50 Voices of the Future: Tam O’Shaughnessy on STEM education

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which no one knows anything about science and technology.” Tam O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of Sally Ride Science and executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, has worked for years to remedy that situation. As a career scientist and educator, she emphasizes the need to empower all students—especially girls and young women—to become scientifically literate and to master skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The work of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is important because our society depends on STEM. We need to make sure all students are literate in STEM so they can make informed decisions about their lives—their health, their communities and our planet.

Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America require knowledge and skills in math and science. Our future engineers, software developers and data scientists need STEM skills, yet the workforce in these crucial jobs does not reflect who we are in America. Even though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 28 percent are employed in STEM fields. Historically underrepresented groups—Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives—make up 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, but they account for only 10 percent of the workers in STEM jobs.

Science advances and grows when people from all parts of our society contribute. We face huge challenges—where will we get enough sustainable energy? How will we curb emissions of greenhouse gases? How can we contain disease epidemics? The solutions will come from science. We need to make sure we are tapping into the talents and creativity of women and men from all backgrounds to overcome those obstacles.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

STEM is at the forefront of the education policy discussion these days. Educators, parents, lawmakers and corporate America understand the need for a STEM-literate citizenry, and they are taking steps toward that goal. There is a critical mass of people building on what research and classroom experience show works best in STEM education. This includes improving teacher preparation and establishing consistent standards and curricula across states.

When we achieve excellence in science classrooms, teaching and learning are dynamic. Students work cooperatively to share ideas and participate in discussions. They make predictions and talk through explanations, evidence and relationships between hypotheses and data. Students review and evaluate their own knowledge and revise their ideas based on new information. In an excellent science classroom, students are immersed in doing science as it is done by real scientists.


(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big things are equity and excellence—in STEM education and, in turn, in STEM fields. Our society will reap countless benefits if we enable all students to be their authentic selves. We need to provide excellent educational opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Making sure that all students receive an excellent STEM education will play an enormous role in shaping the future of San Diego and the nation. Equity and excellence in STEM education will impact everything from productivity and prosperity to innovation and quality of life. STEM literacy empowers people to make informed decisions in their personal lives—selecting nutritious foods, evaluating options for medical treatment or adopting environmentally responsible habits. STEM literacy also enables people to weigh competing arguments and reach valid conclusions on issues facing our society. An understanding of basic STEM concepts prepares young people for the future by developing critical thinking skills that are invaluable in any field of study and in any career.

Not all students want to pursue advanced degrees. There are opportunities in STEM for everyone. For example, half of all STEM jobs don’t require a four-year degree. These jobs pay an average of $53,000, which is 10 percent higher than non-STEM jobs with similar education requirements.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now, equity and excellence in STEM education will be realized. This is a lofty view of the future, but based on the progress we are making, we can achieve this goal. When we create a STEM-literate citizenry—and all that it entails—our country will be stronger socially and economically. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies can help realize this future by supporting their communities’ efforts to improve STEM education based on our current knowledge of how children and adults learn.

We invite you to more about Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego and other Pre-College programs that we offer at UC San Diego Extension.

UC San Diego Extension announces “The Next Fifty” scholarship recipients

50thLogoCMYKUniversity of California San Diego Extension has announced the 10 recipients for “The Next Fifty” scholarships, which is part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The scholarship program is UC San Diego Extension’s way to give back to the community by helping people prepare for what’s next. Awardees can use the $5,000 scholarship toward Extension’s courses and certificates.

Extension selected the 10 recipients out of close to 500 applications and the recipients represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The recipients and their areas of study are:

  1. David Beatty for Business Analysis Tools and Strategies
  2. Lala Forrest for Art and the Creative Process
  3. Rami Husseini for Datamining
  4. Norma Lopez for Teaching Adult Learners
  5. Patrick Mazza III for Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Alexandra Southard for Business Intelligence Analysis
  7. Kathleen Stadler for Fundraising and Development
  8. Abigail Wattierrez for Sustainable Business Practices
  9. Ryan Williams for Community Research and Program Evaluation
  10. Jordan Woolsey for Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English)

The scholarships were open to those with at least a high school degree or equivalent and who saw UC San Diego Extension as a way to advance their career or pursue their passions. The applicants were required to write a 500-word essay on how Extension can help them prepare for the future, which will be shared on Extension’s blog in the coming weeks.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community outreach and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said “The Next Fifty” scholarships deliver on Extension’s mission to offer the education and training needed to ensure the region is prepared for changes occurring in everything from the arts to technology to science.

