|260 South Silo, Davis, CA - Second Floor|
|<experimentalcollege AT ucdavis DOT edu>|
|Monday - Friday, 10am - 2pm|
The Experimental College is a unit of the ASUCD, and much like Unitrans it serves both UC Davis campus and the broader surrounding community. The EC offers two programs; the courses program and the gardens programs. Founded in 1966 as part of a movement of Experimental Colleges on university campuses to bring alternative voices to the University culture. They strive to provide a forum for learning and an outlet for individuals to share their interests and skills in an informal, cooperative setting. Open to community members and students alike, the ASUCD Experimental College courses program provided classes that you would not normally find in the UCD Class Catalog, from dance to yoga to languages to music classes, martial arts, hands-on, and spirituality. The EC gardens program rents garden plots to students and boarder community members. The courses program is currently suspended (see below for more information), and the gardens program is currently active.
As of December 2013, the normal operations of the Experimental College courses program were suspended due to financial problems within the Experimental College, and more broadly within the ASUCD. Between July 2013 (the start of the 2013-2014 ASUCD budget year) and the end of Fall 2013, the Experimental College exhausted the last of its independent reserves, which were in excess of $100,000 as recently as five years ago. The Experimental College has been experiencing operating losses between $6,000 - $20,000 per year in recent years. Given organizational and operational changes made in Fall 2013, the Experimental College was projected to lose only half that amount by the end of the current (2013-2014) budget year, and to turn a profit in 2014-2015. The Executive Office of the ASUCD with the current EC director came to the December 5th meeting of the ASUCD Senate to explain the situation. The Senate gave its support in a 9-0-3 vote for the Executive Office to suspend the Experimental College courses program. Senator Miles Thomas noted that even with this wind-down, the course side of the unit would still lose several thousand dollars, and expressed regret at the Experimental College's attempt to address its issues only after depleting its reserves. Experimental College instructors lamented the fact that their long standing request for more input into the Experimental College operations was denied by the Experimental College until Fall 2013, when the new Director agreed to create an Instructors Advisory Board. The newly created Instructors Advisory Board was subsequently pivotal in helping make the operational changes that cut the Experimental College's projected deficit for the 2013-2014 budget year in half, and put the Experimental College on the path to profitability for 2014-2015. Since the Experimental College operates under ASUCD, the Experimental College's further budget is available online and more detailed reports can be obtained from Student Services on the third floor of the memorial union. While some in ASUCD were aware of the budget issues of the Experimental College and worked with its director on a weekly basis since the summer of 2013, this information was not disseminated to instructors or other Experimental College stakeholders until October 2013.
Comments on a "change.org" petition in response to the suspension of the Experimental College courses suggest the Experimental College is a unique organization highly valued by many UCD students, staff, faculty and alumni as well as the boarder community. It offers a variety of classes not available elsewhere (for example, juggling and DJing classes) and takes a holistic approach to the movement classes it offers, after the slogan "Cultivate mind and body". Unlike its primary competitor on campus in the area of movement classes, the ARC, which takes a physical education and fitness approach to its classes, the Experimental College takes a personal growth approach after its motto "Education in its most profound sense is personal growth." However, in recent years the Experimental College has done little to market itself and communicate its brand, in contrast to the ARC which has engaged in extensive marketing efforts.
Until Fall 2013, the Experimental College relied heavily on a print-media-based approach to marketing, distributing print course catalogs through the California Aggie, at racks in various locations around Davis, and by US mail to households on its distribution list. In recent years as the print catalog became more expensive to print and distribute, the Experimental College reduced its print runs in an effort to cut cost without supplementing its reduced print marketing campaign with other marketing efforts. In Fall 2013 the Experimental College successfully produced its first user friendly and fully functional website, which was to be the centerpiece of its new marketing campaign. Previous Experimental College efforts to produce a viable website were hampered by poor communication between the Experimental College and Creative Media, the ASUCD unit responsible for supporting and creating the Experimental College's website and those of all other ASUCD units. In Fall 2013 the Experimental College established an Experimental College-Creative Media liaison position, addressing the previous communication problems.
Due to high turnover in Experimental College Directors in recent years, the Experimental College was slow to recognize the extent of its marketing problem, and slow to respond to it appropriately. Prior to the creation of its Instructors Advisory Board in 2013, the Experimental College suffered from a lack of organizational memory. The Instructors Advisory Board (following the model of the highly successful Experimental College at University of Washington) addressed the institutional memory problem, and provides the Experimental College Director with access to instructors professional skill sets in areas such as management and marketing. The ASUCD Controller and Business Manager were both very new to their roles when faced with the Experimental College's financial challenges, and did not have the institutional memory to know how best to coach the two most recent Experimental College directors, neither of which had previously worked in comparable roles. The Instructors Advisory Board is now also available to provide Experimental College specific institutional memory for ASUCD leadership.
Unlike the larger and more complex courses program, the gardens program has been able to successfully rely upon word of mouth to market its garden plots rentals (its primary source of revenue), and has not experienced the same financial challenges as the courses program.
The Experimental College courses program was highly successful for most of its previous 47 years, and highly profitable from 1998 to 2005, which allowed it to establish financial independence from other ASUCD units and build its independent reserves. Supporters remain convinced that upon its return to normal operations (should the ASUCD decide to make that possible), given the changes made in Fall 2013 the Experimental College will be highly successful again in future years.
We are located in 260 South Silo! Drop by and peruse our library, full of books on holistic health, religion, heart and spirit, philosophy and much much more! Or just come in and take a nap on our awesomely comfortable couches! Susie Pike's Capoeira class is a fusion of acrobatics, music, dance, and fighting techniques. Bellydancing is one of the many dance classes we offer here at the EC.Instructor Daniel Pfister demonstrates his expertise in Baguazhang. The Ex-College crew enjoys taking precious group photos at staff meetings. Michael Cagley, A.K.A. DJ Destiny, teaches one of the few DJ programs associated with a 4 year university in the country at the Experimental College. A glimpse of the EC Gardens. Relax and Yoga your way to health and peace of mind! An EC Gardener at work.
Director: Suzanne Lewis
Contact them regarding staff positions, ASUCD matters and core EC issues.
Office Manager: Hannah Moore
Contact her regarding any EC matters, including but not limited to questions about classes, events, gardens and library, refunds and community resources.
Schedule of Classes
No Classes will be offered for the Winter 2014 quarter. Which is a crying shame.
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