Continued Progress for Campus Transformation

UC San Diego is in the midst of a physical, intellectual and cultural transformation. We are enhancing the student experience, creating a more connected campus and making UC San Diego a destination for art, culture and recreation. We are adding more student housing, classrooms and research facilities, and we are preparing for the arrival of the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley to our campus in 2021. Our revitalization is underway, and the following are achievements over the last year that support the five Strategic Plan goals and campus vision. View prior years’ accomplishments.

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

  • Increased the number of student majors in all Scripps Institution of Oceanography degree programs by 10 percent, from 542 to 602
  • Aligned the earth systems undergraduate major with Scripps Institution of Oceanography by transferring leadership responsibilities
  • Enhanced student major offerings by developing the oceanic and atmospheric studies major at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Launched a new master’s degree program in Drug Development and Product Management at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which is expected to enroll the first group of students in fall 2018
  • Completed $3.8 million renovation of Eckert Hall providing three new classrooms and student support facilities
  • Completed $1 million state-of-the-art teaching laboratory in Vaughn Hall
  • Enhanced the student experience for entering first generation students by developing the Student Success Coaching Program. The program serves over 800 students through strength-based practices that include goal setting and the development of individualized success plans. Participants earned more units and had higher cumulative GPAs than a comparable group of nonparticipants.
  • Increased the enrollment of low-income and underrepresented freshmen into the Summer Bridge transition program by 60 percent over the past three years, going from 120 in 2013 to 300 students in 2017
  • Increased the number of Chancellor’s Associates scholarships – 204 new scholars joined the campus in fall 2017, bringing our campus total to 540 scholars. We will surpass our goal of providing a total of 600 scholarships by 2018-19. In addition, the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program will graduate 100 students in spring 2018, the largest graduating class to date.
  • Increased undergraduate research participation in faculty-mentored research from 575 students to 730 students, a 28 percent increase from 2014
  • Increased freshmen retention for both Pell and first generation students to 95 percent in 2016, a 1 percent increase from previous year
  • Coordinated Greek Life Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Peer Educator Programs training 2,500 fraternity and sorority members each quarter on a variety of equity, diversity and inclusion topics
  • Designated a Changemaker campus by Ashoka U, the international leader in social innovation and changemaking education. UC San Diego is one of 43 campuses worldwide and the first UC campus to be recognized for serving as a national model and embedding social innovation and changemaking as core values.
  • Hosted the third annual SD Hacks event for over 700 students to innovate with mentors, start-ups and global tech companies. SD Hacks is a three-daylong hack-athon event that allows students to collaboratively build out their ideas using technology.
  • Over 600 students traveled to a systemwide conferences focusing on skill and knowledge development in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Trained over 60 student leaders on topics ranging from conflict management and time management to professional communication and résumé writing in the Raising the Bar program
  • Trained 25 first-year students on topics ranging from conflict management and public speaking to professional communication and event planning in the First Year Fellowship program
  • Developing a student MakerSpace and training facility at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Continued implementation of faculty growth plan with 69 net new hires in 2016-17
  • Established two new Master of Science degrees – drug development and product management, and geotechnical engineering – and two new master’s degrees in public health and professional accountancy in 2017-18
  • Improved time to degree due to efforts in curriculum streamlining, advanced analytics to identify at-risk students, student success services, and Teaching + Learning Commons.
    Graduating class 2013 versus 2017:
    • four-year graduation rates for freshman cohorts improved by 13 percentage points
    • four-year + one-quarter graduation rate for freshman cohorts improved by 10 percentage points
    • four-year graduation rate for underrepresented minority freshman cohorts improved by 16 percentage points
    • four-year + one-quarter graduation rate for underrepresented minority freshman cohorts improved by 15 percentage points
  • Developed and implemented three summer academic success programs: Summer Bridge Math Track, Triton Prep, and Sophomore Scholars Program, serving 393 students who are largely underrepresented minority and first generation starting in summer 2016.
  • Implemented the Teaching + Learning Commons’ five hubs: Engaged Teaching, Digital Learning, Triton Achievement, Writing, and Experiential Learning in 2016. The Commons is a campuswide innovative infrastructure for providing comprehensive faculty and student support.

Goal 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

  • Hired a full-time Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives coordinator at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Launched the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence campaign to collect the diverse perspectives and talents of the community to help continue to shape the future of UC San Diego
  • Launched Veteran Ventures Entrepreneurism Program, which is a commitment to provide veterans with entrepreneurial programs, resulting in greater confidence and increased skills as they transition into the civilian world
  • Implemented a successful transition from an opt-in emergency notification process to an opt-out system assuring that all students, faculty and staff receive email and cell phone notifications for all incidents that could jeopardize their safety on campus
  • Expanded STRIVE leadership development program to include Academic Affairs
  • Standardized staff performance appraisals across all VC areas and developed meaningful and simplified performance standards and measurement criteria
  • Established UC San Diego as a Yellow Ribbon campus, providing scholarships to qualified out-of-state veterans to help defray costs of attendance
  • Established Triton Faculty Firsts program that connects our first-generation students to faculty, staff and graduate student role models through networking events, faculty panels and topical lectures
  • Launched a new dialogue ambassador program in partnership with the National Conflict Resolution Center and the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust. Twelve trained student dialogue ambassadors who conduct 30 dialogue circles per year on campus and 8 community-based dialogues off campus on a variety of relevant topics.
  • Expanded the Triton Fest event series to 10 events to provide over 13,000 students with free and late-night events. Triton Fest programs evening events as alternatives to high risk activities and it allows our students to build community and connections during crucial windows at the beginning of the quarter.
  • Since fall 2018, served over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students, who may be facing food insecurity, at the Triton Food Pantry
  • Nearly 1,000 students registered by the Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC) during orientation and move-in. Additionally, they hosted quarterly political forums, inviting students to engage with current political topics in a moderated setting.
  • In 2017, hosted the free three-day, two-night 15th Annual SPACES Overnight Program. The Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES) brought 181 high school students from underserved and underrepresented communities throughout California to UC San Diego for an opportunity to experience the university environment and campus life at UC San Diego. Participants were paired with current UC San Diego undergraduates who served as their hosts and mentors throughout the duration of the program.
  • Curated a season of emerging and seasoned artists through ArtPower that represent a diverse range of world cultures in promotion of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Created student engagement programming through ArtPower that offered students encounters with diverse artists to explore their vision and working methodologies and investigated their relationship to community and culture
  • Provided advice and counseling on a variety of legal topics to over 700 students, helping them to overcome obstacles to their academic and professional success
  • Conducted preventive legal education workshops covering a wide range of subjects for over 1,000 students in order to empower them to make informed legal decisions
  • Initiated placemaking initiatives to increase community building and social interaction and instill a sense of belonging
  • Incorporated alcohol-awareness education into major student events to improve student wellness
  • Implemented a series of initiatives that emphasized UC San Diego’s Principles of Community as central tenets for a more equitable campus climate in order to promote and communicate Principles of Community. The series – Engaging Our Principles of Community – included seminars and workshops, as well as Campus Climate Enhancement Grant opportunities ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Selected grants address issues of bias, advance scholarly work in Black girlhood, enhance UC San Diego police-community relations, encourage student-to-student dialogue on polarizing topics, and celebrate contributions to equity and inclusion.
  • Developed and charged a Black Academic Excellence advisory committee to make recommendations to improve the experiences for Black faculty, staff and students
  • Convened a Joint Academic Senate-Administrative Task Force on exploring Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation for UC San Diego. The task force was charged to “develop recommendations to enable UC San Diego to increase Hispanic student enrollment and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students…”
  • Strengthened programs and services for Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and Desi American (APIMEDA) students through the hiring of an APIMEDA program manager to develop co-curricular and other support programming.
  • Developed meaningful and simplified performance standards and measurement criteria for the Principles of Community to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion goals and expectations are comprehensively integrated throughout the staff performance appraisal instrument.
  • Launched the Women’s Faculty Network and the Faculty of Color Network. Both were created to foster equity and scholarship throughout campus, for and by women/faculty of color, and to provide peer mentoring, collaboration, networking, and professional development through formal symposia and informal gatherings.
  • Developed the Center For Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. The purpose of the Center is to collaboratively guide and coordinate practice, policy, and professional development with the objective of increasing accountability and measurable progress in diversifying our faculty.
  • Seeded equity, diversity and inclusion innovation across campus through Innovation Grants of up to $15,000 to fund promising pilot projects that advance equity, diversity and inclusion. These mini-grant opportunities allow broad, campuswide engagement in achieving our shared goals for diversity and inclusion. Many of these pilots have been institutionalized either by the department, division or through extramural funding, including Summer Program for Women in Philosophy, Black Studies Research Collaborative, Morehouse-Spelman Physics Bridge Program, Community College Partnership Program in Bioengineering, Explore, Prepare, Innovate, Connect (EPIC) Program, REACH and BioChemCore 2015Arts and Humanities Advantage Outreach Internship ProgramCalifornia ShamanDependent Care Professional Travel Grant Program for Postdoctoral Scholars, GPS Promoting Public Service Weekend, Xavier Summer Program in Biological Sciences, and Peer Educators for Greek Life.
  • Launched the Faculty Peer Mediation Program, designed to empower faculty to help resolve disagreements between colleagues through facilitated negotiation and civil discourse
  • Launched Tritons Together to provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves and the perspectives of others, and to gain the skills needed to put the Principles of Community into action
  • Launched collaborative effort between Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and The Teaching + Learning Commons to fully integrate equity-minded teaching and learning practices
  • Launched Veteran Ventures Entrepreneurism Program, a commitment to provide veterans with entrepreneurial programs, helping to build greater confidence and increased skills as they transition into the civilian world
  • Launched the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Grant for Faculty Leadership in Excellence and Diversity to support faculty who want to enhance their leadership capacity in support of diversity and equity
  • Developed and launched Black and Latinx transition programs, BRC Success Institute, and RRC Avazando Juntos to support and facilitate smooth campus and academic adjustment. Programs deliberately involve family members who are influencers of college choice.
  • Launched the Sol Program to bridge the retention gap of Latinx students. The program is designed to provide Latinx students the support and preparation needed to successfully graduate and benefit from the resources provided at UC San Diego.

