The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) has established itself as one of the premier universities in the country, recognized for the quality of its faculty and students across all disciplines and for its local impact, national influence, and global reach. As the campus approaches a stable enrollment profile following nearly five decades of rapid growth, it is timely to reflect on the effectiveness of its educational mission. During this past decade UC San Diego has grown from 15,837 undergraduates and 2,496 graduates to 22,518 undergraduates (+42%) and 3,953 graduates (+ 58%). In addition, there are currently 1,729 students in the health sciences and other professional schools. Despite two very serious state budgetary periods, core academic functions and degree programs have been protected and expanded, and the breadth and impact of research and teaching efforts have increased. Three major academic entities comprise UC San Diego: the School of Medicine (SOM), the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and the General Campus. The SOM and SIO offer primarily graduate programs, although their faculty participate to a limited extent in teaching and offering research opportunities to undergraduates. In particular, SIO offers several undergraduate degree programs and has new programs in development. This report, therefore, focuses primarily on the General Campus, which houses 28 academic departments and 17 academic degree programs. These departments and programs reside in seven divisions and schools (Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS), the Jacobs School of Engineering, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Rady School of Management) and are overseen administratively by the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (SVCAA), who reports directly to the Chancellor. (CFRs 1.3, 3.8, 3.10) The current long-range plan projects an eventual undergraduate enrollment of about 24,000 and a graduate enrollment of 6,000 on the General Campus.
During this last decade of growth, the SVCAA established two Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) positions that have had substantial impact in areas related to this current WASC review. These positions include the AVC Undergraduate Education (AVCUE), who works with the Academic Senate and the academic departments in all aspects of undergraduate education and learning assessment efforts, and the AVC for Faculty Equity (AVCFE), whose office is charged with strengthening faculty diversity and providing leadership and succession training for the academic departments. (CFR 1.5) In 2004 the AVCUE established the Council on Undergraduate Education (CUE), an advisory council made up of the vice chairs for Undergraduate Education from each department and directors of interdisciplinary academic programs. This group meets regularly to discuss issues and share strategies to improve undergraduate education, with a focus on how the administration can help the teaching units meet their educational objectives. (CFR 2.4)
The AVCUE also works with the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), the Academic Senate committee that oversees the undergraduate curriculum, while the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) work with the Senate’s Graduate Council to oversee graduate degree programs. (CFRs 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 3.11) The AVCUE also works closely with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (VCSA), whose offices oversee admissions, financial aid, student support services, and most aspects of student life on the campus.
While there is no national consensus on what constitutes an excellent education nor what metrics are best to evaluate outcomes, either quantitatively or qualitatively, ongoing discussions and subsequent efforts to adapt and improve UC San Diego’s programs are essential and will continue well beyond this WASC review. The University of California published its first Accountability Report in May 2009. (CFRs 1.2, 1.7, 3.5, 4.4) The report includes measures of the campuses’ and University-wide performance in meeting core goals associated with the teaching, research, and public service missions of each campus as well as UC overall. These measures, or “indicators,” cover a wide range of topics relating to undergraduate education, including access, affordability, experience, proficiencies, and student success. This annual report will be a valuable tool to UC San Diego in identifying strengths and challenges in key areas and flagging trends that require careful attention. The current WASC review has provided an opportunity to evaluate institutional data and outcomes more formally, and associated efforts have already had positive effects on academic program reviews and priorities. The campus approach to the WASC review has mirrored its approach to all academic planning and applied proven principles and methods of shared governance between the administration and faculty, with collaborative involvement by student leadership.
For this WASC review, three primary oversight committees enabled a broad campus-wide consensus in formulating the Capacity & Preparatory Review Report (C&PR) submitted in January 2008 and again in developing this EER report. The Chancellor appointed an Executive Steering Committee composed of Academic Senate and administrative leaders to guide the overall approach to the WASC accreditation; a Senate-Administration Advisory Committee, composed of at-large faculty, administrative leaders, and student representatives appointed by the Associated Students UC San Diego, which established the four primary campus review themes; and the existing Institutional Research Coordinating Committee (IRCC), which was charged to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and presentation of the data used throughout the process. These committees created synergistic efforts at all levels of the campus, including departments, colleges, and divisions, and both the C&PR and EER documents represent broad input from all constituents. (CFRs 1.9, 4.1, 4.4)
All involved in this accreditation process were pleased that the WASC response to UC San Diego’s C&PR report was favorable, and appreciate this opportunity to respond in more depth to the four major concerns expressed in Director Wolff’s June 2008 letter to Chancellor Fox (assessment of student learning outcomes, information literacy, diversity, and strategic planning). Accordingly, this report is organized around these issues and the four themes that formed the basis of this WASC review: undergraduate program review, information literacy, writing instruction, and foreign language instruction. (CFRs4.1, 4.3)
Educational Effectiveness can be assessed in the short term (current students and programs), near term (recent graduates and their immediate post-graduation activities), and long-term (alumni careers and their feedback). The critical foundations for lifetime learning and growth are set in the near term, so while this report comments on the post-degree activities of UC San Diego students, it initially focuses on student learning outcomes and assessment measures relevant to the four themes, progress in diversity and strategic planning efforts, and the effectiveness of support structures that serve undergraduate students. The discussion in this report is intentionally succinct, since much of the background overlaps with material presented in considerable depth in the 2008 C&PR report (Appendix H). Also, while the focus is on undergraduate issues, brief comments about graduate-level issues are included where appropriate. In addition, this report contains many appendices and links to websites that contain additional discussion and data, including information requested by WASC, such as the response to Revisions to the CFRs (Appendix A), which includes background information to the broader discussion in this main report. There are several primary websites and source documents that the EER review team should regard as primary data and information resources for their review; these materials have been substantially updated since the C&PR and are found within the overarching campus (1) Accreditation Site,(1) (2) the Institutional Portfolio (2) containing data, data displays, and CFR mappings, and (3) the UC San Diego Accountability Profile,(3) which provides UC San Diego’s contribution to the systemwide accountability report containing data about faculty, students, staff, degrees, and research. These sites are available to the entire campus community and have served to enhance the transparency of this WASC review. (CFR 1.9)
