Incoming medical students traditionally receive white coats to commemorate their first steps toward becoming physicians. At UCI's annual White Coat Ceremony in August, however, they got an untraditional bonus: Apple iPad tablet computers loaded with everything necessary for the initial year of course work. As part of its new iMedEd Initiative, the medical school has developed a comprehensive, iPad-based curriculum, reinventing how medicine is taught in the 21st century. It's first in the nation to offer entering students a completely digital, interactive learning environment.
Let's hear it for ZotWheels, Zipcars and Zimrides. Partly on the strength of these alternative transportation options, UCI was sixth among 900 colleges and universities nationwide considered for the Sierra Club's fourth annual Cool Schools list of greenest institutions. "Incentives for alternative transportation minimize car commuting to UCI, even though it's in SUV-obsessed Orange County," says the September issue of Sierra magazine.
UCI placed 41st among all U.S. universities and 11th among public universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Best Colleges report, released in August. Each slot represents an improvement over last year, when UCI was 45th and 14th in those respective categories. The annual rankings reflect the academic quality and reputation of undergraduate programs, including UCI's engineering major, rated 45th. In July, UC Irvine Medical Center made the magazine's roster of Best Hospitals for the 10th consecutive year.
UCI, along with five other universities, has received a $10 million National Science Foundation grant to develop new software techniques that dramatically reduce computer hardware design and test costs while maximizing performance with minimal energy. The UCI team is led by Chancellor's Professor Nikil Dutt and Professor Alex Nicolau, computer scientists in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences and affiliates of the Center for Embedded Computer Systems. The federal grant funds projects that "promise significant advances in the computing frontier and great benefit to society."