Goal 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

  • Increased sponsored research awards by $4.6 million and increased funding support for researchers from 5 percent to 15 percent at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Hired seven joint faculty members by partnering with five schools at UC San Diego
  • Initiated the UC San Diego Strategic Initiative to Understanding and Protecting the Planet led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Created a new seed-funding research program for early career faculty
  • Launched the Cryo-Electron Microscope Mesa Collaborative. The Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility is available to UC San Diego faculty, staff and students and also to members of the nonprofit research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa.
  • Grew research in the Health Sciences by 3.5 percent from $582 million to $603 million.
  • Received over $1 billion in research funding for over five consecutive years since 2013
  • Successfully negotiated 3 percent IDC increase
  • Established free Coursera: UC San Diego students, staff and faculty can enroll in Coursera courses and earn certificates for free

Goal 4

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

  • Opened the Jacobs Medical Center in November 2016 and continued construction on the new Outpatient Pavilion, scheduled to open in fall 2018
  • Continued short and long-term campus visioning, including updating our Long Range Development Plan for campus and Hillcrest; initiating various regional transportation projects, such as preparation for light rail transit in 2021 and the Gilman realignment project to facilitate connection to the future Gilman Bridge; and planning for the design and construction of mixed-use facilities to create vibrant communities and meet the evolving needs of campus members
  • Served as Science Envoy for the U.S. Department of State
  • Hosted over 474,000 visitors at Birch Aquarium
  • Started successful Corporate Affiliates Program with hundreds of companies participating
  • Launched AIM (Accelerating Innovations to Market) with 54 initial applications across campus
  • Began operation of the research vessel Sally Ride, which had her inaugural voyage in August 2016
  • Launched five new startups by Entrepreneurs in Residence
  • Replaced 56 million gallons of potable water usage with reclaimed water through the Central Utility Plant
  • Ensured Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute building is fully operational

Goal 5

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

  • Awarded $29 million for research vessel Roger Revelle Service Life Extension
  • Completed APLU (Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities) Application resulting in a 60 percent increase in Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grants when university is a partner
  • Created a funding portal on BLINK website to increase visibility to suggested resources for funding opportunities
  • Completed ten “campaigns” in FY 2016-17 through IdeaWave to solicit ideas and implement recommended process improvements on a variety of topics, including collective impact as a pathway to reinvigorate broadening participation in STEM, professional development opportunities, strategic planning, leadership initiatives best practices; the campaigns received more than 206 ideas and 7,906 total page views
  • Completed the Mesa Nueva Student Housing on UC San Diego’s east campus in La Jolla, which added approximately 1,355 new beds for single graduate and professional students
  • Continued construction and design for additional student housing on campus with the Nuevo West and Nuevo East Graduate Student Housing and North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood projects
  • Raised over $1.49 billion in private support toward a historic and ambitious $2 billion fundraising Campaign for UC San Diego by refining campaign priorities and recruiting campaign leadership, including honorary co-chairs Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Ernest Rady, and Denny Sanford
  • Reported over 82.5 percent growth in gifts and grants from $60 million to $110 million in Health Sciences Advancement
  • Trained over 600 UC San Diego staff and faculty in Lean Six Sigma process improvement methodology in 2017, and Lean Six Sigma projects generated an estimated savings of $2.16 million
  • Partnered with CampusBird to offer Visitor Map, an engaging and visually appealing 3D interactive map to improve how people experience our campus

Looking Ahead

Over the next year and beyond, we will continue our efforts to think boldly to identify and implement the unprecedented solutions that are necessary to ensure our continued level of excellence, and that fulfill our Strategic Plan goals. Looking ahead, we plan to

  • Open the Outpatient Pavilion at UC San Diego Health in fall 2018
  • Continue construction and design for additional student housing on campus with the goal of adding 10,000 new beds, including 5,000 by 2021
  • Refine campus vision and physical transformation to meet evolving facility needs for campus members
  • Build a culture of philanthropy and publicly launch fundraising campaign to advance Strategic Plan goals and campus vision
  • Continue to implement faculty growth plan to support future student growth and advance multidisciplinary research
  • Grow UC San Diego’s research enterprise by expanding industry and community-based research, fostering innovation and entrepreneurism, improving large grant application process, and identifying and building support in alignment with strategic strengths
  • Implement new living and learning communities to enhance students’ academic and co-curricular experience
  • Continue to address priority cyclical maintenance projects through strategic investments and partnerships
  • Continue work to support the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative by implementing energy efficient projects to ensure campus carbon neutrality by 2025

Re-Visioning Our Campus: Unified Goals Propel Progress

UC San Diego is beginning a momentous and substantial transformation. We are re-visioning our campus to fulfill our five Strategic Plan goals. Every day, we make progress to enhance the student experience, cultivate an inclusive and diverse community, expand our research prowess and impact, improve the delivery of advanced healthcare and enrich our community. Our campus is physically transforming to meet the evolving needs of our campus and community members, and we are laying the groundwork to publicly announce our ambitious and historic $2 billion fundraising Campaign for UC San Diego to advance our mission. We’ve already surpassed the halfway mark in the quiet phase and recruited volunteer campaign leadership, including four honorary co-chairs and nearly 35 campaign committee members. Our revitalization is underway, and the following are achievements over the last year that support our five goals and campus vision. View the previous year’s accomplishments.

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

  • Improved the academic curriculum by establishing 10 new undergraduate degree and minor programs in emerging fields and six new graduate programs, degrees and specializations; reviewed existing programs for quality; developed Top 20 UC San Diego majors Transfer Pathways, as well as pathways for three-year Bachelor’s degrees for top majors; streamlined the curriculum requirements of more than 40 top undergraduate majors
  • Launched The Teaching + Learning Commons, which is working with graduate students and faculty to help them become better instructors; early accomplishments include the establishment of the Student Achievement Hub offering supplemental instruction and tutoring support for all lower division math courses, and expansion of the scope of the Writing + Critical Expression Hub to offer writing support to graduate students; The Commons will be housed in newly renovated space in the Geisel Library in fall 2016
  • Enhanced student advising through six Innovation in Advising grants, which created pilot programs like drop-in tutoring and embedded undergraduate mentorships; improved mentorship and professional development of graduate students through programs like GradVantage and an online tool for faculty that supports them in their role as advisors
  • Expanded summer training student programs, including STEM Transfer Academy, Summer Bridge, Jacobs School Summer Engineering Academy and Extension Transfer credit courses
  • Continued implementation of faculty growth plan with 53 net new hires in 2015-16
  • Continued growth of high-quality, cost-effective and diverse graduate program, resulting in increased admission and enrollment of highly qualified Ph.D. and MFA students, a significant increase in the MA/MS population and improved first-year GPAs
  • Nearly doubled the number of Chancellor’s Associates scholarships – 181 new scholars will arrive this fall, bringing our campus total to 353 scholars – with the goal of providing a total of 600 scholarships by 2018-19
  • Added student health and well-being resources, including more alcohol and drug-free programming and education, extended Student Health Services hours and appointments, increased mental health professional staff at Counseling and Psychological Services, and additional staff and resources for CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center; also launched the Triton Concern Line, a 24/7 streamlined way for staff and faculty to seek consultation and assistance regarding students of concern
  • Served nearly 27,000 students and alumni through career and professional development and broadened relationships with strategic employers
  • Introduced a broader official UC San Diego record, including the Enhanced Electronic Transcript and the Co-Curricular Record to provide context information about students’ courses and a validated record of students’ co-curricular engagement and the transferable skills they developed

Goal 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

  • Increased staff and resources strategically to promote student recruitment to yield a talented and diverse class of students and strengthen community support; the successful efforts led to one of our most diverse incoming classes of students this fall
  • Laid the groundwork for a campus-wide process to develop a strategic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan
  • Assembled Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council – combining elements of the Diversity Council and Climate Council – to advise Chancellor and other senior leaders on diversity matters such as institutional access and representation
  • Created Leaders in Equity Advancement and Diversity (LEAD) Fellows Program to train staff leaders to ensure diversity and excellence across campus
  • Completed accountability data dashboards that display key indicators tracking recruitment, retention and advancement for all members of our campus community
  • Hired the inaugural director of the Inter-Tribal Resource Center
  • Established the Black Academic Excellence Initiative to strengthen support for our Black campus community
  • Strengthened the cultivation of a diverse graduate student pipeline with the expansion of STARS summer research program, increased mentorship and the development of new SEED fellowships for graduates of minority-serving institutions; extended student outreach in the Bay Area and Inland Empire
  • Instituted a variety of faculty support programs, such as the creation of the Family Accommodation Implementation Team, EDI faculty workshops, and ongoing leadership, support and training to divisional Faculty Equity Advisors
  • Implemented living and learning communities focused on Black, Latino and LGBT students to enhance students’ academic and co-curricular experience at UC San Diego
  • To track and quantify staff perceptions of climate, a subset of climate questions for the 2015 Staff@Work Survey was created to enable department heads and Vice Chancellors to determine a climate baseline for their units, implement department specific interventions and track progress

Goal 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

  • Advanced UC San Diego’s four grand research themes through new centers and initiatives – including the UC San Diego Microbiome and Microbial Sciences Initiative and the Center for Marine Archeology – key faculty recruitments, private / government / industry support and Frontiers of Innovation awards
  • Awarded 10 Frontiers of Innovation grants for campus centers, as well as 200 fellowships and scholarships through the Frontiers of Innovation Scholarship Program
  • Surpassed $1 billion in research funding for the fifth time in seven years, accelerating research productivity
  • Created the Office of Innovation and Commercialization to speed ideas and inventions to national and world markets, and bring together the offices of technology transfer, intellectual property, innovation design and industry partnering under one roof; streamlined license documents; increased research application support and proposal assistance, grants managed and awarded, new licenses and U.S. patents, and sponsored research agreements with new for-profit sponsors
  • Established EnVision Arts & Engineering Maker Studio and expanded support for the Design Lab and created new Design Minor
  • Boosted student research engagement through Research Experience and Applied Learning (REAL) Portal by including global experiences, service opportunities and internships; more than 17,000 people used the REAL Portal in FY 2015-16
  • Initiated innovation pipeline programs, such as Entrepreneur in Residence program
  • Continued to lead national and international policy and research; examples include Congressional testimony provided by our faculty, the Bending the Curve report and the hosting of the UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit at UC San Diego

