emeriti professors James Clifford, Michael Cowan, and Campus Architect Frank Zwart on another UCSC history exhibit called An Uncommon Place: Shaping the UCSC Campus. This exhibit, mounted at Porter College’s Sesnon Gallery as part of the celebration of UCSC’s 50th anniversary, “called attention to UC Santa Cruz as utopian experiment where architecture and environment conspire to create an uncommon place, a setting for teaching, research and imagination outside the bounds of the ordinary.”

Cover page of From the Mysteries of the Universe to the Mysteries of the Univers-ity: An Oral History with UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal

From the Mysteries of the Universe to the Mysteries of the Univers-ity: An Oral History with UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal


George R. Blumenthal arrived at UC Santa Cruz in 1972 as a young faculty member in astronomy and astrophysics. Thirty-five years later, on September 19, 2007, he became UCSC’s tenth chancellor, after serving as acting chancellor for fourteen months. Blumenthal dedicated thirteen years of his life to being chancellor of UC Santa Cruz. This oral history was transcribed from forty interviews recorded between June 2018 and July 2019 and encompasses Chancellor Blumenthal’s long and distinguished career at UC Santa Cruz and with the University of California system. Long before he became chancellor, Blumenthal served the campus in diverse capacities; he was the faculty representative to the UC Regents (2003-05); chaired the UC Santa Cruz division of the Academic Senate (2001-03); and served as chair of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department twice. But not only does this oral history cover almost fifty years of UCSC’s history—from the early years of Oakes College under Provost J. Herman Blake, to the impacts of the defunding of public higher education in more recent years—it is also infused with Blumenthal’s insider’s viewpoint on the University of California system that he gained as vice-chair of the UC Academic Senate (2003-2004); chair of UC Academic Senate (2004-05); and experience serving on many other UC-wide committees and endeavors. In 2010, Blumenthal received the Oliver Johnson Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Academic Senate, the top UC honor for service at both the systemwide and campus levels. This volume is thus both an oral history of UC Santa Cruz and of the University of California system as a whole and is an invaluable primary resource for those seeking to understand the history of both this unique campus in the redwoods and the intricate political history of the University of California system.

Cover page of "An Intergenerational Community of Friends": An Oral History of the Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society/Smith Renaissance Society with Bill Dickinson and Gary Miles

"An Intergenerational Community of Friends": An Oral History of the Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society/Smith Renaissance Society with Bill Dickinson and Gary Miles


This oral history documents the Page and Eloise Smith Society, which offers support, advocacy, and fellowship to UC Santa Cruz undergraduates who come to the university with little or no family backing: former foster children; orphans; former juvenile delinquents; homeless and runaways. The society is the brainchild of alumnus Bill Dickinson, a member of the pioneer class who transferred to the campus in 1965 after having lived on his own since the age of sixteen. At a class reunion in 1999, Dickinson appealed to fellow pioneer alumni to help him build a scholarship fund for former foster children. Out of that initiative grew a volunteer-driven organization—the first of its kind in the US—that has, in the ensuing two decades, served hundreds of students, setting them up with mentoring, financial help, and a collegial community that many have come to think of as a surrogate family.

In founding the society, Dickinson aimed to carry on the spirit of its namesakes, Page and Eloise (Pickard) Smith, who cultivated a vibrant community at Cowell College, where Page was founding provost. That community provided Dickinson with a cultural and intellectual home when he was a young man, he says, and launched him into happy adulthood. He cites Page Smith, a historian with an interest in educational philosophy, as an important mentor. He continues to espouse the pedagogical ideals he shared with Smith, who insisted that loving students is central to the art of teaching them well, and that a small, intimate community of students and teachers provides the best college education. “True learning is clearly incompatible with immensity,” Smith wrote in a passage that Dickinson has been known to quote. “Formalism, lifeless routines, bureaucratic obtuseness, coldness of heart, impoverishment of spirit are the inevitable consequences of excessive size.”

For this oral history, we were also able to bring in one of Bill Dickinson’s core colleagues, Gary Miles—an emeritus professor of history and classics who created and ran the Smith Society’s mentoring program, beginning shortly after he retired from his faculty position. A beloved teacher, Miles shares Dickinson’s enthusiasm for undergraduates; his decision to retire arose partly, as he notes in the oral history, from disaffection with UCSC’s growing class sizes, which had begun to impede his ability to interact meaningfully with individual students. Working with literature professor John Jordan, Miles built a highly successful program in which every one of Smith’s Collegiate Fellows who requested an adult mentor has been matched with one. Like Dickinson, Miles emphasizes the close mentor-student relationships that have been at the center of the Smith Society’s extraordinary success. In 2018, when various newly restrictive policies threatened to undermine the society’s spirit and mission to an unacceptable degree, the society partially severed its affiliation with STARS (Services to Transfer and Re-entry Students), which had long served as its administrative home. With the enthusiastic encouragement of Cowell College provost Alan Christy, the mentoring program and other Smith components found a new home under Cowell’s aegis, with STARS retaining some important Smith functions.

