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Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch Joins US Forest Service Research Program

Research in the redwoods at Swanton Pacific RanchCal Poly and the USDA Forest Service recently signed an agreement to include the university’s Swanton Pacific Ranch near Santa Cruz, Calif., in the federal Experimental Forests and Ranges program. The U.S. Forest Service’s system of Experimental Forests and Ranges provides places specifically designated and administered to enable the research necessary for developing improved methods of forest management. The five-year agreement between Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station will facilitate an increase in research projects at the 3,200-acre Swanton Pacific Ranch, aimed largely at monitoring and attempting to predict the effects of climate change on the nations farm, range and forest lands. “This is a mutually beneficial agreement that creates the potential for exciting collaborative research with the Forest Service and other experimental forests, and with other nearby universities,” said Swanton Pacific Ranch Director Brian Dietterick, a researcher in hydrology and watershed management and professor in Cal Poly’s Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department. Learn more about Cal Poly's agreement with the Forest Service.

Cal Poly Honors Faculty, Staff Who Received $26 Million in Grant Funding in 2014-15

Cal Poly honored faculty and staff who received $26 million in grants and whose research resulted in four patents for the university in the 2014-15 academic year. The patented inventions include a substance that keeps fresh-cut fruit from browning; nano-satellite technology that is part of a 2016 mission to Mars; and an addition to an innovative water-purification system that saves lives in times of natural disasters. “Research by our faculty created robust learning opportunities for our students; improved Cal Poly’s academic reputation among universities, agencies and industry; and taught students that they can Learn by Doing through research," Dean Wendt, the university’s dean of research, said at a campus reception held Nov. 10. Foundations, public agencies and private industry all contract with faculty and staff members in the university’s six colleges for laboratory research and field studies and to develop software, among other projects. Find out more about the research grants and patents.

Cal Poly Architecture Program Rated No. 2 Nationally by DesignIntelligence 

Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program was ranked No. 2 in the 2016 DesignIntelligence ranking of the country’s 34 best public and private architecture and design schools. Among public universities, Cal Poly’s program was rated No. 1 in the U.S. Noted for its high-quality program, Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program placed in the top 10 in eight of nine skill sets  Cal Poly was deemed strongest nationally in two categories: construction methods and materials and sustainable design practices and principles. Additionally, the bachelor of architecture program earned second place in cross-disciplinary teamwork and fourth in computer applications. In addition, Cal Poly’s bachelor of landscape architecture program earned the No. 6 spot in the national ranking. Both programs secured the title of “Best in the West,” placing No. 1 in undergraduate programs in top schools in the Western states. Find out more on the College of Architecture and Environmental Design's honors.

Cal Poly Graphic Communication Receives $2.3 Million to Preserve Printing Industry History

Well-known printing industry expert Raymond J. Prince has donated $2.3 million to Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department to preserve the history and knowledge of the printing and imaging industry. The gift – the largest ever to the department – will fund four areas. The first is a named endowed scholarship honoring Cal Poly Professor Emeritus Gary Field, a highly regarded imaging scientist, professor, writer and speaker on issues of color management and related topics. The second is a named endowed scholarship honoring Professor Brian Lawler for his lifelong work advocating for the importance of print as a creative and influential communication medium surviving more than six centuries. The third area is a cash donation to supplement funds already raised to support what has become the world’s largest library on graphic arts technology and management. The library, already named the Raymond J. Prince Graphic Arts Collection, is housed in Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department and includes more than 30,000 volumes. The fourth is a bequest that will perpetuate the ongoing growth and development of the library’s collection and graphic communication education at Cal Poly. Read more on this donation.

Cal Poly Finishes Third in U.S. DOE's 2015 Solar Decathlon

A team of Cal Poly students took third for their net zero home that wowed judges and spectators in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. The 1,000-square-foot INhouse, with its 15-foot folding window-wall between living room and an outdoor patio, finished behind first-place Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, N.J., and University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. The first competition was staged in 2002 and has been held every two years since 2005. “Our students were challenged to build a cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive solar-powered house,” said Christine Theodoropoulos, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “They did just that with INhouse, and, working with our dedicated faculty and staff, created a remarkably beautiful home that features smart design and innovative products.” Cal Poly earned several other honors in the 10 individual competitions, held Oct. 8-18. The team tied for first in commuting, took second in market appeal and home life, and was third in architecture. “It was incredible to watch these students mature and grow,” said architecture Professor Sandy Stannard. “That’s why we, the faculty, are in it. It is a challenging thing to mount, but for the sake of those students who engage with creating a real project that has to perform in real ways — it is just gratifying.” More on the Solar Decathlon.

Cal Poly is the Best In the West for 23rd Consecutive Year

Cal Poly has kept its streak alive for 23 years as best public-master’s university in the West, according to the latest edition of the U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook. In the rankings released Sept. 9, Cal Poly tied for 10th in the magazine’s overall list of the West’s best universities, which includes 116 public and private institutions in 15 states, that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.” “We are humbled by the recognition of this prestigious ranking,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “It is always gratifying to see Cal Poly honored for our singular Learn by Doing approach to education. Read more on this year's rankings.