Goal 4

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

  • Continued short and long-term campus visioning, including updating our Long Range Development Plan for campus and Hillcrest; initiating various regional transportation projects, such as preparation for Light Rail Transit in 2021 and the Gilman realignment project to facilitate connection to the future Gilman Bridge; and planning for the design and construction of mixed-use facilities to create vibrant communities and meet the evolving needs of campus members
  • Expanded UC San Diego Health Care Network and strategic partnerships with local health systems and community physicians to improve delivery of care in San Diego County and Southern California
  • Worked on completing construction of Jacobs Medical Center for fall 2016 opening and debuted the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute building, a new campus hub for advancing basic science to clinical applications
  • Increased visibility of UC San Diego through Extended Studies and public programs; Extension’s total enrollments have amplified tenfold in the last five years
  • Hosted over 438,000 visitors at Birch Aquarium
  • Completed construction and testing for the research vessel Sally Ride, as well as construction of MARFAC Pier and Deep Sea Drilling West Facility

Goal 5

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

  • Achieved financial simplification by transitioning from many funds to a limited few funds for core activity through the Simplified Operating Funds Initiative (SOFI)
  • Hired a Chief Information Officer to improve efficiencies and implement innovative applications of information technology in teaching, learning and student success
  • Completed eight “campaigns” in FY 2015-16 through IdeaWave to solicit ideas and implement recommended process improvements on a variety of topics, including reducing administrative burden, staff performance appraisals, improving our parking options, working together to save energy and improving the staff experience; the website received more than 800 ideas and 103,000 total page views
  • Continued construction and design for additional student housing on campus with the goal of adding 10,000 new beds, including 5,000 by 2021
  • Raised a record $212 million in private support in FY 2015-16 and prepared for public announcement of a historic and ambitious fundraising campaign by refining campaign priorities and recruiting campaign leadership, including honorary co-chairs Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Ernest Rady and Denny Sanford

Looking Ahead

Over the next year and beyond, we will continue our efforts to think boldly to identify and implement the unprecedented solutions that are necessary to ensure our continued level of excellence, and that fulfill our Strategic Plan goals. Looking ahead, we plan to:

  • Refine campus vision and physical transformation to meet evolving facility needs for campus members
  • Build a culture of philanthropy and publicly launch fundraising campaign to advance Strategic Plan goals and campus vision
  • Continue to implement faculty growth plan to support future student growth and advance multi-disciplinary research
  • Grow UC San Diego’s research enterprise by expanding industry and community-based research, fostering innovation and entrepreneurism, improving large grant application process, and identifying and building support in alignment with strategic strengths
  • Implement new living and learning communities to enhance students’ academic and co-curricular experience
  • Open the Jacobs Medical Center and Outpatient Pavilion
  • Celebrate the arrival of the R/V Sally Ride to her homeport at the Nimitz Marine Facility and commence the ship’s research endeavors
  • Continue to address priority cyclical maintenance projects through strategic investments and partnerships
  • Continue work to support the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative by implementing energy efficient projects to ensure campus carbon neutrality by 2025

Achieving Our Mission: Campus Makes Great Progress Toward Strategic Plan Goals

Every day, UC San Diego campus members make great advancements toward our Strategic Plan mission and goals. From classroom and lab renovations to curriculum enhancements and new multidisciplinary research centers, the Strategic Plan guides our decisions and resource allocations, and enables us to seize opportunities that enhance our distinctiveness, quality and benefit to the community. Together, we are shaping a bright future for UC San Diego. Read about our achievements over the last year by clicking on the arrows below.

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

  • Improved teaching facilities and instructional technology
  • Added new courses and research experiences in response to emerging fields
  • Created and began implementing faculty growth plan with the goal of adding 80 net new faculty over three years to help reduce the student to ladder-rank faculty ratio to 28:1
  • Worked to improve retention and graduation rates through numerous avenues, which include: streamlining curriculum requirements, creating the Four-Year Plan tool (allows students to plan and monitors their graduation path for all 130 majors), increasing offerings of bottleneck courses and expanding first-year experience courses
  • Established Teaching & Learning Commons
  • Began implementation of Graduate Student Growth and Excellence Initiative to increase graduate student and Ph.D. population, increase number of students and scholars with fellowships, increase average net stipends paid to all students across all divisions, and increase international student population
  • Commenced bicycle and pedestrian improvements on campus
  • Opened Triton Food Pantry to provide free food to students in need

Goal 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

  • Designed and implemented TA training on diversity and pedagogy to support improved teaching and cultural awareness
  • Developed and held Teaching Diversity Conference
  • Created Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series
  • Expanded the number of students who receive the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship and boosted on-campus programming to further support the scholars
  • Increased outreach to disadvantaged businesses for contracted services
  • Added diverse art to campus including Sojourner Truth statue and the Art Park
  • Enhanced collaboration between Admissions and Campus Community Centers (Black Resource Center, Cross-Cultural Center, Raza Resource Centro) to amplify outreach efforts to over 40 high schools, community colleges, and student groups in Southern California, primarily low-income and first-generation students

Goal 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

  • Formed committees to advance research themes – committees set for Understanding and Protecting the Planet and Enriching Human Life and Society; committees being created for Exploring the Basis of Human Knowledge, Learning and Creativity and Understanding Cultures and Addressing Disparities in Society
  • Created multiple interdisciplinary centers through the Frontiers of Innovation program to support four research themes, including Sustainable Power and Energy Center, Institute for Integrative Science of the Developing Mind and Brain, and Center for Research on Gender in STEMM
  • Launched 200 multidisciplinary student-research projects through Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program
  • Connected 600 students with research experiences through Undergraduate Research Portal
  • Enhanced multi-institutional research and signed 26 new international memoranda of understanding
  • Completed Space Study to examine use of existing space, policies for space management and campus facilities information system, and identify areas for improvement

Goal 4

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

Goal 5

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

Looking Ahead

Over the next year and beyond, we will continue our efforts to think boldly to identify and implement the unprecedented solutions that are necessary to ensure our continued level of excellence, and that fulfill our Strategic Plan goals. Looking ahead, we plan to:

  • Continue to focus on education and student initiatives, such as expanding supplemental instruction programs, trying novel approaches to advising and devising new, tested strategies to improve retention and time-to-degree
  • Continue to implement faculty growth plan
  • Expand master’s and Ph.D. programs
  • Create a Behavioral Concern Advice Line
  • Continue to forge donor and industry partnerships in key regions
  • Increase staff to promote student recruitment and retention, and strengthen community support
  • Increase alumni giving
  • Continue to utilize IdeaWave to solicit ideas and implement recommended process improvements throughout the organization
  • Address priority cyclical maintenance projects that have been identified
  • Complete EDI Dashboard, a real-time, web-based user interface that shows graphical presentations of the current status and historical trends of UC San Diego’s performance indicators

Great Progress, Bright Future

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The world is about to become a better place. That’s because more than 8,000 new UC San Diego graduates are joining the ranks of our distinguished alumni, faculty and staff who are already positively impacting our society and planet. It’s also due to the efforts of our campus members to fulfill the five goals we collectively developed in our first-ever Strategic Plan and achieve our vision as a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.

As a public research university, UC San Diego has a responsibility to conduct and translate research so that it benefits our community and world. Just in the last year, UC San Diego faculty have made much progress in advancing our Strategic Plan’s four grand research themes.

Setting a Strong Course for the University

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“Our success will be measured by our accomplishments and the societal impact that results from achieving our goals.” – Chancellor Khosla

Chancellor Khosla hosted a campus-wide Town Hall on April 24 at the Faculty Club to discuss the outcomes of UC San Diego’s first-ever Strategic Plan.  He talked about the five transformational goals and 13 strategies that were developed after garnering feedback from more than 10,000 campus and community members. He also shared early actions the campus has taken during the strategic planning process that support the plan’s goals, and expressed his excitement about the direction we are heading.  He said, 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.  To learn more, view the Strategic Plan Executive Summary and the Chancellor's PowerPoint. The Chancellor will host additional Town Halls in the coming weeks.

Town Hall Set to Discuss Strategic Plan Outcomes

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Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla will host a Town Hall to share the five goals, 13 strategies and four research themes developed through the strategic planning process, and he will talk about the decisions and investments that have already been made to support the plan’s goals.

The Town Hall will be held on Thursday, April 24 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. at the Faculty Club Dining Room. Read more about the town hall in This Week.

Unable to attend?  Two additional Town Halls will be held at different locations on campus in the coming weeks.

Read the Strategic Plan Executive Summary.

Update on Administrative Structure Review and Organizational Changes

The campus-wide administrative review, conducted in tandem with our strategic planning initiative, positions UC San Diego for implementation of the university's strategic plan. I have initiated organizational changes that include:

  • Appoint Steve Gamer as Vice Chancellor - Advancement. In this position, he has primary responsibility for oversight of university development and alumni and constituent engagement, and will lead the planning for a major fundraising campaign.
  • Launch Search for Vice Chancellor - Student Affairs (VCSA) position, with a solid reporting line to the Executive Vice Chancellor and a dotted reporting line to the Chancellor. The VCSA remains a Cabinet member. This change will lead to a stronger integration of academics and student life, will sharpen our focus on the overall student experience, and help us to achieve our campus goal to be a student-centered university. The search commenced in January 2014.
  • Revise Reporting for Career Services and Student Health and Well Being, with Career Services now aligned with Alumni and Constituent Engagement in Advancement, and Student Health and Well Being now aligned with the UC San Diego Health System. The reporting changes were instituted in summer/fall 2013.
  • Create Office of Ethics and Compliance reporting directly to me and led by Judy Bruner as Chief Campus Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO). Effective March 1, 2014, her role expands to include oversight of the Ombuds office and Audit and Management Advisory Services. As CECO, Bruner also will be the Locally Designated Official and will co-chair the campus Compliance, Audit, Risk and Ethics (CARE) Committee.
  • Launch Search for Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer with primary university-wide responsibility for all financial and accounting functions; the search will get underway in winter/spring.
  • Establish Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives to provide the campus with opportunities to improve administrative processes. Led by Director Bob Neuhard and advised by a campus-wide committee, the office will ensure continuous improvement and efficiency in all of our operations.

