Kresge College

Kresge College Administration Building

Academic Programs

Academic Literacy Curriculum
College Scholars Program

Academic Emphasis

Kresge was the sixth college to be built on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The college was founded on principles of participatory democracy and experiential education, with a vision of profound social and individual empowerment within an active living and learning community. Its motto is Independence, Creativity, Community.

Kresge College strives to blend the traditional promise of a liberal arts college with a prominent legacy of experimental and interdisciplinary education. Its curriculum is designed to create opportunities for personal growth and strengthening communities, to foster creative and critical thinking about the world we live in, to cultivates good citizenship, and to facilitates stewardship of a just and sustainable society. Kresge College aims to help students of the widest possible range of backgrounds and biographies, to succeed in a path to higher learning at a research institution.

Kresge’s academic life is centered on the integration of living and learning in a community that values self-determination, consensus-building, intellectual freedom, sustainability, and justice. These principles take shape in a curriculum that emphasizes participatory learning, hands-on experience, and conscientious academic inquiry that transcends the walls of traditional classrooms. In wide-ranging topics including but not limited to agroecology, photography, writers' workshops, natural history, journalism and service learning, Kresge’s courses offer varied ways for Kresge students to fulfill general education requirements while broadening their educational experience in the company of dedicated and imaginative faculty.

The core curriculum (see Core Course, below) consists of one required course and a range of elective extensions. All entering first-year students enroll in Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation (KRSG 1), a fall-quarter seminar and plenar-series course that prepares students to develop and engage discourse and knowledge exchange in a university environment, and provides a foundation of questions and aspirations for the intellectual community that will shape Kresge students’ whole engagement with their UCSC education. Following that course, Kresge students have the option to extend their core learning in courses that deepen those questions into specific domains. Power and Representation and Media (KRSG 2) extends the questions of social justice and media representation in a more advanced seminar in media literacy. Natural History Practicum (KRSG 3) offers students weekly opportunities to practice critical and empirical reflection on the shared multi-species environment of the UC Santa Cruz campus. Learning with Intention and Purpose (KRSG 100), intended for the Kresge junior or senior year, reintroduces Kresge students to fundamental principles of liberal arts education, and its relationship to the world beyond our campus.

Kresge also boasts a richly varied enrichment curriculum, with three distinct emphases:

Service Learning (KRSG 12A, 12C ...), which supports student-initiatives in community service and community action, cultivates grant-writing and fund-raising skills, and raises the profile of the college in visible and positive community impacts.

Kresge Labs (KRSG 65W, 65 …): courses in which traditional academic disciplines (ranging from writing, to photography, to natural history, music, and more) are approached in 2- and 3-credit courses for “lay inquiry”, fostering learning in which students are the primary critical and collaborative audience for one another’s academic work.

The Common Ground Center (curriculum and lecture series including KRSG 72, 73, 74 ...), offering courses that support student cooperatives, foster initiatives for sustainability and justice, communication, and contemplative-studies, and support our function as the North American host of the Right Livelihood College. 

Students can collaborate with the provost to encourage developments to this curriculum, including proposing student-driven or student-led courses, or recommending invited lecturers to participate in our core plenary, Media and Society, or Common Ground Center speaker series.

Core Course

KRSG 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation
Offered in fall quarter

Offered to entering frosh, Kresge’s core course, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation (KRSG 1), prepares students for engagement with university discourse. Students read a selected range of contemporary nonfiction and creative work in varied media, developing a practice of interpretation and dialogue that serves as a model for their future academic endeavors. Power and Representation emphasizes texts that reflect on the struggles of individuals and communities to represent and constitute themselves in the United States. In contemplating those struggles, students are encouraged to think beyond easy answers, to express themselves clearly, to reflect on their own thinking and learning styles, and to think critically about their place in a larger world of knowledge and experience. In addition to their seminar meetings, all students in KRSG 1 meet periodically with academic mentors—fellow Kresge students who model successful learning styles. The entire core cohort also meets five times during the quarter for the required evening Plenary Series, guest lectures that deepen engagement on specific topics of the course.

Visit Kresge Core Course for additional information about Kresge College academics, including core course requirements and other academic programs.

College Advising
Phone: 831-459-2071

Kresge has a team of three academic advisers who work collaboratively with students to support them as they explore majors, navigate university policy, clarify academic goals, and develop strategies for success. Kresge’s advisers serve as advocates for students who are experiencing institutional barriers to their success, while also upholding university policy when necessary. 

Kresge’s advising staff regularly participate in professional development opportunities both on- and off-campus in order to stay abreast of new research and best practices in the wider academic advising community. They celebrate and reflect the diversity of the Kresge student body and seek to model the goal of being lifelong learners.

College advisers work with students from Summer Orientation and Welcome Week through graduation, although much of the interaction is concentrated in the student’s first year or two on campus before they’ve declared a major. Students come to the College Office with all of their questions, and college advisers and front desk staff frequently facilitate connections with other campus resources as appropriate. 

In addition to one-on-one in-person and email advising, Kresge’s advisers collaborate with the provost, Residence Life office, and campus-wide academic and student support services to offer holistic programming. Past workshops have covered topics such as options for summer enrollment, how to choose a major, and finding family away from home.

Other Academic Programs

Kresge is a rich and multidimensional academic community, uniquely oriented toward media studies, and known by many as “the writers’ college,” participatory and consensus-based decision making, service-learning, and cooperative and non-profit leadership.

Kresge is home to City on a Hill Press, as well as the Kresge Writing Center (a west-campus home of the UCSC Writer’s Society, Matchbox Press, Red Wheelbarrow, and the Creative Writing Archives). The Common Ground Center at Kresge College promotes social and environmental change through undergraduate-focused action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. Our Service Learning courses prepare students to become innovators and activists, through community service projects and grant-writing workshops that connect students’ academic lives to the world outside the university. Kresge College also hosts courses related to our student cooperatives: the Kresge Garden Co-op, Photo Co-op, Music Co-op, and Food Co-op.