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Strategic Plan Report

Defining the Future of the Public Research University

Message from the Chancellor

The founders of UC San Diego aspired to establish an experimental campus, one that would define the future of education and research at a public university. The success of this vision is unparalleled: UC San Diego is recognized as one of the top public research universities in the country and one of the top twenty universities in the world.

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla leads a Strategic Plan Town Hall Meeting.

While our founding vision has served us exceptionally well, UC San Diego is at a critical point in our history. We must think boldly to identify and implement the unprecedented solutions that are necessary to ensure our continued level of excellence and to advance our knowledge in order to address pressing global challenges. That is why we initiated the strategic planning process.

After establishing the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council, we engaged more than ten thousand stakeholders, gathering ideas and insights about UC San Diego’s challenges and opportunities. We coupled that effort with a quantitative assessment, benchmarking UC San Diego to peer institutions across multiple dimensions. That data sharpened and framed our mission, values, goals, and initial strategies and allowed us collectively to map a framework for sustainable excellence. This sets the stage for our successful future and enables us to further engage our campus and community members, alumni, and supporters.

I thank you for your contributions and look forward to continuing our journey together.


Pradeep K. Khosla

Pradeep K. Khosla
Chancellor, UC San Diego

Setting the Stage for UC San Diego’s Future

Established in the 1960s as an experimental campus, UC San Diego benefited early on from a supportive local community and founders who aimed to serve the nation’s need for exceptional basic science by recruiting the best scholars. The world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which became part of the University of California in 1912, served as a catalyst and an incubator for the fledgling university’s growth. With minimal barriers to advancing their creativity and scholarship, our pioneering faculty members pursued new frontiers of knowledge and created new disciplines. Their initial success attracted other scholars, which led to the rapid development of a comprehensive university where interdisciplinary research, inspired teaching, and creative expression quickly became hallmarks. Today, a culture of collaboration, risk taking, and innovation infuses our institutional DNA.

Campus Assets

Our rich academic portfolio includes five graduate and professional schools: the School of Medicine, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, and the Rady School of Management, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. At the undergraduate level, our system of six small colleges, patterned after those at Cambridge and Oxford universities, combines many of the advantages of a small liberal arts college with the opportunities and resources of a large research university.

As a public research university, we aim to have a transformative impact on the economic, social, cultural, and imaginative experiences of the communities we serve. The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, for example, supports major local, state, and national projects in science and engineering that require complex information, data analysis, and visualization. In the arts, our acoustically perfect Conrad Prebys Music Center and a dynamic partnership between the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse offer education and research opportunities for our students and faculty, while bringing both classical and avant-garde performances to the San Diego community.

Scripps Pier

The UC San Diego Health System also serves the community by providing compassionate, state-of-the-art care to patients from around the corner and around the world. It is ranked first among the San Diego region’s adult hospitals and fifth in California by U.S. News & World Report, and is rated among the best in the nation in eleven specialty areas including cancer, cardiology, diabetes, orthopaedics, neurology, and geriatrics.

An outstanding faculty is the mark of a great university—and a magnet for a stellar student body. At UC San Diego, 16 Nobel laureates have taught on campus, and 161 current and emeriti faculty are members of the three prestigious national academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. These leading scholars and passionate educators teach courses and guide our undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs.

Our academically talented, highly motivated students tend to be curious about the world and strongly committed to public service. In Washington Monthly’s college rankings measuring universities’ contributions to the public good, we have ranked number one in the nation for five consecutive years. The rankings are based on three categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and successful PhD candidates), and service (encouraging students to give back to their country).

Interdisciplinary Edge

UC San Diego’s emphasis on transformative research has served the world well. Fundamental scientific studies by our scholars have led to the modern science of climate change. Members of our faculty have developed the core technology of the world’s contemporary wireless communications networks. Our path-breaking work on cognition has ranged from philosophy and psychology to the neurosciences and medicine. And our focus on new health-care technologies has helped transform the current health-care model into a system accessible by all the world’s populations.

While our foundational, discipline-based research and scholarship compare favorably with that of our peers around the world, where we particularly excel is in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary problem solving in medicine, science, the arts, and engineering with the potential to advance the frontiers of knowledge, shape new fields, and transform lives. To support these efforts, we have developed a number of centers, programs, organized research units (ORUs), and institutes that represent varying levels of financial and administrative support and independence. This allows our entrepreneurial faculty to move beyond academic departments to facilitate leading-edge research and education.

Our innovative culture is exemplified in diverse entities that include:

  • The Clinical and Translational Research Institute, the Moxie Center for Undergraduate Entrepreneurship, and the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center that support and quickly advance the translational aspects of our intellectual property for beneficial purposes
  • The Yankelovich Center for Social Sciences Research for interdisciplinary, problem-focused research on pressing societal issues including social mobility; opportunity gaps in education, health care, and employment; and disparities based on race, ethnicity, and economic status
  • The Institute of Engineering in Medicine, which focuses on new approaches to disease identification, genomic medicine, clinical testing and monitoring, and the discovery of new drugs and therapies
  • The Qualcomm Institute, where social scientists in the Policy Design and Evaluation Laboratory are creating a new set of tools to determine more quickly and precisely the effectiveness of antipoverty, education, and public health programs worldwide
  • The Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), which plays a global leadership role in the development and use of tools and techniques for conservation, reconstruction, and historical analysis of great works of art, structures, and archaeological sites and artifacts.
  • Three new campus institutes that establish UC San Diego as the leader in the study of the human mind—each from a different perspective: the Center for Brain Activity Mapping (CBAM), which was created after one of UC San Diego’s scientists helped to craft a visionary proposal that led to President Barack Obama’s national BRAIN initiative; the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination; and the statewide initiative, the California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience (Cal-BRAIN).

Mapping the Campus’s Future

UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2010 was both a golden milestone and a reflective moment for the campus. As one of the nation’s top public research universities, the campus faced severe resource constraints on the one hand, and transformative global opportunities on the other. The anniversary was the occasion to assess collectively our distinctive strengths, comparative advantages, and pressing challenges, and to begin to develop a unifying vision for the next fifty years.