Two important assessments are currently in effect: (1) the formal program reviews that follow guidelines established by the Academic Senate Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), on which the AVCUE serves as a consultant, and (2) studies related to the WASC Educational Effectiveness Indicators developed with each academic department in consultation with the AVCUE. The WASC Educational Effectiveness Indicators for 55 academic departments, programs, and colleges are included in Appendix E and also on the Academic Affairs web site in Reference.(4) The CEP reviews of undergraduate programs are conducted periodically for all degree-granting units: departments and programs, each of the six undergraduate colleges, minors; and consolidated courses of study. A primary focus is on the departmental academic degree programs for which in-depth reviews are expected to be accomplished every seven to eight years. (CFR 2.3) In consultation with the department, the CEP, and the Academic Senate Committee on Committees, the AVCUE establishes an ad hoc faculty review committee that includes an external faculty member in the same discipline from another UC campus, or another institution if necessary. A major component of the review is a departmental self study; an example of the CEP guidelines for the self-study report is given in Reference.(5) (CFRs 4.1, 4.2, 4.3) During these self-studies, an explicit response to the WASC “Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators” is requested, and that feedback serves as the basic framework of issues to be addressed. During two-day visits, each review team meets with department faculty, students, staff, the dean, and the AVCUE. Each visit concludes with a debriefing (exit interview) with the dean, the department chair and vice chair for education, and representatives of the Offices of the Academic Senate, the SVCAA and the Chancellor. In addition to addressing the academic merits of the degree curriculum, the ad hoc faculty review committee may also examine advising, course and program prerequisites, time-to-degree, postgraduate placement, and faculty teaching reviews. (CFRs 2.4, 2.5, 2.7) The review committee writes a report for consideration by the CEP, and the report is also shared with the department and relevant dean, who respond accordingly. CEP then provides comments and recommendations to the department and to the AVCUE, who meets with the department chair to review the findings and discuss recommendations for improvement and related resource issues. (CFRs 2.8, 2.10, 4.6)
The follow-up to ongoing CEP reviews, specific professional reviews at the departmental level (such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) review in engineering), and the current WASC review is obviously as important as conducting the studies. Noted below are three recent responses that are indicative of the type of cooperation engendered by and expected from departments, and which provide models for possible follow-up to this WASC review, especially the ongoing Educational Effectiveness Indicators. (CFR 1.9)
In addition to these structured efforts to establish goals and assess learning outcomes, the AVCUE and CEP frequently collaborate to oversee pilot studies to examine new approaches.
In addition to providing input during the CEP undergraduate program reviews, students also formally participate in educational assessment through course and teaching evaluations for all classes. Obviously, such student surveys have many caveats, but they are taken seriously and do provide feedback to departments and faculty regarding both the teaching and the curriculum effectiveness, including input regarding the choice of texts, course coverage, and prerequisites. The common structured evaluation process is a system run independently by the undergraduate students, the Course and Professor Evaluation (CAPE). Also, several departments construct their own independent evaluation survey forms to more specifically address educational goals of the particular department. An example of a CAPE form is given in Reference;(9) note that departments or faculty can add their own questions to the CAPE survey if they wish. During faculty reviews for advancement and promotion, measures of teaching effectiveness (CFRs 2.8, 3.3, 4.6) must be submitted for a favorable review. In order to improve their teaching, faculty may be mentored by their departments and may in addition obtain assistance from the Center for Teaching Development (CTD) (CFRs 3.4, 4.6), also under the direction of OGS. The CTD also assesses and mentors graduate teaching assistants. To recognize the importance of teaching, many awards for faculty, lecturers, and teaching assistants have been established by the Academic Senate, the Chancellor’s Associates, the Alumni Association, the colleges, the academic divisions and schools, and the departments, as well as several independent student organizations. (CFR 3.4)
UC San Diego’s graduate programs and faculty are highly ranked nationally across all disciplines, as measured by the quality of graduate students, their placement, and the impressive number of faculty awards and honors, as well as the amount of peer-reviewed external research funding. (CFR 2.6) It is important to understand that the quality of UC San Diego’s graduate programs and graduate students, as well as the faculty, have a direct impact on the quality of undergraduate education and students’ future careers. The Academic Senate Graduate Council, working with the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS), oversees the graduate degree programs and requirements. Admission to a graduate program is administered by OGS upon the recommendation of departmental faculty. Graduate student financial support in the form of research assistantships, fellowships, and teaching assistantships is primarily determined at the departmental level prior to admission. Ongoing assessment of graduate student performance is much more individualized than that of undergraduates since the mentoring relationship with a graduate faculty advisor is, by necessity, very close, especially for Ph.D. students, who dominate our graduate enrollments. In most departments, to determine their suitability to go forward for a Ph.D., graduate students complete an oral or written departmental qualifying examination and an Advancement to Candidacy exam before a Dissertation Committee, which includes three faculty members external to the department. The final thesis defense is also conducted before their Dissertation Committee. (CFRs 1.4, 2.6) At the Master’s degree level, students must complete an independent thesis and a thesis defense, or pass a capstone examination based on material from core level graduate courses, in order to demonstrate their breadth and depth of knowledge. The educational effectiveness indicators for graduate programs can be found in Appendix E.
