Crown is Turing 50!

July 07, 2016

As Crown College turns 50, we continue Crown’s tradition of providing an intellectual community that promotes personal growth and professional success for our students.

Core Course: The centerpiece of our College’s academic mission is our Core course, which is offered in winter quarter of the freshman year. Through exploration of the College’s theme Ethics and Politics of Emerging Technologies, this class promotes critical, interdisciplinary thinking and teaches our students to engage in academic discourse in oral, written, and multimodal formats. This foundational skill set is extremely valuable for success in any academic discipline. This year we have integrated our Core course with our Social Fiction Conference, providing opportunities for our students to present to a larger audience, deconstructing and analyzing works of fiction as they draw attention to the impact of new technologies. We had record participation both in terms of student presentations and in terms of attendance. Our students participated in debates and heard talks by several prominent intellectuals, including Dr. Newton Harrison, one of the founders of the eco-art movement; Paul Fleischman, prolific author of juvenile literature; Roxi Power, writer and activist; and Emily Cohen, film-maker and co-director of UC Santa Cruz Science & Justice Research Center. Our students also helped with the cutting of “Planet Earth,” a large papercut piece of art created by Cowell alumna Alice Masek and on exhibit at Crown’s library. In addition, this year we opened a writing center at Crown offering tutoring services to support writing courses. Our honors students were offered a new class, Crown 86, Professional Communications in a Digital Age, that builds on and complements the Core course. This class was designed and co-sponsored by Cheryl Lowry, Cowell alumna and content analyst at Facebook, and featured prominent guest speakers for academia and industry. Another new class we offered our honors students this year was Crown 85, Visual Perception, designed and taught by Eugene Switkes, an emeritus professor of chemistry and biochemistry. 

Leadership Development: Crown College also prides itself on its focus on leadership. This year Crown has joined efforts with Merrill College to develop a leadership development program for our resident assistants. This program combines experiential education opportunities already in place for student leaders at Crown with a new class in principles of leadership, Crown/Merrill 30, Leadership for Social Change. Next year, Crown and Merrill plan to open our leadership development program to all students. We will add a section of Crown/Merrill 30 for these students and provide an experiential education component through off-campus internships. These internships will be mentored through Merrill’s field study class.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Mindful of the critical role that innovation is going to play in a globalized economy, particularly in areas with a strong technology component, Crown is making entrepreneurship another priority that extends and complements its emphasis on leadership. To this end, Crown has sponsored a talk and pitch slam series this year, and will be offering a class offering intensive training in entrepreneurship this coming Summer Session. This class, which is being co-developed with UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) with support from the Santa Cruz Foundation, will be based on the Lean Launchpad/NSF I-Corps mode and open to both graduate students and undergraduates. Students will work on the development of a 
business plan in teams of 4–5 students, under the supervision of successful entrepreneurs. This plan will include extensive market research and fundraising and culminate in a presentation attended by business leaders of Silicon Valley.

I would like to thank all UC Santa Cruz alumni who helped Crown this year. Alumni donations support about one-third of the College’s discretionary budget. Special thanks to Cheryl Lowry for her help with Crown 86, Joe DeRisi for his wonderful science table presentation on the use of sequencing for diagnosis of encephalitis, and Robert Forbes, design advocate and founder of Design Within Reach, and this year’s commencement speaker. I look forward to seeing you at Alumni Day Weekend’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Crown College in 2017.

Manel Camps
Crown College Provost