With the arrival of Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla in 2012, we began immediately to explore and expand that vision. To develop a framework for sustainable excellence, define our shared aspirations, and unify our campus, UC San Diego launched its first campuswide strategic planning process that year with initial guidance from McKinsey & Company, Inc. From the onset of the process, the campus engaged in an inclusive, collaborative effort that required the commitment and bottom-up participation of faculty, staff, students, alumni, university supporters, and community friends to shape the plan.

The Chancellor installed a Strategic Planning Council early on, to help drive the strategic planning process and carry it forward into the greater UC San Diego community. Based on the council’s input, a framework was developed consisting of core strategic planning themes and institutional “enablers” to ensure future success. Among the ideas that emerged from the council were these:

  • The existing culture of “silo” self-interest should give way to a new culture that elevates broader campuswide goals.
  • The legacy of our scholarly distinctiveness set by Roger Revelle and other visionary founders must be upheld.
  • The risk-taking academic culture should be matched by a new culture of risk-taking administrative practices that seek to eliminate red tape and accelerate results.
  • The campus must concentrate on bolstering its physical infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure, with special attention given to updating its educational technologies.
Geisel Library

Campus and community participants enthusiastically engaged in multiple avenues for participation in the planning process, such as interviews, focus groups, workshops, numerous on- and off-campus town hall meetings, division-level discussions, brainstorming sessions, and surveys. Throughout, input was collected, consolidated, and shared with the community on a dedicated campus website that facilitated open and ongoing dialogue.

To bridge the demographic divides that sometimes make the campus seem remote from stakeholder groups in the San Diego area, the Chancellor and various campus leaders and representatives held off-campus town hall forums that focused on providing educational opportunities to local youngsters and applying university expertise to address local economic and policy challenges. They also met with CEOs and corporate leaders from San Diego firms to identify new ways to expand the university’s regional and global impact.

Based on extensive feedback from campus and community members, including the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees, the UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors, and the Strategic Planning Council, five transformational goals and thirteen strategies were developed that will shape UC San Diego for the decades ahead.


The UC San Diego Strategic Plan articulates a framework for sustainable excellence over the next several decades. We came together as a campus to broadly rethink who we are and where we want to go, focus our resources, and define our future as a public research university. Successful implementation will require the active and ongoing involvement of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners. Going forward, each division, school, department, ORU, and college will align its individual strategic planning efforts with the university’s overall Strategic Plan.

To ensure continued success, we will use the metrics established for each of the plan’s goals and strategies to annually assess progress. Through this process of review and measurement we will revisit amounts of support and resources and make as-needed adjustments to the plan.

The Strategic Plan is a living document that will guide the university as we continue to share ideas, maintain flexibility, and reach out to the community. In stating our five goals and thirteen strategies, we deliberately avoided a fixed set of directives—leaving ample and flexible space for bold and difficult decision making at departmental, unit, and individual levels. This document represents a snapshot in time and reflects initial investments in our goals, strategies, and future. In creating a planning process and a written strategic plan, it is our hope that we have also created a cultural momentum that embraces positive change as we move forward.

The strategic planning process resulted in redefining UC San Diego’s mission, vision, values, and goals, and crystallizing the strategies and expectations for achievement.

UC San Diego volunteers help clean up Bayside Elementary School.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Our Mission

In defining our mission, we challenged ourselves to identify what differentiates us from other institutions of higher education and to clarify how we will uniquely contribute in the areas of education, research, and public service.

UC San Diego will transform California and a diverse global society by educating, generating and disseminating knowledge and creative works, and engaging in public service.

Our Vision

As a public university, it is our responsibility to give back to society by educating global citizens, discovering new knowledge, creating new technology, and contributing to our economy. In redefining our role for the next several decades, we remain true to our foundational principles. They are—and will continue to be—excellence, affordability, and access.

We will align our efforts to be a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.

Our Values

To be successful, UC San Diego must remain distinctive, maximize our comparative advantages, and ensure our culture and environment exemplify our values. These values, which inform and shape strategies and initiatives across the university, apply to every employee unit and campus organization.

  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary activities lead to unsurpassed discoveries, technologies, cures, scholarship, and creative works that advance and enrich society.
  • Excellence in teaching, research, patient care, and a people- and service- oriented culture that supports learning, scholarly work, and public service are the norm.
  • Our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion enables faculty, students, and staff to excel and provides an opportunity for all to succeed.
  • Our entrepreneurial spirit leads to agility, risktaking, and innovative approaches to solving problems and seizing opportunities. Public service, sustainability, integrity, and ethics are core principles guiding our activities.

Goal 1: Student Experience

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.

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

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.

Goal 2: Diversity and Access

Cultivating a diverse and inclusive university community that encourages respectful open dialogue, and challenges itself to take bold actions that will ensure learning is accessible and affordable for all

Strategy 4

Evolve our campus culture by requiring actionable initiatives and measurable outcomes that enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The university aims to abide by the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all its endeavors. These principles are embodied in our UC San Diego Principles of Community. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are an integral part of all five goals in the Strategic Plan, and we will continually review our practices supporting these ideals.

We embrace diversity when we acknowledge that people from a wide range of backgrounds and identities make unique and valuable contributions to our university community. We embrace equity when we insist on fair and nondiscriminatory treatment for all and seek to overcome the historical exclusion of some from higher education. We embrace inclusion when we create a climate for work, research, and learning that is empowering for all individuals.

The campus community celebrates the opening of Raza Resource Centro

We are expanding our investment in equity, diversity, and inclusion programs and centers, including a $305,000 allocation for four diversity pilot grants and training programs. In addition, we’ve created an open and ongoing dialogue about these topics through advisory committees, councils, open forums, and symposia. We’ve also added four new resource centers on campus: Black Resource Center, Raza Resource Centro, Inter-Tribal Resource Center, and Student Veterans Resource Center.

We must ensure that our policies and practices related to admissions, hiring, and promotion provide opportunity for women, African Americans, Chicano/as, Latino/as, Native Americans, LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), or other traditionally marginalized groups.

We have learned that creation and innovation prosper best when they emanate from students, faculty, and staff members of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Many voices and cultures offer different ways of seeing the world, solving problems, and working together.

Campus climate: Comprehensively integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion in our university culture and strategic decision making.

Perceptions of climate—the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential—vary greatly according to race, ethnicity, and gender. We must understand the basis for these disparate perceptions and take steps to improve them. This study will provide an opportunity to review comprehensive data and develop specific and measurable action plans that address these concerns.

