Strategic academic planning update

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

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

We are gratified to report more than 350 faculty have signed up to participate in at least one of the 108 themed research areas that have emerged through our strategic academic planning process. This strong faculty response is testament to the energy and engagement of our community. The review and prioritization process may identify any of these themes as one of our academic priority areas. 

We began by launching a Google spreadsheet that listed 20 themes that were developed by individual faculty or faculty teams, the Academic Senate, our Senate faculty Insights survey, campus focus groups, and open forums. Then we invited academic employees who wished to collaborate in areas not represented on the initial list to propose additional groups. Through this process, more than 80 new themes emerged.  

Some themed groups represent existing collaborations that aim to expand their reach and scope, while others are imaginative new initiatives catalyzed by the SAP process. The groups exemplify the array of path-breaking approaches to teaching and research of which our campus is capable. 

We’ve heard of many instances in which the process of developing, and signing up for, themed groups actually generated connections between researchers who’d previously been unaware of each other’s work. Providing a venue for existing groups to consider what they need to thrive, fostering the development of new groups, and connecting scholars across campus is precisely what we hoped the Themed Academic Working Group initiative would achieve.

In the coming days, we will connect all those individuals who signed up for the same themed group. And if the members of a given group so desire, we will find a meeting time that works for the majority, book a room, and invite members to attend their first meeting. Each group will be invited to submit a brief report on their proposed work by April 19 and assign one member to give a lightning presentation to an all-campus audience on April 24 or 25 (TBD), which we will videotape.

The reports and videos will be posted online with an assessment rubric to be developed through the community feedback received via the prioritization survey we opened on Tuesday, Feb. 20. We will solicit feedback from the campus community and Senate on all proposals. Once campus and Senate feedback is generated, it will be bundled and sent to the SAP committees for review and recommendations. SAP committees will consider the merit of each proposal as well as its fit with divisional and university priorities; committee recommendations will ultimately be transmitted to the CP/EVC and chancellor for final decisions.  

We are delighted to see the innovative and transformative work of our faculty take center stage in the SAP process and eagerly await the proposals and presentations from each Themed Academic Working Group. 

Please remember that a Future State Design workshop—the first of a number of sessions designed to help us reach consensus on the broad aims around which the campus can coalesce—is set for 1:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in 108 Digital Arts Research Center. Please RSVP here by March 15, and mark your calendar to join the conversation.

In the meantime, please ask questions, make suggestions, and engage us in this process. Reach us via email or our electronic suggestion box. We read each and every comment and suggestion submitted, and do our best to respond to all inquiries.