“UC San Diego Extension wants to be a positive force for change. For more than 50 years, Extension has been evolving its programs and educational offerings to meet the needs of San Diego,” Abeyta said. “These scholarships will help individuals stay ahead of the curve and get ready for what’s next and underscore our commitment to lifelong learning.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Extension has been publishing a weekly blog feature called “Voices of the Future,” which showcases thought leaders including UC San Diego faculty, industry and civic leaders as well as Extension instructors on the technological and social advances envisioned in the next 50 years. These stories are designed to cover a wide variety of topics and highlight the life-changing advances happening on campus, in the San Diego region, and in the education sector itself.

UC San Diego Extension has also offered a variety of public lectures and programs to deliver on Extension’s anniversary celebration’s core mission and message, which is to prepare individuals and institutions for change. Upcoming events include a panel on the Election 2016 that Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, will moderate and that will feature, Thad Kousser, chair and professor of political science at UC San Diego; Scott Lewis, editor of the Voice of San Diego; and Laura Fink, professional political consultant.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s anniversary scholarships, blog features and events, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/.

Arts integration takes its place in the spotlight in education reform trends

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UC San Diego Extension’s Morgan Appel was among arts integration experts and advocates who gathered in June for an invitation-only summit at Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum. Arts educators, non-profit leaders, and policy makers met to plot the future of arts integration and take advantage of a resurgence of interest in the arts among education reformers.

“The arts have always contributed to creative problem solving and fearless learning but with the advent of Common Core, educators have a new appreciation for the way that the arts promote these meta-cognitive skill sets. Similarly, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum has added arts to its mix and schools now want to promote that they are STEAM academies,” said Appel, director of educational programs. He says the gathering at the Getty enabled diverse stakeholders from across the state to “better collaborate and shape our message” at this critical juncture.

Closer collaboration and wider sharing of success stories are sorely needed, Appel said, for what he fears could be “a narrow window of opportunity” for arts integration to make its case. Teaching of the arts suffered in the No Child Left Behind era in which the emphasis in education was on test scores. “Education reform tends to run in five-year cycles, particularly in California, and the pendulum swings in pronounced and exaggerated ways,” Appel noted. “Often in public education, we are grafted to the idea of immediate gratification – and while the neurobiological benefits of arts-integrated learning are well established, the perception is still that arts reward or enhance rather than facilitate cognition.”

As interest in arts education surges, Appel and UC San Diego Extension are developing an arts integration certificate program to meet the demand. Scheduled to launch this year, the program will offer educators a “palette of strategies and ideas” on which teachers can rely, using their instincts about the tools that will work best with their students. Courses will expose educators to many practical ways in which visual, digital and performing arts can be introduced in classrooms to promote 21st century skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, social and cross-cultural skills, among others that are touted as essential to thriving in the information age.

At the Getty event, Appel also connected with a local school district about other pursuits, including his work promoting the neurobiological benefits of games in the instruction of gifted and talented students. In particular, he said, “role-playing games enable students to assume identities, build out environments, and have wonderful adventures in their minds.” Gifted students often have trouble coming out of their shells, Appel added, but improvisational games give them license within prescribed parameters to be fearless. Live action and role playing games build confidence and competence and offer sophisticated opportunities to engage the brain, he shares. The games are, of course, integrated into the curriculum, manifesting connections between the arts and the desired subject matter.

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Appel, who has an MBA, taught at the Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine prior to coming to UC San Diego. He writes and speaks extensively about how arts transform the brain and the learning experience.

Five trends shaping education in the 21st century

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For Morgan Appel, director of the Education Department at UC San Diego Extension, the work he does is always informed by the fundamental traditions of research universities, which are based on the three pillars of research, service, and teaching.

While service and teaching are critical to his work, research plays a pivotal role because it informs the future.

“In everything we do, there is always a research question, whether it be process or content,” he said.

Appel, who has his bachelor’s and MBA from UC Irvine and done doctoral work at Claremont Graduate University’s School of Educational Studies, said the research he does on education is both theoretical and practical. Despite overseeing a department that serves more than 8,000 students annually, Appel said he still teaches about three to four courses per year.

“I do that to continue that connection and to keep my ear to the ground,” he said.  “It’s easy for me to muse about theory in my office, but real insight into education requires me to be there and to interact with people who are doing the job.”