Formal graduate program reviews are conducted under the direction of the OGS Dean on an eight-year cycle for each department or graduate program. The undergraduate program reviews are typically scheduled one year after the graduate reviews. For each graduate program review, an external team of four to five faculty scholars selected from comparable national institutions representing the appropriate breadth of research and teaching is brought to campus for a two-day review. Before their arrival they are provided data relative to the quality of the graduate students, including appropriate exam scores (such as the GRE), application yields, financial support, and time-to-degree; faculty bio-bibliographies, research profiles, publication records, and teaching assessments; as well as campus capacity measures similar to those provided to WASC. (CFR 2.10) During their review visit the external team meets with faculty, graduate students, and staff. They then conduct exit interviews with chairs, deans, and separately with the Chancellor, the SVCAA, the Graduate Dean, and the Chair of the Senate Graduate Council. During the exit interviews the team expresses their findings relevant to the academic quality and standing of the faculty and the graduate program, and it provides recommendations for future academic directions, faculty hiring, and relevant resource issues (typically space and funding). Subsequently, the committee submits a written report that is reviewed by the department, the administration and the Graduate Council. The department must respond to the Graduate Council on any issues, criticisms and recommendations, and ultimately the chair meets again with the Chancellor, the SVCAA, Graduate Dean, and chairs of the Graduate Council to report on the final outcomes of the review. (CFR 4.3, 4.4, 4.6, 4.7)
Beyond a doubt, information technology at UC San Diego has benefited many students. As indicated in the C&PR, however, the rapid expansion of digital information and internet access has brought to the forefront several important educational issues, including access, evaluation, and management of information systems, as well as ethical, legal, and social issues. Since capacity to provide information literacy was documented in the C&PR, the following discusses the initial outcomes and recommendations of the UC San Diego Senate-Administration Advisory Group for Information Literacy, which was formed in October 2008 and deliberated until the recent completion of their report. The group was charged with drafting a set of recommendations for the development of UC San Diego resources in the area of information literacy. Their complete report, which was completed in preparation for the final stage of the WASC review process, is attached for reviewers in Appendix G, and the primary elements are summarized below. (CFR 1.9)
As part of their efforts to establish information literacy objectives and implementation, the advisory committee extensively examined information literacy and approaches at other universities and conducted surveys of campus faculty, lecturers, librarians, and technical support staff. (CFR 4.8) Early in their deliberations, group members reached the consensus that although many skills and issues associated with traditional information literacy (e.g., the ability to find and establish the veracity of information or the ability to identify suitable data to support an argument) have remained constant, the greatly enhanced ease of retrieval and reproduction permitted by digital technologies and the rapid growth in production and availability of digital information have led to transformative changes that require new ways of approaching and thinking about literacy in the digital environment. Therefore, they identified the term “Information Literacy” as too narrow and decided to reconfigure its focus to “Digital Information Fluency.”
The advisory group’s review revealed an existing strong network of approaches, practices and initiatives that forms the basis to further develop UC San Diego resources in the area of Digital Information Fluency. (CFR 3.8)They focused their findings around five central points: (1) Digital Information Fluency (DIF) should be viewed as an explicit component of undergraduate education at UC San Diego; (2) DIF should be integrated throughout the university’s educational system, not sequestered within a single program, department, college, or unit; (3) DIF teaching should be accomplished through the campus’ existing structures; (4) a continuing working group is needed to incorporate DIF learning goals and outcomes throughout the UC San Diego curriculum; and (5) a mechanism is needed to allow for ongoing dialogue around DIF. (CFRs 1.4, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.6)
The recommendations offered by the advisory group are relatively general because the institutional ecology of UC San Diego is complex and multivalent, and implementation will require an ongoing process of dialogue and exchange throughout the campus community. Further implementation must include a global understanding of the impact of digital technology on knowledge production in the university and within society as a whole. The goals are identified through a system of three interrelated competencies: Foundational Competencies, Conceptual Competencies, and Expressive and Rhetoric Competencies.
Abstracted from the full Information Literacy report, the following goals are recommended at UC San Diego:
Related to the above goals, the advisory group was able to identify a network of relevant existing courses, the majority of which address Foundational or Conceptual Competencies rather that Expressive and Rhetoric Competency. Their report identified 16 courses in 10 departments that deal with some aspect of Foundational Competency, an example of which is CSE 3 (”Fluency in Information Technology”), a course that focuses on concepts and skills necessary to effectively use information technology and has been adopted into the Sixth College curriculum. They found that 13 courses in six departments teach aspects of Conceptual Competency, for example COGS 187A (“Cognitive Aspects/Multimedia Design”), which discusses multimedia design and what makes interactive systems effective. However, only two courses in sociology currently could be identified with some aspects of Expressive and Rhetoric Competency, for example SOCA 109 (“Analysis of Sociological Data”).
In Spring Quarter 2009, the AVCUE invited Advisory Committee Co-Chair Gabriele Wienhausen (Associate Dean for Education, Division of Biological Sciences) to address a meeting of the Council on Undergraduate Education (CUE) to update the members on the advisory group’s progress. Council members received the group’s findings very favorably and were amenable to the suggestion that departments and programs consider incorporating DIF learning goals into the learning objectives that have been developed for each degree program. (CFR 2.9)
As indicated in the WASC C&PR, UC San Diego has undertaken major efforts to assess the effectiveness of its writing programs, including reviews of student writing portfolios by independent faculty groups and a site visit by an external team of experts in writing pedagogy. (CFR 2.10) These reports are listed in Reference.(10) The reports were reviewed by the CEP, and extensive comments on the reports and conclusions were received from the colleges and the writing program directors. This effort was especially important since each of the six colleges oversees its own writing program; note that four are integrated with core instructional curricula, and two are stand-alone writing programs. All of the programs provide fundamental writing skill components as well as aspects of critical thinking skills, and they maximize the feedback to students in small sections as much as possible. Because of the importance placed on writing by UC San Diego faculty, the SVCAA commits enriched instructor/TA per student ratio resources to all of the writing programs. This enrichment, which approaches a factor of two over regular lecture courses, has been consistently endorsed by the Academic Senate and CEP, even during difficult budgetary periods.
Each writing program is structured and overseen by college faculty, though in somewhat different ways. (CFR 2.4)The obvious question is whether or not there is one “best” approach to writing. Various internal studies and reports indicate that the answer is “no” – which is perhaps obvious, since a straightforward response would be to demand that all programs conform to the same methodology and approach, which is contrary to writing faculty theories and campus tradition. The current system reflects the healthy variety of approaches to writing instruction nationally at both large and small institutions. Variety in the methods of writing instruction also provides a broad test bed for cross-fertilization of the writing programs, so that when a review of one program makes recommendations, the other programs can assess the value of the particular strategy at the same time.(CFR 2.8) And of course various approaches to writing instruction can be and are adapted to the general education curricula of the various colleges.
