This year’s incoming first-year class at UCSB is expected to be
the largest in the university’s 62-year history. Given that high
GPAs and SAT scores are no longer sure tickets to admission, the
4,100 new students accepted are likely to be more than just smart
cookies. Both phenomena – greater numbers of students and a more
selective admissions process – mirror statewide trends.

UCSB and Westmont are top schools, according to the newly
released U.S. News & World Report rankings. UCSB
placed 47th among public institutions, while Westmont was 104th
among liberal arts colleges (which are generally private). UCSB
also snagged last place on the Princeton Review’s list of top 10
party schools. Last year, it came in fourth.

Slightly less than an acre of land at UCSB’s Lagoon Island will
undergo a controlled burn this weekend as part of large-scale
environmental restoration efforts in the area spearheaded by the
school’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological
Restoration. The blaze – which will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday
morning and will be supervised by county firefighters – will be
followed by the planting of native flora in the area.

Largely because of his role in confirming the Big Bang theory,
UCSB physics professor Philip Lubin was part of a team awarded the
$250,000 Gruber Cosmology Prize in Prague last week. A Gaucho
professor since 1987, Lubin was one of 19 people who helped develop
the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), a satellite designed to
identify and study 13-billion-year-old radiation left over from the
Big Bang.

UCSB and the Goleta Water District (GWD) resolved a dispute over
water rates. In October, the university accused the GWD of charging
it artificially high rates; the parties reached a settlement last
Friday. Both sides reported satisfaction with the deal, which calls
for the GWD to recompense UCSB for last year’s overcharges.


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