We will continue to develop effective partnerships with the K–12 community to prepare more underrepresented minority students. We will use our existing campus community centers and department programs to improve recruitment, orientation, retention, and graduation of underrepresented minorities at UC San Diego. One of these efforts is a new $1 million program intended to help faculty over the next two years to recruit underrepresented undergraduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to participate in collaborative research projects on the UC San Diego campus during the summer, which will hopefully attract students here for graduate study.

We also need to improve diversity within the staff, particularly at the upper levels of the administration. With the recent leadership reorganization, we have been able to achieve some diversification of our leadership team and this will continue to be an ongoing goal. We must also expand opportunities for staff to learn about different cultures so that they can more effectively serve our changing student demographics (increases in students with disabilities, student parents, veterans, international students, non-English speakers, former foster youth). We will reexamine our processes and training and development portfolios to identify and eliminate hurdles to progress.

Finally, we will strive to make inclusion of diverse voices and viewpoints an integral part of our university culture. An important first step was to review responses to regularly administered organizational surveys and subsequently develop plans that improve climate, and support other mechanisms that monitor progress.

Strategy 5

Expand existing programs and implement new approaches that result in accessible and affordable learning for all.

While we have taken steps forward in recent years, they are not enough. Current demographic data show that diversity within our student body must expand if we are to reach a critical mass of those from traditionally underrepresented groups. We must do more to attract, enroll, and retain a diverse student body.

K–12 presence: Enhance our already strong presence and role in the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (CalSOAP) for San Diego and Imperial Counties to raise the achievement levels of low-income and first-generation students.

Through CalSOAP we will increase awareness of UC San Diego among low-income and first-generation K–12 students and continue to fund our partnerships with regional K–12 schools to raise achievement levels. We are also investing $1 million over three years in UC San Diego’s Center for Research and Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) to initiate the STEM Success Initiative, a visionary effort linking UC San Diego faculty, staff, and students and the San Diego education community in a shared effort to support K–20 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in the region.

Scholarship growth: Expand the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program by one hundred students per year for low-income students from local high schools and community colleges.

The Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship was originally offered to low-income students from three local partner high schools and has now been extended to three regional community colleges, federally recognized tribal members in the San Diego area, and students who have participated in both UC San Diego’s Academic Connections and Reality Changers, an organization founded by an alumnus to help underserved students prepare for college. The number of scholars in the program continues to increase. In order to fund the program at full ramp-up—we expect four hundred Chancellor’s Associates Scholars on campus in one given academic year—we have committed $4 million per year of private funds to support these bright students. This program, and other undergraduate scholarships, will be a major focus in our upcoming fundraising campaign.

Access: Support high-achieving students who reflect the demographics of California.

We are improving access for local community college students through UniversityLink, a transfer guarantee program that helps low-income students, and providing personalized support services designed to maximize student success and improve graduation rates. We also continue to develop broader and deeper relationships between the campus and our local community to meet stated needs such as economic development and urban planning.

Goal 3: Interdisciplinary Research

Nurturing and supporting a collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture that advances the frontiers of knowledge, shapes new fields, and disseminates discoveries that transform lives

Strategy 6

Identify emerging and future trends and strategic thrusts to increase our impact and enrich society.

Despite all attempts to systematically predict the most compelling problems and research areas to invest in at any given time, there will always be surprises and opportunities that spring up on short notice. In order to be ready to jump in and capitalize on the ones that inspire our university community, we have initially allocated $1.5 million over two years to seed research opportunities, like our brain activity mapping research. Identifying emerging and future trends must come from introspection, debate, and dialogue among academics, staff, and students.

Nick Spitzer, Ralph Greenspan, and Terry Sejnowski of UC San Diego’s Center for Brain Activity Mapping.

At UC San Diego, multidisciplinary efforts exist harmoniously with individual, discipline-specific research and creativity, and both tracks will continue to be driving forces for future scholarly activities.

Professors, scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates at UC San Diego will define and shape specific projects related to our grand research themes outlined below.

Four grand research themes: Focus on four multidisciplinary areas where our campus has deep and broad expertise and that are rich with possibility for creation and innovation, education, and training.

At recent university-wide workshops on the natural world, human life and health, human knowledge, and social disparities, it became clear that the complexity of each theme requires multidisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative solutions, while also providing exceptional educational and training opportunities across the campus.

  1. Understanding and Protecting the Planet

    Explaining and effectively communicating environmental change, engineering economically viable solutions that will enhance the resilience of society, and recommending necessary policy changes and assessing their economic impact

    Current strengths: Pioneering research in the science of climate change that remains at the forefront of this field through interdisciplinary research among physicists, engineers, medical researchers, business experts, social scientists and others

    Future growth: Providing innovations in areas such as technology for renewable-fuel energy strategies and sustainability of dwindling natural resources, and creating solutions to predict and respond to natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, fires, extreme climates, sea-level rise and acidity, drought, famine)

  2. Enriching Human Life and Society

    Improving health and alleviating ailments, and mitigating social disparities through education, resources, historic perspectives, technologies, and communication

    Current strengths: Leading research and education about how experiments in governance and social institutions can change our lives, and understanding how the arts and humanities contribute to individual and social well-being

    Future growth: Inventing new health-care technologies and “smart” materials (e.g., sensors, cheaper diagnostics, better nutrition, wireless health, use of stem cells or personalized medicines) and advanced manufacturing methods accessible to all the world’s populations

  3. Exploring the Basis of Human Knowledge, Learning, and Creativity

    Probing the structure and workings of the human brain to discover the relationship between the brain and behavior; the impact of genetics, history, and culture on how we think and act; the surging and ebbing movements of nations and populations; and the nature of knowledge itself

    Current strengths: Synergy among pioneering advances in neurosciences, cognitive sciences, and neurobiology

    Future growth: Partnering neuroscientists with philosophers and engineers, nanoengineers with visual artists, and computer scientists with musicians to collaborate in mapping and understanding the brain to reveal deeper insights into learning, cognition, creativity, and diseases

  4. Understanding Cultures and Addressing Disparities in Society

    Revealing the full richness and breadth of human experience: build an appreciation of diverse cultures, perspectives, value systems, historical contexts, governance, and organizational structures; and foster the creation of new means of expression, analyses, and social organizations that will be important intellectual tools for the next generation

    Current strengths: Students and faculty of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints

    Future growth: Improving literacy and empowerment, developing new modes of global communication, creating “humanistic resources” encouraging our students to be emissaries, generating foundational knowledge about human cultures and behavior through in-depth local studies and broad comparative analyses, formulating new public policy and ethical guidelines, and understanding and imagining possible new worlds

Strategy 7

Attract, retain, and grow our top-quality and diverse faculty body.