Through his hands-on teaching experience and research, Appel has written on everything from Common Core to gifted students to adult education to the importance of contextual learning.
In his constant surveying of the landscape, Appel said he sees five big trends shaping education in the 21st century that will have an impact on teachers and students. These trends are:

Education is being redefined.
Education is no longer the sole province of schools and universities. Increasingly, other institutions, including those in industry, are employing education’s best practices to provide training in the most effective and impactful way.

“We are redefining where education is happening,” Appel said. “We understand that education is not only lifelong, but happens everywhere.”

The knowledge economy of today requires that education moves beyond formal coursework to provide “just-in-time learning” through a variety of channels, including mentorships, he explained. Simply put, companies and trade organizations are looking for ways to offer new information and training in a time-efficient but fundamentally sound way.

“Adult learners come to us with a host of expertise and knowledge,” Appel said. “What they are looking for is the mortar between the bricks.”

Global demand grows.
The redefinition of education, coupled with a wave of retirements in the education profession, is increasing the demand for those who can teach and train.

This trend is particularly evident in the world of occupational training, where the pace of innovation requires workers to update their skills constantly. That, in turn, translates into a need for instructors or teachers who can provide this niche training on a timely basis. Appel stressed that this training is not necessarily about specialization, but instead is about skills integration.

“What we are looking for is not for generalists in the traditional sense, but people who can integrate and can take their knowledge and apply it to new situations,” he said.

Creativity makes a comeback.
Standardized tests are out and creativity is in when it comes to teaching, especially for K–12 teachers.

“In education, the pendulum swings, and it swings in very extreme ways,” Appel said. “For the last 25 years, the discipline was focused on standardization. The consequence of that was a sapping of creativity. It was a recipe that was very strict and that assumed everyone has the same pace and way of learning.”

He said this demand for creativity is coming from industries and universities that are looking for problem-solvers—not just those versed in rote memorization.

“It is not enough to paint by numbers. You must be able to paint a robust masterpiece,” Appel said.

Technology drives innovation and personalization.
Technology, such as online learning, is fundamentally changing education, Appel said. It is leading to increased personalization, allowing students to learn on their time and their terms. It is also fundamentally shifting the balance between formal and informal learning.

“Education is now more of a learning partnership,” Appel said.

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But as the line between student and teacher blurs, there is greater need to ensure that all those involved in the learning process are critical consumers of information.

“We help students understand where they are getting their information and what they should deem a credible source,” he said. “How do you distinguish between CNN and Uncle Billy’s Blog? It might seem intuitive, but really it’s not.”

The need to see both the forest and trees.
Appel said there are common threads in education around the world, and so it is critical to know and understand the big picture on a global basis.

“Though contexts may be different, administrators and practitioners are compelled to contend with similar issues and phenomena worldwide,” Appel said. “That’s seeing the forest.”

On the other hand, he said, each learning experience needs to be understood in the unique context in which it operates. For instance, reading instruction is different when it is designed for K–12 students compared to adult learners at a community college.

“As we move forward, these one-size-fits-all programs are not going to work anymore,” Appel said. “That’s seeing the trees.”

50 Voices of the Future: Chris Yanov on getting low income kids into college

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Solving problems is a passion for Christopher Yanov. Whether it’s coming up with the correct answer for a puzzle on “Wheel of Fortune,” or figuring out how to get kids from tough neighborhoods into college, Yanov enjoys putting together the right pieces to create success. One of those successes is Reality Changers, a nonprofit program aimed at getting students from traditionally underserved communities ready for college. Yanov started Reality Changers in 2001, with the help of the $23,000 he won as a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” that same year.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Reality Changers is headquartered in a locality where only three percent of adults have college diplomas. We believe that college changes everything, especially for low-income intercity youth. We do assemblies for middle school students with a 2.0 GPA and below. Our studies have shown that unless they join Reality Changers, none of those struggling male 8th graders will graduate from their local high school, and only 25 percent of the females will be able to graduate without us.


