7th College Theme, New Affordable Housing Plans Revealed at Town Hall on Academic Planning

The Academic Affairs Department held a town hall meeting on Jan. 8 at the Great Hall that outlined construction and curriculum plans for the two new colleges that will be added to UC San Diego in the coming years. Before an audience of about 15 people, Dean of Undergraduate Education John Moore presented the housing arrangements and Seventh College theme currently under consideration, as well as the refurbishment of existing campus residencies. Members of the Seventh College Workgroup, Council of Provosts, and other administrators were also present.

The estimated size of the first class at Seventh will be around 700 students, mainly comprised of transfers and freshmen, with an additional 2300 or so students expected to be served each year.

The curriculum is still being decided, but the current plan is to center it around the tentative theme of “A Changing Planet.” This theme’s written proposal is currently under review by academic committees that will, if approved, be sent to UC President Janet Napolitano for approval.

“It’s clear that the planet is changing in many ways, not only environmentally, but politically, economically, and in many different dimensions,” Moore said. “This would be conducive to interdisciplinary work because, you can imagine work on migration, for example, as aligning with this theme.”

The college will require three capstone courses for four-year students, and one for transfer students. These capstone courses are expected to be developed with a focus on encompassing many different academic fields. Capstone courses that will be offered will be in either arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or qualitative reasoning.

“The three capstone course will integrate material from other courses … they will focus on problems and projects that are addressing problems,” Moore said. “Some of them will involve community and group projects.”

Moore noted that the impact of the capstone and alternative class requirements on course loads will vary depending on major, and while some students will fit them in nicely, for others, “it will require some quarters where you take more than 16 units, but that’s no different from the other colleges.”

In order to admit students by 2020, the college curriculum will need to be established by the time students apply in the fall of this year.  

Moore also highlighted the long-term plans and rearrangements that will be made to accommodate housing with the addition of the new college.

“From the Rita [Atkinson Residences] by the medical school, [graduate] students are going to move out in 2020 because there’s going to be new graduate facilities in Mesa,” Moore said. “Once those apartments become vacant, then some of the transfer students will move to those apartments. That will free up space in The Village, where Seventh College will start. The idea is that we will create some administrative space around The Village, and eventually The Village will become Seventh College.”

Moore also explained that the housing located in Sixth College will be refurbished for junior and senior student housing after the college itself is moved to the upcoming Living and Learning Community in 2020. The goal for this new housing is to provide an experience similar to living off campus.

“By having Sixth College move to the new facility and by revamping the Sixth College and Rita apartments into upper-division housing, we will have a gain of upper-division housing beds,” Moore said. “That will allow students to live in those places in apartment-style living without a meal plan, so that can students can live essentially as if they were living off campus but paying below market value.”

He stated that this is all an effort toward a long-term goal of combating what Moore called “compressed” housing and to get colleges to their intended capacity.

The plan also includes a goal to build a completely new college in the parking lot near the La Jolla Playhouse, which will become Eighth College.

According to Moore, “by then, we should be able to accommodate the growth [in student population] that we’ve seen. We will need eight colleges in order to do that.

A student question from the audience asked how the new additions will impact space for parking, to which Moore explained that both Eighth College construction and North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood will have underground parking.

“In about five years, there will be more parking than there is now,” Moore told the student.

There was no indication as to whether additional town halls will be held in the future.


Photo by Clark Construction