The faculty are the foundation of our campus and the reason we have achieved such a high level of distinction. UC San Diego must continue to attract and retain a diverse, top-quality faculty body of scholars and researchers in order to meaningfully address present and future grand research themes and challenges.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion: Increase the diversity of our faculty to enhance our intellectual, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

Over the last three years, our faculty recruitment efforts have begun to yield positive results. We have increased the number of underrepresented minorities and women in our applicant pools, and our selection processes have dramatically increased the yield of these candidates. Our improved practices are also providing a cadre of scholars who, regardless of discipline, are committed to issues of diversity and equity, and to creating a climate of inclusion. These practices include efforts to improve outreach, recruitment, and selection of diverse faculty; writing broader position descriptions; creating Excellence positions that include a candidate’s contributions to diversity, scholarly excellence, and future potential as essential criteria; requiring diversity statements from all candidates; establishing regular training for chairs and search committees on how to evaluate candidate portfolios and avoid unconscious bias; and creating a website that lists opportunities for faculty to find and participate in diversity activities.

Though these results are encouraging, we must do more to improve retention and tenure success rates. Faculty diversity needs to reach a critical mass at all levels of our university, from research to teaching and administration, and equity needs to be regularly reviewed in a data-driven process.

To reinforce recruitment successes, events that target underrepresented minorities; women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people; and other traditionally marginalized groups will be important tools to ensure that we are aware of and address the particular needs.

A vibrant intellectual community that focuses on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion will fuel the study of different cultures and efforts to understand and address the causes of social injustice, including disparities in education, health, and employment. To increase our campus’s understanding of equity and diversity and to extend the dialogue, we will invite distinguished scholars for short-term and long-term appointments.

Investment: Increase investment in mentoring and leadership development for our faculty.

We will continue to monitor our evaluation processes, support systems, and practices, and identify opportunities to ameliorate them. We have a new mentoring program for assistant professors to focus on how to manage time, work with mentors, and navigate the academic personnel process. All departments are required to assign a mentor to each incoming faculty member at all levels.

We also launched a partnership with the UC San Diego Rady School of Management called the Associate Professor Leadership Development Program. The goals are to empower associate professors by providing them the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to effectively and confidently fulfill their many roles and responsibilities beyond performing research—as leaders, teachers, mentors, advisers, colleagues, supervisors, and more; ensure associate professors understand the organization of UC San Diego, how information flows, and how decisions are made in order to enable professors to better achieve their individual goals; provide a forum in which to build relationships and a support network among associate professors across the campus; provide coaching and mentoring by senior faculty and campus leaders to participants throughout the program and after the program is finished; develop a diverse group of potential campus leaders; and create and sustain an inspired and motivated faculty who feel invested in the success of the campus and supported by the university.

Strategic growth: Define critical areas of future need and areas of strategic growth, and actively recruit and retain faculty who visibly lead the national conversation in research, technology, and higher education policy and strategy.

It will be essential for us to expand in growth areas and fill vacancies due to faculty retirement by actively recruiting and retaining key people. To this end, we have created a multiyear growth plan for faculty. The goal is to add eighty-nine net new faculty, including nine within Scripps Institution of Oceanography and at least twenty joint faculty appointments. We are providing $14 million for ongoing base salaries and benefit support, plus $22 million to assist with start-up packages. In addition, we are addressing faculty compensation compression and adding $6.5 million per year in packages for faculty renewal, which are not growth-related. We are also expanding investments in marine sciences and health sciences to expand their role in undergraduate teaching.

Strategy 8

Grow a high-quality, cost-effective, and diverse graduate program.

Graduate students are the next generation of researchers, scholars, artists, and faculty who will carry forward our mission to transform lives, shape new fields, and push the frontiers of knowledge. During their training, they also provide research support; teach, mentor, and inspire undergraduates; and are essential for meeting the university’s teaching obligations under the California Master Plan.

Numbers: Increase the graduate student population and further protect and enhance the quality of the student body.

UC San Diego has a relatively small proportion of graduate students compared to its peer institutions. Increasing the number of these talented and dedicated scholars and supporting them throughout their education is integral to our campus’s vision and will also help us attract and retain outstanding faculty and expand our research enterprise—currently a billion-dollar-a-year concern. Through our Graduate Student Growth and Excellence Initiative, we are allocating more than $10 million to help level out the cost associated with recruiting nonresident graduate students. This will enable us to focus on growing our PhD population and the overall quality of our graduate students. We will also launch the Masters Growth Program, which will provide new opportunities for students and an avenue to increase revenue for the campus.

Investment and diversity: Invest in competitive offers for top graduate students. Ensure the recruitment, retention, and success of a diverse population of graduate students by increasing the number and quality of our fellowships and stipends.

We will make significant investments that enhance the diversity and success of our graduate student population. In addition, we will invest in the development and renewal of state-of–the-art facilities. At an institutional level, we will continue to identify, develop, and implement new programs that target diverse populations of undergraduates and their institutions and forge new relationships with them. Fundraising for scholarships and fellowships will be a focus of our upcoming capital campaign. We will also broaden our training for graduate students with the goal of widening their experiences for the evolving workforce.

Career advising: Develop and enhance our graduate student career advising programs to support the exploration of career paths, including those outside academia.

We will develop new advising programs to provide students with information about the varied career options and pathways that are available to them. In addition, we will assist students in understanding their transferrable skills and identifying the soft skills that are critical to their success.

Community integration: Improve the transition to graduate study.

We are committed to developing introductory programs, supporting graduate student interaction across departments/disciplines, and delivering creative options to address graduate student needs.

To improve the graduate student experience and enhance the sense of community, a new graduate student housing complex will be constructed to foster relationships and encourage interaction among the diverse graduate student/professional/family residents.

Strategy 9

Evolve structures and processes to identify trends for investment, and foster innovation, risk-taking, and collaboration.

