Questions and answers regarding our Strategic Academic Plan

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp

Has the CP/EVC and Senate leadership worked out a timeline for Senate review of the Strategic Academic Plan?

Yes. Senate leadership and I have recently come to an agreement on a timeline that will afford the opportunity for a comprehensive Senate review and, just as importantly, time for meaningful consideration of Senate feedback and for implementation to start during the 2018-19 academic year. I am grateful to Senate Chair Ólӧf Einarsdóttir, Vice Chair Kim Lau, and Planning and Budget Committee Chair Carl Walsh for their creative, thoughtful efforts to work with me in developing a practical way forward.

Senate engagement is critical to our SAP process, and I have deep respect for our shared governance and for our Senate leadership. Indeed, the Senate was the first group I consulted on the possibility of producing a SAP. While many universities simply bring together senior leadership to set a strategic direction, that didn’t seem right for UC Santa Cruz. Ours is a campus in which broader engagement matters. At the launch of the planning process, I requested we solicit Senate input on a wide range of consequential issues pertaining to internal barriers, development of resource streams, and resource and FTE allocation. And I’ve asked that all of the reports produced by our consultants be sent out for Senate review and comment as soon as they arrive. I have no doubt our plan will be enriched through the Senate’s active participation, and I look forward to its ongoing involvement over the course of the year.

We expect to have a first draft of the SAP in June. While the Senate will have seen all major components of the plan, as each piece is produced and posted along the way, this will be the first time all parts of the plan will be united. Senate leadership and I have agreed to complete the review by Aug. 31. This will permit time to consider and incorporate Senate feedback, present the plan to campus, allow our deans to engage their departments regarding the 2018-19 faculty FTE call, and permit the same Senate committee membership that has seen the materials all along to opine. I will gladly compensate committee members who engage in plan review over the summer. The chancellor and I will be pleased to receive Senate feedback in a timely fashion, so that we can deploy our resources strategically during the 2018-19 academic year. Without Senate input on this timeline, we do not feel it would be appropriate for us to proceed allocating resources including FTE. We genuinely care about the Senate insights and want to make sure our strategic directions reflect our engagement with them.

Is my research area/department likely to wither if my Themed Academic Working Group is not ultimately selected as a campus priority area?

No. We will commit to a strategic investment of resources, but we also have an earnest commitment to offer a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences education. It is foundational to our identity, and each of our curricular areas depends upon and benefits from the contribution of the others. Every UC Santa Cruz student should experience and grow from the full richness of our curriculum. In addition, we hope that our new focus on resource generation will enable us to advance all areas of the university.

Moreover, the focus of our SAP on eliminating barriers should improve the research and teaching opportunities for everyone on campus. The Senate, the academic departments and leadership, and many support units have responded at length to our request to identify internal barriers to their work. In many cases, they have even provided imaginative solutions. Over the coming months we will work with the Senate and the deans to rank the significance of the many barriers you’ve identified, then engage a staff implementation group to develop options for their reduction or elimination.

Is campus feedback being taken into account in the SAP process?

Absolutely, and it is worth naming a few of the ways in which this has happened.

  • We responded to more than 250 email questions and ideas and have made numerous adjustments to the process in response to the thoughtful suggestions of faculty, staff, and students.
  • We added student representatives to the Academic Advisory Committee, the group charged with evaluating, shaping, and ranking our academic priorities.
  • We created the Themed Academic Working Groups to ensure all academic employees have an opportunity to make a case for what their research areas could accomplish with the right support.
  • We provided an online forum for discussion of SAP topics.
  • We posted online notes from every committee and group meeting held to date.
  • We added eight community forums to provide updates, take questions, and get your feedback.
  • We scheduled meetings with every interested department to explain the SAP process and receive comments.
  • And finally, we extended the timeline for Senate review to ensure adequate consultation and the ability to allocate resources strategically during the 2018-19 academic year.