Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Experimental College: Davis’ best-kept secret

ExColl2w

Students in a martial arts class at the UC Davis Experimental College do some stretching and breathing exercises before their workout begins. Jean Mikael Do/Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | November 26, 2013 |

By Crystal Atamian

Where can you find a facility that provides low-cost classes to the entire community with top-notch instructors?

The UC Davis Experimental College offers courses that range from dog training to dance and martial arts to money management. As one of only two prominent experimental colleges on the West Coast, the EC provides an unusual experience accessible to all members of the community.

“The eCollege embraces the idea that education in its most profound sense is personal growth,” says Davis resident Jennifer McCabe. “I think that the eCollege is really one of Davis’ best-kept secrets.”

Adds Celia Chang, a clinical professor of neurology at the UC Davis Medical Center, “I wish I had found the eCollege sooner.”

Hannah Moore, the Experimental College’s office manager, agrees: “It’s a valuable place for people to share and to learn. To give a space to things you might not normally have (in the community).”

In spite of this enthusiasm, the value of the EC in a university town can be easily overlooked.

“The knowledge of what we provide has faded into the background. … We have not tapped or attracted broader audiences to use our valuable resources,” says EC director Chriselle Vinson.

One of the hallmarks of the Experimental College is its instructors. There are professionals, like award-winning pet columnist and author Sophia Yin, who graduated from the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine and has a master’s degree in animal behavior.

Mike Cagley, “DJ Destiny,” considered one of the premiere video DJs in the world, has taught the “Groove University” course at the eCollege for 13 years. Cagley became the first video DJ in the NBA when he was hired as the audio/video DJ for the Sacramento Kings, and he just returned from a two-week tour in the United Kingdom with the video DJ from the Black Eyed Peas.

In addition to its long list of professionals, the Experimental College also provides a venue where community members can offer a course of interest in areas where they have some expertise.

“The EC serves both those who are seeking instructors with professional qualifications and those who are looking for a very informal environment, learning from peers with a passion for their subject,” says Rick Schubert, who has been teaching the Korean martial art of hapkido there for 20 years.

Chris Pike, owner of Pilates for Bodies, got his start at the Experimental College.

“I appreciated very much the opportunity the EC gave me,” Pike says. “The EC gave me a chance to try something that no other organization would have given me.”

Another valuable quality of the EC is the mix of undergraduates, graduate students and community members interacting in the same setting.

“There is an opportunity to network, meet individuals you wouldn’t necessarily be acquainted with and realize that the love and interest for a subject matter is what brings everyone enrolled in the class together,” says Vinson, whose vision for the EC includes promoting its benefits within the Davis community.

“As you get out into the workforce, your circle of people gets smaller and smaller. It’s nice to interact with people you might not come across in your daily life,” adds Chang, who just received her black belt in hapkido. “The people I meet at the EC, we’re all equals because we’re members of the same class.”

Adds Schubert, an award-winning professor of philosophy at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, “It’s beneficial for UC Davis students to be in classes with the broader community. It allows students access to informal mentorship relations they might not otherwise experience and provides them with the opportunity for networking that is crucial for employment success.”

McCabe, who has been taking EC classes for 17 years, is living proof of that opportunity:  “It was the UC faculty, staff and community members in my EC classes that then helped connect me with opportunities for employment.”

In these tough economic times, perhaps the biggest benefit of the Experimental College is its low course costs.

Schubert points out that, “because the EC operates under the umbrella of the university, it is able to offer instruction at a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.”

Prices depend on the course offered. The member price for “3-Ball Juggling for Beginners” is $30 while “Family FIDO Dog Training” is $180 and “Arabic for Beginners” is $75. The EC also offers a large variety of dance, yoga and music classes for reasonable prices. Courses are taught by the academic quarter. An eCollege membership costs $25 for students and $35 for nonstudents.

“We need resources like the Experimental College because it provides an outlet to experiment with prospective skills and ideas,” Vinson says. “Instructors and students have a space to share and learn skills that aren’t usually offered through standard education.”

Cagley argues that the EC is both essential and underutilized: “It’s strength is that it exists. But to continue, it needs the support from the student(s) and the broader community. I think it needs to be emphasized that programs like the EC simply don’t exist at most universities. It really is a beautiful thing.”

More information and course registration can be found at ecollege.ucdavis.edu. The Experimental College office is in 260 South Silo on the UCD campus.

— Crystal Atamian is a UC Davis graduate and freelance journalist. She taught composition and expository writing for five years at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7