Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Taking the Road Less Traveled: Being Liberal Arts at UCSD

written by: Annika Olives Coming into UC San Diego, I declared psychology without a second thought. It had long been my favorite subject — I loved the brain, but I also loved analyzing humans, and...

Site Seen: The Guacamole Bowl

With San Diego being so close to the Mexican border, it seems fitting that it should hold a guacamole competition in order to determine “Who makes the best guacamole?” If you’re a lover of this fleshy, green, pear-shaped fruit you must come down to Balboa park this Saturday and witness the event.

Showdown: War of the Wings

Dirty Birds 4656 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109 Mon. to Wed.: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Thu. to Sat.: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sun.: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Walk into Dirty Birds, and you’ll see Americana...

Travel: Dateland, Arizona

As its residents admit, more people seem to stumble across Dateland, Ariz. than intentionally visit the little town dedicated primarily to the production of - you guessed it - dates. The town's quaint and serene atmosphere is rife with pleasantly uncanny '50s nostalgia, with waitresses in pink retro uniforms wishing customers ""howdy"" as they enter the green-checkered Dateland Restaurant, the town's one diner.

The large billboard along Interstate 8 highlights the same landmarks that the sleepy town's official Web site boasts: a date shop, a gas station, an RV park and the diner, featuring surprisingly mouth-watering cactus and date milkshakes. If there is any lingering doubt as to the town's date fervor, one step inside the adjacent gift shop will quell it in an instant - books, postcards, hats, T-shirts and even shot glasses bearing the image of the yellow-brown mascot litter the small store like a busy garage sale. The only visible downside to visiting Dateland is time - with a population of 483 and a year-over-year population decline of 19 percent, who knows how long this little gem of the Southwest will stick around?

Preview: Muir Musical

Muir Musical is back at it again — not just with the spotlights on the white Vans, but rap, hip-hop and the National Tour set of “In The Heights.” That’s right. The Muir Musical...

Gary Jacobs, Class of 79

The Jacobs family name is plastered on buildings and benefits all over San Diego, closely linked to technology and high-class education. It’s no surprise that Gary Jacobs — UCSD alumnus and son of Irwin and Joan Jacobs, after whom UCSD’s engineering school was named — has carried on the Jacob legacy in his own life’s work.

Founder and chair of High Tech High — a network of eight K-12 charter schools based in San Diego — 1979 graduate Gary Jacobs received his Bachelor of Arts in management science.

After graduation, Jacobs worked as a programmer and software engineer at his dad’s companies: Linkabit and Qualcomm. By the time he left behind the not-so-quaint family businesses in 2000, he had earned the title of senior education specialist at Qualcomm and was striving to improve the math and science programs in local public schools. At the time, the business community was beginning to realize that traditional public high schools were not preparing students with the tools they needed to succeed in the 21st century.

As somewhat of a fluke, Jacobs attended an organizational meeting on this issue when a colleague couldn’t make it.

“I got hooked at that meeting, and the rest is history,” he said.

Jacobs went on to found and chair High Tech High, which takes a revolutionary approach to education: All students participate in community service and internships, with the aid of no textbooks nor traditional subject divisions; for instance, a single class consolidates art, biology and multimedia. Classes revolve around hands-on experiments — like, say, using DNA analysis to identify pieces of African bushmeat that are actually endangered species, illegally poached.

It’s an unorthodox but successful formula: Every one of High Tech High’s graduates has been admitted to college.

On top of the countless hours he spends fostering High Tech High, Jacobs works in investments, owns minor-league baseball team Lake Elsinore Storm and stays involved in numerous philanthropic organizations in the San Diego area.

Gary and his wife Jerri-Anne even managed to one-up Mom and Pop Jacobs in 2006, when they donated $1 million to UCSD — the largest single gift ever made by an alumnus.

Despite his success, Jacobs said he still wishes he had established deeper connections with faculty and students at UCSD.

“When one is out in the real world, it is extremely valuable to bounce ideas off of people you trust and have a shared experience with,” Jacobs said.

Enigma Professional Piercing Studio Review

  Enigma Piercing in Pacific Beach2079 Garnet Ave.San Diego, CA 92109-3525 (858) 274-9950 HOURS: Every day, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. ID needed Enigma Piercing on Adams Avenue3041 Adams Ave.San Diego, CA 92116-1502 (619) 516-4343 HOURS: Everyday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ID needed   Initially...

Restaurant Review: Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl doesn’t pull too many tricks. The recently opened Mission Hills eatery and bar is quintessentially New York (and Brooklyn), down to the coffee served in blue paper “Greek” cups.                                                                           

Top of the Class

[caption id="attachment_19690" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Philip Jia / Guardian"][/caption]

UCSD has spent the last 50 years cultivating its reputation as an institution of higher learning, earning the title of America’s seventh-best public university from U.S. News and World Report for 2010. Our school’s style of education, however, rests somewhere between the public and the private spheres, with enough large-scale research projects to distance faculty from students, but none of the name recognition or prestige of an Ivy. By treading the middle path, UCSD offers neither the intimacy of a smaller, lesser-known college nor the study money of a top 10 university, but some disjointed combination of the two.

