Quarter at Aggie Square
Aggie Square: a place for innovation
Aggie Square, a dynamic innovation center that will spur economic growth in Sacramento and help create jobs at a variety of education levels, is taking shape in Sacramento, adjacent to the UC Davis Health campus. The Square will bring together intellectual and innovation firepower from the university and across the region to produce and grow cutting-edge partnerships, especially as they pertain to advances in human health and quality of life, and the challenges of, and potential for, achieving social equity.
Entrepreneurs, companies, workers, researchers, and students will thrive in a unique live/learn/work/play environment designed to foster collaboration and creativity.
Q@AS: coordinated, interdisciplinary learning focused on real-world challenges
After a series of discussions involving the Chancellor, Provost, Deans, Vice Provosts, Academic Senate leadership, and faculty in each college, and in the context of the UC Davis Strategic Plan, the Quarter at Aggie Square (Q@AS) idea emerged. This new program will enable a subset of UC Davis undergraduates to spend a quarter at the Aggie Square urban campus focusing on a challenge of relevance to society or the planet. Several faculty proposals for specific experiences have been approved, and the first cohort of students will come to Aggie Square in fall quarter, 2020. Other multi-course experiences are in preparation.
As the program is currently imagined, Aggie Square will host two to four coordinated learning experiences per quarter, each of which will involve 15 to 25 students, likely from several majors, in a common multidisciplinary enterprise to more deeply understand a specific challenge.
Ultimately, participating students will take all of their courses that quarter in new classroom space at Aggie Square. (At the outset, classes will take place in existing space, likely classrooms in the Betty Irene Moore Hall at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.) Engaged learning opportunities in Sacramento and adjoining communities and possibly also an internship will be constituent elements of each experience.
An overarching goal of Q@AS is that, no matter what their major, participating students will have added to the credits counting toward their major, but in a distinct way. They will be learning together with other students—and faculty—whose disciplinary focus areas are different from, yet complementary to, their own. Over the course of the quarter, students will gain a better understanding of how their own major contributes to solutions for real-world challenges and will more deeply appreciate how the insights from one disciplinary perspective can be combined with those from other perspectives. As is typical in experiential learning, students will bridge the classroom and “real world” divide and better understand how to convert academic knowledge into contextualized decision-making.
Quarter-long Q@AS experiences may include:
- Advancing Health Care Equity: Inequities in healthcare delivery mean that many who most need health care cannot access it. To become health care professionals who are also agents for the improvement of health outcomes for all, students need to be well versed in the sociocultural and historical factors that influence health care and the social, economic, and political systems through which it is delivered.
- Transformative Justice Studies in Sacramento: This learning experience at Aggie Square stresses an integrated, holistic, transformative, and restorative approach to justice that connects research and learning with practice and opportunities. Participating students will gain in sociocultural awareness and acquire skills that will support them as active citizens and change-makers in a fast-evolving, interconnected world. Students will collaborate with local nonprofits, schools, and organizations located in Sacramento.
- Multilingual Education for California: This Q@AS experience is aimed at forming a cohort of Spanish-English bilingual K-12 teachers and advocates, a growing need in California. The curriculum offers courses in education and Latinx language and culture along with internship hours at the Language Academy of Sacramento. The rich urban landscape around Aggie Square will give students the unique opportunity to engage with Sacramento's community organizations, nonprofits, and government entities dedicated to this cause.
- Biomedical Engineering at the Health Campus: This experience, anchored in the clinical setting of the UC Davis Health campus, offers biomedical engineering majors enhanced exposure to critical topics including FDA device regulation, relevant standards, and the entrepreneurial mindset. Participating students will have access to clinical arenas that deploy biomedical technology, such as surgical suites and intensive care units, that are unavailable on the Davis campus. Biomedical engineering majors can begin preparing for their senior design project in the fall of their junior year by joining a BME cohort.
- Bringing Patents to Market: Each year, UC Davis faculty discover new inventions that have the potential to improve human life. After they are patented, however, many do not reach users. A course sequence at Q@AS could explore the varied expertise required for a new invention to positively impact people’s lives.
- Food Security: What are the technological, social, and geographic conditions that create unequal access to safe and healthy food? How might we think about new solutions to the problem from a scientific, policy, and/or cultural point of view?
- Migration: How are immigration policies affecting regions and cities? What types of infrastructure and services exist to support migrant populations? In what ways are the cultural practices of immigrant, diaspora, and refugee communities shaping local geographies?