Strategic Academic Planning: Themed Academic Working Group reports

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp

In this issue

  • Themed Academic Working Groups: 28 initiatives await campus review
  • Design Principles: How they were developed and where they are now
  • Barriers: Addressing the hurdles that impede our research and teaching
  • Engaging students: More input being sought
  • Additional SAP forums: Mark your calendars for May 23 and 24

Themed Academic Working Groups

I am delighted to announce that 28 groups have submitted Themed Academic Working Group reports. I am deeply impressed, though not surprised, by the exciting initiatives proposed. The collaborations are breathtaking in their ambition and interdisciplinary promise. They offer a window into the distinctive work for which our campus in known. It is my hope that members of the campus community will now take the opportunity to weigh in on the proposals. Once the corresponding videos are recorded in the coming week, they also will be available. An online survey to collect campus feedback is available here. The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. May 3.

Design Principles

Over the Winter Quarter, we worked to craft design principles: clear, tightly defined guidelines that identify our institutional aspirations. The first draft of our principles emerged through a campuswide survey and many group conversations. They were refined by the Academic Advisory Committee, then workshopped by the Steering Committee, Academic Advisory Committee, Academic Senate Executive Committee, and an all-campus group of faculty, students, and staff. The principles that emerged from this elaborate process, which were forwarded to the chancellor and to me for final decisions, can be found in the Future State Design Brief.

Barriers to Research and Teaching

In November, we began soliciting input on the internal barriers that campus community members feel stand in the way of our research and teaching. To date, we’ve solicited input from Senate committees, departments, a range of units, and from staff and student groups. We also have collected unsolicited comments from individual faculty, students, and staff. The feedback has resulted in a list of more than 400 items. A large number of these barriers were duplicative, related to narrowly focused department or divisional concerns, or touched upon issues well beyond the scope of academic planning. Multiple groups and individuals identified some 50 barriers that impede universitywide academic work.

Once the Academic Senate and SAP committees prioritize the list, I will direct a working group to study ways to reduce or eliminate the barriers identified as the highest priorities for attention.

Student Engagement

We have worked to engage students in the process. To date, we have met with student leadership, held forums to answer questions, responded to many emailed inquiries, requested student participation in a SAP survey and workshop, and extended invitations to numerous student groups to answer questions and gather ideas about the SAP. At present, we are seeking additional meetings. If you have suggestions about how we can increase our student engagement efforts, we welcome your thoughts. Please email us at

Upcoming SAP forums

We will hold additional SAP all-campus forums in late May to provide a progress report and to take questions. To help with our planning for the May 23 and 24 events, please register by noon Monday, May 21. Thank you.