As implementation of the strategic plan progresses, I will continue to assess administrative changes to ensure that UC San Diego is positioned to achieve our goals.

The Imperative for Change - Ensuring a Bright Future for UC San Diego

At the conclusion of UC San Diego’s 50th anniversary year in 2011, our campus community was inspired with a renewed sense of pride in our tremendous achievements. Our golden milestone afforded us a valuable opportunity to celebrate our unique and enviable academic trajectory, one that we hope to emulate in the future. These celebratory times were quickly followed by the inevitable question, “so, what’s next?” Our campus had arrived at a pivotal moment, which became increasingly clear as myriad important conversations on campus began to converge. Meanwhile, following decades of enormous growth in students, faculty, programs and buildings, the campus had been dealt five years of severe state funding cuts, resulting in the erosion of our budgeted-to-actual faculty ratio and student-to-faculty ratio. It was time to look toward the future and determine how to rebuild in a thoughtful and strategic manner to ensure an equally remarkable next 50 years for UC San Diego. Thus, we commenced a strategic planning process.

Our greatest challenge has been to maintain our excellence, reputation and access despite the declining state contributions to the UC budget and an unstable economy. We faced, and continue to face, mounting pressures from all of our constituents. The California governor and legislature continue to demand costs-containment measures and tuition caps—even as their budgetary choices seem to renege on the promise of the Master Plan by asking students to pay more than the state provides for their education. Parents and students continue to protest escalating tuition. Industry leaders renew calls for us to produce a different kind of graduate – creative problem solvers who are culturally competent and civic-minded as well as being technically knowledgeable. Our students and other campus constituents are demanding improvements in campus climate, diversity and inclusion. Philanthropic contributions have evolved into an emphasis on return on investment, as donors want to see a tangible impact of their gifts. And funding agencies have become increasingly focused on the societal impact of the research projects they support. Although the campus has secured approximately $1 billion in annual research funding for four consecutive years, we, as a campus, have come to recognize that the tide has turned and we need to be responsive.

While the country struggles to recover from a nationwide recession, and some have begun to question the value of investing in a UC education, our competition for the best and brightest students has heated up and the need for scholarships and fellowships has become more critical than ever. We pride ourselves on attracting the best and brightest students and know that nearly 75 percent of our admitted students are also admitted to UCLA. Multi-million dollar scholarship funds there, and at other competing universities, often mean that we can’t successfully compete for these outstanding students. In the last year, we have also seen online education become a focal point in the conversation to retool higher education. This new tool will allow us to help our own students and potentially provide access to many outside the university, but also allows the competition to reach into our backyard because they, too, can offer programs and degrees in San Diego. These factors all combine to potentially undermine our foundational principles of excellence, affordability and access. We have also begun to hear from our faculty that our increasing organizational complexity, and perhaps complacency, is beginning to stifle our innovative spirit, and the poaching of our elite research teams is an increasing threat to our academic excellence and research prowess.

Today, we face a very different landscape than we did 50 years ago when the university was founded. No longer as reliant on the state as we once were, and having reached steady state with respect to funding driven by undergraduate enrollment growth, it is clear that revenue growth will have to come from other sources, including philanthropy. But we need more than additional funding to succeed. We must step back and reevaluate everything we do, why and how. We need the commitment and bottom-up engagement of our campus members. We need to take smart risks and be flexible. And we need to plan for the next several decades, seizing opportunities that enhance our distinctiveness, quality and benefit to the public.

In sum, we must collectively and boldly respond to the challenges and the opportunities before us and that is one of the main reasons we initiated our campuswide strategic planning process. This effort is enabling us to develop a shared vision around solutions to our major challenges, establish mechanisms for assessing success, provide adequate resources, and shape the plan by empowering those who will actually execute it. This will allow us to redefine what it means to be a public research university, so that we can truly be student-centered, research-focused and service-oriented, and continue to have a transformative impact on the economic, social, cultural and imaginative experiences of our communities.

Pradeep K. Khosla
Chancellor, UC San Diego

Suresh Subramani
Executive Vice Chancellor, UC San Diego

How the Strategic Planning Process Is Already Impacting Campus

UC San Diego’s strategic planning process is still underway, yet the input gathered, and the emerging themes and goals, have already led campus leaders to identify and seize opportunities over the last several months.

“This process has helped us to sharpen our mission to be a student-centered, research-oriented, service-oriented public university,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.  “Going forward, every decision we make will be based on these eight words.”

Key decisions based on these emerging themes this year include the creation of the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars program, the Center for Brain Activity Mapping, and an initiative to increase the number and quality of Ph.D. students at UC San Diego.  The campus also initiated a review of credit requirements to improve time to degree, and began renovation on biology and chemistry labs.

In this video, the Chancellor talks about the progress of the strategic planning process and what we’ve accomplished as a campus over the last year.

Strategic Plan Rollout to Begin in September; Early Steps Underway on Student Initiatives

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Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla talks with Chancellor’s Associates Scholars at an event in April.

The Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council wrapped up its work for the 2012-2013 academic year at a June 3 meeting where members discussed early steps forward and set a framework for unveiling the completed plan and launching its implementation in the fall. The Council also reviewed UC San Diego’s mission, values and goals.

Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla reported to the group on five early initiatives that will:

  1. Enhance Ph.D. quality and increase graduate enrollment
  2. Increase diversity and strengthen community involvement by providing full scholarships to graduates of three UC San Diego partner schools;
  3. Improve the student academic experience by renovating chemistry and biology labs;
  4. Respond to national research funding opportunities by initiating a multidisciplinary Brain Activity Mapping Center to understand the human brain;
  5. Partner with the faculty in a review of the credit hour requirements across campus majors in order to decrease students’ time to degree.

“We’ve already started to respond to the ideas that have come forward from the involvement and feedback of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and the broader San Diego community,” Khosla told the Council. “Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani and I have been very pleased with the quality of recommendations that have bubbled up through the strategic planning process. It’s clear the campus is engaged and an active partner in determining UC San Diego’s future.”

Khosla set the stage for strategic planning work that will pick up after the summer and the Council discussed implementation “best practices.” The Chancellor noted that organizations typically embark on strategic planning in response to a crisis or an urgent need. UC San Diego is unique in launching this endeavor from a position of strength.

Where other institutions “try to move the needle on a certain parameter,” Khosla said, “we’re trying to move the needle on cultural change. Our fundamentals are extremely strong.  We want to create a culture that will keep those fundamentals strong.”   The strategic planning process presents UC San Diego with an historic opportunity “to achieve something much deeper – a model for going forward,” he said.

One of the ongoing topics at the strategic planning meetings has been initiating a change in institutional culture. Khosla noted that he has seen a shift, citing initiatives that strengthen the campus as a student-centered, research-oriented, service-oriented public university.

Khosla and Subramani agreed that factors that will affect the outcome of the implementation process include: faculty participation and concurrence, integration across divisions and disciplines, clear metrics of success, and ongoing communication with stakeholders.

During the summer, a draft of the plan will be prepared for wider distribution in the fall. The Chancellor emphasized that the strategic plan will be “a living document” subject to review and input from the faculty and from stakeholder groups who have been involved in the planning process.

Chancellor’s Council Prepares for Strategic Plan Rollout

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The Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council set the stage at its April meeting for an early summer rollout of UC San Diego’s first-ever blueprint for future growth.  Members conveyed feedback from campus units on a Statement of Mission and Values, and they appraised initiatives to foster educational quality, faculty excellence, research-fueled innovation in emerging fields, equity and diversity, and public engagement.

Feedback from Campus Units:  The success of the strategic plan will hinge on its implementation by departments, programs, and other units.  Many, if not most, are developing their own strategic plans, and some of those plans involve coordination across divisions.  Council members reported unit responses to the Mission and Values framework that included:

  • The campus-wide planning effort is generally hailed as highly valuable and long overdue.  Unit discussions have included development of specific actions with tangible outcomes that reflect campus mission and values .
  • The emphasis on improving undergraduate education and the student experience is generating excitement, in large part because it aligns with the priorities of many units.

During the meeting, Council members worked in teams to generate insights and recommendations for key components of the strategic plan, which will be drafted by early May:

Educational Quality:

  • Freshman and transfer students need more guidance in exploring co-curricular opportunities for leadership and skills development.  This could include extending orientation activities and profiling 3rd- and 4th-year students who have benefited from co-curricular achievement.
  • Students who participate in faculty-led research and intellectual ventures are better equipped to discover the passions and aptitudes that will direct their post-graduation career paths. 
  • A gap exists between print-based learning favored by faculty and digital learning preferred by students. Our efforts in the coming years must accommodate ever-changing teaching and learning technologies.
  • A similar mismatch occurs when information gathering takes precedence over information application and when individual attainment is prized over team success.

Faculty Excellence:

  • Streamlined faculty hiring will boost recruitment outcomes, and greater salary equity between new and current faculty will improve retention rates.  These have become increasingly costly issues as private and overseas universities more aggressively court stellar faculty.
  • Faculty who are early adopters of best practices in pedagogy and mentoring should be identified and rewarded.
  • As faculty are asked to devote more time to mentoring students and building diversity, they will face difficult choices about time spent on departmental responsibilities, committee service, and other administrative functions.
  • Online instruction could reduce teaching loads, especially in introductory courses.  But such instruction, if done right, can be expensive to design and implement.

Innovation in Emerging Fields:

  • UC San Diego has historically been an “innovation ecosystem” that exerts global leadership and transformative regional impact.  To build on that tradition, the campus should launch interdisciplinary ventures in two emerging fields where it already enjoys a competitive advantage: health and wellness, with a particular focus on brain mapping, and “big data” analysis and management.
  • Future enterprise “thrusts” should be plotted using a well-defined matrix that covers motivation and purpose, required investment, stakeholder vetting, projected impact, timelines and milestones, and metrics of success.
  • While interdisciplinary prowess is a UC San Diego mark of distinction that will drive future advancement, we must equally value excellence and collaboration within disciplines.