To ensure that the university does not lose its competitive edge and entrepreneurial spirit, our leaders and administrators must be innovative in finding and providing financial support, offering wise counsel, and fostering collaborative governance. While maintaining our excellence in traditional university departments and other units, we must also create opportunities and structures that encourage the nimble entry of our faculty into new, high-impact, strategic areas of scholarship and research that imagine and establish new frontiers.

Investment: Increase investment in faculty and student collaboration in pursuit of the four grand research themes.

The campus will need to find multiple ways to encourage, incentivize, evaluate, and prioritize the novel ideas that surface. Towards this end, a multipronged approach to investment in faculty full-time equivalents (FTEs), joint hires, graduate and undergraduate challenge grants, seed grants for joint collaborative work, core facilities, and conferences will be necessary. We have already begun our investment through the faculty growth plan and Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program, as well as funding new academic initiatives such as the Advanced Energy Initiative, the Maker Lab, and the Design Lab. Faculty will leverage these assets through grants, philanthropy, industry, and global partnerships. Robust technology commercialization and entrepreneurship opportunities will also be necessary to achieve the highest possible societal impact.

Improved coordination: Assess and improve our organizational structures and processes to remain at the forefront of interdisciplinary research.

In recent years we have encountered significant challenges, including state and federal budget cuts and higher costs related to new governmental regulations and programs. Increased governmental compliance and reporting burdens, higher mandatory costs, and less fiscal flexibility are unfortunate facts of recent institutional life. Traditionally, institutions react by cutting services and capacity, but we have opted for a more strategic approach.

To remain at the forefront of interdisciplinary research, we are improving coordination across the campus, and implementing new models for collaboration, interdisciplinary research, and education. Specifically, we are reviewing and cultivating our relationships with local industry, nongovernmental organizations, and other community institutions that share our vision.

Finally, we will make sure we have flexible and agile organizational structures supported by new allocation models with enhanced incentive and reward structures. These new models will establish the appropriate balance between investing in new strategic areas and continuing to nurture and support unit-specific research needs and individual expression.

New models: Review the tools and the foundational expertise necessary to successfully implement initiatives related to emerging and future trends.

We are assessing the capacity, capability, interest, and flexibility required of all critical resources to adequately support any initiative associated with a thematic area or with our traditional research and scholarship ventures. This includes identifying and pursuing the appropriate tools to handle the intersection of big data, complex analytics, and visualization as they relate to modeling policy, social interventions, and social networking scenarios. To respond to emerging and future trends in a timely fashion, we will make sure we have flexible and agile organizational structures that are supported by new allocation models with enhanced incentives and rewards.

Goal 4: Community Enrichment

Supporting and promoting just and sustainable forms of economic development, shared prosperity, and social and cultural enrichment regionally and globally

Strategy 10

Strengthen community engagement and public service to increase the greater community’s awareness of UC San Diego’s impact and role locally, regionally, and globally.

The university is committed to playing a central role in our region to ensure a sustainable economy and provide social and cultural enrichment. UC San Diego will accomplish this by leading and sharing advanced foundational, discipline-based research and scholarship; creative expression; and the production of transformative technologies, policies, and art. We will use our role to spur additional synergistic academic and research collaborations with institutions on the La Jolla Mesa, including the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, and the J. Craig Venter Institute. These efforts have already transformed San Diego into a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and the collaborations will continue and expand.

While our successes are well known internationally and by groups and individuals in particular fields, our work is not as well understood by the public at large and across fields and disciplines. It is important for the greater community to grasp the impact of our achievements from a local, regional, and global perspective, and we will strive to make that happen.

Jacobs Medical Center

Assessment: Quantify the impact, type, and number of community engagement efforts across the campus.

We are examining the number of and type of collaborative service opportunities, the creation of community awareness, the benefit to the community, costs, and resources.

Workforce development: Position today’s workforce to meet tomorrow’s societal needs.

UC San Diego Extension significantly enhances the vitality of the region by providing professional education and more than one hundred nondegree certificate and specialized study programs, including internship-type experiences and career services, that help college graduates and working professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to transition to new, high-demand jobs. We are assessing the role, capacity, and awareness of UC San Diego Extension in the community to determine if it can provide additional engagement and awareness opportunities.

Additionally, we are looking to leverage our role and relationship with CONNECT, a regional program that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County, to ensure that we are maximizing our impact in the biotechnology industry.

Alignment with our alumni also will play a critical role in workforce development, as they serve as ambassadors for the campus through their service and engagement in their professions and local communities.

International outreach: Develop a comprehensive strategy for international collaborations to maximize our global impact and visibility.

Our faculty, doctors, staff, students, and alumni have been involved in numerous programs in support of world health, equality, and education initiatives. UC San Diego ranked eleventh among all large universities in the nation in 2012 on the Peace Corps’ annual list of “Top Colleges and Universities.”

We are reviewing the university’s extensive portfolio of collaborations across the world to develop a comprehensive strategy and maximize our visibility as a globally connected university. In creating an effective framework for our activities, we are using our highly successful alumni/student China Outreach pilot program as a model.

Communications: Develop and promote strategic and customized communications that target specific stakeholder groups.

Through events, media relations, printed materials, websites, social media, and other communications channels, strategic marketing professionals are promoting the distinct strengths of the campus. To increase awareness and understanding and to establish a solid foundation for our future endeavors, we will address how the campus impacts and aligns with what is important to various stakeholder groups.

In addition, we are assessing whether the university should consolidate and leverage its extensive K–12 outreach through its Center for Research and Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) in order to raise awareness of our role in the community.

For the public at large and particularly in the local region, UCSD-TV will continue to broadcast our contributions to the community and latest advances in research, the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and provide a forum for new dialogues.

Strategy 11

Improve access to high-quality patient care.

UC San Diego Health System is expanding its facilities and services at an unparalleled pace, positioning itself to be a hub of science and clinical care unlike anywhere else in the nation. The capital projects currently in planning and underway — from Jacobs Medical Center to Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute — will not only transform the La Jolla skyline, but also redefine the health-care landscape of San Diego and beyond.

The challenge is to expand our geographic footprint while making certain that we have the appropriate services capabilities in place to support this expansion. We will carry out our core mission by implementing new ways to enhance the quality of care and improve the overall patient experience.

