Join us in shaping UCSC’s future

To: UCSC Community

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

UC Santa Cruz is on an incredible trajectory. Our university is one of just a handful nationwide that conducts high-impact research, is both a Hispanic-Serving and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

That is incredible success by any measure, and throughout our journey we have held closely to our founding values of social and environmental justice, sustainability, and educational opportunity and equity. We hope that you all, like both of us, take great pride in what UC Santa Cruz has accomplished.

We also believe our best days are ahead of us. Over the weeks to come and throughout this academic year, our community will be having an important campuswide conversation to chart an intentional and impactful course for the future. The yearlong planning effort will culminate with Leading the Change: The UC Santa Cruz Strategic Plan, which will provide opportunities for improvement and transformation impacting a wide cross section of campus constituents and experiences.

The strategic planning process is an opportunity for all of us — students, faculty, and staff — to work together to develop a shared vision for the future. We will chart a path for progress on our campus goals and establish clear metrics by which success will be measured over the next decade.

A steering committee with members from across campus has started the groundwork, establishing five central themes. The themes and the co-chairs for each committee are:

Unparalleled Undergraduate Student Education and Experience, co-chaired by Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success, and Sean Keilen, Professor of Literature and Chair, Council of Provosts;
Envisioning Graduate Education for the Future, co-chaired by Peter Biehl, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and Matt Guthaus, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Baskin Engineering;
Distinction in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, co-chaired by Jasmine Alinder, Dean of Humanities, and Paul Koch, Dean of Physical and Biological Sciences;
Inclusive and Thriving Campus Community, co-chaired by Anju Reejhsinghani, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Dean of Arts; and,
Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resilience, co-chaired by Elida Erickson, Director of Sustainability, and Sikina Jinnah, Professor of Environmental Studies.

These themes are intentionally broad to allow opportunities for input and creativity. Committees for each theme will now begin to gather ideas and input in each area. The plan will be opportunity-focused, identifying strengths and emergent areas of research, education and service that can advance our global and regional impact, improve the experiences of our community members, and strengthen the university in our push to lead at the intersection of innovation and social justice.  

What can you bring to the table? Your ideas! Your thoughts! In our experience, strategic planning only succeeds when it reflects a wide range of perspectives. Nobody understands UC Santa Cruz as well as the people who make up our campus community, so your input in this process is invaluable. We need to harness the incredibly wide range of knowledge and experience our community holds, then collectively establish goals for the future and metrics by which we will measure our progress.

Fortunately, we are not starting from scratch. Over the past decade-plus, our campus community has undertaken a number of long-term planning efforts. The Envision UC Santa Cruz plan that launched a decade ago, the Strategic Academic Plan (SAP) of five years ago, and our recently completed Long Range Development Plan all include valuable pieces that will inform this strategic planning effort. We are grateful for the hard work done previously.

We’re working to make getting involved in this effort as easy as possible. Start by visiting the new Leading the Change webpage, which will be a clearing house of information throughout the year. The dates and places of upcoming meetings will be posted there. We’ll also communicate important meetings, milestones and opportunities for input via email and through Tuesday Newsday, the campus news blast that is sent to all in our community once a week. A survey will be forthcoming.

Strategic planning is an incredible opportunity for our community to shape the future of a university already positively impacting our world. Join us in this effort. We cannot wait to see where we go next.