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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, October 16, 2021

UC Davis may branch into Madrid

UC Davis is considering a campus in Madrid, Spain. The satellite campus would expand research opportunities as well as host students from Davis and all over the world.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Linda Katehi traveled to Madrid, where she found a high level of support and eagerness from the governmental public and private sectors to establish a high-quality research university.

“A lot of the topics of interest [in Spain] match very well with our strengths.” said John Meyer, vice chancellor for administrative and resource management. “Those might include environmental research, as well as energy, transportation, agriculture – many of the things we do so well here.”

Harold Levine, dean of the UC Davis School of Education, also added in an e-mail interview that UC Davis would be expanding its global impact in terms of research and philanthropy.

“The campus would have unparalleled access to outstanding international scholars and students, billions of euros in competitive research funding through the European Union, new opportunities for partnerships and collaborative initiatives and new sources of philanthropic support,” Levine said.

Likely a research-driven campus, the school would have a large focus on graduate students but also incorporate an undergraduate program. Students from across the globe, namely from areas like Europe, North Africa and South America as well as the U.S. would have an opportunity to study at the Madrid campus.

Additionally, UC Davis students could spend up to a year studying abroad in Madrid without losing time toward their degrees, Levine said.

“Since the branch campus would provide a UC Davis degree, we anticipate that the curriculum and degree requirements would be essentially the same as are already in place here,” he said. “Faculty might also craft new programs that take advantage of the international connections and opportunities [that] a campus in Madrid would likely stimulate.”

Krista Banks, a sophomore biochemistry major, said she believes the satellite campus would be beneficial for both UC Davis and Spain.

“[The Madrid campus] seems to be a good opportunity for UC Davis itself and for Spain because we have similar interests and it seems like we could both benefit from this program,” she said.

While both sides are highly interested in the project, the Chancellor and her team have yet to determine whether this project is financially feasible.

An expected cost has not been determined at this point, but the funds are anticipated to come from Spain, through the government or private investors and the European Union, Levine and Meyer said.

Meyer assured that no taxpayer money from California would fund the development of the satellite campus.

“At the meeting, the Chancellor made it very clear that we would not and could not use any California funds to support this,” Meyer said. “It would really have to be supported by those in Spain.”

Furthermore, if the Chancellor approves the development plans, they must also be approved by UC President Mark Yudof, the UC Board of Regents and be reviewed by the appropriate UC Davis Academic Senate committees.

Both Levine and Meyer, who accompanied the Chancellor on her trip to Spain, do not know at this early stage of development if the project is probable or practical.

“Much will depend upon whether a marketing study shows that there are students interested in attending a Madrid campus and in what numbers,” Levine said. “And we would have to have investors willing to make the financial commitments to this project.”

If the plans do come into action, the team expects to open the campus in fall of 2015 or 2016 with an initial class of approximately 500 students.

MARTHA GEORGIS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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