|260 South Silo, Davis, CA - Second Floor|
You can find a current list of classes for the ASUCD Experimental College here!
The Experimental College is a unit of the ASUCD, and much like Unitrans it serves both UC Davis campus and the greater Davis community. The EC offers two programs; the Courses Program and the Gardens Programs. Founded in 1966 as part of a movement on university campuses to bring alternative voices into academic culture, the Experimental College offers a variety of classes, some of which are not available elsewhere. In areas like martial arts and dance, in which it has competitors, the Experimental College is differentiated by its holistic approach. This approach is expressed by its motto "Education in its most profound sense is personal growth. The Experimental College Gardens Program rents garden plots. The Experimental College Courses and Gardens programs are open to undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater Davis community.
The normal operations of the Experimental College Courses Program were suspended for Winter Quarter 2014 due to financial problems within the Experimental College, and more broadly financially instability within the ASUCD caused by problems in other ASUCD units. 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 earlier. The Experimental College experienced operating losses between $6,000 - $20,000 per year in recent past years. However, with the help of its Instructors Advisory Board (created in Fall Quarter 2013), organizational and operational changes were made (also in Fall 2013). In Winter 2014 the ASUCD Senate created the Experimental College Task Force, composed of the Experimental College Director, the ASUCD controller, the ASUCD President, ASUCD senators, and Experimental College Instructors. The Task Force was charged with “restoring services for the Experimental College”, and with determining how “to reinstate the courses it provides without a major loss of classes.” Recognizing the changes made in Fall 2013, and concerned about the mounting losses of Experimental College instructors to other organizations, the Task Force recommended reinstatement of a limited number of classes for Spring 2014. Senate Bill #60 subsequently passed, which allowed classes to be reinstated for Spring 2014. The ASUCD Senate will take revenues for Spring 2014 into consideration when determining the Experimental College Course Program’s future. ASUCD Business Manager Janice Corbett was quoted in a recent Aggie Article as saying “… if the EC can stabilize its financial picture with regards to the classes this quarter [i.e. Spring 2014], then the unit would be projected to end the year with a small amount in its reserves.” In late Spring Quarter, the ASUCD Senate will decide whether to accept the recommendation of the Experimental College Task Force to gradually return the Course Program to its previous catalog of 50+ classes.
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 physical 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 is now 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.
Comments on a change.org petition in response to the suspension of the Experimental College classes suggest the Experimental College is a unique organization highly valued by many UCD students, staff, faculty and alumni as well as the greater Davis community. However, in recent years the Experimental College has done little to market itself and communicate its brand with the result that its value is currently less widely recognized than has historically been the case. A recent Davis Enterprise article referred to the Experimental College as “Davis’ best-kept secret.”
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, given the changes made in Fall 2013, the Experimental College will be highly successful again in future years.
Recent Articles Concerning the Experimental College
Davis Enterprise: ASUCD Experimental College Helps Newcomers Connect Experimental College comes back strong Experimental College offers Spring classes despite website troubles Experimental College Davis’ best-kept secret