Welcome Arts Division Students!
As we celebrate the start of the winter quarter at UC Santa Cruz, I want to take a moment to welcome those of you who are first-time UCSC students and also to welcome back all of our returning students from summer break. I hope you have the opportunity this quarter to explore campus and to participate in some of the upcoming UCSC events and Arts Division events designed to help you make connections across campus and make the most of your time here.
Last year, we started the new academic year with some very exciting news for Arts Division students. We welcomed Danette Buie, our first Director of Student Opportunity, Success, and Equity. The Office for Student Opportunity, Success, and Equity was created by the Arts Division to help recruit, retain, and launch Arts Division students into their careers, while also creating a student equity-focused environment. This new role was envisioned after years of seeing that there was a desperate need for someone to own these critical issues within the Division. Danette is charged with advocating for Arts Division students across campus, managing the Creative Entrepreneurship Internship (CEI) Program, and identifying additional resources that promote student success strategies to increase persistence and academic success for our students.
At a time where in today’s world, the emphasis placed on high-earning fields has forced performing, visual, and literary arts to take a back seat to what are considered more practical disciplines, such as STEM, those of us who have dedicated ourselves to the arts and arts education must come out aggressively against this skewed, ultimately destructive perspective. Moreover, we must do everything possible to support our students who despite the current arts-hostile environment are brave enough to consider careers that they are told lack relevancy and market value. We in the arts must trust that the guarantee we have for a sustainable future and success in meeting our goal for the arts to not only survive but also thrive is in the exceptionalism of our mission. I applaud each of you for choosing a path in the Arts.
It is essential we equip and train our students with the vision to imagine their unique place in the world and provide them with the skillset and the mindset to create their own opportunities. This means preparing artists and creative practitioners for a world that will indeed necessitate creative initiative, risk-taking, and working within–and maybe even creatively intervening in–the given economic framework. Our goal is to advocate success for our students not only here, but beyond UC Santa Cruz as they determine their place in the world.
I look forward to hearing from our students and seeing your success stories in action.
Sincerely and with warm regards,