blazing new paths

“”Change will be one of our trademarks.”” Provost Gabriele Wienhausen proudly speaks of the mantra for Sixth College, which will open as UCSD’s newest college in fall 2002. Focusing on culture, art and technology, Sixth College is one that will surely bring about an entirely new view of the university experience.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

“”We will not be categorizing our students by when they graduate, but instead, by when they arrive,”” Wienhausen said.

The buildings may not have permanent addresses yet, but the founding principles of the school surpass all normal barriers. The college will emphasize the correlation between civil service, community and expression.

Said Wienhausen, “”You are a product of your culture, and culture cannot truly reveal itself without art and technology.””

Lyon Liew
Guardian

Wienhausen is enthusiastic about the challenge placed before her.

“”Twenty years ago, if you had asked me if I would be provost, I would have said ‘no.'”” said Wienhausen. “”That’s serendipity for you. You either make something out of an opportunity that you never expected, or you move on to something else. Later you realize that by saying ‘yes,’ you agreed to something incredibly difficult, but because your heart was in it, you could do it.””

Excitement for Sixth College has preceded its appearance as many students on campus have heard news pertaining to its opening.

“”The new college is just going to add to the diversity already on campus,”” said Simone Hilliard, a freshman at Roosevelt. “”It’s great to have new experiences and it will most likely add hands-on experience for the second- and third year students who have gotten tired of day-to-day activities. People may want to transfer into the school because of the fact that it was something that they were interested in, but never found until now.””

The UCSD community’s openness to innovative ideas was one of the reasons that Wienhausen decided to stay after being a professor of undergraduate biology.

“”Going into the biology department and seeing how to manage a large group while giving each individual personal attention was a skill that I picked up,”” Wienhausen said. “”It isn’t easy and you cannot do anything without a team. You have to be ready for feedback, and being a good listener is part of that.””

Coming from the Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat in Munster, Germany, Wienhausen realized the many differences between a university in Europe and a university in the United States:

“”The confusion with the language, as people here speak ‘American’ rather than ‘English,’ the lifestyle was different,”” Wienhausen recalls. “”This was one of my most influential experiences as I was coming to a new country and was amazed at the friendly and open people who changed my views of personal interaction.””

Wienhausen went on to become the co-principal investigator of the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Science Enrichment Program and co-director of the doctoral program in mathematics and science education.

Enthusiasm from Wienhausen’s words seems to have penetrated many students’ views of the new college and provost.

“”Professor Wienhausen’s energy and passion for the sixth college shows you how great the college is going to be. If she is this excited about it, the college is going to be great,”” Hilliard said.

Community outreach and forming a connection between the class and the world outside the classroom are both aspects on which the college will focus. Issues ranging from race to personal privacy are matters that are deemed important by Wienhausen.

Yet with all the various elements that will be brought together in the Sixth College, there is one common goal that the administration keeps in mind. The goal would be attained once a student is able to grow academically, intellectually and socially.

“”A person has many faces,”” Wienhausen said. “”You cannot separate a person into their academic life and their social life. In between, there is a gray area where things overlap. No one thing can determine a person’s success and for this reason, as a whole, we want to make sure that student and academic affairs work closely together.””

Sixth College plans on having direct connections between faculty and students, as well as between students and the communities in which they live.

Wienhausen has gone into the community to share her fervor about the new connections that the student body will make once it comes into action.

Her eagerness to make her students blossom into well-rounded people stems from her past influences.

“”When I first came to UCSD, I met incredible people,”” said Wienhausen. “”People that soon became role models and mentors. I see being provost as my way of helping out and mentoring others, in order for them to reach their potentials and see their possibilities. When you share what you know, that is how you grow as an individual and how we grow as a community. Without mentors, no one would get very far, and we will try and create an environment in which our students will achieve their personal definitions of success.””

Sixth College has its theme placed in expression and thinking outside of the box. But a big secret still remains untold. At UCSD, a college first receives a number and then later is given a name that is normally one of a historical figure. As of now, Wienhausen has some ideas, but the topic is still open to discussion.

“”They should name it DaVinci College,”” said Revelle freshman Bryce Warwick. “”It seems to fit since the relationship between culture, art and technology is so interesting. We would create the next wave of DaVincis.””

Sixth College plans on being a campus open to new ideas. Taking students outside of the college setting and making the educational experience more practical is a hope of Weinhausen’s.

“”Art can develop a community, and I have seen that an art center can also be a communal center,”” she said. “”Attempting to help students figure out who they are and what they want to do from their hearts are things that I hope will come out of our college.””

The birth of Sixth College seems to be one of positive proportions, but Wienhausen has had to deal with her share of ctiticism.

“”Things some may say can be harsh,”” Wienhausen said. “”But you learn to deal with it and be willing to listen to all of it.””

While we still must wait until fall 2002 to see this new center of knowledge and self-realization open, one can still learn more about the opportunities that will soon become available.

Wienhausen is attending a luncheon for Women in Science and Engineering on Friday, Nov. 9 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. To sign up to attend the event, check the W.I.S.E. Web site, http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/women/wise,or contact the Women’s Center at (858) 534-0074.

Wienhausen’s background, teaching experiences and life values may be impressive, but her charisma as a leader is unprecedented.

Sixth College is about to come to our campus, so be prepared. The only thing constant in the world is change, and with this college, change is most certainly right around the corner.

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