Equity and Diversity:

  • The new administration’s public and pronounced commitment to diversity represents a sea change for UC San Diego, both in terms of strengthening the campus community and improving relations with external constituents.
  • Diversity must be recognized as an opportunity that adds value to educational and scholarly enterprises and not just as an obligation that must be met.
  • Some campus units have achieved diversity through bold and concerted effort.  Those efforts should be studied and replicated.

Public Engagement:

  • Patient care plays a dominant role in the university’s fulfillment of its public service mission.  Free medical clinics for underserved populations should be widely promoted.  The quality of the patient experience should be an institutional priority.  And campus employees should be incentivized to enroll in their own university’s health care system.
  • Launching new master’s degree programs tailored for the region’s innovation-based workforce can enhance community engagement and boost campus revenues.

While collaboration with La Jolla-based institutes will always be fruitful, the campus should extend its geographic reach by forging new partnerships with peer institutions and government agencies throughout the nation and around the globe.

Strategic Planning Council Consensus: “We’re 90% There”

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Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla addresses a Strategic Plan town hall meeting.

The March 2013 Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council meeting focused on UC San Diego’s Statement of Mission and Values, a planning framework that incorporates a wide range of stakeholder input. The campus leaders expressed support for the statement’s clarity and precision in setting future priorities for UC San Diego, and concurred with the importance of “measures of success” as a key component of the blueprint for the future. They agreed with Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla that it represents “a 90-percent convergence” of the planning process to date, and they said they will begin integrating its precepts in charting the future of their units.

The Council advised the Chancellor that UC San Diego should adopt institution-wide strategies going forward which focus more intently on:

  • Developing and rewarding teaching excellence, with an emphasis on research-centered pedagogy that would capitalize on the intellectual distinction of the campus.
  • Ensuring student success through mentoring that is more tailored, course loads that are more manageable, and career counseling that is more pro-active and pragmatic.
  • Raising incentives for and lower barriers to interdisciplinary ventures that unite top innovators from across campus to pursue high-impact issues and emerging fields.
  • Improving the quality of administrative services by “getting past ‘No’ ” with a new campus culture that encourages risk-taking and entrepreneurial thinking and is “enabling” to complete tasks and launch new initiatives.

More specifically, the Council offered recommendations for the university’s education and research mission areas:

Preserving and Strengthening Academic Excellence:

  • Strengthen procedures for recruiting and retaining faculty and graduate students, even in an era of shrinking resources, by expediting offers.
  • Recruitment and retention packages could be augmented with “in kind” incentives offered by private universities, e.g., tuition support for the children of faculty.
  • “Sunset reviews” of organized research units should be timely and vigorous, and their findings should be implemented definitively.
  • Joint appointments should be packaged with greater skill and efficiency; evaluations of faculty in those posts should primarily assess their cross-disciplinary work.
  • Endowed professorships could be funded with a mix of public and private money.  As federal and state budgets decline, donations from corporations and foundations should be pursued more aggressively.
  • UC campuses differ widely in their interpretations of Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) policies. UC San Diego should study how our peer campuses approach CAP issues with an eye toward adopting best practices.

Delivering a Distinctive Student-Centered Educational Experience:

  • Shortening the time-to-graduation rates of both undergraduate and graduate students must be a top institutional priority; this could be achieved by offering more flexible course work during summers and holiday breaks.
  • Departments should take greater responsibility for anticipating and preventing student drop-outs.
  • Non-FTE instructors who are outstanding teachers could help raise the quality of the educational experience, but the campus must be attentive to compensation and quality of life issues.
  • The exploration of online learning tools should be part of a more comprehensive overhaul of curricular practices and a re-examination of course content and delivery.  That effort should focus on using pedagogical technology for basic instruction and giving faculty more time for “problem-solving” interactive education.
  • Lengthen and augment orientation of new students; ask upper-division students to identify hurdles in their early years and “secrets to success” learned experientially.
  • Special courses for upper-division students taught by top faculty researchers would help immerse students in UC San Diego’s high-caliber research environment. Those alumni would likely become high achievers and persuasive campus ambassadors.

As a next step in the strategic planning process, the Council will discuss the formation of overarching initiatives and corresponding working groups.

At the conclusion of the session, Chancellor Khosla thanked the Council for its diligence and dedication, and he reiterated the planning initiative’s core value of achieving diversity.  “We are all responsible for the climate of this campus,” he said, “and we want to make sure people understand that we care about equity and inclusion. It’s a long journey, but we have reaffirmed our commitment to get on the right track.”

Regional CEOs Advise Chancellor on Strategic Planning

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CEOs and corporate leaders from San Diego firms identified new ways to expand UC San Diego’s impact regionally and globally in a Feb. 25 early morning breakfast meeting with Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

Many of the participants are themselves alumni, parents of alumni, or employers who have hired graduates and mentored students.  The executives underscored the need for closer ties on all fronts between innovation-based industries and university faculty and students. They offered to help prepare students to succeed in a workforce that values enterprise and teamwork.  And they asked the Chancellor to accelerate research and development partnerships that will yield collaborative breakthroughs.

The forum generated specific recommendations in two areas:

Do current UC San Diego degree programs meet the needs of today’s students and workforce?

  • Too often, local companies must look beyond San Diego to recruit qualified information technology engineers and pharmaceutical chemists.  More internships in high-demand areas could help UC San Diego graduates gain an edge in the job market.
  • Students must be better acquainted with real-world professional expectations.  They should be trained in networking skills and intellectual property issues, and they could benefit from “conditioning” about the importance of self-motivation, collegialty and working under pressure in the business environment.  Corporate leaders could work with the campus to design such programs for both undergraduates and doctoral candidates.
  • The university should broaden its current student mentoring “best practices”; examples include the Team Internship Program at the Jacobs School of Engineering.  Such programs should intensify efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students.

How can UC San Diego better serve the San Diego and California community and economy?

  • Local life science firms often go outside San Diego to conduct Phase I and II clinical trials because this region lacks the needed infrastructure.  UC San Diego could close that gap.
  • The campus offers a wealth of seminars and symposia that would advance professional development throughout the regional industry.  Information about those programs should be more widely disseminated, and the campus should find ways to accommodate visitors who wish to attend (e.g., guides to accessible parking).
  • Faculty could benefit from professional internships at local firms that are generating advances in their fields.

Chancellor Khosla assured the group that their input will have significant influence on the planning initiative. “We’ll come back as this process moves along,” he said, “and we’ll have more conversations.”


Alumni Leaders Join Strategic Planning Process

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UC San Diego’s Alumni Board of Directors joined the campus strategic planning process in a Feb. 22 forum that generated an array of ideas for enhancing the student experience, strengthening the university’s brand, and fortifying the global network of 150,000 campus alumni.

Board members called for more dynamic alumni-student exchanges, particularly those centered on academic majors and career development.  They expressed a keen interest in promoting UC San Diego as a “public Ivy” renowned for both high academic quality and broad educational access.  They suggested that more enterprising admissions procedures would boost diversity and inclusion, and they volunteered to serve as admissions readers.

Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, who has identified alumni engagement as an institutional priority, praised the board for its dedication to supporting and mentoring students.  “At one time, you were one of those kids,” he said, “and as alumni, you should never forget that.  Investing in these students is of paramount importance.”

The alumni leaders offered insights and recommendations for charting the university’s future in four primary strategic planning areas:

Enhancing the Student Experience

  • Alumni and students should connect more regularly through internships, mentoring programs, academic major and career counseling, and informal dinners.  The bonds that result would give both groups a greater sense of loyalty and institutional value.
  • First-year students should be inculcated with Triton spirit by means of special programs and T-shirts.  Such early imprinting could give UC San Diego a stronger identity and make the campus a more welcoming environment.
  • A growing percentage of undergraduates come from low-income households; fully half pay no tuition.  Because they are forced to juggle studies and jobs, they cannot participate in the extracurricular activities that could enrich their campus experience and build their allegiance to UC San Diego.
  • Instead of “thriving” as members of the university community, too many students are merely “surviving” under heavy and fragmented course loads.

Enhancing Academic and Educational Quality

  • The pre-eminence of UC San Diego faculty in their fields has become a “well-kept secret,” particularly among national university leaders who determine institutional rankings and within the surrounding San Diego community.
  • Efforts to bridge academic divisions and majors should focus on “real-life” opportunities for interdisciplinary achievement, e.g., applying Computer Science skills to Oceanography research.  Special attention should be given to such career counseling in the Social Sciences, a division that includes a large percentage of undergraduate majors.
  • Deferred maintenance of aging academic buildings has become a critical problem that threatens UC San Diego’s ability to sustain its exceptional scholarly impact.

Building Diversity, Access, and Inclusion

  • Proposition 209’s constraints on demographic admissions practices should be re-analyzed with an eye toward creating a more holistic admissions process.  Alumni who have legal and other related expertise could serve as advisers in this endeavor.
  • To help admissions officers with ever-enlarging applicant pools, alumni volunteers could be trained to evaluate applications.
  • UC San Diego should study the “best practices” of institutions that have successfully recruited and retained underrepresented students.
  • Overemphasis on the quantitative criteria of GPAs and SAT scores creates an uneven playing field that penalizes talented applicants from schools with skewered requirements.

Strengthening the UC San Diego Brand

  • UC San Diego should showcase its distinctions as an intellectual powerhouse – it should “Embrace the Geek” in the manner of MIT – and it should highlight its track record as an engine of innovation and international collaboration.
  • The university’s pivotal role in transforming San Diego from a Navy town to a global hub of innovation has not received its due recognition.
  • The branding of UC San Diego’s three “spheres” – General Campus, Health Sciences, and Marine Sciences –should be brought into closer alignment.
  • Expanding programs in corporate talent development would broaden UC San Diego’s external impact and increase its alliances to stakeholder groups.

Chancellor Khosla told the alumni leaders that “by the end of this year, we will have a 50,000-foot-high strategic plan” that will chart how “this institution will be one UC San Diego with multiple pillars of excellence – one university with one aspiration and one big vision.”

