USD Opens High-Tech Center for Learning

The wait is over.

The fall semester at the University of San Diego (USD) kicked-off with the opening of the newly-constructed School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) building.

Members of the media are invited to take part in an “in-depth” tour of the facility at 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 19. The tour, to be led by SOLES Dean Paula Cordeiro, will offer a chance for a closer look at the technology and educational advances housed in this state-of-the-art facility. An official dedication ceremony attended by members of the university community and invited guests will be held at 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20.

With the opening of the $36 million, 80,000 square-foot facility, the SOLES program is continuing to set the standard for education, locally, regionally and nationally. The new building features 15 classrooms, a 188-seat auditorium, a 60-seat executive training classroom, underground parking, an 800 square-foot instructional resource center, a 2,000 square-foot reading room, and a terrace café. A high-tech executive training room opens the door for community forums and leadership development conferences. The building provides SOLES students and faculty with a modern facility featuring the latest in higher learning technology, all under one roof.

The facility was designed to stay in line with the traditional Spanish architecture that resonates across the campus. Upon entering the building, there is a large, two-story sala, with a fireplace that will serve as gathering spot to hold lectures, programs and entertainment.

Over the past 10 years, under Dean Cordeiro’s lead, the program has grown from 15 to 40 faculty members and from less than 500 to almost 1,000 students. The new facility will provide the needed facilities and allow for expansion of the school’s distance learning programs, including work with Los Angeles-based John Tracy Clinic to train teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing.

“It is my hope that this building will allow our students, most of whom are part-time, and lead very busy lives, to experience their graduate program, rather than drive through it,” said Dean Cordeiro. “Graduate education should be a time to step back and reflect on what one is learning. A graduate education should be a transformative experience. This new facility allows us to provide an enhanced service that will strengthen our ability to prepare these leaders to effectively serve their schools and the community at large.”

Although the structure may be customary, there is nothing mundane about the focus of the program. The SOLES initiative is to implant the realization that leadership is critical to the success of school systems today. Hundreds of SOLES alumni are working across the country in leadership careers in education, counseling, family therapy, business, nonprofit management, military and special education.

It’s only fitting that the facility be named in honor of one of USD’s founders, Mother Rosalie Hill, whose vision for the university was to become a place of learning in which, “beauty will attract them; goodness will lead them; but truth will hold them.” Mother Rosalie Hill Hall sits on the west end of the campus with views of Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay. That vision of beauty is one of reasons cited for Hill and other founders choosing this location nearly 60 years ago.

The SOLES program has witnessed several milestones over the past 10 years, including its recent acknowledgment by Stanford University and the Wallace Foundation as one of the top eight programs in the country providing principal development programs. In the study released earlier this year, the SOLES program was applauded for its work with the San Diego Unified School District to meet the growing need to develop exemplary school leaders.

The school is also taking the lead in recognizing the work and impact that effective leaders have had on education with the development of the “Remarkable Leaders in Education Honors” program. A ceremony will be held in November to pay tribute to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of education in San Diego and Imperial counties. Tributes to the Remarkable Leaders in Education will line the walls of the new facility and serve as inspiration for current students as they walk the corridors of the building.

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.