An immediate consequence of this WASC review is that the AVCUE has requested that CEP add the six college writing programs to the regular schedule of academic reviews, along with the “Basic Writing Program” currently housed in the office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities. The “Basic Writing Program” features a course, SDCC 1, that is required for students who have not yet met the “Entry Level Writing Requirement.” The course is taught at UC San Diego by faculty from San Diego Mesa Community College, and it is integrated into campus course scheduling so that students may keep on track towards their bachelor’s degree studies.
At the time of the C&PR, another study of ESL students was in the process of being submitted to an Academic Senate committee responsible for overseeing entry-level writing – the Committee on Preparatory Education (COPE). This latest review is available on UC San Diego’s Institutional Portfolio, Reference.(11) The primary finding was that ESL students are clearing their basic writing requirement faster (and therefore entering the college writing programs faster) (CFR 2.4, 2.10) because this instruction is now being provided through a contract with a local community college to teach SDCC 4.
To develop the methodology for a more regularized review of writing programs, a pilot project is being carried out to assess the embedded writing program that is part of the Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC) “Making of the Modern World” (MMW) core course sequence. The ERC proposed methodology is given in Reference(12). The ERC MMW Director and College Provost volunteered their college writing program for this first attempt at a standardized CEP review. The office of the AVCUE proposed to carry out this first review following a modification of the departmental review process to include revised review committee membership, self-study guidelines, schedule or site visit details, etc., in order to recognize the unique objectives of the college writing programs. As part of this pilot review effort, the AVCUE will also consult broadly with current writing program directors of all six colleges. The pilot methodology will include a systematic assessment of writing samples from students taking the MMW core sequence by comparing papers written during the first quarter of the sequence (MMW 1) with samples from those same students from the sixth quarter of the sequence (MMW 6). This assessment will precede the CEP review committee’s site visit. (CFR 4.2)
After the ERC writing program pilot study is complete, CEP will receive both the reviewers’ report and recommendations from the AVCUE for regularizing the review process for all future writing program reviews, which CEP will modify as deemed appropriate. The pilot timetable is to assess MMW writing samples in December 2009, conduct site visits for the review team during Winter Quarter 2010, and submit reports and recommendations to CEP in Spring Quarter 2010. This pilot proposal is currently under consideration by CEP.
It is clear that student demand for foreign language instruction at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is rapidly increasing at UC San Diego as faculty, students, and prospective employers understand the importance of this educational component for success in an increasingly international business, social, cultural, and economic environment. (CFR 1.6) The University of California system has always recognized the importance of a basic level of foreign language exposure by requiring two years (the “E” requirement of A-G) of a foreign language prior to gaining admission to any campus. Currently, additional foreign language instruction is required at two colleges (Revelle and Roosevelt) and can be used to satisfy general education requirements at the other colleges. A number of majors require foreign language proficiency.
As discussed extensively in the C&PR, for both historical and pedagogical reasons, UC San Diego has had a uniquely decentralized approach to the teaching of foreign languages. While this organization of language instruction is partially due to early departmental structures, research interests of the current faculty, and resource allocations, it is also driven by sound pedagogical issues. (CFR 2.7, 2.8) It has produced a multi-faceted array of courses available to students and permitted specialized approaches to the teaching of languages in different settings. While lower-division basic introductory language skills are routinely taught by lecturers, upper-division courses are often interrelated to other curricular components, whether in literature courses or business courses focused on a particular geographic region. As a consequence of the evolution of language instruction, there have been no academic units with sole responsibility, and language instruction has been shared among four academic units that report to three different deans.
In the context of this WASC review, UC San Diego undertook a strong effort to review existing approaches and designated foreign language instruction as one of the four major WASC review themes. (CFR 1.9) A joint Senate-Administration Advisory Committee on Language Instruction was empanelled in 2003-2004 and examined language instruction for several quarters. The need for such a committee was endorsed by both CEP and the administration, as well as faculty leadership within in the departments. The committee sought to evaluate whether resources are being used effectively, identify and eliminate any redundancies, ensure coordination of the breadth of offerings, and validate the quality of instruction and appropriate pedagogical approaches. The committee canvassed and interviewed all relevant constituents and brought in external experts to assess and evaluate instructional practices. As with undergraduate writing instruction, no strong consensus emerged about the best practices, but several recommendations came forth with regard to organization, coordination, and technological advances. The committee report(13) was reviewed by three standing committees of the Academic Senate (CEP, Graduate Council, and Planning and Budget), as well as chairs and directors of relevant departments and programs, divisional deans, and college provosts and deans of academic advising. (CFR4.6)
Committee recommendations were cast from three perspectives: (a) that of the student in terms of quality, breadth, and availability; (b) that of the faculty in terms of support services and instructional approaches and methods; and (c) that of the administration in terms of costs, enrollments, and stability of a reliable pool of instructors. To date there have been three primary outcomes: (1) the responsibility for the lower-division Linguistics Language Program was transferred from the Dean of Arts and Humanities to the Dean of the Division of Social Sciences (the dean to whom the Department of Linguistics reports); (2) a Language Instruction Coordinating Committee (LICC) (CFR 3.11) was established by the SVCAA, after consultation with the Senate, and was charged to “…serve as a vehicle for communication among the units that offer language instruction and their various clients, … focusing primarily on organizational and administrative matters that impact the teaching of languages. The primary goal is to establish a forum for communication on issues of mutual interest to ensure the adequate coverage of languages, the smooth transition between courses in the same language that are taught by different units, and the elimination of redundancy in instruction so that limited resources can be used more effectively and efficiently,” Reference;(14) (CFRs 3.8, 4.2) and (3) a new web portal is being developed to provide students and others with a source of “one-stop” language course instruction availability, helping students, faculty, and staff effectively sift through the host of language options in the various departments, programs, and schools. The LICC is working on campus-wide guidelines that will define language proficiency and outcome measures so that students achieve an identified level of competency. (CFR 4.7)
The advisory committee had also recommended that a centralized language instruction laboratory be established. While the efficacy of such a laboratory has not yet been broadly accepted by the Academic Senate, both the AVCUE and SCVAA agree that such a center may be appropriate, and they would like to see further study and discussions about the organizational structure, including the staffing and resource requirements for such a laboratory. (CFR 4.1) Unfortunately, the current budgetary crisis has not permitted progress on a language laboratory at this time.