Delivery and Expansion: Develop an integrated health-care delivery network to efficiently serve our patients through next-generation technology and multidisciplinary expertise, and to continually provide demonstrably superior clinical care.

UC San Diego Health System engagement with the local, regional, national, and international community is extensive, but we are committed to doing even more. We will define a clear plan for targeted, strategic growth to ensure the highest impact to those we serve. By 2016, a $1.5-billion investment in UC San Diego Health System, including gifts from the university’s supporters and donors, will help to transform the region into one of the nation’s premier medical destinations. The new state-of-the-art Jacobs Medical Center will serve patients at the La Jolla campus; the Medical Education and Telemedicine Building will meet the needs of physicians-in-training and people in remote areas; and the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Sanford Stem Cell Consortium, and Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center will speed the delivery of new treatments.

Goal 5: Supportive Infrastructure

Creating an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship

Strategy 12

Enhance financial sustainability through new revenue and efficient use of existing revenue.

In 2012, the launch year of the strategic planning process, UC San Diego reached a critical turning point. For the first time in university history, our students contributed more than the State of California to the cost of their education, with state funds amounting to less than 7 percent of the university’s total revenue. Despite a financial base supported by diversified revenue streams and $3.4 billion in total revenues in 2012, threats to long-term financial sustainability loom. Further clouding the picture are recent federal government cuts to awarded funding through sequestration, increased costs due to new governmental regulations and reporting requirements, and the likelihood of additional costs related to new mandatory government programs.

In 2012, the medical center accounted for 31 percent of revenues, contracts and grants 29 percent, student fees and tuition 11 percent, other educational/medical programs 11 percent, state funding for education less than 7 percent, and auxiliary services and other revenue 7 percent. The challenge going forward is to use our existing revenue more efficiently while pursuing new funding streams to support our students, research, and patient care.

In order to enhance the university’s financial sustainability, accountability and transparency, we hired two new vice chancellors—a Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, and a Vice Chancellor for Advancement.

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla leads a Staff Town Hall Meeting.

New revenue and efficiencies: Identify, review, and implement best practices as well as new revenue ideas, paradigms, and opportunities for revenue generation.

As our institution matures and grows as an education, research, and public service enterprise, funding needs for the critical infrastructure, maintenance, repair, and other key aspects of our support and service framework are rising. Funding requirements in this category have grown beyond the current funding capacity, leading to deferred maintenance and other actions that could have a negative, long-term impact if not addressed in a timely manner.

If the university is to thrive under such profound resource constraints, we must identify and implement long-term strategies that offer financial flexibility, generate new and improved funding streams, further diversify our funding, and create organizational agility. Our newly established Standing Committee on Service- and People-Oriented Culture will assess employee training and development; processes and policies; current technologies; financial systems and reporting; and organizational and performance controls. The committee will also look at ways to centralize services in order to increase efficiencies.

UC San Diego has a long history of proactive and out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to addressing ways to achieve administrative efficiencies while meeting the requirements of our stakeholders—from our faculty and students, to governmental funding agencies. In an effort to generate more net revenue, we will evaluate our existing revenue sources in terms of efficiency and opportunity for growth. This is not an effort to cut costs at the expense of service, but a holistic assessment of how to deliver the necessary level of service while identifying opportunities to improve net revenue.

Investigations into increasing cash flow include exploring additional investment options, debt strategies, new payables and collecting receivables strategies, and improved forecasting and modeling tools. Additionally, we will seek increased support from public agencies by further leveraging our government relations activity across the university through external advocacy to enhance our direct and indirect revenues. We will also look for ways to expand our sales and service revenue and optimize the management of funds by improving flow, value, and impact.

Philanthropy: Define a multiyear campus fund-raising goal and strategy, linked to the Strategic Plan, to significantly enhance the endowment for scholarships, fellowships, and patient care.

It is vitally important that we raise money for critical imperatives such as access and inclusion, and at the same time create funding pools that are not encumbered or restricted. That is why we’re increasing the budget of university Advancement to $40 million over the next two years to ramp up for the largest capital campaign in UC San Diego’s history. An important metric for our long-term success is to significantly enhance our endowment, in additional to generating funds for continued operations.

Building a campuswide culture of philanthropy across the university that is embraced by students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff is vital to our long-term success. Faculty and staff are the backbone of UC San Diego, and their vote of confidence is a profound public endorsement from those who know the institution best. Private giving by these individuals demonstrates a personal and professional commitment to the university’s mission. Educating students about philanthropy and the importance of giving back sets the stage for lifelong relationships with their alma mater and private financial support. As part of this culture of philanthropy, we encourage students to become the next generation of donors once they join the ranks of UC San Diego alumni.

Budget model: Ensure the campus has employed best practices in financial tracking and resource allocations.

The university as a whole is dealing with significant budgetary uncertainty that impacts nearly all of our diversified revenue streams. We will undertake a comprehensive review and assessment of our current budget and resource allocation model, followed by the creation of a comprehensive and sustainable funding model that promotes transparency, efficiency, and agility.

Strategy 13

Identify new models for excellent service that prioritize delivery to our stakeholders while addressing regulatory, compliance, and reporting requirements.

People: Emphasize employee development of critical skills in collaboration, team building, and innovative approaches.

Staff support our students, are integral to our research programs, and provide patient care in our hospitals and clinics. Our annual Staff@Work survey consistently indicates that the staff has high levels of satisfaction in their work. However, it is also clear that we must continue to improve the work environment, provide the appropriate tools, and offer opportunities for the staff to polish their existing skills and acquire new ones.

During the last several years, budgets have declined while workloads have increased, as a result of a higher volume of transactions, increased research activity, and a profusion of new regulations. Faced with the dilemma of doing more with less, the university must continue to find ways to enhance its systems and streamline labor-intensive business processes to support the dedicated staff and the university’s mission. At the top of the list are culture change, professional development, and compensation issues.

  • Culture change: We need to provide skill-building workshops and realign metrics and reward systems such as incentives for smart risk taking, as opposed to gate keeping. Leaders who will inspire staff members, challenge them to think critically, and empower them to act boldly are essential.

  • Professional development: A significant portion of our current training and development portfolio focuses on transactional tasks. However, in addition to technical know-how, our new environment requires critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and other key skills that have previously not been emphasized. As we ask the staff to rethink what they do and how and why they do it, and urge them to become more service-oriented, their ability to design and manage a defined project will become increasingly important. Encouraging staff to engage in innovation that challenges the status quo requires that we adjust our tolerance for risk.

