October 21, 2015

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

As another exciting academic year at UC Santa Barbara gets underway, I want to take a moment to welcome our new and returning students and all of the members of our campus community.

On September 21, we officially welcomed our new class of incoming freshmen and transfer students at our annual New Student Convocation ceremony on the Faculty Club Green. We are proud to say that these students were selected from the largest applicant pool in UC Santa Barbara history — and they comprise our most accomplished and diverse incoming class. Our new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Dr. Margaret Klawunn, joined us at Convocation to welcome our new students.

Stature of the Campus

In case you missed it, I’d like to mention that UC Santa Barbara was once again named a Top Ten public university by U.S. News & World Report in its rankings of 1,376 national universities. In fact, UC Santa Barbara was ranked number 8 among the Top 30 public universities. Times Higher Education of London last month ranked UC Santa Barbara #7 worldwide for producing Nobel laureates in the 21st century. We are proud of our outstanding academic reputation, forged by the collective efforts of our award-winning faculty, outstanding students, and dedicated staff.

New Faculty Recruitment

Maintaining the excellence of our academic programs is one of our highest priorities. Our improved budget has allowed us to increase faculty recruitment. We are pleased to welcome 45 new faculty members this academic year, the largest increase we have seen in many years. In addition, 66 new searches were approved for recruitments to take place over the next three years, with 29 new searches approved for 2015-16. Combined with previously authorized searches, this adds up to a total of 63 faculty recruitments underway during the current academic year.

Health Care Update

Beginning in January 2016, faculty and staff members who participate in the UC Care Health Insurance Plan will have access to Cottage Hospital, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, and Pueblo Radiology facilities at the low costs offered by Tier 1 providers. At the present time, UC Care members are paying for use of these facilities at a substantially higher Tier 2 rate. The addition of these three providers to the Tier 1 service presently available from Sansum Clinic will serve to substantially lower the cost of health care for faculty and staff in the UC Care Health Insurance Plan with a greatly expanded palette of Tier 1 providers.

Here at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, I want to also update you on several ongoing projects involving our University, Isla Vista, and neighboring community partners.

New Buildings and Expansions

New Library

The expansion and remodel of the UC Santa Barbara Library is transforming the heart of our campus, adding 198,000 square feet of new and renovated space. The new library includes a state-of-the-art facility for Special Research Collections, an Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory, a 24-Hour Learning Commons, and a Paseo entrance and thoroughfare that will connect the east and west sides of campus. A ceremonial grand opening is planned for early in the winter quarter.

Bioengineering Building

During the spring quarter we broke ground on our new Bioengineering Building, located behind the library. Scheduled to open in 2017, this three-story, 89,000-square-foot, stateof-the-art building will include faculty and graduate student offices, research labs, administrative offices, and a 100-seat classroom for general campus use. It will be the home of the Center for BioEngineering and the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies.

KITP Residence

The KITP Residence for Visiting Physicists is also under construction adjacent to the San Clemente Villages. This project is entirely funded by a generous $65 million gift from Charlie Munger and will provide housing and meeting facilities for visitors to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Construction is moving quickly and we anticipate that the residence will open in late 2016.

The Club (Faculty Club Expansion)

Construction crews are making impressive progress on the site of the old Faculty Club, now known as The Club. It will add 30 new guest rooms, an enhanced dining room, and new meeting rooms. The new facility is expected to be open for business by the spring of 2016.

Housing Expansion

The University currently houses 38% of our student body. We are continually working to not only increase but also improve our housing for our students, as well as their living and learning environment. Our Sierra Madre Villages housing project on the west end of campus welcomed its first student residents this month. The Villages provide housing for 511 students in 115 units. The project also incorporates 36 staff and faculty rental apartments, which will be available in the winter quarter of 2016. Phase III of the Ocean Walk faculty and staff housing project is expected to be completed in the late spring of 2016, adding 30 new single-family homes to a development that is slated to have 154 homes when fully built. Our San Joaquin apartments housing project is well underway. This project will provide housing for 1,000 students in two- and three-bedroom apartments adjacent to Santa Catalina hall. In addition, there will be four faculty-in-residence apartments. The project also includes a new 700-seat Portola Dining Commons to serve the residents. San Joaquin will be completed in phases, starting in the fall of 2016.

Isla Vista Initiatives

Student Housing

In order to increase the amount of campus-owned housing available to our students in Isla Vista, the Chief Investment Office of UCOP purchased the Tropicana housing complex in Isla Vista. I appreciate the decision by President Napolitano and the UC Chief Investment Officer to make a financial investment that will help improve the quality of student life in IV. This acquisition will provide additional housing options for our students who wish to live in Isla Vista, and will allow us to provide greater safety and more support services for our students, such as academic and psychological counseling, and an enhanced learning and living environment, all of which will improve the quality of student life. The complex will become part of our campus residence hall organization, and UC Santa Barbara’s campus regulations and student code of conduct will be in effect, as at other University-owned buildings.

