Celebrating the start of the academic year

To: UC Santa Cruz faculty and staff

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive and Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer

Hello colleagues, and welcome to the start of a unique academic year. Our UC Santa Cruz community is more spread out this quarter than years past, but do not let that temper your excitement for the start of this new chapter for our university and for our students.

Thousands of people across UC Santa Cruz have been working tirelessly the past few months to ensure a fall quarter that is as smooth and welcoming as possible. Together we’ve tackled everything from establishing COVID-testing protocols to admitting a new class of Banana Slugs to deciding how best to deliver robust and engaging remote instruction. Our commitment to excellent teaching, innovative research, and meaningful public service has not dipped during this global pandemic. That is because of all of your efforts. 

We understand the added challenges many staff and faculty face right now, with many juggling both work and child-care duties from home. Throw in a wildfire that personally impacted so many of you, and we honestly sit in awe of university employees. We want you all to know as we start the new academic year that we are deeply grateful for your commitment to this university, to your colleagues, and ultimately to our students. You are the backbone of UC Santa Cruz and you are so appreciated.

Together we are making a positive difference. For the second consecutive year, UC Santa Cruz has been ranked among the top five universities in the nation for student social mobility. This ranking recognizes universities for their success in enrolling and graduating students from low-income households. We are excited to see our campus recognized, proud of our students, and grateful to all who support them during their time at UCSC.

As you know, the fall quarter will look different this year. You may have noticed the op-ed  published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel this past weekend, which then ran in this week’s Tuesday Newsday. It sketches out what the start of this year will look like, with nearly all instruction remote and just a fraction of the students we typically have living on campus. Our reopening approach is among the most conservative in the nation. We are taking this approach because we care about your well-being and the welfare of the greater community. 

Earlier this week, we sent new students a convocation video. It was created to celebrate the start of their academic journeys at UC Santa Cruz. This time of year is always energizing, but when we saw the finished version of this video, it felt like an extra jolt! We are a special university, and it's the people, not the place, that make it special. Please take a look if you have a chance.

We will communicate regularly to keep you updated on UC Santa Cruz’s plans for the future, but in the meantime, thank you again for your patience, optimism, and resolve as we begin the new academic year.