  • Compensation: We need to ensure that pay and benefits are aligned with the marketplace so that we continue to attract and retain the best and brightest staff.

Processes and policies: Assess structures, funding sources, and policies to develop new tactics to comply with all mandates and regulations.

Our processes and the need for reordering them reflect the complexity of our organizational structures, funding sources, and government rules and regulations. In light of this complexity, it is time to redefine our goals, reimagine our processes, and deliver an agile, supportive, and self-sustaining blueprint for the future.

Since a significant amount of administrative costs occur at the university department level, improving effectiveness must begin with an in-depth assessment of end-to-end processes from the departments to the central administration. This assessment must lead to a new twenty-first-century business model that has a primary focus on optimizing our processes to deliver business outcomes and provide customer-centric support that advance our research, teaching, and service priorities. Where we have or may have shared services, we will assess service quality and make sure that shared service delivery meets the agreed upon service level.

Enabling technologies: Identify new uses of technology to strategically increase efficiency.

Information technology, financial management and reporting systems, and sustainable energy are critical tools for operational efficiency. Historically, UC San Diego effectively used technology as an enabling tool to automate manual processes, reduce transaction time, improve visibility, and offset personnel reductions. To effectively address current and future needs, however, we must exploit technology more strategically—and not just to automate processes. To catalyze transformational change, we must assess and optimize our existing structures and processes prior to implementing new technology.

Modernizing our university information systems is a top priority. We have allocated $6 million to enhance our IT administrative efficiencies and maintain a supportive campus infrastructure. Employing common standards and protocols would allow us to fully leverage the potential of emerging technology. We need the ability to coordinate, analyze, and report on data between student information systems, financial information systems, advancement information systems, and research administrative information systems. Changes in data delivery to staff, faculty, and students must be accommodated. Additionally, deploying big data analytics and business intelligence tools will assist departments with academic and administrative decision making.

The university’s financial systems are robust and reliable, but often do not provide the type of integration and flexible reporting demanded by our current and future business environment. Modernizing our legacy information systems, including the financial information systems component, would enable us to significantly improve financial reporting speed and capability by integrating and normalizing data. Improving our legacy information systems will also allow us to implement flexible tools for financial reporting.

We will consider two alternatives for upgrading our legacy information systems holistically: replacing the existing information systems and using Software as a Service (SaaS), or porting existing information systems to new platforms as many other top research universities have done.

UC San Diego iscommitted to sustainable energy and will continue to focus on alternate energy and green technology solutions that strategically increase efficiency and directly benefit the campus. We are targeting zero waste by 2020 and climate neutrality by 2025 by leveraging collaborations among our university staff, faculty, students, and researchers.


Strategic Planning Council

The Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council—composed of UC San Diego leaders from the Academic Senate, faculty, students, staff, and campus administration—convened during the 2012-14 academic years. The Council will meet quarterly through 2014-15. Current Council members and previous council participants are provided below.

  • Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor
  • Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
  • David A. Brenner, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences/Dean, School of Medicine
  • Margaret Leinen, Vice Chancellor/Dean, Marine Sciences, and Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Sandra Brown, Vice Chancellor, Research
  • Steve Gamer, Vice Chancellor, Advancement
  • Juan González, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
  • Gary C. Matthews, Vice Chancellor, Resource Management and Planning
  • Pierre Ouillet, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
  • Clare M. Kristofco, Associate Chancellor/Chief of Staff
  • Dan W. Park, Chief Campus Counsel
  • Steven Adler, Provost, Warren College
  • Kim Barrett, Dean, Graduate Division
  • Robby Boparai, President, Associated Students
  • Gerard Boss, Professor, Medicine and Academic Senate
  • Andy Buselt, President, Associated Students
  • James Carmody, Chair, Theatre and Dance
  • Shu Chien, Director, Institute of Engineering in Medicine
  • Seth Cohen, Chair, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Catherine Constable, Interim Vice Chancellor/Dean, Marine Sciences, and Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Robert Continetti, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry and Academic Senate
  • Peter Cowhey, Dean, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • Cristina Della Coletta, Dean, Arts and Humanities
  • Wolfgang Dillmann, Professor and Chair, Medicine and Council of Chairs
  • Leeann Dolbeck, Business Operations Officer and UC San Diego Staff Association
  • Jeffrey L. Elman, Dean, Social Sciences
  • Jeanne Ferrante, Associate Vice Chancellor, Faculty Equity
  • Victor Ferreira, Professor and Chair, Psychology and Council of Chairs
  • Linda S. Greene, Vice Chancellor, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Gordon Hanson, Professor, International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • Allan Havis, Provost, Thurgood Marshall College
  • Tony Haymet, Vice Chancellor/Dean, Marine Sciences, and Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Alan Houston, Director, Academic Strategic Initiatives
  • Matthew Jarvis, President, Graduate Student Association
  • Rahul Kapadia, President, Graduate Student Association
  • Juan Lasheras, Interim Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Meggie Le, President, Associated Students
  • Seth Lerer, Dean, Arts and Humanities
  • Jorge Mariscal, Professor, Spanish and Chicano/a Literature
  • T. Guy Masters, Professor, Institute of Geophysics & Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Academic Senate
  • William McGinnis, Dean, Biological Sciences
  • James H. McKerrow, Dean, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Jonathan Monk, President, Graduate Student Association
  • Helen Mout, Program Representative, Muir College Writing, and UC San Diego Staff Association
  • Robert Neuhard, Director, Operational Strategic Initiatives, Business Affairs
  • Michael Norman, Director, San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Carol Padden, Dean, Social Sciences
  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Kit Pogliano, Professor of Biological Sciences and Academic Senate
  • Valerie Ramey, Professor, Economics
  • Roddey Reid, Professor of Literature and Council of Chairs
  • Steven Relyea, Vice Chancellor, Business Affairs
  • LaWana Richmond, Senior Business Analyst and UC San Diego Staff Association
  • Penny Rue, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
  • Barbara Sawrey, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean, Undergraduate Education
  • Brian Schottlaender, Audrey Geisel University Librarian
  • Frieder Seible, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Larry Smarr, Director, California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology
  • Shankar Subramaniam, Professor, Bioengineering and Council of Chairs
  • Robert S. Sullivan, Dean, Rady School of Management
  • Lisa Tauxe, Professor, Geosciences Research Division and Council of Chairs
  • Palmer W. Taylor, Dean, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Mark Thiemens, Dean, Division of Physical Sciences
  • Allan Timmermann, Professor, Rady School of Management
  • Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System/Associate Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences
  • Mary L. Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Programs/Dean, University Extension
  • David Woodruff, Director, Sustainability Solutions Institute
  • Paul Yu, Provost, Revelle College