Student Safety and Quality of Life

We undertook a number of other initiatives last year to enhance safety and quality of life in Isla Vista, which continue to move forward. For example, thanks to our Professor of Art Kim Yasuda, the University worked collaboratively with the community to increase weekend and late night events with a creative focus. First Fridays in Isla Vista provided regularly scheduled alternative events hosted on the first Friday of every month in the parks and public spaces of Isla Vista. The Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Isla Vista is awarding grants for a variety of academic, cultural, and community projects in Isla Vista. Thanks to the dedicated members of this committee and the leadership of cochairs EVC David Marshall and Academic Senate Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani, our faculty members have taken an increasing role in participating in the activities of Isla Vista and enhancing the academic value there.

The safety and welfare of our students is our top priority, and the University has invested in a number of initiatives designed to enhance safety measures already in place. New officers, including female and minority officers, have been added to our UCSB Police Department, in proportion to the increase in student enrollment. The funding for these new officers is in addition to our existing commitment in direct police services already provided each year by the University to the County for the Isla Vista Foot Patrol. As a supplement to the police department, the University also is increasing the number of Community Service Officers serving our campus and Isla Vista community. Among other services, our CSOs provide courtesy escorts for our students, staff, and faculty 24 hours a day. Our enhanced community policing efforts, in collaboration with our students, will provide additional security on weekends throughout the academic year.

Student Support Services

The University has also established a new center in Isla Vista designed to provide student mental health services, with staffing supported through a $500,000 grant to the university from the federal government. The center, located at 970 Embarcadero del Mar, will have seven offices with mental health counselors, a sexual assault advocate, a mental health coordinator, and other administrative staff to support our students in Isla Vista.

Sexual Assault Prevention

The prevention of sexual violence is extremely important to us, and we continue to strengthen and expand efforts to respond to and prevent sexual violence in our community. We have just completed the first year of a three-year grant from the Federal Office of Violence Against Women. This grant supports specialized training for law enforcement officers and campus judicial hearing officers, as well as a UCSB Police Department officer dedicated to investigating sexual assaults. This dedicated position provides more streamlined reporting and assistance from a specially trained detective who uses a trauma-informed approach to working with survivors.

In addition, this past summer, Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (CARE) worked with the Title IX Office and the Office of the Dean of Students to train 20 staff members to be trainers in the Green Dot program of bystander intervention. The Green Dot campaign is based on the idea that bystander intervention can change outcomes and peer influence often predicts behavior. The Green Dot program teaches participants that in instances of harmful or violent words, actions, or behaviors, each person has the choice of whether or not to intervene. The 20 trained staff members will in turn begin training students in bystander intervention techniques, with the goal of reducing incidents of sexual violence.

To further educate our student body, all freshmen, Education Abroad Program students, and transfer students entering the University are required to participate in a 90-minute Gaucho FYI workshop during the fall quarter. These workshops address issues related to sexual violence prevention, alcohol and substance abuse, and Isla Vista safety with a focus on bystander intervention. Everyone must take responsibility to ensure that we have a safe and mutually supportive community for all of our students.

Plans for Halloween 2015

“Keep It Local” Events

Many plans are underway for Halloween, which falls on a Saturday this year. With leadership provided by the Associated Students Program Board, collaborative efforts have been made to plan a number of late-night alternative activities for students, including a large on-campus concert on Saturday night and a variety of other events and activities throughout the Halloween weekend, including films, roller skating, improv comedy, and much more (see https://lifeoftheparty.sa.ucsb.edu or https://halloween.as.ucsb.edu for details). These events, which will be open to UC Santa Barbara students with ID, are expected to not only draw students away from Isla Vista, but also reduce the crowd of visitors to IV during Halloween weekend.

Out-of-town visitors are one of the biggest contributing factors that compromise safety during Halloween weekend. Therefore we strongly discourage inviting out-of-towners during Halloween. As in the past, residence halls and university-owned apartments will be closed to guests on Halloween weekend, and no parking will be available for outside visitors on campus or in the vicinity of IV. We thank our students for their cooperation and participation in this effort.

Communication Outreach

Last year, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs, and Associated Students planned and implemented coordinated communication outreach programs for Halloween and Deltopia that were aimed at encouraging safety and discouraging out-of-town attendance. The campaign efforts led to nearly 30,000 visits to a Keep Isla Vista Safe Facebook page that educated local students and out-of-town visitors on rules, regulations, and safety tips. We are running a similar campaign this year. We are proud of the efforts of our students to take ownership of our community. This ensured a fun yet safe and quiet Halloween last year, and we look forward to the same this year.

We’ve made great progress on many important fronts in the past year, and we look forward to an exciting 2015-16. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to improving the safety and living environment of Isla Vista and our adjacent community. Please join me in welcoming back to campus all members of our Gaucho family. I offer my sincere thanks to everyone for their collaborative efforts.


Henry T. Yang