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Management Institute Combines Living with Learning for Freshmen

June 6, 2008

UC Merced will open its first major-specific living-learning community in the fall, with an entire section of the Valley Terraces set aside for freshmen management and economics majors.

The Management Institute will allow students to explore the field of management in and out of the classroom. Management and economics students will share activities that explore their widely divergent interests, foster intellectual growth and discussion, develop student/faculty contacts, and challenge them to broaden their horizons. Activities may include informal presentations by faculty, alumni, or industry representatives. Students will also be able to take advantage of major-specific tutoring in subjects such as economics, writing and pre-calculus.

“It’s about shaping student perspectives so that they are better prepared for professional world,” said Leslie Santos, director of housing and residence life. “And hopefully, this will lay the groundwork for other thematic living arrangements.”

The opening of the residential community has been timed to coincide with the Management Summer Bridge Program, a two-week academic boot camp to prepare students for the rigors of the major. Participants stay on campus during the August program to help them acclimate to college life. However, instead of going home after the program for a short break before school starts, participants will stay put and remain in the same living space throughout the year.

“We’re striving to create a unique experience for students in and outside of the classroom,” said James Ortez, assistant dean of the School of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. “The Management Summer Bridge shows we are committed to building out the management major and are adapting as it constantly evolves.”

The unique experience Ortez refers to has a lot to do with how the partnership between the school and housing will help students even after they move on.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the management field among undergraduates,” said academic advisor Tori Gottlieb, adding that some students enter the major assuming they will dive right into high-level executive positions upon obtaining their bachelor’s degrees.

“That’s not exactly how it works,” Santos added. “But it’s our job to educate students on that and help them develop realistic expectation of the job market and to build a resume that stands out among their peers.”