TLC Gets Final Tenants and a Celebration

Students speak in glass pod
The fourth floor of the Teaching and Learning Complex now houses a satellite unit of Information and Educational Technology and the University Writing Center, which features glass pods used for tutoring. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The people who helped create UC Davis’ first general assignment classroom building in more than 50 years came together on Oct. 4 to celebrate the gleaming new space, including its newest tenants.

“The Teaching and Learning Complex marks a new era for learning at UC Davis,” Chancellor Gary S. May told a crowd gathered on the building’s south steps.

People sitting on stairs listen to Gary S. May speak
Chancellor Gary S. May addresses a crowd on the south side of the Teaching and Learning Complex. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The $86 million, four-story, nearly 100,000-square-foot Teaching and Learning Complex, or TLC, includes a 426-seat auditorium, two classrooms with 173 seats each, 20 other classrooms with 37 to 124 seats each, a teaching and learning lab and more. It opened last spring with the exception of the fourth floor, which was still under construction.

That fourth floor is now complete for the University Writing Center and a satellite office of Information and Educational Technology.

The new writing center occupies most of the floor, filled with tables, chairs and soundproof, glass-encased tutoring pods for the Peer Educator Program (a unit of the University Writing Program) and the Writing Support Center (a unit of the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers).

Those units were previously located in the basement of Shields Library and in the University Hall Annex, respectively.

“We’ve been in some of the oldest spaces on campus,” said Sara Hawkes, executive director of Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers, noting that being on the top floor of a new building shows students using the space how much they are valued.

Kendon Kurzer, a University Writing Program lecturer who oversees the Peer Educator Program, said: “We were in the Shields basement cubicles — this is a huge step up from that.”

The Peer Educator Program trains undergraduates to assist students with their work in entry-level writing courses. At the Writing Support Center, undergraduate students can make appointments or drop in with any piece of writing they want help with, from work for a writing class to scientific term papers and even personal projects.

The fourth floor also houses a unit of Information and Educational Technology, or IET, dedicated to helping students and faculty make the best use of the building’s features, like cameras for lecture-recording.

Mary Croughan speaks at lectern.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan, pictured here in a photo by Gregory Urquiaga and at left in a sketch by Statistics Department staffer Pete Scully, praised the TLC at its dedication ceremony.

Praise for planning process, building features

The TLC came together quickly once ground was broken in 2019, but it was the result of a lengthy process, speakers at Tuesday’s event said.

Photo of Ralph J Hexter speaking at lectern
Ralph J. Hexter was provost and executive vice chancellor during some of the TLC’s planning, and will teach in the building next quarter in his role as a distinguished professor of classics and comparative literature. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

“It’s a visible manifestation and the glorious culmination of over a decade of planful growth at UC Davis: its students, faculty, staff and facilities,” said Ralph Hexter, a distinguished professor of classics and comparative literature and former provost and executive vice chancellor. He recalled conversations about planning for the building as part of the 2020 Initiative, which saw UC Davis’ enrollment grow by 5,000 students, and said it’s only fitting that he will be teaching in the TLC next quarter.

Mary Croughan, who succeeded Hexter as provost and executive vice chancellor, praised him and others for the TLC’s creation, and said the building will play an important role.

“What a great addition to the UC Davis campus and what a great addition to our student success efforts,” she said.

She emphasized the impact the University Writing Center will have on students and praised IET for being constantly on-site to help students and faculty make the best use of the building’s new features.

Matthew Traxler, associate vice provost for academic planning in Undergraduate Education and a professor of psychology, was also involved in the planning process and said the result was a very thoughtfully designed building. He said the casual study space throughout the building “recognizes learning continues after class,” and said the TLC was an important addition to campus.

“I’m really proud of my university in this moment,” Traxler said. “I view this new building as a monument in steel and glass to the university’s commitment to its students.”

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Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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