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LEADR Center at UC Davis

College of Engineering Launches New LEADR Student Center

Posted on: January 7, 2013

College of Engineering Launches New LEADR Student Center

The College of Engineering at UC Davis opens the Leadership in Engineering Advancement Diversity and Retention (LEADR) Student Center with a special event at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. The dedication of the LEADR Student Center will feature opening remarks, center tour, donor check presentation, and reception.

Located in Room 1050 of Kemper Hall on the university campus, the new LEADR Student Center is intended to improve retention of undergraduate engineering majors. Created with leadership support from the Chevron Corporation, and additional contributions from the Boeing Company, Cisco Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Union Pacific, the LEADR Student Center represents the first industry investment at UC Davis devoted to student retention. These industry leaders and many others recognize the value of increasing the diversity of the recruitment pool, and of being able to fill entry-level jobs with the best and brightest university graduates.

The LEADR Student Center is open to any student who supports diversity and inclusion in the field of engineering, and who shares a willingness to create a welcoming environment for all students, including those historically under-represented in the engineering majors.

The LEADR Student Center offers the following program components:

Student Study Center: This dedicated space, donated by Chevron, allows students to study individually or in groups. Peer interaction is encouraged, so that (for example) first-year students can benefit from the experiences of juniors and seniors. Highlights include a media-scape feature intended to support teamwork and group projects.

Academic Advising: Students have easy access to the adjacent Undergraduate Advising Office, where devoted and enthusiastic advisors can help guide coursework progress through the lower-division engineering program. Tutoring, workshops and other campus resources are emphasized, along with graduate school preparation.

Additionally, leadership and professional development are supported via the involvement of numerous other campus units:

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)/Summer Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP)
The Student Academic Success Center
The Center for Leadership and Learning
The Internship and Career Center
The McNair Scholars Program
The Undergraduate Research Center
Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA)

Additional diversity engagement will be provided via input from clubs within the College of Engineering, including the American Indian Scientists and Engineers Society, the Black Engineers Association, and the Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientist's Society.

The UC Davis College of Engineering has long been dedicated to the goal of fostering a vibrant community of learning and scholarship. Diversity enhances this goal by contributing different voices and experiences to innovation, engineering problem solving, and the application of solutions in an increasingly complex society. This new facility also is one of the College of Engineering's responses to the challenge of retaining students particularly at-risk students in all engineering fields. LEADR students will be encouraged to work outside their familiar environments, while developing an appreciation for the perspectives and life experiences of their student peers.

" Attracting and retaining a diverse group of students in engineering are key priorities for the college, and we have outstanding advising resources to address these priorities," notes Jean VanderGheynst, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering, and a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. "The close proximity of the LEADR center to advisors will ensure students are on a successful path toward their degrees and pursue enrichment opportunities that will make them leaders in their fields."

The LEADR Student Center, adjacent to the first-floor Kemper Hall lobby, already is in use by College of Engineering students. This "soft launch" will continue with an official dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for early 2013.

"Attracting a diverse student population, and then helping those undergraduates flourish during their time at UC Davis, has become vital: not merely here in the College of Engineering, but also throughout the campus at large," said Enrique J. Lavernia, dean of the UC Davis College of Engineering. "The LEADR Student Center will help fulfill that goal, while demonstrating to our students our commitment to their future success."

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