CCS is honored to showcase 50 individuals and activities during our 50th Anniversary to share our rich history and amazing people responsible for making our unconventional College possible! Return regularly to learn more.
Adrian M. Wenner—UCSB Professor from 1962-1993 in the Biology Department (now the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology), CCS Biology Faculty (1974-1993) and CCS Provost (1989-1993)—is not afraid of stinging controversies or buzzing the status quo.
I have also come to genuinely appreciate the CCS philosophy of flexibility and providing one-on-one advising for our highly motivated students to assist them with their passions and help guide them where they want to go. I'm always been a big proponent of public education, and big public universities can provide a great educational experience, but it's also easy to see how some students can get lost in the large environment. CCS is a breath of fresh air allowing students into smaller, flexible and custom designed learning environments. It is life changing for some students.
Although he won a 2017 Daytime Emmy for his song “I’m Not Very Nice” on the Disney television show The 7D and toured the world as the lead singer for the band Nerf Herder, UCSB alumnus Parry Gripp (CCS Literature ’92) doesn’t think of himself as a good musician—at least in the formal sense. But this is not a fair assessment: his music and his career are anything but formal.
We often ask CCS alumni and parents how they heard about CCS and what led them to decide on the University of California. Well, for the Holtermanns, it seems to be in their blood. “We are big believers in the University of California,” said Karen and Robert Holtermann, proud parents of Wesley Holtermann (CCS Literature ’13) and passionate members of a multi-generation UC family.
When UCSB Chancellor Vernon Cheadle directed Marvin Mudrick, the College of Creative Studies (CCS) founder and first Provost, to design the College, he and Mudrick formed a committee of key faculty members across campus to help turn this revolutionary idea into reality. Max Weiss was one of them and subsequently became the College’s first Mathematics Faculty member.
Kailyn Kausen is a second year CCS Writing and Literature student with dreams of becoming a fiction author. Kausen shares her decision to come to CCS, her passion for writing, and her experience at the College.
Growing up in Santa Barbara, California, Roy Fowler, CCS Art Class of 1976, became fascinated by, and built a strong connection with, the ocean. Although Fowler has lived in New York for many years, his California roots are still evident in his artwork. Over the years, the focus of Roy’s paintings been abstraction in nature and landscape.
In 1965, UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Vernon Cheadle (1910-1995) had a vision to change the landscape of UCSB. There would be three new experimental colleges; each would offer an educational experience unique to the seaside campus.
From the moment Frank Bauman read his first book on dinosaurs at age six, he was hooked. This led Frank to the College of Creative Studies (CCS) where he, in the Biology program, could build his course load around his interests.
If you visited the College of Creative Studies (CCS) over the last five years, there is a high chance that you spoke with Sara Sterphone. Sara joined CCS in 2013 as a Student Advisor, and a year later became the Senior Student Advisor. In this CCS 50 for 50, Sara shares her experience at CCS, why she moved from New Jersey to Santa Barbara, and much more!
Carla Harryman (Literature ’75) is Professor of English and Co-Curator, Bath House Reading Series at Eastern Michigan University. Carla credits her experience at CCS to helping her foster a commitment to interdisciplinary creative writing education.
Book Arts at UC Santa Barbara College of Creative Studies and Professor Harry Reese are synonymous. Reese officially founded the Book Art major in 1988, yet the program can be traced to the first CCS class he taught in the Fall of 1978.
I was admitted to UCSB and was contacted shortly thereafter to consider the Mathematics major at CCS. Obviously, I was honored to be invited and impressed with the opportunity to be in such an intimate environment with small class sizes and outstanding professors, my favorite aspects of the College.
Anshika Bagla, a third-year Biologist at the College of Creative Studies, spent three weeks on a research vessel in the Gulf of California in fall 2017. Participating in a once-in-a-lifetime undergraduate research opportunity, Bagla was working as the Ocean Science Intern on the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus.
All the Art students were expected to be artists. "As students we were expected to be curious about something and go on and research it, whether that was something material, formal, or conceptual (usually all three)," said Adam. The mid-residency review at CCS gave him a sense of urgency and also a sense of real consequence if he slacked off.
A year after Professor Armand Kuris joined the Biology faculty at the College of Creative Studies in the late 1980s, all other Biology faculty had retired, and he was the major's only faculty member. This incident enabled this Zoologist to shape the Biology program into what it is today!
I entered the College of Creative Studies in Fall of 1967, just as it opened. The memories of my experience as a Mathematics student at the College may be altered by time, but let me tell you some of them.
I think the difference is CCS students are pretty confident that they want to do research. They are already pretty sure they know what area of Biology they want to go into. I would say, overall, they are a little further along in having figured out what they want to do.