While this arrangement seems to be working well at present, both narrators express uncertainty about the society’s future, given that they and others who have long been central to its success are aging out of their roles. In the final portion of the interview, Dickinson and Miles speculate about whether and how the Smith Society might evolve in years to come, and about how its cost-effective, volunteer-driven model might inspire other efforts to serve the needs of UCSC undergraduates—particularly the growing cohort of students who are the first in their families to attend college.


Cover page of Grand Opera: The Life, Languages, and Teaching of Miriam Ellis

Grand Opera: The Life, Languages, and Teaching of Miriam Ellis


Miriam Ellis was born in New York City in 1927, the child of Jewish immigrants who left what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While the family struggled financially in the Depression, Miriam’s route to the world of language and interchange was laid out from an early age. As she puts it, “Our house was always open to immigrants, and so they came with all kinds of languages: German, Russian, Polish, or Hungarian, and I don’t know what all else.”

Miriam fell especially in love with French language and theater through a program that was offered during WWII by the Free French government in exile; it was designed to preserve and promote French language and culture while France was occupied. When she was twenty-one, Miriam went to France for the first time to volunteer in a postwar displaced persons camp, serving refugees who had been driven from North Africa and parts of the Middle East by fascist occupation and war. After the war, she came back home with her first husband, a veteran of the Royal Air Force. With kids in tow, in 1955 they drove across the country and set up a new life in Southern California.

In the forties, Miriam had completed high school prior to going overseas, but hadn’t been inspired by a brief stint in college at the time. As a mother of three, she picked back up and started taking night classes in 1957. She then spent the next twenty-two years gradually and steadfastly working through a series of degrees. She also kept up her passion for theater in these years and acted in regional productions. Miriam secured a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) and master’s degree from CSU Northridge (then San Fernando Valley State) by the mid 1960s, when she was in her late 30s. Miriam had a special passion for connecting and working with international students, and soon added another responsibility to her list: she joined the staff at the university as director of the Office of International Programs.

In 1971, she came north to UC Santa Cruz as a PhD student studying primarily French and Spanish literature. In time, she and her husband divorced; Miriam found herself on a young, still-forming campus—it was just six years old at the time—where two of her children also went through as undergrads. They were all part of the incredible spark of the original UCSC experiment.

            Miriam has stayed ever since, and has left an outsize mark on the campus. She completed her PhD and her twenty-two-year journey as a so-called “re-entry” studentin 1979, at age fifty-one. Miriam was also a key figure in building up theater at UCSC, especially outside of the English language. She also became a protagonist in the story of opera at UCSC, working as stage director for the Opera Workshop in the 70s. From her labors for French theater to co-founding the Santa Cruz Opera Society, Inc. (SCOSI), Miriam has brought town and gown together and has been an all-around champion of the arts—launching productions, hosting talks, bringing in world-class performers, and initiating community outreach programs—including performances of theatrical and operatic selections for local schools and nursing homes.

            Her primary official role at UCSC has been as a longtime lecturer. She started teaching while still a grad student, and then carried on as a lecturer after her PhD in ‘79 and clear through the early 2000s. Since then, she has continued to teach classes for UCSC and for the campus’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, most recently in 2018, when she was ninety. Along the way, Miriam has taught courses on opera, literatures across multiple languages, and many other subjects; her most consistent offering has been her French classes. She has been beloved as a teacher by generations of students, and has been an important figure in advocating for language program over the years, including helping secure six-figure National Endowment for the Humanities grants; she has also put in volumes of sweat equity in a variety of teaching, service, and leadership roles. In recent years, mostly since her nominal retirement, Miriam has remained dedicated to working for a multilingual UCSC, a place where language study is valued, and where perspectives across lingual and international borders are welcomed and celebrated. In 2001, Miriam founded what was then called the International Playhouse, a capstone for her decades of language theater work on campus. In the Playhouse, held annually, language students act out scenes and short plays in the language they are studying before a town-gown audience. It’s an expression of Miriam’s philosophy of the pedagogical power of theater. The International Playhouse was renamed the Miriam Ellis International Playhouse in recognition of her contributions.