This WASC review theme on language instruction has been the most difficult to make progress on because it involves reallocation of resources as well as intellectual and cultural issues that must cut across several academic units to reach consensus. Although the outcomes to date are not as definitive as one might prefer, the agreement to continue to work on the effective coordination of our language instruction, and especially to have consensus on procedures to review new course proposals and resource allocations, is viewed as a significant advancement for the campus. Certainly making this theme part of the WASC review has been beneficial to our academic programs and ultimately to our students. (CFR 4.6)
As reflected in the UC and UC San Diego mission statements, (CFR 1.1) two overarching institutional objectives of the University of California system are “quality” and “access.” These objectives are inextricably intertwined, and UC San Diego is unequivocally committed to both. Intimately tied to “access” are diversity issues, with the overriding goal being that the diversity of UC students should reflect the demographics of California. At UC San Diego, achieving diversity is a high institutional priority that is integral to sustaining academic excellence. The importance and benefits of a diverse campus community have long been recognized and reflected in efforts to improve the pipeline in K-12 through outreach, recruitment and retention of a diverse student body; develop related academic programs and initiatives; recruit and retain a diverse faculty; (CFR 3.2) and develop strong support and community building programs for students, faculty, and staff. To oversee and coordinate the breadth of activities, the Chancellor has appointed a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and Associate Chancellor, who resides in the Office of the Chancellor, and who sits as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Vice Chancellors, the highest level advisory group to the Chancellor. A major report on diversity at UC San Diego was recently completed by the CDO’s office and is available in Reference.(15) (CFR 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4) The report includes pertinent profile data and assesses the breadth of activities and initiatives involving students, staff, and faculty which are directed at growing a more diverse campus community. (CFRs 1.7, 2.5) This brief overview cannot do justice to all of these efforts, but is intended to highlight a few selected, exemplary efforts. WASC reviewers may wish to examine the full diversity report.
While many of the outreach and recruitment efforts to improve student diversity fall under the Office of the VC Student Affairs (VCSA) and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS), (CFR 3.11) widespread and deep support of diversity activities is provided by faculty, student organizations, departments, divisions and schools. Review of a few straightforward outcomes that reflect decades of dedicated efforts to improve the diversity of the student population at UC San Diego indicate favorable results, but more clearly reveal how much more must be achieved. For example, for the fall 2009 entering class, UC San Diego received over 47,000 applications for admission, of which 16.7% were Hispanic and 3.5% African American. A total of 16,853 students were admitted, of which 13.9% were Hispanic and 1.8% African American; 4,007 students have accepted admission and expect to enroll, of which 15.2% are Hispanic and 1.2% are African American. Most importantly, UC San Diego is firmly committed to improving the effectiveness of its outreach and diversity programs.
A deeper examination of the data shows that UC San Diego admits nearly all qualified underrepresented applicants as freshmen and community college transfers, so a key immediate objective is to increase the yield of admitted students. (CFR 4.2)However, a long-term challenge of equal importance focuses on increasing the numbers of qualified applicants and making UC San Diego a more welcoming campus community for underrepresented students, staff, and faculty. The framework for recruiting a diverse student body includes a pipeline that spans K-12, the graduate and postdoctoral population, and a diverse faculty, as well as academic program considerations.
One of the essential components of the framework for recruiting a diverse student body is the K-12 pipeline. UC San Diego has a long history of student, staff, and faculty outreach to K-12 education at the individual and small-group levels, as indicated in the listing of outreach programs. The most unique, comprehensive, and dramatic effort to address the K-12 pipeline issue was the establishment in 1997 of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE).(16) The genesis of CREATE was the urgent need to do something about the pipeline – to improve K-12 education and enhance access to the University of California for the underserved community. CREATE’s faculty, drawn from many disciplines, guided the on-site establishment and the educational curriculum of the 700-student “Preuss School @UCSD.”(17) Faculty from UC San Diego have also formed collaborations with local elementary and secondary school districts, conducted research on improving educational opportunities for underserved students, and offered innovative teacher education and professional development opportunities for local educators.
The Preuss School was designed as an intensive college preparatory educational environment (grades 6-12) for low-income students who have the potential of becoming the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university. Established as a Charter school with strong community support, this school provides a source of underrepresented students for both the campus and the UC system, and it provides opportunities to research and implement best practices in educating students in middle- through high-school grades. The Preuss School is perhaps the most visible and successful manifestation of UC San Diego’s diversity commitment. For the third consecutive year, in 2009 the Preuss School was ranked by Newsweek as one of the top 10 high schools in the United States. Preuss School students are admitted by lottery after complying with three conditions: (1) all students must meet the federal school guidelines for economic support known as "Title One" or "Free or Reduced Lunch" subsidy; (2) the parents or chief guardians are not graduates of a four-year college or university; and (3) student applicants must demonstrate high motivation and family support as defined by the highly successful AVID program in San Diego schools. These Preuss School students represent the equity “access” issue best – students with potential, but who would not normally obtain access to an education that would increase their admissibility to a UC campus or imbue them with an enthusiasm for higher education. Last year’s entering 6th grade class at the Preuss School at UC San Diego was 67.3% Hispanic and 7.3% African American. Of the 91 seniors who graduated from the Preuss School UC San Diego in 2009, 96% were accepted to a four-year university or college, 26% were accepted by UC, and 13% were accepted by UC San Diego. In addition to UC campuses, Preuss students have gone on to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Duke, Williams, Georgetown, Northwestern, Columbia, Cornell, Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth, and Wellesley, often on full scholarships. The Preuss School at UC San Diego model and its college preparatory curriculum are being adapted at many institutions across the country.
While the Preuss School may be viewed as an on-campus laboratory, CREATE faculty are also involved in guiding curriculum and teacher mentoring at two inner-city secondary schools, Gompers Charter Middle School and Lincoln High School. These two schools can be regarded as off-campus laboratories where successful educational practices developed at Preuss have been implemented in other environments.