(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

We started in 2001 with just $300. When May 2016 comes around, 15 years later, our graduates will have produced and secured over $100 million in college scholarships. It’s taken us 15 years to accomplish that feat, but we’re on track to replicate that again by 2020. We’re launching a model where schools, school districts and other nonprofits can come and learn our curriculum. As that begins to spread across California and the country, we believe we can help low-income intercity kids earn $100 million in scholarships every single year for every 30 schools they’re in.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

We’re taking the curriculum we have for our 12th graders, which helps them navigate through the college application process, and offering that out to essentially anybody who wants it, by the end of 2016. For us, the results are every 20 students that participate earn $1.7 million in college scholarships. That works out to about $88,000 dollars per student. We’re able to offer something that can make high school counselors and teachers more efficient and effective and helping low-income kids get to college.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

For one thing, in certain areas of San Diego only 50 percent of students are graduating high school. To have all these voices who have never really had a place in San Diego’s society to finally be able to represent their families, their neighborhood, their backgrounds – it’ll really be amazing to have these voices play significant roles in San Diego’s ongoing conversation.

When you look that far into the future, I mean, who else but Reality Changer students are the best educated, best spoken, and the ones who care the most about their community? There’s a good chance that our graduates could take up a third of the City Council within a decade or two. Not that that will happen, I’m just saying that the percentages are in our favor.


(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Reality Changers focuses on the toughest and brightest youth living in the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. What happens is that by raising their grades from below a 2.0, to say a 3.5 and above, going to UC San Diego over the summer after 9th, 10th, and 11th grade for three weeks, taking college classes, believing and becoming convinced they can succeed at a college level – the sky’s the limit. In 50 years, I honestly haven’t looked that far into the future with the program and the students, but I can only imagine that the success that they’re experiencing at such a young age will be multiplied by the time they have their own resources and their own connections to make an impact on San Diego.

Learn more about Academic Connections and explore our other Pre-College programs such as Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, SIO Games at Elementary Institute of Science, ThoughtSTEM (college prep credit in computer science), and Test Prep for the CT®, SAT®, GMAT®, GRE®, LSAT® and MCAT®.

50 Voices of the Future: Kate M. Edwards on special needs students

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Kate M. Edwards, Ph.D., is a teacher’s teacher. At UC San Diego Extension, she trains educators how to instruct students with special needs. This is key because, as Edwards explains, the future of education is all about inclusiveness. Whereas in the past, there were separate classrooms for children in special education, the trend now is for all students to be integrated in the same class, with the same teacher.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I’ve been working most recently on creating a program for UC San Diego Extension on teaching children with autism. The need for more information about children with autism is a particular concern for teachers. It’s the way of the future that all children are going to be included in the same classroom; not all children are the same and they have individual needs, and teachers need to be equipped on how to accommodate a variety of different learning styles and abilities.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

I think there’s a recognition that all students have different abilities and that skills in accommodating and modifying curriculum for all students is important whether or not they’re deemed special needs or not, like ideas such as universal design, which is to design the curriculum in a way that can include the most types of learners and the most types of abilities, rather than having to single out one child.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

I believe teacher credentials are going to be inclusive for special education practices for all teachers, whether they have that (special education) designation or not. I always tell young teachers that we are all special education teachers – whether you have it on your credentials or not – because you’re going to have kids in your classroom that have special needs. They might be very subtle special needs, or they might not be diagnosed special needs, but you’re going to have a kid in your classroom with special needs and you’re going to have to teach to that child whether or not that’s on your credentials or not.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

It affects San Diego particularly because children with immigrant status who are English language learners would be more included in the classroom, and they would have more services available to them, and they would not be singled out as much. Their teacher would have to give them more attention initially because that’s how you get them caught up, and that would be implicit in the instruction. But they wouldn’t be considered a special group.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

High school right now is not really working for a lot of students. It’s no longer structured for the real world young person, who has to work to take care of their families or their brothers and sisters, etc. I think high school is going to become a much more individualized program. It’s going to become a more online independent study situation. Education is going to be a much more individualized approach.

Explore the Education programs and classes that UC San Diego Extension offers online, including Kate’s course, Teaching Special Populations.

The making of a UC San Diego Extension certificate program (infographic)

There’s a point in every person’s career when they realize they want to changes jobs or move up the organizational ladder, but maybe they’re not quite sure how to make it happen. Should it involve going back to school full time? Will it require a degree? And how can it be done without having to spend (or go into debt for) tens of thousands of dollars?

Enter UC San Diego Extension’s certificate programs. Every program offers students an opportunity to examine a new field and demonstrate to others they have the discipline to work toward a specific goal while increasing their earning potential and marketability.

