Chancellor Blumenthal sends fall greetings

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Blumenthal

As we begin a new and promising academic year, I want to warmly welcome all UCSC students, faculty, and staff members. You are part of an exceptional teaching and research university. Over the past week, I've had the pleasure of meeting with new students, their parents, new faculty, and graduate students. I am very impressed with the optimism and enthusiasm I've encountered.

I want to begin by thanking the hundreds of staff, faculty, and students who helped guide the campus through a busy and challenging summer, and prepared for the arrival of new undergraduate and graduate students. Some of you contribute in ways visible to many, while others' efforts occur behind-the-scenes. The campus community appreciates all that you do.

I am delighted to report that due to the diligence of many individuals and a spirit of cooperation among all parties, we reached a landmark agreement with the City and County of Santa Cruz and others on future campus development plans. We now can - and will - move forward with plans to improve our facilities and thereby enhance our teaching and research capacity. This agreement has also helped us to forge a strong working relationship with our community.

As you may have heard, two UCSC researchers and their families were targets of vile firebomb attacks in early August. It is truly gratifying to see the high level of campus and community support for these researchers and their families. UCSC scientists contribute vitally to efforts that address human health and other global challenges. They have our unwavering support.

So where are we as a campus? And where are we going? First, let me be clear that UCSC continues on a clear upward trajectory. This progress is demonstrated by several empirical measures: an increasingly selective and diverse class of incoming students; stronger philanthropic support; continued accolades for our outstanding faculty and distinguished alumni; and much more. UCSC is a national leader in quality undergraduate education and interdisciplinary research that has significant global impact.

One indicator of the quality and success of our campus is its ability to attract a group of stellar new faculty. In talking with many of the new faculty members who joined us this quarter, I was struck by their sense of excitement. They are involved in many interesting disciplines and bring fresh new perspectives and energy to campus. Their arrival comes at a time when we are revisiting our general education requirements, so their interest and involvement is most welcome.

Still another measure of UCSC's stature is the quality of new students and the degree of engagement on the part of their families. I had the opportunity to visit with many of the more than 1,600 parents who took part in receptions during student move-in weekend. Their enthusiasm and engagement reaffirmed for me that UCSC has become a "first choice" UC for more and more students.

We are, of course, not without our challenges. The state budget was finally passed and presents a sobering picture; we are facing considerable cuts even as the costs of running the university increase. At UCSC, our priority is to minimize the effects of state budget cuts on our instruction and research.

Despite the budget challenges, we have begun to implement UCSC's academic plan. We will continue working to revitalize and strengthen the undergraduate experience while we increase graduate enrollments. We will also accelerate our fund-raising efforts to meet our academic goals and ambitions. By mid-year, the Chancellor's Council on Climate Change will identify ways for UCSC to continue to reduce its carbon footprint. And we will take new steps to nurture and enhance campus diversity. I will share details about these and other campus priorities in future messages.

I wish you all an exciting and productive quarter and a great new academic year.