According to the book “Higher Education?” by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus — professor emeritus for Queens College in New York and New York Times writer, respectively — paying hundred of thousands of dollars for a prestigious school won’t necessarily get you the education from the big-name faculty members you signed on for. Staff at a lesser-known university, on the other hand, aren’t distracted by research, athletic programs and maintaining a high profile, allowing them to focus their attention on the classroom.

“Colleges are taking on too many roles and doing none of them well,” the authors claim. “They are staffed by casts of thousands and dedicated to everything from esoteric research to vocational training — and have lost track of their basic mission to challenge the minds of young people.”

Colleges are letting in more students even as they raise prices, without offering any guarantee that students can succeed once they graduate. UCSD’s admissions rate has risen by 3 percent in the last 10 years (from 38 percent to 41 percent), while the average cost of attending the school has increased by about 9 percent in the last year alone.

In fact, according to MSN.com, the average American college student is more than $20,000 in debt at graduation, and the typical salary for recent grads is only $30,000. The average post-graduate starting salary for UCSD alumni is $47,000, while recent Harvard grads make about $57,300 a year and those at Cal State Stanislaus make about $40,000.

There is a correlation between a student’s tuition costs and his or her future paychecks, according to Stanford professor of economics Alan Krueger and economist Stacy Dale. In a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, they used national tuition and earnings data to conclude that the higher tuition students pay for university, the higher their average starting salary is.

Because more expensive schools also have more resources, more opportunities for study and more staff, this inherently lends them prestige and can have a positive impact on a student’s overall education.

The question is if the students at these schools are really getting their money’s worth for such an enormous investment. Whether a school is public or private, large or small, liberal arts or technical, prestigious or lesser-known all play a role in the type of education a student receives, with professor-student relationships a crucial variable in all situations.

All professors are required by definition to complete community service, to teach and to publish research, according to academic administrator Jon Welch. In order to conduct any research, professors must apply to outside sources, such as the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency, for grants that are then processed through the university. A chemistry professor starting research, for example, will need funds to cover the use of lab facilities, the purchase of new equipment, professional fees, conference fees and the $27,000 salaries each for about 10 graduate students to help in the lab — all of which must come from grants.

At public schools like UCSD, professors that are tenured or about to become so are paid by the state, and other professors must find funding on their own. Although much of professors’ salaries can be attributed to the costs of initiating research, such as setting up a lab (the average salary of UCSD professors is $135,400), this does not account for the discrepancy between salaries at public and private universities. The average salary of full professors is $109,569 at public universities and $144,256 at private ones, according to the American Association of University Professors.

While the size, location or specialties of a school don’t play a direct role in this discrepancy, prestige may come into play. Private schools usually have stricter standards for admittance and higher rates of tuition than their public counterparts, drawing high-profile teachers and the students willing to pay to learn from them.

This year is the first time ever that UCSD surpassed $1 billion dollars accrued in research funding from grants, ranking fifth among top U.S. universities in federal research and development funding, and distinguishing itself as a top competitor in the public school sphere.
Indirectly, grant money is the major source of income for any institution; at Cornell University, for example, 60 percent of all grant money won by professors went to fund the school’s general overhead. This percentage is much smaller at UCSD, but the average $28,000 paid yearly by each in-state undergraduate in fees and living expenses is still a small proportion of the school’s income.

Aside from supporting universities financially, grants give students opportunities to collaborate with professors and peers in hands-on learning situations, although the 1,181 faculty currently employed by the university to work with 23,143 undergrads and 4,274 grad students is a far cry from intellectual intimacy.

“There are 300 students in my upper division science class, and the professor’s office hours are one hour per week,” one Sixth College senior said, who asked to remain anonymous. “How can I possibly interact on a personal level when there’s a hostile line of students you have to out-compete for attention and help?”

Overall, the relevance of millions in grant money for students, especially undergraduates, is up for debate — especially since forming close enough relationships with professors to set yourself up for a research opportunity is easier said than done.

Lacking the national prestige of a large private university and the intimacy of a small school, UCSD hovers in a realm all its own, forcing students to take advantage of whatever slim opportunities they have to get involved. UCSD offers undergrads a learning environment rich in research dollars and diversity, but one that is forced by its size to subjugate the individual to the masses, so that students have to evaluate for themselves whether the classes are worth the cost.

Restaurant Review: Soda & Swine

A variety of soda pop and bite-sized servings come packed in flavor — and candlelit meals turn casual. 

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