UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan

Defining the Future of the Public Research University

Goal 1

Admitted students begin their transition to college by learning about UC San Diego at Triton Day.

Delivering an educational and overall experience that develops students who are capable of solving problems, leading, and innovating in a diverse and interconnected world

Strategy 1

Provide coordinated and comprehensive academic, professional, and career advising across all colleges, departments, and units.

UC San Diego provides extensive academic, professional, and career advising through colleges, departments, programs, and units such as the Career Services Center. We are committed to an advising system that recognizes the individuality of each student and provides the critical support, guidance, and opportunities a student needs to thrive.

Ironically, our success at creating a broad array of advising services has given rise to unintended challenges. Some students, confronted by a long menu of options, do not know where to start or whom to ask for specific kinds of advice. Others may not learn about these services until deadlines have passed or opportunities have been missed. To meet the needs of our students, we are making academic and career advising more integrated and accessible. We are investing $3 million to support undergraduate education resources and services, such as tutoring, advising, teaching assistants, and upgrades of undergraduate laboratories. In addition, we have made a two-year commitment to significantly increase funding for the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) by 50 percent, which provides free tutoring, as well as peer counseling and mentoring; the number of students able to attend the OASIS Summer Bridge transition program increased to 160 students, up from 130. We are also enhancing student health and well-being services by improving student-to-counselor ratios and reducing student wait times.

Access: Provide expanded outreach services and professional development to improve local pathways to higher education.

College advising begins long before matriculation. To ensure the widest possible access to UC San Diego, K–12 students must be academically prepared for college and understand and appreciate the value of a college degree. Drawing on faculty, students, and community educational partners, we will provide both outreach services and teacher professional development to assess and improve local pathways to higher education.

Transitions: Help students navigate their early experience on campus.

For most students the transition from high school, community college, or life abroad to UC San Diego is complex. Many of them are overwhelmed by the possibilities they confront, the rules they must navigate, and the cultural and psychological adjustments they face. We will establish a first-year transition program to help them adjust to classroom life, select a major, find internships, learn how to conduct research, manage time, maintain academic integrity, and build community.

Integrated student records: Provide integrated academic and co-curricular information that clearly communicates students’ achievements to graduate and professional schools and prospective employers.

To plan, track, and record the wide range of academic and co-curricular experiences that constitute a complete education, we are creating a record system that integrates an enhanced electronic transcript, a co-curricular record, and an electronic portfolio. The record will also provide academic and co-curricular road maps with timelines for suggested activities and learning opportunities.

Careers: Invest in personnel and programs to cement a unique strategic partnership between the Career Services Center, and Alumni and Community Engagement to help students network.

To launch a successful career, students need help finding jobs, identifying internship opportunities, and making connections. Alumni are a rich source of academic and professional mentors, internships, and employment opportunities. By leveraging the power of more than 160,000 UC San Diego alumni, the Career Services/Alumni and Community Engagement partnership is helping students to define and achieve their career goals, and to inspire alumni participation in the educational, career, and professional development of our students.

Strategy 2

Rethink curriculum and pedagogy to improve retention and graduation rates and increase student and faculty engagement.

To sustain our leadership in higher education, we must transform the ways we approach both teaching and learning. Drawing from the current best thinking about educational strategies and performance metrics, we will strengthen our support for the intellectual, academic, cognitive, and social development of our undergraduate and graduate students, increase our investment in mentoring and leadership opportunities for our faculty, and provide our faculty with ready access to the latest research on teaching and learning.

Curriculum: Review graduation rate data and curriculum requirements.

All departments, colleges, and majors are reviewing their graduation rates and curriculum with an eye towards taking advantage of new knowledge about teaching and learning, responding to changing disciplinary needs, and improving time-to-degree.

Teaching and learning centers: Create teaching and learning centers based on new knowledge and learning practices that equip faculty and coordinate programs and services across the campus.

To promote a culture of educational engagement, improve visibility and access, and enhance the opportunities for undergraduates to interact with faculty, these centers will coordinate programs and services that are currently distributed across the university. We will hire an executive director of the Teaching and Learning Commons, which is the umbrella for the new centers. We will also establish an Assessment Center to keep track of all the interventions.

Educational technology: Ensure that faculty and teaching assistants have the resources, information, and training needed to incorporate the appropriate educational technology into their courses to better prepare graduates for careers in the twenty-first century.

We are establishing real and virtual next-generation classrooms and laboratories that provide students with interactive and immersive experiences. Over the next three years, we will invest $4 million a year to expand instructional technology, upgrade classrooms and computer labs, and provide faculty support to improve teaching and student learning. In addition, we are allocating more than $14 million to renovate teaching laboratories, including $11 million to renovate undergraduate biology and chemistry laboratories. Faculty will have an opportunity to view successful technology in action, learn about critical technical details, and consult with outside experts and with one another regarding the best pedagogical methods.

Writing: Assess and expand the role of writing to advance students’ academic and career goals.

To strengthen student learning and engagement, we are exploring ways to integrate writing into the curriculum. For undergraduates, focused writing that reflects engagement in educational activities such as internships, study abroad, and research projects can be life changing. For graduate students, developing strong academic writing can directly correspond to success, especially in the period after advancement to candidacy.

Strategy 3

Strengthen the connection between academic and high-impact, cocurricular experiences.

The campus faces the ongoing challenge of linking formal undergraduate classroom instruction with relevant real-world experiences that enhance the learning process. Experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom for UC San Diego students include placement in cutting-edge laboratories and research facilities, opportunities to live and learn in other countries, and participation in public service programs at home and abroad. Participants in such cocurricular activities have higher retention rates and shortened time-to-degree. After graduation, these students are more attractive to employers and command higher incomes. To increase experiential learning opportunities for students and postdoctoral scholars, we have created the Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program. We are investing $7.2 million over two years in two hundred seed grants to support multidisciplinary research fellowships for undergraduate students, doctoral students, and some postdoctoral scholars working with faculty mentors in the lab. The goal is to promote diverse research experiences and partnerships across fields, and to expose students to research projects that will develop their ability to communicate and collaborate.

Transferrable skills: Establish specific expectations for transferrable skills in all departments, colleges, and major programs.

We are guiding students as they plan their education by mapping these transferrable skills to courses and experiences in which they may be acquired.

Experiential learning portal: Develop a comprehensive university portal so that students and experience providers can be matched effectively.

We will enhance the existing interactive Undergraduate Research Portal to become an online clearinghouse for research, study abroad, internships, and community service.