The completion of a certificate program provides:

  • Documentation of specific, formal study at a highly-regarded academic institution
  • Career-oriented, post-graduate training to complement a college or university degree
  • Well-developed job skills and knowledge for your current job, a promotion, or career change

Why a UC San Diego Extension Certificate?

A UC San Diego Extension certificate is a widely-respected academic credential certifying completion of a rigorous and specialized course of study that’s recognized and valued by employers. Designed by industry experts and academic faculty, our cutting-edge programs meet high academic standards and provide real-world skills.

Here’s how to we take an idea and develop it into a high-quality, high-value certificate program:

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We offer two types of certificate programs: Professional and Specialized. Professional programs consist of a minimum of 20 units of approved continuing education credit (200 classroom instruction hours). Specialized programs consist of a minimum of 9 units of approved continuing education credit (90 classroom instruction hours).

Curious about what we have to offer? Take a look at our list of programs to see if there’s a one that’s right for you.

Four Steps to Earn Your Certificate

  1. Review the Certificate Course Matrix (i.e. class schedule) and apply for the certificate program of your choice (click the Apply Now button on the specific certificate page you are interested in). Make sure to fill it out completely!
  2. Receive your program approval via email and enroll in course(s) listed on the Certificate Course Matrix.
  3. Complete all required courses and your chosen electives with a grade of C- or better, within five years.
  4. Submit your Notice of Completion online, or by mail to the address specified above.

Have questions about our programs? Feel free to search our website or contact Student Services with your questions. We are happy to help you!

50 Voices of the Future: Steven Mercer on college costs and competition

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Dr. Steven Mercer makes his living helping kids get into college, and so his professional success depends partly on his ability to spot trends in higher education. He’s sure of this much: the spiraling cost of college simply isn’t sustainable. Too many students are leaving college with too much debt. Something has to change. He and his colleagues continue to grapple with the question of exactly how things will change, both in the short term and over the next few decades.

Mercer runs an LA-based private practice advising high school students and their parents on how to select and gain admission to college. He also teaches UC San Diego Extension courses for those looking to get into the same profession. It is a field, he says, that is mushrooming as more and more anxious parents seek guidance on how to help their kids get into the right school. As costs continue to rise, and competition for admission gets fiercer every year, today’s high school students are “one of the most overmedicated, underslept populations we’ve ever had,” he says.

1) Why is the work you do important?

The jobs of today and certainly the jobs of tomorrow require, for the most part, a college degree. But it’s become such a huge investment that the choice of college and the process of choosing the right college has just become more and more important. Over the last five years, 10 years, 15 years, the number of people who are entering the field of being an independent educational consultant specifically helping students with the college application process has exploded and it’s not slowing down.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

In terms of what’s going on in college admissions in general, there’s change afoot. The SAT has been redesigned and the new SAT was just administered for the first time about a few weeks ago. There are a lot of kinks and a lot of anxiety and a lot of unknowns. Also, there’s the adoption of the Common Core standards by many, many states as their measure of secondary education. The SAT was revised dramatically to align with Common Core, which is all very confusing and anxiety-provoking for students. The SAT was also partly redesigned to help promote more access from underrepresented students. Whether it will do that or not, we don’t know. The word access is kind of code in the world of college admissions for things we can do to help even out the playing field and create more opportunities.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

One big change is the way people access education. Technology is going to play a larger and larger role. What is likely going to happen is a combination of ‘click and brick,’ more and more online options, or a class with online components that meet partly in person and partly online, any number of different combinations. The way technology is influencing students’ attitudes toward education, and the way they access education, is only going to increase.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

This field used to be just a cottage industry. It’s gotten to the tipping point where people can make a full-time living and practices are growing, multi-person practices, practices with various partnerships providing different service. The goal is always to help a student find the right fit; focusing only on prestige colleges is just not a winning strategy.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

How people are going to save and pay for college is going to be very, very different. It might be a pay-as-you go arrangement, where you don’t pay tuition but later on you pay as a percentage of your income for a certain number of years. I don’t know. It has to change because the cost of college keeps rising and rising and rising, and states and public schools aren’t going to pay more, they’re going to pay less. In the near-term, however, it doesn’t appear that we’ve reached any kind of ceiling. It has not stopped rising. It keeps going up.

Learn more about the College Counseling program and the courses that UC San Diego Extension offers including Understanding College Affordability and Financial Aid, College Counseling Strategies, and U.S. College/University Application Process and the International Student.

