Welcome to Oakes College

Dear New Oakes Student,

Congratulations to you and your family on your recent acceptance to UCSC and welcome to Oakes College!  The Oakes faculty, staff, and students look forward to meeting you, and we are excited that you will soon be joining our academic family.

At Oakes College, we are committed to fostering student engagement and leadership within and beyond the classroom.  To this end, we encourage you to develop the knowledge, skills, cross-cultural understanding, and social connections necessary to become actively engaged and an even more effective leader in your communities, workplace, and academic discipline, as well as in the larger U.S. society and the world.  The Oakes College faculty represent a wealth of expertise from the natural sciences to the humanities, and we are proud to have some of the top scholars in the world, as well as the Chancellor, among our faculty fellows.  Our students major in nearly every discipline at UCSC—from Economics and Computer Science to Theater Arts and Community Studies—and they are well supported by the depth and breadth of the Oakes College faculty and the extensive knowledge of our advising team.

I also want to let you know about two important programs unique to Oakes College. One is the Science Community, which is an exciting residential opportunity.  Located in Bantu Stephen Biko House, the Science Community provides students interested in science majors and careers an opportunity to live, study, and learn together.  The Science Community offers a series of special programs, student-to-student mentoring, both individual and collaborative study opportunities, information about internships and research programs, and a graduate student “scientist in residence.”  If you have a passion for science, I hope that you will consider joining the Science Community and participating in an intentional collaborative learning environment designed to foster excellence in these demanding fields of study.

Our second unique program is the Oakes Service Learning and Community Justice Program, which focuses on community-based action, research, and advocacy (CARA). Oakes offers a series of service-learning courses within this program. All the courses are designed to encourage your ongoing and deep investment in collaborative community. CARA courses pose rigorous interdisciplinary academic questions about how to expand justice in our time and place. Students use course readings, seminar practice, writing, and field immersion and research with local organizations and community groups to learn a variety of research and communication techniques, and to contribute data and analysis to deepen their own understanding and to contribute to justice initiatives. Both CARA and the Science Community are open to first year students (and beyond). If CARA is of interest to you, you can complete a series of courses to receive a certificate upon graduation.

As you will soon learn, Oakes College is a special place.  We are a true living learning community, and we are all committed to social justice and equity at UCSC and around the world.  We have the most diverse student body on campus, and we work hard to learn from and to inspire each other.  We teach our students to communicate across a wide range of differences so that we can create an environment in which all of us can thrive in our academic, community, and personal goals.

I hope you will soon feel at home at Oakes.  We know that you will be an integral part of our family, and I encourage you to get to know me, the faculty, the staff, and other students.  We are all here to guide and mentor you during your time at Oakes and throughout your university career. Again, welcome to Oakes College!                                


Marcia Ochoa, Oakes College ​Provost