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Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Interview with the Chancellor Fox
Interview by Raymond Hardie

This is the third in a series of interviews with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox responds to questions about the large influx of transfer students in fall 2010.

EDITOR: First, congratulations on your National Medal of Science.
CHANCELLOR: Thank you, I feel humble to be so honored but I am proud that my research group's contributions have advanced our understanding of organic chemistry.

EDITOR: I wanted to focus today on transfer students. Over 33 percent of admitted applicants have accepted an offer to attend UC San Diego this fall, a record high. Why is this good for the University?
CHANCELLOR: Enrolling more transfer students at UC San Diego allows us to broaden the student diversity base, which is very valuable. Most transfer students bring to the campus a high quality of education, comparable to what they would have received had they instead matriculated at UC San Diego. The graduation time is similar for both groups and the GPAs at graduation are similar.

EDITOR: Why has the University opened a village for transfer students?
CHANCELLOR: With convenient on-campus housing, students can improve the quality of their student experience on the campus. We hear from transfer students that they don't integrate easily with students who entered as freshmen. They live off campus and tend to go home as soon as classes are finished. The new housing village gives them an opportunity to become more engaged with other students.

EDITOR: I believe that you have made multiple trips to junior high schools, high schools and community colleges to encourage students to consider attending UC San Diego.
CHANCELLOR: We have a program called "An Evening with UC San Diego" or "An Evening with Chancellor Fox," in which we make prospective students aware that they have to start early on a college preparatory program. We explain what the A-G requirements are for a university, and the role that honors and advanced placement courses can play in strengthening a student's application. We also talk about community service.

EDITOR: Is there any way that alumni can be more involved in the process and help attract the best transfer students to come here?
CHANCELLOR: Our alumni understand clearly the requirements for a bachelor's or advanced degree. So, matching alumni with students who are considering a transfer to UC San Diego can be a remarkably positive experience for both. Of course, all students deserve the full attention of a school counselor who can advise them, but our experience suggests that alumni can provide supplemental details for prospective students.

EDITOR: Why do you place a high value on service to the community with initiatives such as your Volunteer50 campaign?
CHANCELLOR: First, every public institution owes its support to the public. Second, our students need to have real-life experiences and to encounter life as it will be lived when they leave the University. And third, students mature more readily in a challenging environment. Being able to respond in a positive way to help local neighborhoods or the nation is a good example of what a college education should entail. UC San Diego is one of the nation's most involved universities with respect to students performing community service. A very large number of UC San Diego graduates join the Peace Corps. The idea of the University as an ivory castle collapses under a strong program of community service.

Raymond Hardie is the editor of @UCSD Magazine.