"Ashs-teacher-and-students" by Mosborne01A new BioMentors program has been established at UC Santa Barbara. The goal of the program is to enhance the learning experience for undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields within our large, research university environment. By building learning communities that engage students and instructors in a highly interactive environment, the BioMentors program brings the benefits of student mentoring and increased involvement of instructors that are more typical of a small institution.

The program has three main components, all designed to address the challenges — academic and otherwise — facing students seeking to major in biological sciences, the largest major on campus. Peer-mentors are established for first-year pre-biology majors, small discussion classes created for second-year introductory biology students and, in the process, faculty in the biology department are trained how to teach more interactively. Learn more about this new approach to science education...

Performace of the Odyssey with UCSB's Odyssey ProjectThe Odyssey Project is an annual, collaborative theater project of the UC Santa Barbara Theater and Dance Department. The project brings residents from the Los Prietos Boys Camp juvenile detention facility to UCSB to work with professors and undergraduate students in staging a performance of Homer's Odyssey. The experience incorporates multiple facets of theater arts: reading and writing exercises, improvisation classes, martial arts choreography, mime, mask building, animation, dance, drumming, and performance ritual.

It's a life-changing experience for all involved. The participants progress from interpretation to ownership and authorship as they evolve in the process to a point where they are able to re-write the Odyssey in their own words. UCSB students are able to learn about finding their inspiration as artists, educators, and social workers in human stories, both their own and others. Read on to learn more about this experiential learning and research project...

key leadership roles of L&S faculty in professional societies


In the past three years, more than 50 Letters and Science faculty have held elected positions in major sections and at the executive level of professional societies. This involvement is one indicator of the intellectual impact our faculty have on their academic disciplines and larger professional communities.

These faculty and the leadership roles they play, highlighted in the attached slideshow, offer an impressive manifestation of the academic quality housed in the College of Letters and Science.

UCSB Alumna Maria ReyesWith a Hispanic student population of 27 percent, UC Santa Barbara is the first Association of American Universities member to be recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities.

“This milestone achievement reflects our vision and decades of collaborative effort and commitment to enhance excellence and diversity at UC Santa Barbara and to provide the best possible educational opportunities for all of our students," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

This designation will allow UCSB to compete for specialized grants and funding, including support services for all students, faculty development, and the acquisition of scientific or laboratory equipment for teaching. It also represents a degree of success for education in California as a whole.

Read on to learn more about how "the HSI designation bolsters the university’s ability to blend cosmopolitan inclusion with academic excellence.”

Research poster presentationUnder faculty mentorship and in many cases with the added bonus of an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) grant, 200 students participated in the 2014 Undergraduate Research Colloquium. This forum showcases the research process and findings of undergraduate student researchers across disciplines and colleges at UC Santa Barbara.

Read on to learn more about the poster exhibition and some of the questions undergrads investigated...

The URCA grants are one of many programs and resources available through the Division of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters & Science.