Another critical component of the pipeline and framework for recruiting a diverse student body is the challenge of recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty. To put the challenge in perspective, of the current 847 ladder-rank faculty on the General Campus, only 23% are women, 6.7% are Hispanic, and 2.5% are African American. Two recent Senate-Administration task forces (the Gender Equity Task Force and the Task Force on Underrepresented Faculty) examined the issues of faculty diversity from the perspectives of both gender and ethnicity, and their findings and recommendations are available on their websites.(18, 19)
Nearly all of the task forces’ recommendations have been implemented, but perhaps the most important was the creation of the AVC for Faculty Equity (AVCFE) position within the SVCAA Office in 2007. (CFR 4.6) To accelerate progress in the recruitment of a diverse faculty, this high-level faculty appointment was established to work with divisions and schools in the hiring and promotion of faculty. (CFRs 4.1, 4.2)The AVCFE collaborates closely with the Chancellor’s Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (VCSA) to coordinate and support extensive outreach programs, discussed further below. The AVCFE works with the divisional deans to appoint a faculty equity adviser in each division. The faculty equity advisers attend workshops and become knowledgeable about best practices and national pipeline databases and profiles, and then work extensively with each faculty search committee to enrich the pool of underrepresented faculty applicants through outreach and advertising efforts. As the profile and diversity report data indicate, the biggest challenges are in the science and engineering fields, where discipline-specific faculty candidate pools are not as diverse as those in the social sciences and humanities. Given the strong science and engineering interests of UC San Diego students, this then becomes a critical recruitment effort, and the faculty equity advisers are expected to play a key role in these areas. The equity advisers and the AVCFE are available to help with the departmental recruitment efforts. As the diversity report indicates, recruitment outcomes are reviewed by the SVCAA, the Chancellor and the UC President’s Office each year.
To attract an increasingly diverse pool of postdoctoral candidates to the campus, the AVCFE also provides one-time funds to deans to permit them to experiment with creative programs, such as special workshops, summer programs, and recruitment visits to California State Universities and other UC campuses. An example of a successful program is the UC President’s Postdoctoral Program that provides incremental resources to fund salaries when participants become appointed faculty. This program, available UC-wide, attracts underrepresented graduate students in all disciplines. UC San Diego initiated a similar program, with a required component of strong faculty mentorship, to bring postdoctoral candidates to campus with two-year funding for combined research and teaching. (Unfortunately this program has been temporarily set aside given the current budget crisis.) In addition, the AVCFE is an available resource to all faculty who desire career mentoring and training for leadership succession and chairs the Hellman Fellowship Program Selection Committee which awards financial support and offers career encouragement to selected young faculty. (CFRs 4.1, 4.4, 4.6)
UC San Diego has also established a breadth of academic programs and initiatives to attract a diverse faculty and student body. (CFRs 4.1, 4.4, 4.6) The Department of Ethnic Studies, established in 1990, has established an outstanding core of 13 faculty, and more than 49 faculty from departments across the campus act in an associated capacity. This department offers a plethora of interrelated courses dealing with a range of subjects that impact cultural and ethnic issues, from economics and policy, to literature and history and sociology.
Another major research initiative that has attracted many distinguished faculty to UC San Diego during the past decade is California Cultures in Comparative Perspective (CCCP), a program with participating faculty throughout the social sciences and the arts and humanities. In addition to positions funded by the deans, the SVCAA has placed more than more than ten new faculty positions in this initiative to recruit “cluster hires” of faculty with overlapping and synergistic research interests. California Cultures is primarily an interdisciplinary graduate research program that aspires to become a formal organized research unit. The program also offers an undergraduate minor. Other minor degree programs that make UC San Diego attractive to underrepresented students and others interested in the relevant areas are in Chicano/a-Latino/a Arts and Humanities, African American Studies, and International Migration Studies; a major and minor in Critical Gender Studies are offered by the large and formally established Critical Gender Studies Program.
In addition to these academic initiatives, UC San Diego has established and supported germane resource centers, including the Cross-Cultural Center, the Women’s Center, and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center. The campus also hosts cultural events such as Black History Month and a month-long series of diverse activities for the annual Cesar Chavez Celebration. (CFR 4.6)
The pipeline for a diverse faculty is at the graduate and postdoctoral levels, and efforts to improve these sources are being vigorously pursued by the AVCFE and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) Dean. These activities include the recruitment of a diverse graduate student body at OGS with programs outlined in Reference.(20) OGS efforts begin with a focus on undergraduates, including the Summer Training Academy for Research in the Sciences (STARS) program, which is intended to spur interest in research and increase the supply of highly selective candidates for graduate school. The program, targeted especially at low-income, underrepresented students, includes training for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and graduate school preparation. The NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program and the UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program provide eight-week summer research internships to motivate students to engage in research. Two examples of specific programs targeted to enrich the diversity of graduate students follow.
OGS also works closely with campus groups from several academic units to ensure inclusion of underrepresented students. Selected examples include the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS), the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), the San Diego State University (SDSU) Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Engineering program, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT). UC San Diego is also part of the California Universities Consortium (CUC): Advancing Faculty and Graduate Student Diversity. The CUC, which was established specifically to identify ways to increase the pipeline of underrepresented minorities to the professoriate, includes all of the UC campuses and Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and the Claremont Graduate University.
Also, the OGS Dean instituted the Diversity Coordinators program in 2005. Each department has named a faculty or staff member to serve as the point person for distribution of information, identification of extramural funding opportunities, and outreach efforts to potential graduate students, especially to the California State University campuses.