Cover page of Elizabeth Spedding Calciano: Founding Director of the Regional History Project, UCSC Library

Elizabeth Spedding Calciano: Founding Director of the Regional History Project, UCSC Library


This set of interviews with Elizabeth Spedding Calciano make up the rare project that is not just a life history, but an oral history of and about oral history itself. While Calciano has thrived in multiple professions and jobs, including a forty-plus year career as a lawyer, this volume focuses on her years as the founding head of the Regional History Project at UC Santa Cruz from 1963 to 1974. this volume is both a life narrative and a meta oral history, telling the story and perspective of someone who arrived to UC Santa Cruz and the oral history field at emergent historical moments.

Cover page of For a More Humane World: A Family Oral History of Professor Jasper Rose

For a More Humane World: A Family Oral History of Professor Jasper Rose


For many people, Jasper Rose embodied the spirit and dream of the young University of California, Santa Cruz campus. UCSC first opened its doors in 1965, and Jasper Rose was one of its founding faculty members and a senior preceptor at Cowell College. For Jasper, it meant the inauguration of a powerful shared venture, a space and a time where, as he put it, “it was as though we were a complete society.” He was passionate about that society and his place in it as an educator; animated by a reformer’s vision for change in education, he saw Santa Cruz as a place where something new and remarkable could be realized. In these pages, Jasper Rose recounts his own life journey to that place and to that vision, and shares his convictions and critiques about what has happened in the decades since at UCSC. While this oral history is Jasper’s story, it is also fundamentally a shared effort by the Rose family. Three different family members—his wife Jean Rose and sons Inigo and William Rose—joined our sessions in at various times to support him in telling his life history.

Jasper Rose was born in London in 1930 to family of scholars and thinkers. His family was also “adequately Jewish,” as he put it, and the rising tide of anti-Semitism during World War II left an acute impression on Jasper as a child. His parents took in a string of Jewish refugees fleeing fascism, including leading intellectuals like Stefan Zweig, and his father worked as a prominent German language expert in the British war effort. In our interview more than seventy years after the end of the war, Jasper felt that a part of his vision for UCSC had come from his hope for “a humane postwar world”; in Santa Cruz, it mattered deeply to him that young people would have the opportunity to learn in a beautiful, peaceful, and creative environment.

After the war Jasper ultimately attended King’s College, Cambridge, where he met his soon-to-be wife Jean, also a gifted artist, and studied history. He studied under some of the great minds there, such as Christopher Morris and Noel Annan, and moved in a social set that included luminaries like E.M. Forster. He went on to become a fellow at Cambridge, and wrote a celebrated study of Oxford and Cambridge, Camford Observed: An Investigation of the Ancient English Universities in the Modern World. It was at once a caring and irreverent text. Jasper was already then a passionate advocate for undergraduate education and institutional reform—the very word “Camford” was a playful inversion of the more conventional “Oxbridge”—who believed in the residential college as a dynamic learning environment.

            This oral history goes on to document how Jasper took these convictions with him to the United States, where the growing family moved after he secured a job at Rice University in Texas. Soon thereafter he was brought on as founding faculty at UCSC, where campus originators like Page Smith were impressed by Camford Observed and his approach to education. Jasper recounts how he threw himself wholeheartedly into the UCSC experiment. The new campus, which had a collegiate system, narrative evaluations instead of letter grades, an enthusiasm for reinventing curriculum, and which prized undergraduate education, was an ideal setting for Jasper. He left an indelible and outsize mark as a teacher, administrator, and artist. He believed in students and their ideas, and he encouraged them; he also believed in the power of education to transform outlooks and lives. Simply put, UCSC was a special place—a kind of California pastoral—where a “new vision” was possible.

This oral history goes on to document what happened when UCSC then began to change. Jasper, always known for the intensity of his convictions, became an increasingly fierce critic as the more radical 60s receded into the 70s and then 80s. In these pages, he assails what he saw as an increasing “narrowness of curiosity about what education meant” as UCSC moved away from its original collegiate model towards a more mainstream research university model. Eventually Jasper, feeling like he was fighting a rearguard action, moved from Cowell to Porter College to focus on the arts from there. He retired from UCSC in 1986, when he was still in his mid-50s. This oral history concludes with a reflection on change and continuity at UCSC, and on Jasper’s life as of the time of these interviews in 2019.

