Porter College

Porter College was founded in 1969 as the fifth of UC Santa Cruz’s residential colleges and was later renamed in honor of a generous grant from the Porter-Sesnon family. Its mission is to foster achievement in all areas of study. Porter is especially dedicated to achievement in the arts, believing that creative inquiry is an essential part of a rigorous and broad-minded education, a flourishing society, and a happy life.

Academic Emphases

The Porter campus is the administrative home of the Arts Division and the History of Art and Visual Culture Department, but Porter College faculty fellows hail from every academic division on campus and from many non-academic professions. All of them share the philosophy of education that the college’s curriculum embodies: first, discover how to learn; then, learn by doing; and finally, let your learning make a difference in the world.

The Porter College curriculum encourages students to explore unusual topics and provocative ideas, to test and revise hypotheses about the meaning of their experiences, to learn from the failures that are an inevitable part of new learning and discovery, and to assume responsibility for the decisions they make in their studies.

Additional information about Porter College academics, including Core Course requirements and other academic programs, is available here.

College Community and Facilities

The traditional residence halls and apartments play an important role in bringing the college community together. Students are encouraged to spend their beginning years in residence in the college, where housing is available for 1,300 students. The residence halls are divided into smaller units or “halls,” with from 30 to 35 students sharing a wing and restroom facilities. Theme or hall options include Single Gender, LGBTQIA+, Gaming, and Substance-Free (just to name a few). The six-person apartments are reserved for upper-division students.

Porter College is also home to the Transfer Community. The majority of on-campus incoming transfer students reside at Porter regardless of their college affiliation. Special programs are designed to help new transfer students adapt to life at UCSC.

In addition to traditional classrooms, Porter has many specialized facilities, such as student art galleries, a study center, and a dining hall that converts to a theater and programming space. Porter College also features a MakerSpace Co-op, dedicated to promoting Porter’s creativity, building community, and providing a constructive positive outlet. Additionally, the MakerSpace has tools and materials available to use for personal crafting projects or even class assignments. The Arts Instructional Computing Laboratories, located at Porter College, consist of two high-end labs oriented toward the arts.

Porter provides many opportunities for relaxation and recreation to balance the intellectual demands of a university education. The Residential Life and Activities Office staff organizes formal and informal events, including open-mic nights, dances, art activities, and the mural painting program.

Many students and faculty perform or exhibit their work at Porter. The Sesnon Gallery, the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall, the Porter Quad, and the faculty gallery host a wide range of artistic, cultural, and academic events each year.

For more information, call (831) 459-2273 or visit the Porter College website.

Porter College Fellows and Staff

Porter College faculty fellows are listed on the college's faculty directory.

Porter College staff are listed on the college's staff page.