The bi-quarterly Academic Senate met Thursday night in the UCen State Street room to update the faculty on campus issues.
The meeting included reports on happenings such as new professors and Fall 2016 application rates.
UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang recognized the passing of UCSB faculty members, including Otis Madison, a professor in the Department of Black Studies, and said Madison’s time at UCSB was impactful.
“He lectured on campus for almost 40 years and was very inspiring,” Yang said. “People remember him very well.”
Yang also took the time to recognize the passing of important alumnus Jim Barber, who is responsible for the idea of the Gaucho Reunion, a sort of homecoming weekend that over 10,000 UCSB alumni attend annually.
According to Yang, the application rates for incoming 2016 freshmen were the highest and most competitive to date. Yang called the freshman application pool the “most important item” of the meeting.
Yang attributed lower past application rates to the events of May 23 in 2014, but said that the increase in this year’s applicants demonstrates that the school’s reputation is recovering.
“This is something we have been focusing our efforts towards and represents a victory for us,” Yang said.
Yang said the number of applicants increased 9.3 percent from last year, a remarkable rise compared to the rest of the UC campuses.
“[This is] the highest increase in applicants — aside from Merced, which is still growing — among all UC campuses,” Yang said.
There were a total of 77,090 applicants for Fall 2016, 42 percent of which had a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn spoke on a variety of initiatives, including the integration of a transfer student support center on campus that will be in the new library.
Klawunn said she is proud of UCSB’s diversity.
“One of the things that excited me most about coming to work at UCSB was the dedication the faculty puts forth to encourage full diversity of the student body,” Klawunn said.
Academic Senate Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani discussed Wednesday’s Associated Students Senate meeting, the UC Board of Regents proposal to increase off-campus housing funding and nonresident tuition costs, for which a bill is currently being drafted.
Bhavnani said the Board of Regents has worked with UC campuses to complete projects.
“Word on the street is, if the Regents can handle all the complications of UCLA’s structures, then it can handle us,” Bhavnani said.
The Academic Senate will hold its next meeting in early March.