Strategic Planning Council Holds Second Meeting

The second meeting of the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council focused on two of the planning initiative’s primary themes: “preserve/strengthen academic excellence” and “create an outstanding student experience.”  Wide-ranging discussions of each theme emphasized three parameters that are integral to strategic planning.

Create an Outstanding Student Experience

Performance Metrics:

  • Are we using the most pertinent data to measure performance?
  • Are we comparing UC San Diego to institutions that are true peers in key areas?
  • Do we/can we reward high-performing units?

Best Practices:

  • Do we study and emulate cutting-edge practices at other institutions?
  • Can we be bold enough to initiate new models that entail a learning curve?
  • Can we re-direct resources from traditional programs to ground-breaking ventures that involve risk?

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Are we telling our most compelling stories to allies and advocates?
  • How can we mobilize stakeholder groups more productively?
  • How can we increase private support by making better cases for “return on investment”?

A significant consensus throughout the 5-hour session was that UC San Diego must devote more resources to recruiting, and especially to retaining, faculty and students of color.  This emerged as a top institutional priority across all campus areas.

Preserve/Strengthen Academic Excellence

Performance Metrics:

  • Chart the recruitment/retention rates of faculty and graduate students by department.
  • Track faculty who leave or who do not accept hiring offers, and try to determine why.
  • Broaden and hone peer comparison efforts; focus on “apples to apples” comparisons in target program areas and in specific outcomes.
  • Reduce the “balkanization” of institutional resources by increasing funding of, and rewards for, cross-campus interdisciplinary units and projects.
  • Bridge the divide between the equally valid faculty mindset of “We need to get things done” and the staff mindset of “We need to follow the rules and stay in compliance.”
  • Measure and nurture faculty-student interactions outside the classroom that contribute to academic achievement.

Best Practices:

  • Study our research unit business model and and, if needed, look for ways to reconstitute such units to incorporate teaching and infrastructure responsibilities.
  • Explore the creation of intra-campus “academies” that would offer frontier research opportunities to students.
  • Pursue high-profile partnerships with elite international universities.
  • Think more broadly about designing graduate programs for non-academic careers.
  • Study how Stanford and MIT nominate top faculty for National Academy memberships and other benchmark recognitions.
  • Upgrade recruitment/retention efforts for greater flexibility and time-sensitivity.

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Make it known that UC San Diego has fallen behind peer institutions with regard to investment in its research infrastructure (e.g., “Next Gen” sequencing), and explain how that gap has serious implications for San Diego’s culture of innovation.
  • Consider the possibilities for raising private money to pay faculty salaries and recruitment/retention packages.
  • Enlist alumni, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and non-profit leaders to serve as adjunct faculty (instructors and lecturers) and campus mentors.
  • Expand UC San Diego’s role as a “1st tester” of new technologies from corporate partners and supporters.
  • Explore ways that UC San Diego can increase private support and public advocacy by marketing its ability to address large-scale societal challenges (e.g., political dysfunction and environmental sustainability).

Health Sciences Faculty, Staff Take Part in Strategic Planning Town Halls

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Faculty and staff from the Division of Health Sciences joined in the campus strategic planning initiative at town hall forums at the Moores Cancer Center on Feb. 7 and the Hillcrest Medical Center on Feb. 8.  The discussions examined the Division’s role as San Diego’s only academic medical center, its mission to generate research discoveries that spur clinical innovations, and the challenges it faces in sustaining revenues and improving patient care.

“I look on the Health System as an integral part of UC San Diego,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla told participants.  “When the hospitals and the School of Medicine do well, all of the University does well.” 

Paul Viviano, CEO of the campus Health System, and David Brenner, Health Sciences Vice Chancellor and School of Medicine Dean, led the sessions by posing three questions to their colleagues about charting the future of the division.  Some responses focused on the specific operations of the hospitals and medical school, while others took a broader look at institutional issues.

What differentiates the UC San Diego Health System from other academic medical centers in its tripartite mission of clinical care, research, and education?

  • Faculty and students at the School of Medicine have extraordinary opportunities to team up with colleagues in top-ranked campus departments on cutting-edge research topics.  Examples include bioengineering studies with the Jacobs School of Medicine and projects with Calit2 on management of big data sets.
  • As the major provider of health care to indigent San Diegans, UC San Diego will be especially vulnerable to revenue shifts that result from the Affordable Health Care Act.

How can UC San Diego and the Health System better serve the San Diego community?

  • Community-based medical research in San Diego could be expanded through new partnerships with grass-roots organizations and non-profit agencies.
  • The Health System should be more energetic in educating the public about all the ways that UC San Diego medical research and medical education improves clinical care throughout the community.

How can UC San Diego and the Health System work together to move forward and be successful?

  • The creation of new interdisciplinary faculty positions would lower the bureaucratic walls that block collaboration between the Health System and the general campus.
  • UC San Diego employees should be offered incentives to receive their medical care through the UC San Diego Health System. Campus leadership initiatives should make special efforts to include and accommodate Medical School faculty, especially junior faculty and faculty who carry large clinical care workloads.

Participants also offered suggestions on ways to reduce costs and enhance the quality of patient care:

  • To avoid ordering duplicative tests that increase stress on patients, physicians should stay informed and up-to-date about diagnostic protocols.
  • Administrators should develop new programs to help patients navigate the Health System by centralizing scheduling and other services and clarifying unit responsibilities.

Chancellor Khosla commended the assembled health professionals for their dedication to patient care.  “Just as the student experience is for the general campus,” he said, “the patient experience should be the primary motivator that drives all our decision-making.”

Chancellor Takes Strategic Planning Initiative Out Into the Community

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UC San Diego’s strategic planning process moved out into the community when Chancellor Pradeep Khosla held brainstorming sessions with leaders of diverse and underserved areas of San Diego County.

At back-to-back town hall forums – on Feb. 6 in East San Diego and Feb. 7 in National City – community representatives urged the Chancellor to bridge the demographic divides that can make the campus seem remote from stakeholder groups in its own region.  Led by members of the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, the discussions focused on providing educational opportunity to local youngsters and applying university expertise to address local economic and policy challenges.

“We’ve been in this community for 52 years,” Chancellor Khosla told the gathering, “and it would be reasonable to say that the community is still wondering, ‘What does UC San Diego do for us?’”  The strategic planning initiative “will help us redefine our relationship with the community,” he added.

Forum participants included educators, elected officials, business leaders, and community activists.  Many related their experiences as UC San Diego alumni and parents of students or alumni.  The group responded to three questions with an array of recommendations for aligning campus priorities more closely with community needs.

How can UC San Diego expand its physical presence and outreach programs in the community?

  • A UC San Diego satellite presence in South County, which has sought its own 4-year university for many years, would be a hub for admissions outreach efforts, faculty research projects, student internships, and staff community service activities.
  • Recruitment of East San Diego and South County schoolchildren by UC San Diego faculty, students, and staff should take place in their classrooms and neighborhoods, and these students should be invited to campus for special tours and activities. Such sustained “in-person” outreach could make the university seem more welcoming to qualified first-generation college-goers who cannot afford to matriculate outside the San Diego area.
  • UC San Diego must strive to counteract the “north of Interstate 8” perception that it is more closely associated with residents in the North County campus vicinity than with underserved South County residents.
A community member affers feedback.

Do current UC San Diego degree programs meet the needs of today’s workforce and the community?

  • There was a very strong consensus for a program that would provide greater opportunity for transfer student admissions to UC San Diego now that the Transfer Admissions Guarantee is being phased out. Participants expressed support for strengthening the UniversityLink program.  The university must rebuild its alliances with community colleges and K-12 schools to help disadvantaged students find new pathways to a UC education.
  • Businesses in East San Diego and South County are eager to form partnerships with the Rady School of Management that would nurture entrepreneurship and technology transfer in economically depressed areas.
  • Given the rich diversity of its region, UC San Diego is positioned to be a national pioneer in developing cultural competence research and curricular programs.

How can UC San Diego better serve the San Diego and California community and economy?

  • To bolster the regional economy, UC San Diego should make special efforts to fill job vacancies with local applicants and to award contracts to local businesses, and it should pay local contractors more promptly.  The campus could raise its profile as an equal opportunity economic engine through collaborations with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and with Chambers of Commerce in South County.
  • Campus leaders should seek grant funding to launch redevelopment projects that would revive blighted areas through urban agriculture and other sustainability ventures.
  • As one example of using university expertise to solve local problems, UC San Diego mathematicians and social scientists could explore ways to reduce long wait times for northbound traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Chancellor Khosla wrapped up the sessions with a request and a pledge.  He asked participants to stay involved in the strategic planning initiative – “in this process,” he said, “the community has a responsibility, and we have a responsibility to the community” – and he promised to meet regularly by quoting the immortal last line from the movie “Casablanca”:  “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Chancellor’s “Strategic Planning Council” Takes Charge of Charting Campus Future

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Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla addresses a group at a Town Hall Meeting at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in January.

At a Jan. 14 gathering of campus leaders, Chancellor Pradeep Khosla installed his “Strategic Planning Council,” and he gave the group two charges: help drive the strategic planning process and carry it forward into the greater UC San Diego community.

“Your role is to make sure we are on the right path,” the Chancellor told them.  “I also want you to be the ambassadors who keep reporting what this process is and how various forms of input are being incorporated into it.”

The new Council’s inaugural meeting capped the first month of the planning process, which focused on eliciting stakeholder participation in town hall and focus group brainstorming sessions. Based on that input, a framework will be developed consisting of core strategic planning themes and institutional “enablers” that will ensure future success.

In a wide-ranging discussion of the planning framework, Council members offered these ideas:

  • To heed the Chancellor’s call for “defining our shared aspirations,” the existing culture of “silo” self-interest should give way to a new culture that elevates broader campus-wide goals.
  • UC San Diego should remain focused on its identity and mission as a public university that serves society by providing educational access and enriching human lives.
  • The stakeholder group of “students” should encompass undergraduates, graduate and professional students, and executive and international learners who may participate in off-site programs.
  • The legacy of UC San Diego’s scholarly distinctiveness set by Roger Revelle and other visionary founders must be upheld. Strategic planning should concentrate on areas where UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to define new fields of transformative knowledge and develop new talent.
  • The campus should build on its record of mining “diamonds in the rough” by empowering individuals who have not yet been given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
  • UC San Diego has stayed at the forefront of global innovation by taking risks on emerging fields and concepts. That 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 its cyber-infrastructure, with special attention given to updating its educational technologies.

