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Campus prepares for large influx of students in 2016-17

By Julia Ann Easley on January 12, 2016 in University News

Quick Summary

  • Enrollment targets set by UC President Janet Napolitano
  • 9,500 new undergrads for 2016-17
  • comprehensive planning for instruction, student services, more

The campus is marshaling its efforts and resources to accommodate 2016-17 enrollment growth of 1,100 new undergraduates beyond last fall's entering class.

The campus is responding to targets that UC President Janet Napolitano set under a plan to increase systemwide enrollment of new California undergraduates by 10,000 over the next three years, including 5,000 freshmen and transfer students in 2016-17.

Last spring, the Legislature allocated an additional $25 million to UC to increase the number of in-state undergraduates by 5,000 no later than 2016-17. UC regents approved the enrollment plan in November, and Napolitano shared the campus targets in a Dec. 22 letter to UC chancellors.

"We are committed to serving California," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. "We will do all that we can to help the University of California meet this ambitious goal."

Leadership is examining implications for the campus — from teaching space to student housing and tutoring services — and planning to address them.

9,500 new undergrads in 2016-17

For 2016-17, the UC Office of the President is asking Davis to enroll about 1,000 California residents, or 14.7 percent, beyond the 6,741 enrolled in fall 2015.

At the same time, the campus will continue to implement its 2020 Initiative, a long-range plan to grow the size of the undergraduate student body. That includes plans to enroll an additional 135 new undergraduates with national or international status, for a total of 1,750 new national and international students in 2016-17.

The total estimated growth in new undergraduates — resident and nonresident — would be about 1,100, or 13.5 percent over fall 2015, for a total of about 9,500 new undergraduates.

UC's enrollment plan uses 2014-15 as its baseline year. Because the size of Davis' entering class and the number of California residents decreased in 2015, the pending increases are even steeper here. In fall 2014, UC Davis enrolled more California undergraduates (about 25,000) than any other UC campus; figures for fall 2015 are not yet available.

To mitigate demands for student housing and dining and instructional space, the campus's current strategy is to take two-thirds of the increase in new California undergraduates as transfer students. Forty-eight new California transfer students enrolled this winter quarter, and the rest of the additional students would be enrolled in the fall 2016 and winter 2017 quarters.

Campus leadership also expects the Office of the President to ask Davis to boost Summer Sessions enrollment by 700 to 1,000 students in 2016 or 2017.

Student quality and diversity

Walter Robinson, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management in Student Affairs, said the campus would remain focused on admitting high-achieving students.

A preliminary analysis of the record pool of more than 86,000 applications indicates gains in academic achievement and diversity. Read the campus’s Jan. 12 news release on applications for fall 2016 undergraduate enrollment.

Ken Burtis, faculty assistant to the chancellor and provost, chairs the enrollment management task force.

"The campus is taking a comprehensive approach to planning," he said. "We are working to increase the availability of courses, instructional space, student housing and student retention services, so we can do our best to meet the needs of our students and community." 

Representatives from Undergraduate Admissions and Undergraduate Education have been meeting with deans of the undergraduate colleges to determine how many new students they can absorb and in what majors.

Burtis said the expected influx of students comes as the campus has been on track to add a net of 2,000 classroom seats by 2020 to accommodate the additional 5,000 undergraduates planned in the 2020 Initiative. Projects in progress or planning — to maintain the current ratio of seats to students — include the Ann E. Pitzer Center (fall 2016), large lecture hall on California Avenue (December 2017), Walker Hall (2017), Haring Hall Phase 1 (2018) and Phases 2 and 3 (2020), and Cruess Hall (2019).

To accommodate enrollment growth until those facilities are completed, Burtis said, the campus is adding space through the temporary use of Jackson Hall in the Mondavi Center, a room in the Activities and Recreation Center, and spaces in the Graduate School of Management and the School of Education. The registrar's office is analyzing classroom needs and is arranging for the part-time use of other facilities, such as the Welcome Center.

Student housing

The campus is committed to continuing to guarantee the availability of housing to new freshman and transfer students

Emily Galindo, executive director of Student Housing and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said the housing office is taking a number of steps to accommodate 300 more students in the residence halls (for a total capacity of 5,672), and elsewhere in the community.

  • Triples — In a move that proved popular in previous years, more rooms in newer residence halls will be converted to accommodate three students.
  • Master leases — For transfer students, the campus is also in discussions with property managers to master-lease more apartment units in the community.
  • Dining Commons expansion — In time for the fall quarter, the Tercero Dining Commons will be expanded into the Main Lounge to add about 180 seats for diners.

Student services

Milton Lang, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said the campus is expanding services that support student success.

First-Year Aggie Connections, which helps small cohorts of new students learn how to thrive in the university setting and maximize their experience, will expand from this year's pilot for 900 students with a goal of serving 70 percent of the entering class. A collaboration of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education, the program provides mentoring and a curriculum built on academics and student support.

Lang said Student Affairs is hiring a new coordinator for academic advising and is seeking funds to add to its existing roster of 250 peer tutors.

UC Davis is also expanding efforts to support the success of historically underrepresented students and reduce the time necessary for all students to earn their degrees.

In the last two years, it has opened the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center and the Center for African Diaspora Student Success. The campus is developing a recruitment and retention initiative for Chicano and Latino students, including a student success center opening in fall 2016. In spring 2016, it plans to hire a director of Native American retention initiatives who will help develop a plan for that population.

A new assistant director for the Educational Opportunity Program is expanding the infrastructure of this program, which supports historically disadvantaged students.

Summer Sessions

Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor, said he expects the campus will be asked to increase Summer Sessions enrollment by 700 to 1,000 students. However, details about this initiative, meant to increase student access and help students graduate more quickly, are still under study at UC headquarters in Oakland.

To boost enrollment, Matt Traxler, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education, said his office is collaborating with deans, Student Affairs, and Budget and Institutional Analysis to develop a plan including financial incentives, course offerings, advising practices and student communications.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Julia Ann Easley Julia Ann Easley of News and Media Relations writes and supports communications about student life, graduate and undergraduate education, international activities, emergency preparedness and more.

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