Strategic Plan Metrics

Strategic Plan metrics will ensure alignment across the university and progress in the following areas:

  • Recruiting and retaining faculty who lead or shape the national conversation in research, technology, and higher education policy and strategy
  • Career advising that holistically integrates the broader student experience with advising and mentoring, and opens doors for internships and jobs
  • Tangible societal impacts directly related to UC San Diego discoveries
  • Broad recognition of UC San Diego’s special programs and expertise as being the first, the best, or unique
  • UC San Diego Health System as a destination of choice for patients
  • University financials in a position of strength, enabling our future
  • Synergy among our collaborative and service-centric people and processes
  • Internal and external recognition of the broader culture of the university as being open, inclusive, and supportive

Each school, division, academic department, research lab, or administrative unit will elaborate on the metrics for each goal.

  1. Delivering an educational and overall experience that develops students who are capable of solving problems, leading, and innovating in a diverse and interconnected world
    • Student participation in internships, research, and cocurricular activities
    • Retention rates across all academic programs
    • Graduation rates through all degree levels for all demographic groups
    • Post graduation success rates (e.g., job placement and starting salary)
    • Alumni engagement and participation
  1. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive university community that encourages respectful open dialogue, and challenges itself to take bold actions that will ensure learning is accessible and affordable for all
    • Retention rate of underrepresented minorities (URM) faculty, staff, and students
    • URM graduation rates at all degree levels
    • URM admissions yield and matriculation
    • University community diversity profile
    • Effectiveness of outreach to the global community
    • Faculty, staff, and student life cycle and experience at UC San Diego
  1. Nurturing and supporting a collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture that advances the frontiers of knowledge, shapes new fields, and disseminates discoveries that transform lives
    • Effectiveness of recruiting, retaining, and growing a top-quality and diverse faculty and graduate student body
    • Number of partnerships and impact for joint research projects with industry leaders
    • Participation on industry-recognized boards and councils
    • Ability to attract external support
    • Effectiveness of increasing global awareness of UC San Diego’s impact
    • Identification and monitoring of emerging and future trends and strategic thrusts
  1. Supporting and promoting just and sustainable forms of economic development, shared prosperity, and social and cultural enrichment regionally and globally
    • Measurement of public and community service and volunteer activities performed by faculty, staff, and students
    • Partnerships between academic units with companies and school systems focused on shared education and training
    • Documentation of graduate placement and impact in the community
    • Analysis of strategies and pipelines for revenue streams (e.g., technology transfer and private support)
    • Contribution to community medical, health, and healing programs
    • Review and tracking of the components that affect national and global rankings
  1. Creating an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship
    • Increase in the diversity of our revenue-generating portfolio
    • Net revenue generation across all channels, endowments, scholarships, and nonrestricted funding
    • Impact of continuous improvement projects that support the Strategic Plan
    • Implementation of feedback related to student, customer, and job satisfaction
    • Analysis of the efficacy of financial stewardship efforts
    • Documentation of training and development opportunities
    • Assessment of the skill growth of faculty and staff



  1. Delivering an educational and overall experience that develops students who are capable of solving problems, leading, and innovating in a diverse and interconnected world
  2. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive university community that encourages respectful open dialogue, and challenges itself to take bold actions that will ensure learning is accessible and affordable for all
  3. Nurturing and supporting a collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture that advances the frontiers of knowledge, shapes new fields, and disseminates discoveries that transform lives
  4. Supporting and promoting just and sustainable forms of economic development, shared prosperity, and social and cultural enrichment regionally and globally
  5. Creating an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship



Thirteen initial strategies have been established by the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council as a framework for initiatives that will be launched in support of the campus goals. The five goals and thirteen strategies will guide UC San Diego’s decision making through the end of this decade.

  1. Provide coordinated and comprehensive academic, professional, and career advising across all colleges, departments, and units.
  2. Rethink curriculum and pedagogy to improve retention an graduation rates and increase student and faculty engagement.
  3. Strengthen the connection between academic and high-impact cocurricular experiences.
  4. Evolve our campus culture by requiring actionable initiatives and measurable outcomes that enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  5. Expand existing programs and implement new approaches that result in accessible and affordable learning for all.
  6. Identify emerging and future trends and strategic thrusts to increase our impact and enrich society.
  7. Attract, retain, and grow our top-quality and diverse faculty body.
  8. Grow a high-quality, cost-effective, and diverse graduate program.
  9. Evolve structures and processes to identify trends for investment, and foster innovation, risktaking, and collaboration.
  10. Strengthen community engagement and public service to increase the greater community’s awareness of UC San Diego’s impact and role locally, regionally, and globally.
  11. Improve access to high-quality patient care.
  12. Enhance financial sustainability through new revenue and efficient use of existing revenue.
  13. Identify new models for excellent service that prioritize delivery to our stakeholders while addressing regulatory, compliance, and reporting requirements.


Four Grand Research Themes

Understanding and Protecting the Planet
Explaining and effectively communicating environmental change, engineering economically viable solutions that will enhance the resilience of society, and recommending necessary policy changes and assessing their economic impact

Enriching Human Life and Society
Improving health and alleviating ailments, and mitigating social disparities through education, resources, historic perspectives, technologies, and communication

Exploring the Basis of Human Knowledge, Learning and Creativity
Probing the structure and workings of the human brain to discover the relationship between the brain and behavior; the impact of genetics, history, and culture on how we think and act; the surging and ebbing movements of nations and populations; and the nature of knowledge itself

Understanding Cultures and Addressing Disparities in Society
Revealing the full richness and breadth of human experience: build an appreciation of diverse cultures, perspectives, value systems, historical contexts, governance, and organizational structures; and foster the creation of new means of expression, analyses, and social organizations that will be important intellectual tools for the next generation