The University of California’s extension program started over a century ago, when UC Berkeley faculty took a boat across the bay to offer classes in San Francisco.
Since then, other UC campuses have established extension programs, and UC Davis is no exception.
Founded in 1960, the UC Davis Extension focuses primarily on offering education to the community – not necessarily matriculated students, said Dennis Pendleton, dean of the UC Davis Extension.
“That said, we do have programs available to staff, faculty and students,” Pendleton said. “A lot of subjects are relevant to people on campus, too.”
In fact, with permission from a major advisor, up to 12 units of Academic Senate-approved courses can be applied to a bachelor’s degree.
Extension offerings range from agriculture to public relations to business management. Many courses are provided via distance learning.
The University Extension is not state-supported, so UC Davis students must pay a fee; the courses are not included in their tuition.
The extension’s main office is in South Davis, off of Research Park Drive. There is also an Orchard Park center on the Davis campus and sites throughout Sacramento.
The extension’s classes and programs are diverse.
For example, participants can explore the sports marketing field, apply to assist research on public policy, enroll in a distance-learning course with Japanese classmates or take a UC Davis class without formally applying to the university.
The sports marketing program consists of three distance-learning courses in marketing, media relations and sponsorship development, said Robin Duran McBride, sports marketing program representative. All courses have been approved by the Graduate School of Management, and students are enrolled from throughout the country.
McBride said the specialized program was designed to meet a burgeoning need, since the athletics business is nearly a $200-billion industry in the United States.
“Nearly 20 percent of the sports industry is tied directly to marketing and sponsorships,” she said.
The sports marketing program’s main instructor is Mark Cyran of Burlington, N.C., former general manager of the Burlington Indians, a one-time minor league baseball team.
Students also conduct an independent project related to sports marketing.
“It’s really up to the students to figure out what they want to do,” Duran McBride said. “They are responsible for connecting with a sponsor and working out the project.”
Center for Public Policy Research
In collaboration with the UC Davis psychology department and the human services department of the UC Davis Extension, the Center for Public Policy Research works with the state of California to investigate rehabilitation and social services.
“It’s thrilling that what we think about and work on is actually of use to people,” said Cece Iandoli, research manager for center for public policy research. “It’s not just another report to put on somebody’s bookcase.”
One of the center’s projects involves studying rehabilitation and figuring out what variables lead to recidivism – returning to prison, she said.
“We have projects in 33 adult prisons,” she said. “We gather data that the prisons already have. There’s a huge body of information.”
For example, some prisons keep Christmas lists, she said.
“The Christmas lists were actually an interesting thing to study,” she said, adding that the researchers assess who went back to prison or who rehabilitated based on the information.
By observing which prisoners had lists, researchers can then get a better idea of which inmates had family support on the outside.
“We know that if someone has a support system, they usually do better,” she said.
UC Davis students can get involved with research at the center.
“[The center] has permitted support for research that has included graduate students, post-docs and undergraduates,” Pendleton said.
For more information on the center for public policy, go to cppr.ucdavis.edu.
Pacific Rim Distance Education
The UC Davis Extension coordinates real-time classes between UC Davis and Hosei University in Japan.
Last quarter, the program featured a course in American studies, Pendleton said.
“A big video classroom links the undergrad class at Davis with the one in Tokyo with one instructor,” Pendleton said. “It’s like a single classroom.”
The real-time format allows students from both cultures to interact during and after lectures.
Every quarter the instructors switch off. One quarter a Davis instructor teaches a course, the next quarter a Japanese professor is at the podium.
The extension has recently partnered up with Beijing University as well, Pendleton said.
Open Campus Program
The Open Campus Program allows members of the community, including former UC Davis students who want to reenter, to take UC Davis courses without formally applying.
The program often works carefully with counselors to help students who have been academically dismissed to gain admittance back into the university, Pendleton said.
“Those who have left the university in one way or another can enroll in UC Davis campus courses through University Extension,” he said.
For more information on the UC Davis Extension, visit extension.ucdavis.edu.
ANNA OPALKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.