FY14 Projects

Merrill Renewal

Submitted by John Hopkins, Senior Director of Development, Student Experience

Sponsored by Ken Doctor

Approved August 8, 2013


Merrill College is a somewhat neglected jewel that is currently undergoing both a renovation of its physical space and a renewal of its “soul space.”  This request is for seed funding to start a long-term development and engagement program, driven by the recently established Merrill-Ocampo Society, whose dual purpose is to generate a reliable stream of new private funds from Merrill alumni, emeriti, retired staff, parents, and community members, and to mobilize a loyal army of caring, competent, committed volunteers. By offering students overlapping and sequential opportunities to engage meaningfully with individuals and institutions via mentoring and field study/experiential learning, the Merrill-Ocampo Society aims to enrich the academic experience of Merrill students; increase the retention and graduation rates of the growing number of first-generation college students who call Merrill home, as well others who struggle academically or personally; and help preserve the integrity of UCSC’s unique undergraduate college system. Merrill Renewal is the College’s top funding priority leading up to its 50th anniversary, and aligns with the university’s Transformative Student Experience initiative in the campaign.


  • Revive Merrill field programs - mobilize a group of Merrill alumni/ae, emeriti, and retired staff to breathe new life into the Merrill Field Program by, for example, sponsoring internships, as well as to increase Merrill College’s discretionary income stream for experiential learning.
  • Increase retention and graduation - employ best practices (e.g., from the Smith Renaissance Society) for mobilizing local volunteers to provide wrap-around undergraduate student support to the “whole person,” thereby increasing retention and graduation rates substantially.
  • Develop Merrill’s culture of philanthropy – use funds as a challenge match to help raise over $100,000 in new philanthropic support for the Merrill Renewal Project.

Amount funded: $10,000 towards the total amount requested of $14,413.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Elizabeth Abrams, Provost, Merrill College

Alex Belisario, CAO, Merrill College

John Hopkins, Sr. Director of Development, University Relations

Frankie Melvin, Director of Development, University Relations

Khaatim Boyd, Assistant Director of Development, University Relations

Michael Rotkin, incoming Merrill Field Coordinator


Pacific Rim Music Festival 2015-16

Submitted by Hi Kyung Kim, Professor of Music

Sponsored by Loren Steck

Approved August 8, 2013


The Pacific Rim Music Festival (PRMF) is a successful leader in contemporary music/traditional music presentation that stresses collaboration and exchange between traditional musicians from nations of the Pacific Rim and contemporary classical western composers and performers.  Funding is sought by Director Hi Kyung Kim to travel to Korea to seek sponsorship and organizational commitments for the next PRMF in 2015-16 to develop an “Orchestras Project” with collaborating institutions such as the Korean National Traditional Orchestra (Seoul), the Cambodia Royal Orchestra (Phnom Penn), and the New York Philharmonic, all of which represent very different musical traditions (western classical, Korean traditional, Cambodian traditional). The Pacific Rim Music Festival will be presented at UCSC and in the Bay Area, New York, Seoul, Taipei and Phnom Penn.


  • Education in diverse musical cultures and traditions.
  • Presentation of concerts, including the creation of new works for the festival.
  • High visibility for UCSC’s program from the global cultural society.
  • A unique opportunity to collaborate with other participating institutions.

Amount funded: $4,890 to cover travel expenses for trip to Korea as a step toward initiating the project and providing seed funds for it development and implementation.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Hi Kyung Kim, David Evan Jones, Larry Polansky and Karlton Hester, UCSC Music Department Composition Faculty

Nicole Paiement, Conducting Faculty 

Leta Miller, Amy Beal, and Tanaya Merchant, Musicologists

Roy Malan, William Winant, Applied Faculty

Staff members from the Music Department, Arts Business Office, and Public Events Office


South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference

Submitted by Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, and Megan Moodie, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Sponsored by Anu Luther