UC San Diego engages in numerous campus outreach programs designed to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. (CFRs 4.5, 4.6) As noted previously, most of these efforts are coordinated by the offices of the VCSA, working with the CDO and the AVCUE, and all have the support of individual faculty, the Academic Senate, the departments, and the divisions and schools. Listed below are major outreach efforts to recruit underrepresented students (URS): (CFRs 4.1, 4.2, 4.6)
Activities designed to improve the yield of underrepresented students include the following:
Since UC San Diego is a public institution and part of the ten-campus University of California system, a variety of governmental offices and bodies, the UC Regents, the Office of the President (UCOP), a host of UC-wide planning and budgeting committees, local governmental agencies and interested members of the community accomplish local planning in the context of associated activities. The administrative organization charts in Reference(23) indicate the structure within which strategic planning must evolve. The administration and faculty participate in shared governance at both the local and systemwide levels. (CFRs 1.3, 1.8, 3.8) All campus planning, which is advisory to the Chancellor, involves nine Vice Chancellors and the Academic Senate, and campus planning is ultimately reviewed systemwide by the Office of the President (UCOP). For academic matters, the systemwide Academic Senate must also weigh in. The Academic Senate, which represents the faculty, has specific authority over the curriculum, degrees, and admissions criteria, (CFRs 1.2, 1.7, 2.1, 2.2, 2.14, 4.6) although they advise the administration on all matters of planning, including capital programs, the hiring and promotion of faculty, and the budget. (CFR 3.11) This shared governance has been particularly strong and beneficial to the campus at UC San Diego. This EER will concentrate primarily on those planning issues and approaches that most directly affect the students and their academic pursuits.
The driving force for all General Campus planning is student enrollment goals for the campus, since enrollment dictates the size of the faculty, which directly affects the level of staffing and the corresponding capital planning.(CFRs 1.6, 3.5) In response to the California State Master Plan for Higher Education of the 1960’s, the University of California has a commitment to admit from among the upper 12.5% of the graduating high school students (though not necessarily to the campus of a student’s first choice), with the assumption that state financial support on a per-enrollment basis will continue. Based on this broad commitment, enrollment targets and growth rates in both the near and long term are established by UCOP following assessments of the potential of each campus to physically accommodate growth within its available land use and community restrictions. The current long-range profile for UC San Diego establishes that by 2020-21 (CFR 4.1) the campus will accommodate about 29,100 full-time equivalent students (FTE) during the Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters, and another 3,600 FTE during the Summer Sessions. For the General Campus (not including the health sciences) the desired balance is 24,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students.
The broadest and most strategic plan for UC San Diego is the 2004 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP),(24)(CFR 4.3) which updated the previous 1989 LRDP. The LRDP, which is approved by The Regents (along with an accompanying LRDP Environmental Impact Report - a legal document), is a general land use plan that guides the physical development of the campus. The development of this plan took nearly four years, with extensive consultation on the campus and external vetting with the community. The development of the LRDP was accompanied by a broad academic plan approved by the Office of the UC Provost. The LRDP establishes the planning envelope for development of the campus, and any proposed major changes to the plan receive broad campus consultation. Near-term planning and decisions about enrollments and capital building, which are subject to the parameters set forth in the LRDP, are the purview of two major campus committees: the Enrollment Planning Committee and the Capital Outlay and Space Advisory Committee (COSAC). Both committees have broad representation and are advisory to the Chancellor.
The Enrollment Planning Committee, chaired by the AVCUE, includes representation from all VC areas and the Academic Senate. The current committee membership and charge is given in Reference.(25) (CFRs 4.1, 4.6) Each year this committee reviews and updates enrollment planning to establish admission goals for both freshmen and transfer students, responding to guidelines established by UCOP. The committee considers the impact of enrollments on the university’s capacity to provide services to the students in terms of faculty and curricula, financial aid, advising, and staffing in the colleges, divisions, and departments, as well as housing, dining, and transportation services. Obviously such near-term, immediate planning is critical and necessary because of the rapidly varying boundary conditions imposed by the state’s budgetary situation and, to some extent, even more slowly changing demographics. An overarching concern has always been providing access to an ethnically and financially diverse student body. Therefore, the balance between freshmen and community college transfer students, a top priority, is under review and discussion each year. The Master Plan calls for each campus to have an upper-division to lower-division student ratio of 60:40, which requires a strong commitment to transfer students. UC San Diego is one of the few campuses that has continually exceeded this commitment. The current campus ratio is 64:36. (CFR 2.10, 4.5)
COSAC also has campus-wide representation, and its charge and current membership is given in Reference.(26) COSAC’s primary responsibility is to review each Vice Chancellor‘s capital plans for all state-funded and non-state funded construction projects costing more than $400,000, and to provide recommendations on priorities for state-funded projects. On an annual basis, each VC area presents its longer-term capital plans to COSAC, and UC San Diego updates a 10-year Capital Financial Plan which describes a financially feasible capital program, its relationship to academic and strategic priorities, and the financing strategies that will be used to implement the plan. The 2008-18 Capital Financial Plan, which includes projects that have an estimated total value of $3.014 billion, is given in Reference.(27) The campus Facilities Design and Construction (FD&C) Office(28) prepares a professionally developed building cost estimate, based on an assumed building site that is consistent with the LRDP, prior to discussion by COSAC.
Each year COSAC establishes a five-year priority list for new state-funded construction and advises the Chancellor, who then forwards the five-year proposal to UCOP. UCOP then examines similar proposals from all campuses and, after some iteration with the campuses, establishes a system-wide priority for state-funded capital projects that is advanced to the Governor and the California Department of Finance. An example of last year’s state-funded five-year capital plan for UC San Diego is given in Reference.(29) Non-state funded projects are also reviewed by UCOP and/or The Regents, as warranted according to established delegations of authority, to validate project appropriateness and funding sources. Examples of typical non-state funded buildings include housing and dining services, research buildings (especially within SOM and SIO), and gift-funded buildings that are also usually directed at a specific area of research.
Planning for faculty growth or sustainment, which requires a commitment of permanent funding, is the most important and challenging component of campus planning. It reflects a blend of formulaic considerations balanced by subjective considerations of where to place the potential intellectual equity of the campus, providing the flexibility to adapt to changing frontiers and national priorities. The ultimate outcome is measured by faculty quality as assessed by peers throughout the nation and the world, research funding, leadership on professional and governmental bodies, and special recognition through the multitude of faculty honors. (CFRs 3.6, 3.7, 4.4, 4.8)Quality begets quality: Excellent faculty(30) attract extraordinary graduate and post-graduate students; faculty excellence also generates the visibility and reputation that attract high-quality undergraduates, who in turn benefit from the quality teaching environment that exists both inside and outside the classroom. As profile data indicate, (CFRs 1.2, 4.4, 4.6) by nearly any important measure, UC San Diego is continuing to do very well in implementing faculty growth plans.