The Proctors—Pete, Julie, Chris, Duncan, Will, and Connor—are an engaged and passionate three-generation University of California family. Julie and Chris met at UCLA where they both were studying Neurobiology.
Rolling hills bathed in golden late afternoon light greet students as they arrive at the Sedgwick Reserve for a course in field painting. The breeze is welcome given the heat of the day, and the growing shadows appear to beckon to a nearly idyllic educational experience for the students enrolled in the CCS course “Field Painting with an Artist and a Naturalist.”
SURF was created based on an apprenticeship-style training program, that’s well known to work. If we look at the apprenticeship model in its current state, it is really efficient and doesn't take that much money to have a really large impact on a lot of people. And
The Book Arts emphasis in CCS is a way for students to explore a range of ways to make contemporary art rooted in the book and its breadth of traditions. They learn to create limited edition artists’ books and book works, text-based art, how to sharpen their understanding of typography, and graphic arts through research and print technologies, and more.
Bruce H. Tiffney is an American paleobotanist and was the Dean of the College of Creative Studies from 2005 to 2016. Over the years as CCS dean, he became know for his wizard's hat and habit of staying late into the evening at the College!
I would simply like to express my profound gratitude to the program and to everyone I’ve encountered over the years through CCS, and I would like to emphasize my commitment to ensuring that CCS endures long after I do.
Eleanor Beatrice March Sweeney (1914-1989) was passionate about biology from as early as she could remember. Known as “Bea or Beazy,” to her friends and family, she did not take a formal biology class until she was a freshman at Smith College.
The mentorship I received as a CCS student was truly life changing as a budding scientist. The personalized attention and “small college” experience within a larger research university gave me the best of both worlds.
Brian Williams (CCS Art 68-72) dropped out months from graduation, disillusioned not by the free and eclectic academic environment of CCS, but by the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the polarization of political life in the United States. He wound up in Japan where he has built a very successful career as an artist.
CCS provided me an opportunity to work among stellar faculty and students in a small and academically rich environment. It gave me an opportunity to really be a part of the student/learning environment at UCSB
Alex Filippenko (CCS Physics ‘79) is the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences, and a Miller Senior Fellow in the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science (UC Berkeley). His accomplishments, documented in more than 870 research papers, have been recognized by several major prizes
After earning a PhD from the University of Michigan in 1971, Bill Ashby moved out to California to become part of the UC Santa Barbara faculty. He joined CCS as the Associate Provost in 1987 and became the Provost of the College in 1993. He retired after leading CCS for 13 years in 2006.
Carol’s passion from a young age was to write, write, and write! In making a decision on which institution of higher education would be the one for her, Carol sought the resources of a major university
Earlier this year, CCS alumna and MacArthur fellow Angela Belcher (Biology ‘91) returned to CCS under The Transdisciplinary Fund to have a conversation with CCS students. Belcher talked about a range of topics, including how the College impacted her PhD and career. Below is an edited version of the conversation.
My time as an undergrad was the most rewarding time of my life. My interests expanded at CCS and I greatly benefited from classes with Robyn Bell, Marvin Mudrick and Allen Stephens. Also, it was fun and such a compelling time that I wrote a novel, All the Trouble You Need, based on my experiences as a student at CCS that was published by Simon and Schuster and spent one week on the LA Times bestsellers list.
Ömer Eğecioğlu, a native of Turkey, joined the UCSB faculty in 1985. Since founding the College of Creative Studies’ Computer Science Program in 1994, he has split his time between both the Computer Science department and CCS. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.
I started teaching in CCS in the fall 1985, when David Cannell in the Physics Department asked me if I'd like to teach there and rebuild the CCS physics program. At that time there were only two CCS physics students. I developed the curriculum of the first two years of required CCS physics classes, and over the years I expanded and refined them.
Long before he was a Writers Guild of America award winning and Emmy nominated comedy writer, Alex Scordelis, CCS Literature class of 2004, was just a high school kid who knew that he wanted to write for a living. From the moment he heard about the College of Creative Studies Literature program from a college counselor, Scordelis thought CCS was the best place to make this dream a reality.
Kenny Broad’s journey from a BA in CCS Literature to a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University to joining Miami University’s faculty and becoming National Geographic’s 2011 Explorer of the Year is anything but ordinary. While he is now a world-renowned cave diver, he joined CCS while still searching to find his place at UCSB.
Hank Pitcher (CCS Art ’71) was one of the original 69 students when the College of Creative Studies (CCS) opened its doors in Fall 1967. He joined the CCS Art faculty upon his graduation in 1971 and has remained with the College ever since.