Approved October 7, 2013


On May 2-3, 2014, UC Santa Cruz will host the third annual South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference. This conference, which is put together every spring by a consortium of interdisciplinary faculty at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCSC, is quickly becoming a highly respected forum for budding scholars conducting research on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal to present their work and seek professional mentorship. This year's conference title is "Feminist Interventions: On Gender in South Asia." This theme will provide a much-needed venue for cutting-edge work on gender and sexuality in South Asia and highlight one of the historical strengths of UCSC as a campus: namely, its feminist faculty. With over 70 faculty members affiliated with the Feminist Studies department and UCSC graduate students in Anthropology, Politics, Sociology, History, Literature, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, Music, Film and Digital Media, and History of Art and Visual Culture working on gender-related projects, this year's South Asia by the Bay will find a warm campus environment and is likely to draw an audience from far beyond the confines of South Asian Studies, and, indeed, the academic community of the greater Bay Area.


  • To refocus academic and community attention on the importance of gender issues in South Asia and the vibrancy of feminist organizing across the region.
  • To provide graduate student participants with the best experience in professionalization and mentorship possible.
  • To raise the profile of South Asian Studies at UCSC and highlight our diverse collection of faculty research interests as well as the campus' unique resource in the Satyajit Ray Film Archive (plans include at least one screening from the archive).
  • To translate this event into an annual colloquium on gender and sexuality in South Asia, with topics varying from gender and technology, caste and sexuality, to environmentalism and women's rights.

Amount funded: $7,500 to help underwrite the cost of the conference.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Anjali Arondekar (Feminist Studies)

Vilashini Coopan (Literature)

Megan Moodie (Anthropology)

Dard Neuman (Music)

Triloki Pandey (Emeritus Professor, Anthropology)

G.S. Sahota (Literature)

Juned Shaikh (History)

Nirvikar Singh (Sarbjit Singh Aurora Endowed Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies)


Stevenson Alumni Career Education Program

Submitted by Alice Yang, Provost of Stevenson College

Sponsored by Peder Jones

Approved November 14, 2013


The Stevenson Alumni Career Education program will use contemporary online learning technologies to connect alumni with junior and senior Stevenson students interested in careers in their fields, and will provide students with practical advice to help them select and prepare for future jobs. Given student concerns about finding jobs after graduation, the course will undoubtedly appeal to many undergraduates. Alumni will benefit from getting to know these motivated students and may discover students to mentor, offer internships, and even hire for future positions. Alumni will have a big impact on students without a major time commitment since they do not need to prepare a formal talk or travel to campus to participate. All participants will be invited to discuss the program during panels and a reception offered at Stevenson during Alumni Weekend. The expectation is that this program can serve as a model for other colleges to strengthen connections between alumni and undergraduates.


  • Re-engage Stevenson alumni as volunteers and donors.
  • Reinforce the importance of the college for students.
  • Build future mentors from graduates of the program.
  • Promote UCSC’s efforts in the world of online learning, and provide a model of how online learning can promote active discussion, interaction and dialogue.

Amount funded: $6,000 towards the request of $10,000.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Alice Yang, Provost of Stevenson College

John Hopkins, Sr. Director of Development, University Relations

Khaatim Boyd, Director of Development, University Relations

Robert Trumbull, Core Instructor and Class Instructor/Coordinator


The Grand Challenge of Finance

Submitted by Nirvikar Singh, Professor of Economics

Sponsored by Steve Bruce

Approved November 14, 2013


The Center for Analytical Finance (CAFIN) is a new group of prominent researchers whose aim is to produce cutting edge research with practical applications in the realm of finance and financial markets focusing primarily on three critical areas:

• Systemic Risk

• Market Design

• Financial Access

The analysis of these three areas of finance represents a concerted attack on the fundamental problems of economic systems in the post-crisis world. We see the approach and role of CAFIN as that of tackling these problems as a unified “grand challenge” for the modern global economy. Funding will serve to publicly launch CAFIN by bringing together the research group for an inaugural workshop to map out a focused, practical intellectual agenda for tackling this grand challenge. An initial group of about 10 UCSC faculty and 10 global faculty from four continents has already agreed to participate, and other prominent academics and policy makers from the area will be invited. A significant portion of the workshop will be accessible to the local community, and to the professional community of Silicon Valley.