Going forward, Chancellor Khosla and Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani directed the Council to begin rolling out the strategic planning process by scheduling brainstorming sessions in their divisions, departments, and units. Council members and other campus leaders will be responsible for capturing the yield of those discussions in formal reports to the Chancellor in the spring. Two town hall meetings in February will welcome ideas from UC San Diego friends and neighbors in the external community. Cross-campus sessions that bring in two or more units for brainstorming on common issues are encouraged.

As the entire campus engages in this initiative, input from all corners will be collected and consolidated, and outcomes will be shared with the community on the this website. To date, the website has summaries of town hall discussions held in December and January for faculty, staff, and students. Chancellor Khosla reported that, after visiting the website and reading planning updates, “staff members have been writing to us to say, ‘This is really exciting, I want to be a part of it, how can I help?’”

The next meeting of the UC San Diego Strategic Planning Council will take place February 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. During the 5-hour session, the Council will begin an in-depth review and synthesis of feedback reports. “This group will see everything,” the Chancellor told them. “In years to come, we should be able to look back and say, ‘I was part of the group that defined UC San Diego’s future.’”


  • Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor
  • Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
  • David A. Brenner, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences/Dean, School of Medicine
  • Catherine Constable, Interim Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, Marine Sciences
  • Sandra Brown, Vice Chancellor, Research Affairs
  • Linda S. Greene, Vice Chancellor, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Gary C. Matthews, Vice Chancellor, Resource Management and Planning
  • Steven Relyea, Vice Chancellor, External Relations & Business Affairs
  • Penny Rue, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
  • Clare M. Kristofco, Associate Chancellor/Chief of Staff
  • Dan W. Park, Chief Campus Counsel
  • Kim Barrett, Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Peter Cowhey, Dean, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • Jeffrey L. Elman, Dean, Social Sciences
  • Juan Lasheras, Interim Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Seth Lerer, Dean, Arts and Humanities
  • William (Bill) McGinnis, Interim Dean, Biological Sciences
  • Barbara Sawrey, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean, Undergraduate Education
  • Robert S. Sullivan, Dean, Rady School of Management
  • Palmer W. Taylor, Dean, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Mark Thiemens, Dean, Division of Physical Sciences
  • Mary L. Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Programs/Dean, University Extension
  • T. Guy Masters, Chair, Academic Senate
  • Kit Pogliano, Vice Chair, Academic Senate
  • Brian Schottlaender, Audrey Geisel University Librarian
  • Larry Smarr, Director, California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology
  • Michael Norman, Director, San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Jeanne Ferrante, Associate Vice Chancellor, Faculty Equity, Academic Affairs
  • Alan Houston, Chair, Council of Provosts
  • David Woodruff, Director, Sustainability Solutions Institute
  • Paul Yu, Associate Vice Chancellor, Research Initiatives
  • James Carmody, Chair, Theatre and Dance
  • Shu Chien, Director, Institute of Engineering in Medicine
  • Gordon Hanson, Professor, International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • Valerie Ramey, Professor, Economics
  • Roddey Reid, Vice Chair, Literature Council of Chairs
  • Shankar Subramaniam, Chair, Bioengineering Council of Chairs
  • Allan Timmermann, Professor, Rady School of Management
  • Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System/Associate Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences
  • Matthew Jarvis, President, Graduate Student Association
  • Meggie Le, President, Associated Students
  • LaWana Richmond, Chair, UC San Diego Staff Association
  • Robert (Bob) Neuhard, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Business and Financial Services

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Community Gathers for Strategic Planning Town Hall

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The birthplace of UC San Diego was the site of the most recent campus strategic planning town hall when Chancellor Pradeep Khosla met with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography community on Jan. 18. Town hall participants included Scripps faculty, staff and students. Also in attendance was Walter Munk, who joined the Institution as its first graduate student in 1947, former Director Charles Kennel, along with members of the Scripps Advisory Council.

In a discussion led by Interim Director Catherine Constable, who invited her colleagues “to brainstorm a strategic plan with a slight Scripps flavor,” faculty, students, and staff urged the Chancellor to expand alliances between their researchers and “upper-campus” faculty. They described how Scripps field data on atmospheric and ocean conditions can accelerate innovations in Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences. And they emphasized how such cross-campus scholarly advances could revolutionize public policies for protecting the environment and mitigating climate-related disasters.

Chancellor Khosla paid tribute to Scripps’ historic role as “the seed of what we think of as UC San Diego” and added, “We need to come together as a community to define our shared aspirations and define a strategy to move forward.”

To that end, the session focused on ways that Scripps can build on its global leadership in the earth sciences and strengthen UC San Diego’s institutional impact. Feedback included:

  • Technological advances in satellite observation and computer modeling have increased rather than lessened the value of data from Scripps sea-going research expeditions.
  • Staff technicians and engineers who sustain Scripps field research have exceptional skills. Their contributions should be recognized and rewarded, and their salaries should not hinge on soft money from senior scientists who are facing retirement.
  • Faculty should be given incentives to develop interdisciplinary educational programs based on cutting-edge research.
  • Recruitment of top graduate applicants and career placement for new Ph.D.s should be tactical and vigorous.
  • Undergraduates should be made aware of Scripps’ legacy as an environmental sciences pioneer and should be encouraged to take advantage of the learning opportunities available there.

Future stakeholder group town hall meetings will be held for health care staff and the external community.

ORU Directors Discuss Research Directions in Strategic Planning Group Session

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Faculty leaders who direct campus Organized Research Units (ORUs) met Jan. 14 to discuss how UC San Diego could forge new pathways to scholarly achievement by restructuring administrative systems and reinvigorating a climate of intellectual audacity.  They emphasized the need for greater budget transparency, and they suggested ways to bolster grant revenues by offering more substantial incentives for successful proposals.

The strategic planning session was led by Sandra Brown, Vice Chancellor for Research, who began the discussion by telling her colleagues, “This is really an opportunity to re-create ourselves based on the strengths that we have here at UC San Diego and the vision that you are helping to formulate about where we would like to go.”

As with previous strategic planning groups, the ORU gathering was asked to identify campus assets that helped recruit and retain them.  But the bulk of the exchange addressed one salient question:  How can UC San Diego improve the research experience?

Feedback on campus strengths cited such signature traditions as ease of collaboration across units and with neighboring institutes, interdisciplinary vigor, and an entrepreneurial culture.  However, several research directors who have been at UC San Diego two decades or longer shared concern that growth in size and bureaucracy coupled with shrinking financial resources may have sapped the vitality of the maturing campus.

Ideas to improve the research experience included:

  • Eliminate the administrative hurdles to large grant applications that have driven some faculty to apply for grants through other institutions or to give up grant-seeking altogether.
  • Provide researchers the support they need to excel in their grant projects, in part by siphoning off less “indirect cost” money from grant awards.
  • Nurture productive relationships between researchers and support staff, particularly in grant application and administration systems.
  • Realign incentives and rewards for a better match with the activities they encourage, including publications, administrative responsibilities, and high-impact research that does not generate traditional academic papers.
  • Respect the autonomy of research faculty in pursuing their own avenues of scholarly inquiry.

Future stakeholder group town hall meetings will be held for health care staff and the external community.

Jan. 10 Town Hall Forum Focuses on Graduate and Professional Education

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“UC San Diego has achieved a lot more than any other university has or could have in its first 50 years.  How are we going to maintain that and improve upon it?”

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla put that question to a group of graduate and professional students at a strategic planning town hall meeting on January 10 in the Student Services Center.  The students responded by identifying campus assets that drew them to UC San Diego and challenges they face in earning advanced degrees at the university.  They suggested specific ways to enrich their educational experience, and they urged the Chancellor to continue this exchange of ideas beyond the planning process.

After Chancellor Khosla set the stage with a presentation on “Defining UC San Diego’s Future,” Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani led the group in a discussion of three topics:

Graduate student feedback on UC San Diego’s strengths included:

  • Outstanding faculty who inspire advanced degree students to pursue innovative endeavors.
  • Ability to collaborate on cutting-edge projects across campus departments and divisions.
  • Opportunities to work with faculty at world-class research institutes in San Diego and at other UC campuses throughout the state.
  • Distinctive programs like Science Studies that bridge the sciences and the humanities.

Ideas to improve the academic experience included:

  • Give faculty greater incentives and support to improve teaching and mentorship skills.
  • Build a more diverse faculty overall, with an emphasis on science and engineering programs.
  • Measure outcomes of academic programs; replicate those that demonstrate success and eliminate those that do not.
  • Upgrade the Registrar system to process the correct spelling of non-Anglo names of international students.

Ideas to improve the social experience included:

  • Provide more opportunities to broaden personal interests by engaging in visual and performing arts in venues like the La Jolla Playhouse, the recently-closed Craft Center, and UCSD Extension.
  • Expand shuttle service between the campus and communities like North Park and Hillcrest where graduate students can afford to live and raise their families.
  • Offer family-friendly activities that embrace student spouses and children.
  • Eliminate administrative hurdles to scheduling on-campus student events.

Future stakeholder group town hall meetings will be held for health care staff and the external community.

Undergrad Students Take Part in Campus Town Hall Forum

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Nearly 200 undergraduates became the first students ever to take part in a UC San Diego strategic planning process when they gathered for a January 8 town hall meeting at the Price Center.  Invited by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla to participate as a key stakeholder group – “at the end of the day,” he told them, “you are the reason why we are here” – the students offered an array of ideas for charting the institution’s next 50 years.  They expressed a common desire to have a greater voice in setting priorities for the campus, and they asked for more transparency and more open communication. 

Following a presentation by the Chancellor on “Defining UC San Diego’s Future,” Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani moderated a discussion of three topics central to the strategic planning process:

Student feedback on UC San Diego’s strengths included its reputation for academic excellence; outstanding professors who challenge students intellectually; dynamic interdisciplinary programs like cognitive science and environmental sustainability; and the small campus experience provided by the six colleges.

