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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unusual Units

Have a dreaded science and engineering GE requirement that hasn’t been filled? Does the prospect of writing office memos and proposals cause graduation anxiety? Want to drive farm equipment?

When considering spring quarter classes, check out some of UC Davismore unusual offerings.


Introduction to Winemaking (VEN 3)

Professor Douglas Adams knows his wine. While students in his VEN 3 class will not get to tour any of the Napa Valley wineries, they will get the chance to enhance their knowledge of light tannins and fruity flavors as well as fulfill a GE requirement.

“It is a GE class and the chemistry and microbiology in [the class] does not require any kind of science background. It is designed so that anyone can take it,Adams said.

This introductory course in the viticulture and enology program has an average of 380 students, he said.

VEN 3 can fulfill either the science and engineering or social science requirement for GE. However, Professor Adams said he believes it is the unique topic of winemaking that causes so many students to enroll.

“You can take intro geology or intro anthropology at nearly any campus. UC Davis has a whole department dedicated to grape growing (viticulture) and winemaking (enology). This is one of the few campuses in the U.S. where this kind of course is even offered,Adams said.

Adams warns all potential students that though they will learn a lot of interesting factoids about wine, it does require a lot of memorization.


University Writing Program – Writing in the Professions: Internships (UWP 104I)

For juniors and seniors entering the work force as either an intern or as a full-time employee, knowing how to write papers is still a prerequisite. UWP Professor Mardena Creek is ready and willing to help students learn how to write to their professional audience.

We write resumes, cover letters and work proposals. Then we have a presentation which I video tape so that [students] can critique themselves,Creek said.We then do a final project in which students create a practical document that you could use in the work place like information brochures or work manuals.

Creek encourages students that have jobs or are participating in an internship to take UWP 104I. Students will not only learn how to write for work, but about work etiquette, self-presentation and work culture.

I try to make my class as applicable to the job world as possible. Writing memos is very different than writing a term paper. I think that students don’t have much knowledge as to writing to their audience outside of the academic world, and why should they? They’ve been in school for the last 16 years!” Creek said.

Military Conditioning (PHE 001-206)

Want to learn leadership and development skills and drop a few pounds along the way? Associate professor of Military Science Captain Stephen F. Heringer challenges students to be all that they can be, in P.E.

Anyone who wants to improve their physical health is welcome. The class has a two-fold intent. First, to train students that are in ROTC in leadership and developmental skills. The other aspect is to develop a broad-base of physical health,Heringer said.

According to the Military Conditioning P.E. syllabus, students will learn how to develop and maintain fitness through cardio-respiratory endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination. Students of every physical shape can join.

The class is designed to push you. It’s about you wanting to improve,Heringer said.

The Military Conditioning P.E. class meets from 6:30 to 7:20 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Exercises include 2- to 4-mile runs, upper body workouts and yoga.


Field Equipment Operation (ABT 49)

In ABT 49, students have the opportunity to learn about, and drive, the machinery that helps produce their dinner. Students of all majors are welcome; obtaining a special license for tractor-driving is not necessary.

In general, students will learn an understanding, appreciation and familiarity with the machinery as well as safe operations with the machinery. We’re very aware of the safety of the students,said Dr. Michael J. Delwiche, professor chair of biological and agricultural engineering.

Mir Shafii, a developmental engineer and lecturer for biological and agricultural engineering will be teaching ABT 49 for the first time this spring quarter and is excited about the class’s potential.

“[The department] is trying to evolve the course and make it more efficient. We try to keep up with the most advanced technology [in agriculture]. We try to teach students the basics and introduce the new technology as much as we can,Shafii said.

Students will drive tractors on the new field on the south side of the Western Center for Agricultural Equipment.

This year we have more room to play with our tractortoys,Shafii said.

Delwiche said that students should take the course to learn about agriculture, but it’s all right if they have a bit of fun as well.

At a gut level, it’s a hoot to sit on a tractor and run it down the field. It’s a lot of fun,he said.


MEGAN ELLIS can be reached at features@theaggie.org.



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