  • The creation of the intellectual and social DNA for a permanent, self-sustaining center or institute that generates theoretical insights and practical applications for the private and public sectors, in the realm of finance and financial markets.
  • Solidify our global network of researchers, promote exchanges of ideas, and sponsor new theoretical and applied research.
  • Raise the profile of UCSC in the areas in which CAFIN is focusing.
  • Inspire and motivate younger researchers in the field.
  • Engage undergraduate students across disciplines, giving them opportunities to interact with prominent researchers and policy makers and pursue guided research with UCSC CAFIN faculty.
  • Promote and solidify UC Santa Cruz's reputation as a place where serious, innovative and policy-relevant work is being done to address key issues and challenges with respect to the working of capitalism and our current economic system.

Amount funded: $10,000 towards the request of $20,000.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Nirvikar Singh, Professor of Economics

Eric Aldrich, Assistant Professor of Economics

Daniel Friedman, Distinguished Professor of Economics,

Michael Hutchison, Professor of Economics

Athanasios Kottas, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Gregory Laughlin, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Raquel Prado, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Abel Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Carl Walsh, Distinguished Professor of Economics

Thomas Wu, Associate Professor of Economics


The Study of the Force Majeure

Submitted by Elizabeth Thompson, Manager, Center for the Study of the Force Majeure

Sponsored by Ted Goldstein and Peder Jones

Approved May 16, 2014


A research center located in Digital Arts and New Media, the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure brings together artists, scientists and students to design ecosystem-adaptation projects in regions around the world that are nearing critical tipping points due to global warming. Led by Helen and Newton Harrison, internationally acclaimed artists and pioneers in the eco-art movement, the project will benefit students by involving them in the design and implementation of the Center’s first project and providing leadership training for subsequent work. The scope of mission of the Center includes work beyond typical categories and is in support of an evolving Art/Science hybrid form. The central theme is adaptation to climate change at scale, with a focus on Sierra ecosystems’ ability to hold and release water, an important aspect of healthy coastal ecosystems. The Center’s first project, “Sagehen: A Proving Ground,” is a 50-year project developed in collaboration with The Nevada Museum of Art and The Metabolic Studio, a funding subset of The Annenberg Foundation. The Project is based at UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Reserve, a 9,000-acre research station in the Sierra Nevada, and is designed to research and discover viable species ensembles from the 40-species group collected and propagated from the bottom of the watershed. The Metabolic Studio provided initial funding for the Project, which entails propagating 12,000 plants. Phase II will build on the Project by testing the experiment’s methodologies in a nearby glacial moraine, also based at Sagehen Research Station, with an eye toward expanding the impact on inland and coastal river systems.


  • Study the impact and remediation of climate change on species migration,
  • Answer the question whether human intervention can mitigate and assist plant species migration responses to replace the constant flow of waters to river systems endangered by the disappearing snow melt.
  • Determine species survivability.
  • Create publicity materials.
  • Produce a work of art based on the experiment.
  • Place UCSC in the vanguard of world-class universities taking action on critical water issues and ecosystem adaptation.
  • Enrich public discourse concerning the environment, inform policy development, and offer a new approach to responding to the loss of species.

Amount funded: $9,820 to complete the Project’s first phase and create publicity materials.

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Newton Harrison, Faculty

Helen Mayer Harrison, Faculty

Brett Hall – Staff/Director, UCSC Arboretum

Elizabeth Thompson, Staff/Manager, Center for the Study of the Force Majeure