Strategic academic planning update

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp and Interim Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Martin Berger

We hope the quarter has ended well for all of you, and that the winter break will be restorative and restful. We write today to share the progress we’ve made on our strategic academic planning (SAP) effort.

We believe in the power of UC Santa Cruz to make an impact on our students and in the world; we believe our efforts to move together in a shared direction will increase our capacity to make a difference. This is a truly exciting moment for the university, and it comes when the world needs our unique mission and insights more than ever. We believe our unified efforts to define our path forward will help all of us—our faculty, our staff, our students, and the many whose lives are improved by our work—thrive.

At this stage, we are working diligently to pinpoint, with your help and guidance, the major cultural values and academic themes that make UC Santa Cruz so remarkable. Our consultants have already talked one-on-one with many campus leaders and faculty members. They have met with our SAP steering committee, Senate Executive Committee, the college provosts, Staff Advisory Board, SUA, GSA, and the steering committee that guided Envision, our campus plan. This ground work will continue through much of winter quarter. We will meet with the Administrative Management Professionals, Human Resources Advisory Group, UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board, and Alumni Council. We want to engage with all who have a stake in our academic mission.

Our first forum with faculty gave us valuable input on how best to build an inclusive academic plan. We’ve already folded much of that feedback into our approach to the planning process.

You requested transparency in the process. In response, we’ve published notes from all group meetings on the SAP website. We’ve also included lists of all the people our consultants have met with, as well as the various slide presentations. All reports from our consultants will be posted as soon as they arrive, as will faculty survey results. We have reached out to every department chair, offering to visit their departments, explain the process, and answer questions. We invite their feedback.

To boost faculty input and help assess our academic priorities, we’ve added an Academic Advisory Committee (comprising seven at-large faculty members, five deans, two students, and the chair of the Council of Provosts). We’ve also added six additional open fora in January, some for faculty alone, some for just staff or students, and others open to all campus stakeholders. Please click here to learn more or to RSVP.

We have established an online forum for faculty to ask questions, make suggestions, and engage in debate, and two surveys of faculty will go out over the next two months. Remember, too, that we have an email address and an electronic suggestion box already in place.

Some faculty expressed concerns that our consultants are the ones crafting our academic plan or that they will have undue influence on its shape. The UC Santa Cruz community remains in full control of not just the content of this plan, but the process of creating it. We selected the consultants, in part, because of their willingness to facilitate a process we designed and to help us develop an implementation plan for the goals we create. We, as a campus, will collectively come to an understanding of how we want to define ourselves as we move forward. We are the drivers.

The benefit of our consultants stems from their capacity to encourage input and gather perspectives, and in the production of an implementation plan to ensure our SAP does more than collect dust. Entangled Solutions, among all the consultant groups we considered, was the only firm that specializes in the latter. From the outset, they demonstrated the greatest willingness to adapt to our culture, encouraging us to develop a nimble process capable of responding to community concerns. Their parent company does, in fact, sell other products and services, but we have no intention of purchasing products—a message we communicated from the outset, and they have no expectation of being able to sell us any products or recommend any vendors.

Our goal is solely to have their assistance in bringing your voices to the fore and in materializing our vision for the university. Our work can only be successful, however, if you participate. Your participation will help shape the future of UC Santa Cruz. Email us with suggestions and feedback at Visit the SAP website at to review the outline of our planning process and read posted documents. Take part in upcoming forums and surveys.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our university. Thank you for your impact on the state, the nation, and the world. And thank you for making UC Santa Cruz the remarkable place it is.