Cover page of Leading Through Transitions and Turbulence: An Oral History with Executive Vice Chancellor R. Michael Tanner

Leading Through Transitions and Turbulence: An Oral History with Executive Vice Chancellor R. Michael Tanner


In 1971, Robert Michael Tanner [R. Michael Tanner] arrived at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a young assistant professor, joining what was then a fledgling computer and information sciences board [department]. Attracted to UCSC by its focus on undergraduate education and interdisciplinary study, and by the beauty of the campus’s natural landscape, Tanner was hired by the legendary provost of Cowell College, Jasper Rose.  Tanner remained at UC Santa Cruz until 2002; in his more than thirty years on the campus he served in a myriad of leadership roles. His first administrative position was as chair of the Committee on Admissions, Financial Aid, and Relations with Schools, working with Dean of Admissions Richard Moll during UCSC’s enrollment crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. He later chaired the Computer and Information Sciences (1981-1988) board and the Academic Senate Committee on Educational Policy (1985-1987), where he focused on reviewing UCSC’s Narrative Evaluation System and the campus’s general education requirements. This oral history, conducted as part of the Regional History Project’s University History Series, provides Tanner’s unique perspective on thirty years of UCSC’s history from the vantage point of these diverse administrative positions, as well as a member of the computer and information science faculty and of Cowell College, where he served as a residential preceptor in the 1970s. After many years of dedicated teaching, in 1988-89 Tanner entered UCSC’s senior administration, serving first as acting dean of natural sciences from 1988-19, and then as academic vice chancellor from 1989-1992 and executive vice chancellor (a position which he was the first to occupy) from 1992-1998. In the early 1990s, Tanner played a key role in helping UCSC cope with a major budget crisis. During those years he worked with three chancellors: Chancellor Robert Stevens, Chancellor Karl Pister, and finally Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. In this oral history, he offers his firsthand impressions of these three very different campus leaders.

One of the most substantial contributions of this oral history is  Tanner’s incisive thoughts on UC Santa Cruz as an experimental and unique institution of higher education. He shares insightful reflections on how Dean McHenry’s centralized decision making structure during the early years of the campus impacted the campus as it began to grow; on UCSC’s innovative college system; and on the campus’s Narrative Evaluation System. Another valuable contribution of this narrative is Tanner’s on-the-ground perspectives on the development of Silicon Valley and UC Santa Cruz’s relationship with the technology industry.

Cover page of Picture to Picture: An Oral History with Photographer-Teacher Norman Locks

Picture to Picture: An Oral History with Photographer-Teacher Norman Locks


161 pages, 2018

Photographer Norman Locks was born in San Jose, California in 1947, but grew up primarily in San Francisco. His father, Seymour Locks, was a well-known abstract painter and assemblage sculptor who taught at San Francisco State University for thirty-seven years. The San Francisco art scene [Beatnik, Abstract Expressionism, and Bay Area Figurative] shaped Norman’s early life. These synchronicities of history placed Norman Locks in the Bay Area just as the West Coast Photography scene was blossoming. As a teenager, he took summer session courses at San Francisco State from Jack Welpott, who was drawn to California by the work of Edward Weston. When he was eighteen years old, he met Monterey photographer Wynn Bullock at a lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute. Bullock invited Norman to visit his home in Monterey and show him his photographs. During those years, Locks’ parents also took him camping in the Sierra Nevada and to other favorite locations in the coastal ranges of California, awakening in Norman a deep and lifelong love for the landscapes of his home state. 

Norman studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a BFA in photography, and then attended graduate school at San Francisco State, where he earned his MA. His career as a photography teacher began early, as he taught art classes for the De Young Museum as a teenager, and then summer session courses and then graduate courses at San Francisco State together with Jack Welpott. After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute, Locks was hired to direct the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite Valley and Carmel, California. There he coordinated eleven to fifteen workshops a year, bringing in luminary photographers such as Imogen Cunningham, Robert Heinecken, Judy Dater, Minor White, and Linda Connor, as well as then-emerging photographers such as Jerry Uelsmann and Lewis Baltz.

In 1978, Locks came to UC Santa Cruz at a time when there were only four FTE’s in photography in the entire University of California system. He was hired by College Five Provost Pavel Machotka to teach six photography courses a year for aesthetic studies, an innovative interdisciplinary major affiliated with College Five [now Porter College] that wove together the study of the psychology of creativity, art history, art criticism, philosophy and the hands-on mastery of the art of creative writing, film, photography, sculpture, and other modalities.  Locks also managed the darkroom for aesthetic studies.

