Immersive Experience: Quarter at Aggie Square

Four photos: doctor talks to patients, children protest with Spanish-language signs, group poses in front of bookstore, students
The four Quarter at Aggie Square Experiences are, clockwise from top left: Advancing Health Care Equity, Multilingual Education for California, Transformative Justice Studies in Sacramento and Biomedical Engineering at the Health Campus.

Quarter at Aggie Square has built out its first year’s curriculum, for fall-winter 2020-21, and is seeking additional proposals for future quarters at the university’s new innovation hub in Sacramento.

Leveraging its proximity to UC Davis Health, the state capital and community activists, this immersive, undergraduate program will address topics of societal concern from multidisciplinary perspectives. The first year’s topics, or “Experiences,” are transformative justice, health care equity, multilingual education and “bench-to-bedside” biomedical engineering.

Quarter at Aggie Square participants’ entire course of study for the quarter will be within the program. Each Experience incorporates 13 to 18 units, including internship or research, as well as community outreach opportunities.

“We are calling them ‘Experiences’ to highlight that these are more than a selection of academic courses taking place outside of Davis,” said Carolyn Thomas, vice provost of Undergraduate Education. “These are immersive, fully planned curricula that will offer our students a strong cohort experience with dedicated faculty, and will bring them together with the surrounding community.”

Opportunities across the causeway

QAS Experiences are beginning before Aggie Square gets off the ground, physically, that is, the buildings and other features, including a square. A development team has been selected and construction is expected to begin in mid-2021. Eventually, Quarter at Aggie Square will include living there.

Before then, QAS participants will be commuting (one option will be the Causeway Connection electric bus service that launches in April, and which will be free for all undergraduates).

While UC Davis has long been an idyllic place to study, undergraduates have had limited learning opportunities across the causeway. Undergraduate Education is changing that. Aggie Square is an innovation hub, after all, where UC Davis is creating new opportunities for research and public service, collaborating with public and private partners: community members, entrepreneurs, health innovators and policy leaders, as well as the business sector, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Undergraduates can now capitalize on that synergy. Here are brief descriptions of the Experiences that will debut in 2020-21:


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