Chancellor Blumenthal sends spring message to UCSC community

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Blumenthal

Welcome to spring quarter - a time of renewal; a time to celebrate personal and collective achievements; a time to act on strategic opportunities and address our many challenges.

We can all take pride in several recent campus milestones:

  • The Academic Senate recently approved significant revisions to undergraduate General Education requirements and added a new writing requirement that will help prepare every student to communicate effectively in a 21st century global economy.

  • In late March, we announced a formal agreement with NASA to lease 75 acres at its NASA-Ames facility in Silicon Valley for an innovative, sustainable teaching and research collaboration involving several other colleges and universities. This is a strategic investment in a region known for innovation and entrepreneurship -- qualities that make UCSC the ideal lead partner for this venture.

  • In the past several weeks, we have received several significant financial gifts in support of education and research initiatives. I am gratified by this support, particularly in these tough economic times.

I'm also proud of the fact that our people continue to earn accolades for their own efforts:

  • On April 23, Professor Sandy Faber will receive the Bower Award and Prize from the historic Franklin Institute, one of the most prestigious awards in science. This award clearly acknowledges Sandy's accomplishments as one of the world's top scientists. I'm looking forward to joining her at the award ceremony in Philadelphia.

  • Two of our newer faculty -- Samit Dasgupta, assistant professor of mathematics, and Mark Krumholz, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics -- have been named Sloan Research Fellows. The prestigious Sloan awards support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers. We now have 25 Sloan winners teaching at UCSC.

  • Humanities lecturer and alumnus Gary Young won the 2009 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. The prestigious national award is given annually to "a living American poet selected with reference to genius and need."

  • A graduating senior, biology major Annick Lamb, is the first UCSC student-athlete to win an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and is the only female winner from a California university this year. In addition to being a record-setting soccer player, Annick works as an undergraduate researcher in a molecular, cell, and developmental biology research laboratory. Last year she participated in the Education Abroad Program in environmental biology in Costa Rica.

Spring quarter brings even more promise. I am delighted that professors Martin Chemers and Margaret Delaney have agreed to lead our Silicon Valley initiatives, succeeding the recently retired Joe Miller. We also expect to soon announce exceptional new deans for the Arts division and the Jack Baskin School of Engineering.

I encourage you to take advantage of interesting and informative opportunities on campus this spring. Later this month, we will welcome hundreds of loyal Slugs back to campus for Reunion Weekend, which will include on Friday, April 24, this year's Intellectual Forum featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr., followed on Saturday by a distinguished panel featuring two UCSC alums -- NPR science reporter Richard Harris and Claire Strader, a former apprentice at the Farm and a candidate for White House "farmer;" and faculty member Daniel Press. In May, Arts & Lectures will feature an appearance by Garrison Keilor.

In June, you will have an opportunity at a public forum to meet finalists for the Chief Diversity Officer position. Plans already are well under way for our annual undergraduate student achievement awards, the spring graduate research symposium, and June commencement activities.

Let me also remind you of an opportunity to engage in important campus planning. I am seeking feedback on the draft Climate Action Plan prepared by the Chancellor's Council on Climate Change. You can review the plan at

While continuing to make impressive progress, we also face many challenges as a campus community. We are making strategic, though difficult, budget cuts and reallocating resources where they can have greatest impact. We are in consultation with the Academic Senate, divisional deans, and others on how we move forward. These aren't easy decisions, and they will impact our teaching, research and service enterprise.

Still, I am confident that by working together we can move beyond our current challenges and position ourselves for a stronger future.

As always, I invite your comments at