Regents eye SAT I, hotel

UC regents examined and approved a wide range of proposals during their March 12-14 meeting in San Francisco. Talk included a lively discussion of the pros and cons of dropping the SAT I test, as well as the approval of various UC Davis capital projects and the appointment of a new regent.

The regents held a three-and- a-half-hour special open session on the SAT I test, which is used along with other aptitude tests in the undergraduate admissions process. At issue is its validity as an indicator of academic achievement and promise.

Dropping the SAT I from the UC undergraduate admissions process was first suggested by UC President Richard Atkinson in February 2001. He asked UC to reexamine the usefulness of the SAT I and to consider devising a new array of tests that would more closely match what students are learning in high school.

Dorothy Perry, chair of the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, presented highlights of a new report addressing Atkinson's request. The board recommends a new testing array, which would include a mandatory examination covering mastery of the fundamental disciplines needed for university-level work. Those disciplines would include language arts (reading and writing, including a writing sample) and mathematics.

The recommendations were met with skepticism from several regents, including Ward Connerly, George Marcus and Monica Lozano. The Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools was asked to present answers to a wide range of questions at the May meeting, to be held at UCLA.

UC Davis projects OK'd

In voting action, the regents approved a design for the proposed conference center and hotel and Graduate School of Management building, an about 163,000-square-foot facility to be located next to the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

Regents also OK'd $5.25 million in preliminary planning efforts for a new hospital addition at the medical center - the Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion. The $150 million project includes seismic upgrades mandated for care facilities statewide under Senate Bill 1953 and will add more than 350,000 square feet to the medical center for inpatient service and key functions.

Regents also approved an agreement giving UC Davis exclusive license to use and manage the Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Reserve, located on about 7,000 acres two hours northwest of Davis at the junction of Napa, Lake and Yolo counties.

Cal alum named new regent

The regents also announced the appointment of a new regent, Richard Blum. The 66-year-old Berkeley alum, a prominent financier and husband to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairs Blum Capital Partners, a large financial investment partnership in San Francisco. He is also co-chair of the Newbridge Capital investing firm.

Blum earned his bachelor of arts and MBA degrees from Berkeley, and received the Haas School of Business Alumnus of the Year Award in 1994. He continues to serve on the business school's advisory board.

Blum fills one of two vacancies on the Board of Regents left by Sue Johnson and William Bagley, whose terms expired March 1.

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