In 1980, aesthetic studies was disbanded as part of Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer’s reorganization of the college system, which eliminated most of UC Santa Cruz’s college-based majors. At that point, Locks was hired as a lecturer in the art department. He struggled with the marginal position of a lecturer until 1990, when he was promoted to a tenure-track position in the art department. Locks chaired UC Santa Cruz’s art department twice. The final section of this oral history focuses on key developments in the art department’s history over the past several decades, covering hirings, the expansion of physical facilities, and the founding of new academic pathways within the curriculum, such as the digital arts and media program.



Cover page of Teaching is New Every Day: An Oral History of Science Illustration Teacher-Administrators Jenny Keller and Ann Caudle

Teaching is New Every Day: An Oral History of Science Illustration Teacher-Administrators Jenny Keller and Ann Caudle


The Science Illustration Certificate Program is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious training platforms of its kind, this postgraduate curriculum prepares students with backgrounds in art and/or science to be professional visual communicators about scientific subjects.

The year-long program involves a rigorous curriculum of classroom and studio work, guest presentations and field trips, followed by ten or more weeks of internship. Graduates work as freelance and staff illustrators for hundreds of organizations, including zoos, aquaria, museums and botanical gardens, public and private research institutes and public agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and publications such as Scientific American and National Geographic.

UC Santa Cruz alumnae Jenny Keller and Ann Caudle have built, administered and taught in the Science Illustration Certificate Program since helping to establish it in the 1980s under the auspices of UCSC’s Graduate Program in Science Communication. They presided over the illustration program’s eventual migration from campus to UCSC Extension’s classroom facility in downtown Santa Cruz, and later to their current institutional home: the College of Science at California State University, Monterey Bay.  In this oral history, Keller and Caudle describe the creation and evolution of the certificate program as well as their approaches to science communication, art and illustration, teaching and administration.

Cover page of A Different Model for the UCSC Colleges: Colleges Nine and Ten, An Oral History with Deana Slater and Wendy Baxter

A Different Model for the UCSC Colleges: Colleges Nine and Ten, An Oral History with Deana Slater and Wendy Baxter


The genesis of the vision for UC Santa Cruz’s newest colleges, College Nine and College Ten, dates back to the 1988 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) which responded both to faculty members who argued that the Social Sciences Division needed academic space in the campus core, and the demographic studies that demonstrated that UCSC would be experiencing rising student enrollments and would need to house more students on campus. The 1988 LRDP thus called for planning two new colleges that would integrate academic and residential facilities.

Fast forward to May of 1999, when under the chancellorship of MRC Greenwood and the vice chancellorship of Francisco Hernandez, The Colleges Nine and Ten Planning Advisory Committee issued a report entitled “Opening College IX and X.” Among its recommendations were for these two colleges to “continue the tradition of the current UCSC colleges concentrating upon community life and student affairs,” while also “being centers of interdisciplinary curricula and courses, intellectual stimulation, research, conferences, and student projects.” The proposal was also for these colleges to be affiliated with the Social Sciences Division, as per the 1988 LRDP.

The authors of this report also stated, “...we have come to believe that the opening of Colleges IX and X represents a major new opportunity for UC Santa Cruz [which would build] upon the successes and learning from the failures of the past...” Embedded in this allusion to the past lies a complex, and often contentious history of UCSC’s relationship to its residential college system. In the early 1960s, the colleges were the vision and invention of founding chancellor Dean McHenry and then-University of California President Clark Kerr and were intended to make UCSC “seem small” as it grew because students would live and study in the intimate environment of their themed college. The idea was to combine the advantages of small liberal arts college (such as Swarthmore) with the resources of a major research university. Some of the inspiration also came from Oxford University and other British universities.

Faculty were appointed half time in their college and half time in their board of studies, which had less institutional power and resources than a conventional department. Each faculty member was expected to teach both for the college and the board. While college teaching and service yielded a rich plethora of innovative classes and interdisciplinary collaborations that still benefits UCSC today, it was not given much weight by the traditional University of California in tenure decisions. As the relatively affluent and fiscally expansive era of the 1960s faded into the inflation, austerity, and more conservative 1970s that was less open to innovative public education and more interested in job training, UCSC entered a crisis marked by declining enrollment and financial pressures.