Ideas to improve the academic experience included:

  • Enhance faculty teaching skills and insist on faculty teaching excellence.
  • Restore funding for campus libraries because they play an essential role in student academic achievement.
  • Help students make connections between theoretical learning and real-world applications of those theories.
  • Coach students in the fundamentals of effective communication and presentation.
  • Introduce the importance of career planning in the first or second undergraduate year.

Ideas to improve the social experience included:

  • Strengthen support for student organizations, especially those which strive to foster diversity by raising the admissions “yield” of underrepresented applicants.
  • Create more opportunities for direct student-alumni engagement.
  • Build school spirit by increasing support for and vibrancy of Athletics and Greek life.
  • Designate additional facility spaces for student organizations and activities, and make those spaces easier to schedule.
  • Raise UC San Diego’s visibility out in the community, in part by deploying campus leaders more strategically.

Future stakeholder group town hall meetings will be held for graduate and professional students, health care staff, and the external community.  The next town hall meeting is Thursday, January 10, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Services Center Multipurpose Room.

Campus Town Hall Forums Launch Strategic Planning Process

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UC San Diego launched the first strategic planning process in its 52-year history with two 2012 town hall forums that explored how the campus educates its students and serves its community.  Several hundred participants joined Chancellor Pradeep Khosla at the Price Center December 6 and the Faculty Club December 10 for what he called “a brainstorming session to take a fresh look, understand how we got here, and then figure out what it is we want to be 50 years from now.” 

Chancellor Khosla:  “We have to have shared aspirations, and we have to be bold in multiple ways.”

The Chancellor began both forums with a presentation, “Defining UC San Diego’s Future,” that mapped out goals and stages of the project.   As a baseline assessment, he examined how UC San Diego compares with peer institutions in core areas like total research support (6th in the nation) and endowment assets (147th).  He was particularly concerned about UC San Diego’s relatively high student-to-faculty ratio of 31:1 and its relatively low rate of alumni giving.

Strengthening UC San Diego’s quality and impact in an era of shrinking funds will be a challenge, but the Chancellor expressed confidence that “we will generate new sources of revenue” with innovative ventures in graduate education and technology transfer.  He emphasized that the university’s primary mission is education – “Students should be front and center in everything we do” – and added, “In the broader context, our existence is to enrich human life, and we enrich human life in many, many ways.”

Forum participants responded to five questions.  While the audiences at these forums were faculty and staff (subsequent forums will involve students and other stakeholder groups), many spoke from the perspective of alumni and parents of students.

What are the UC San Diego’s strengths that brought you here?

  • The sheer beauty of the San Diego region has always been a draw, but UC San Diego’s intellectual vigor and interdisciplinary prowess are major recruitment tools.
  • Students inspired by their educational experience, and especially by faculty mentors, often seek campus employment and leadership positions after graduation.
  • Innovators from the private sector have joined UC San Diego as faculty or staff because it provides opportunities to do cutting-edge work in emerging fields.

Do current UC San Diego degree programs meet the needs of today’s students and of the San Diego community?

  • UC San Diego graduates who cannot find jobs question the value of their degrees.
  • Classroom-based theoretical learning should be matched with hands-on practical experience like internships that apply knowledge to real-world career situations.
  • Masters’ degree programs for professionals looking to advance in their careers or change fields offer enormous opportunity for revenue and community relevance.

How would you improve the student experience at UC San Diego?

  • Expanding programs to improve analytical thinking and writing skills may present the best opportunity to ensure student success at UC San Diego and beyond.
  • Sustained mentoring by faculty and staff can help students navigate the campus bureaucracy and take fuller advantage of educational and extracurricular activities.
  • “Capstone courses” help students connect the disparate lessons they learn and grasp how to use their knowledge to solve problems in a rapidly-changing world.

How can UC San Diego better serve the San Diego and California community and economy?

  • The Preuss School is a model of how UC San Diego can serve urgent community needs through innovative solutions and engagement with diverse populations.
  • UC San Diego should strive harder to apply its research and technology advances to such interdisciplinary regional problems as air/water quality and transportation.
  • Events that can lure “non-students” to campus – performing arts, sports contests, free public lectures – should be promoted more vigorously throughout the region.

If you were the Chancellor, what are one or two things you would like to do to make UC San Diego a better institution?

  • Create opportunities for alumni to work with students as mentors and tutors.
  • Increase undergraduate access to such centers of excellence as SIO and Calit2.
  • Forge a new culture that discourages risk aversion and rewards bold enterprise.


Melvin Leok, Associate Professor of Mathematics:  We should focus on teaching our students to be able to synthesize what they know in the application of unknown problems.  That’s what distinguishes a research university experience from a place where faculty might do less cutting-edge research.  You can’t just prepare them for a single career because chances are that industry might not exist 20 years from now.  . 

Sarah Ross, Director of Student Affairs-International Education, International Center:  It helps immensely when students are welcomed into a designed community that will support them.  Other colleges have had success with staff and faculty mentors for each class.  This has broken down the huge numbers by making it more personal and having those adults there for them for their entire careers on campus. 

Mark Adler, Director of Oncology Strategy, Moores Cancer Center:  A weakness of the University and a very correctable one is an issue of two words: enterprise value.  I’m not speaking in Wall Street terms.  I’m talking about rewarding individual fiefdoms for taking steps that are truly good for the enterprise.  There’s a fragmentation of motivations.  If you look at individual incentives, very few point to enterprise value.

Gordon Hanson, Professor, IR/PS, and Professor of Economics:  When IR/PS launched its Master of Advanced Studies program, we thought we could get 12 students in the first year.  We got 25 students right off.  We were stunned that people were willing to pay full price for an untested program.  But these students have very specific needs, and these programs require a new set of capabilities that we’ve been learning on the fly.  If we want to do this as a university, we’ve got to think about building that administrative capacity not just on a unit-by-unit level but on a university level.

Doug Easterly, Dean of Academic Advising, John Muir College:   In the 12 years I’ve worked here, we’ve more than doubled the number of transfer students, and we’ve greatly increased the number of international students.  Their expectations and the applicability of their courses have changed vastly.  It’s hard to explain to a transfer student, “We don’t think you write well enough.”  Or for an international student who’s paying a large amount of money for a specific goal to understand the whole idea of liberal education and why it’s important for accreditation for a university. 

Byron Washom, Director, Strategic Energy Initiatives:  UC San Diego is the most incredible incubator between operational people and faculty where operational people are building research opportunities and faculty are winning competitive procurements.  When I bring my colleagues from the World Bank, the Department of Energy, energy companies, and state agencies, they see it, and they feel it.  One of the times they get it the most is when they engage with students.  That’s why I’m pushing so hard to have more student internships.  The private sector is hungry for our students.

Elaine Tanaka, Alumna and Volunteer Faculty, School of Medicine:  One thing I would do to make UC San Diego a better educational experience would be to involve our alumni more.  It is somewhat difficult as an alumnus if you just want to give free time to get involved in teaching.  Alumni are very busy and don’t have the opportunity to keep knocking at the door and saying, “Hey, I’m really interested in education.” 

Gene Sandan, Assistant Dean of Academic Advising and Alumnus, Thurgood Marshall College:  I’d like to suggest that we see what we can do as individual staff and faculty members to make sure we really reach out to students from marginalized groups so we can improve 6-year graduation rates.  We need to become part of an equity-minded perspective where we’re developing programs and services for our underserved populations that will encourage their successful graduation.

Valerie Dixon, Director, Conflict of Interest Office:  I see so many faculty and staff who want to work outside the University, start businesses, transfer their technology, and leverage their experiences and skills.  They tell me it’s very difficult because there’s no one-stop-shop on campus that gives guidance not only to faculty but to staff.  You’d be surprised at how many of our staff are entrepreneurial.  If we could focus on growing from the inside out, that would be a great opportunity to better serve the economy.

Formulating the Plan: How We Prepare for UC San Diego’s Future

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UC San Diego’s founders established a tradition of excellence that led us on an upward trajectory of growth and success over our first five decades. Their vision led us to where we are today – one of the world’s premier public research universities.

Now it’s time for us to plan what’s next for UC San Diego.

We are at a critical turning point, as we’ve passed our milestone golden anniversary and state funds continue to decrease each year. We need to ask ourselves: How can we build on the strong momentum of our first 50 years so that we compound and amplify our positive impact on our community and world? How can we respond to current and future fiscal challenges so that we embark on another 50 years of dynamic leadership and transformational research and scholarship?

The time is right in our history to assess where we are and where we want to be so that we will continue to educate the next generation of leaders and produce meaningful innovation to improve our world and drive our local, national and global economies.

Over the coming months, we will embark on a strategic planning process to establish a unifying shared vision for our entire campus. This will be the first time our campus has undergone such an initiative. We will conduct a fundamental exploration of the role we want to play in the world and create a roadmap of shared goals that will guide us as we continue to work together to solve society’s most pressing global challenges. Our strategic plan will establish clear priorities to assist in decision making and prioritization so that we ensure the achievement of our goals, while positioning ourselves to anticipate and respond to the rapidly evolving state, national and international higher education landscape.

Our strategic planning process will be bottom-up, inclusive and collaborative. Everyone on the General Campus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the UC San Diego Health System will have an opportunity to share ideas and give input –faculty, staff, students, alumni, university supporters and community friends. There will be multiple avenues for participation and involvement such as interviews, focus groups, workshops, town hall meetings and surveys.

The strategic planning journey is expected to take about eight months. We are currently designing the process. Between November and February, we will gather data and information from campus and community members. Our visioning process will take place through mid-March, and we will develop our shared strategy and goals by April. The final step will be to set milestones so we can monitor our progress. We aim to complete this process by the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.

UC San Diego is a single campus with multiple pillars of excellence.

By setting forth a transformative vision, and charting our path and success, we will ensure UC San Diego’s position as a preeminent global research university in the 21st century. I look forward to your involvement for this important journey.

Pradeep K. Khosla

Pradeep K. Khosla

Photos from the Strategic Planning Process

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