Meet gifted storyteller Brian Selznick at the intersection of pictures and words

Like all successful authors, Brian Selznick is a gifted storyteller. But it’s his dexterity in several different mediums that has made him a celebrity in the world of children’s literature.

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His talent as a sketch artist is what launched his initial career as an illustrator for other authors’ books. Selznick, who serves on UC San Diego Extension’s advisory board for the Children’s Book Writing Certificate, also has a cinematographer’s gift for using visuals to create mood and atmosphere. He also happens to be a great writer with a fondness for spare language and a novelist’s eye for the telling detail.

His talents and background were very helpful in crafting the curriculum for Extension’s children’s book writing certificate, which is designed to provide a solid foundation for what is needed to become a published author.

Selznick’s skills also are what made him famous with his 2007 book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a New York Times bestseller that was adapted into the Oscar-winning film Hugo by Martin Scorsese.

He uses all the same techniques in his latest book The Marvels, which, like his two other most recent works, he both writes and illustrates. Selznick, who lives in both San Diego and New York City, has been getting rave reviews for The Marvels, which was published in September.

As with all the best children’s stories, from the Pixar movies to the Harry Potter books, Selznick’s stories have the power to transfix not just children but adults. Selznick’s characters are usually girls and boys thrust out into the world on their own, typically as runaways and/or orphans. They are forced to live in the shadows while embarking on sprawling searches for their family histories, their identities and their places in the world. They tend to be solitary and resourceful survivors.

Selznick has described The Invention of Hugo Cabret as “not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things.” The same is true of his two books since Hugo Wonderstruck (published in 2011) and now The Marvels.

He uses his black-and-white pencil sketches to create the equivalent of film sequences – for instance, the slow close-up in which a sketch of a person is followed by a sketch of the same person at a closer angle, then a closer angle, until the full facial expression is revealed. The New York Times once compared his work to “a silent film on paper.”

His images can be haunting (a scurrying young girl clutching a sign that reads “Help me”) or full of grandeur and hope (a boy and girl standing together at the top of a clock tower, staring out at Paris.)

Selznick once told an interviewer that as a child he “loved magic but I was an extremely bad magician. I remember very specifically my fingers not being able to do what I wanted them to do. When it came to building models or doing very fine things with my fingers, I remember the frustration of not being able to do that.”

But he soon discovered his true gifts of drawing and writing. Lucky for him, and for us.

Brian Selznick shared his gifts in person at a book signing for The Marvels at Warwick’s in La Jolla at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. To find out more, please visit http://www.warwicks.com/event/brian-selznick-2015.

How to request a transcript: Five things you need to know

transcriptBy Kristen Gross

There are several great reasons you might need an official copy of your transcript from UC San Diego Extension. Perhaps your employer needs to see your status in good standing in order to initiate the reimbursement process. Maybe you’re about to apply to graduate school. It could even be that you’re just curious. No matter the reason you need a transcript, UC San Diego Extension Student Services is here to help you get it. Here are five things you need to know:

1. It’s all in the asking

Transcripts are not sent out automatically. In order to receive one, you must submit a transcript request to Student Services.

2. Put it in writing

Before your records can be released, we need your signature to authorize the sharing of this information. You can pick up and submit a form in person at UC San Diego Extension Student Services, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., Bldg C, or download the form and mail to:

UCSD Extension, Dept 0176-H
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093-0176

3. We take special requests

For some graduate programs, employers, or other special circumstances, additional materials may need to be sent along with your transcript. No problem! Simply attach special requests or forms that need to accompany your transcript with your request form, and we’ll take care of the rest. Please be aware that some special requests may extend processing time.

4. There is a (small) fee

For an official transcript, printed on watermarked paper and enclosed in a signed, sealed envelope, we charge a processing fee of $15 per copy. If you would like your transcript just for interest’s sake, you can request an unofficial copy for just $5. Depending on other factors (i.e. a rush, international fax, express shipping) there may be additional fees. Learn more on our website.

5. Feel free to follow up

We always love to hear from students. If you are not sure your transcript request has been received, we don’t mind checking on it. We know that these requests are often time-sensitive, and usually part of an exciting process. If you would like us to make sure it’s on track, please give us a call at (858) 534-3400.

To learn more about the transcript process and request form at UC San Diego Extension—including more details on fees and contact information—please visit extension.ucsd.edu/student. You may also contact Student Services by calling (858) 534-3400, emailing, or stopping by one of our locations.