Dean McHenry had also originally promised the Regents that the UCSC college system would not result in higher costs, but this was not proving to be the case. In addition, after UCSC opened, the funding formula allocated to the UC campuses per student was altered to allocate more money per graduate student than to undergraduates. This had a significant impact on UCSC, which had been founded with a focus on undergraduate education and had very few graduate programs. (The campus has yet to catch up in this area.) By 1974, Dean McHenry retired and was replaced by a chancellor who lacked leadership experience and left after eighteen months. Angus Taylor stepped in as acting chancellor and the search for a new chancellor began.

Enter Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer, who arrived from Caltech in 1977 to a campus ringing with rumors that UCSC, which once held the distinction of being one of the most prestigious and attractive campuses in the United States, might be closed for budgetary reasons. Sinsheimer’s response (he was educated at MIT to be a problem solver) was to develop and implement Reorganization, a plan which proposed a new vision for the UCSC colleges and ultimately was approved by the Academic  Senate.

This plan excised most of the academic role of the colleges (with the exception of a freshman core course) and assigned the academic mission of UCSC mostly to the academic divisions. (The exceptions to this plan were Oakes College and College Eight, which retained more of the original model.) The central mission of the colleges became residential life. Faculty members were relieved of curricular obligations to the colleges.

Reorganization eliminated the McHenry-Kerr model for the colleges. It was and still is criticized as part of one might call a “narrative of decline” at UCSC, the loss of a unique creative, interdisciplinary vision, a brave new model for undergraduate education in a public university. Even now, forty years later, the pros and cons of Sinsheimer’s Reorganization remain a heated topic in many of the oral histories conducted by the Regional History Project with longtime staff and faculty.  In an oral history conducted in 2004, Chancellor Greenwood quipped, “Some people call it the third rail of politics at Santa Cruz. If you touch the colleges, you’re dead.”[3]

The writers of the report “Opening Colleges IX and X” acknowledged this sentiment when they wrote, “While we can learn from some parts of the McHenry model, we cannot return to it. It has been rejected by the campus.” Instead they call for a third model of how colleges could work at UC Santa Cruz, which they call the Greenwood Model. This model builds on the post-Reorganization college focus on community life and student affairs and “engages faculty members and students in a way that the current colleges do not.” The writers were astute not to imply that the existing eight UCSC colleges should adopt this Greenwood Model, arguing instead that the two models could exist side by side.

The vision for these two new colleges was soon realized, with the exception of the endowment for the colleges, which the writers of the report emphasized would be important to its success. To this date, these colleges are awaiting endowment. College Nine opened its doors in fall quarter of 2000 and College Ten in fall of 2002. College Nine’s webpage articulates its philosophy: “College Nine has worked hard to successfully develop a strong community, build meaningful traditions, and emphasize our theme through co-curricular programming. College Nine’s theme of International and Global Perspectives recognizes the importance of cultural competency in the 21st century. The College Nine community offers students a range of opportunities to explore these issues and to develop skills as dynamic leaders. College Ten’s website states, “Consistent with UCSC’s founding vision, College Ten creates an integrated living-and-learning environment through engaging academic and extracurricular programs focusing on the theme of Social Justice and Community.” The two colleges retain a separate identity, but work closely together and share many staff members.

This volume documents some of the history of College Nine and College Ten through two oral history interviews: the first with Deana Slater, who has served as college administrative officer for both colleges since their founding and was part of planning the colleges even before they opened; and second with Wendy Baxter, director of academic and co-curricular programs for both colleges, also since before they officially opened. By focusing on the efforts of these two longtime dedicated staff members in founding and building these new UCSC endeavors, we also pay tribute to the sometimes invisible contributions of staff to this enterprise of higher education.

In this oral history Slater and Baxter discuss some of the key elements of the structure, philosophy, and programs at Colleges Nine and Ten, including the Co-Curricular Center (The CoCo), the Leadership Certificate Program, the Practical Activism Conference, the International Living Center, Alternative Spring Break and other service learning programs; The Garden Project, and the relationship with the Social Sciences Division.


[1] Long Range Development Plan, 1988. Available in the UCSC Library’s Special Collections Department.

[2] A digital copy of this May 1999 report, “Opening Colleges IX and X” is in the College Nine and Ten University Archives at Special Collections at the UCSC Library.                                   

[3] See Randall Jarrell and Irene Reti, From Complex Organisms to A Complex Organization: An Oral History with UCSC Chancellor MRC Greenwood, 1996-2004. (Regional History Project, UCSC Library, 2014). See p. 52 for a discussion of College Nine and College Ten. Available in full text at