Although the type of state budget crisis currently facing UC creates overriding short-term constraints, effective long-term planning has helped to guide the campus through difficult periods because these plans are predicated on clear principles and priorities. To that end, the planning process at UC San Diego has met the test of time and forms an effective, strategic basis to guide the allocations of faculty positions (FTE) and other resources to the academic divisions and schools. (CFR 3.5)
The previous C&PR document detailed the General Campus academic planning process, called “Charting the Course” (CTC), which is renewed triennially. The CTC resource allocations include new faculty positions and operational funding for staffing and other expenditures. (CFRs 3.1, 3.8) It is a “bottom-up” planning process that begins in the departments and ends when the SVCAA, in consultation with the Program Review Committee (PRC), makes new three-year allocations. The PRC is the key advisory group to the SVCAA; it includes representatives from the Academic Senate, the colleges, undergraduate and graduate student leaders, deans from the academic divisions and schools, the Graduate dean, and the VC Research. The current membership and charge is shown in Reference.(31) The AVCUE and AVCFE also sit in advisory roles to the full PRC at all meetings. (CFRs 1.8, 2.7, 4.1)
The CTC cycle permits each academic unit to reevaluate and reset its plans; note that the three- year period has proven to be a duration that provides ample time to implement plans while preserving temporal flexibility for academic units to change their courses and respond to evolving academic issues. Given a clear understanding of resources that will be available over a three-year period, academic leaders (e.g., deans, department chairs, etc.) more effectively establish priorities, plan expenditures, and recruit new faculty and staff. The CTC context is also helping to grapple with resource decisions that are being impelled by the unexpected severe budget cuts of the past few years. (CFR 4.1)
CTC begins with a year-long process in which departments advance three- and five-year goals for their disciplines, including consideration of new frontiers and interdisciplinary initiatives. The October, 2006 CTC IV call letter is given in Reference.(32) Interdisciplinary initiatives are areas where faculty from more than one department or division form collaborative synergies. Departments also address diversity and the resource implications of their growth plans, including consideration of space needs, staffing, equipment, and computing. Departmental plans are forwarded to the deans, who formulate divisional CTC plans and requests.
In parallel with the CTC deliberations, the Office of the SVCAA studies the implications of enrollment and budget plans for the campus, and establishes broad parameters for the allocation of funds. The SVCAA reviews the departmental requests, divisional recommendations, and statistical data on student workload, extramural funding, majors, and graduate students. (CFR 2.10) While new programs and interdisciplinary initiatives are encouraged and considered, no single parameter dominates the allocation decisions; therefore, subjective consideration of the quality and vision of the units plays an important role in the final decisions. Growth of engineering during the late 1990s, the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Major (ICAM), the International Studies program, and the development of the Rady School of Management are examples of new programs established during CTC cycles. The California Cultures, bioinformatics, materials science, and environmental/sustainability initiatives are areas where focused cluster hiring created critical masses of faculty to either promote major new intellectual initiatives or address weaknesses in existing research and programs that warranted bolstering.
While the current budget crisis has short-circuited the implementation of CTC allocations in the near term, the principles and priorities that the process established has guided some of the decisions regarding administration of budget reductions on the campus. (CFRs 4.1, 4.2) For example, the PRC recommended a substantial freezing of permanent faculty hiring, while protecting the allocation of funding for graduate student support, teaching assistants and temporary lecturers, so that as much as possible the core educational mission can be sustained and students can matriculate in a timely manner. Consequently, the deans have reassessed hiring objectives, together with faculty separations and retirements, in the context of their CTC plans in order to ascertain how to best meet budget reduction targets.
In addition to these long-range planning processes, divisions and departments conduct many ongoing yearly planning processes, all brought forward for appropriate Academic Senate review. (CFRs 1.6, 2.8, 2.9) Examples include new courses, degrees, and research initiatives. In the past two years alone, and in this most difficult budgetary period, new courses, new degrees, new minors, and one new academic department (NanoEngineering) were reviewed and approved. Many of these approvals followed two to three years of planning and iteration between the academic unit, the relevant dean, and the Academic Senate. Again, the primary metrics are quality and impact on students, undergraduate and graduate, while important secondary metrics always involve the effective use of our limited resources. At UC San Diego, shared governance between the Academic Senate and the administration entails patient planning and review, and it can be quite tedious and time-consuming, but it is a fundamental underpinning for the rapid rise to prominence of this campus. UC San Diego’s planning processes are expected to serve the campus well, even after reaching a “quasi-steady state” – no great university can be at a steady state! Outstanding faculty who fully participate in good planning and review are essential to moving the university forward in both the best and the worst of times. The faculty’s commitment of time to such service is expected to complement their commitment to teaching and research, and it is specifically recognized in their advancement through the professorial ranks. (CFR 3.4)
The support of students encompasses a spectrum of activities and services that attempt to address their mental and physical well being and permit them to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered at UC San Diego. The efforts require collaboration among several vice chancellor areas, but in particular Academic Affairs under the SVCAA and Student Affairs under the VCSA. (CFR 3.8) UC San Diego has all of the usual student services found at any strong university, such as academic advising, financial aid, career services, psychological counseling, housing and dining, and transportation services. Since many student services are typical and described elsewhere, the following comments focus on a few selected support and academic structures that are either unique or especially strong at UC San Diego.
Consideration of how to maximize students’ academic, educational experiences goes hand-in-hand with concentrated efforts to address student “quality of life” issues, the latter reflecting long-standing concerns that present special challenges at UC San Diego, given its geographic separation from the neighboring community (which does not reflect the attributes of a college town), the substantial core of commuter students who work (in 2008, 56% of students reported that they had paid employment), and the rigor of the academic programs. Chief among the substantial strides that the VCSA has made in addressing this issue during the past decade is a major effort that was undertaken several years ago by a committee of faculty, students, alumni, and staff to evaluate the general nature and quality of undergraduate life at UC San Diego, both within and outside the classroom. In 2002, the entire undergraduate population was surveyed on all aspects of their college experience. The results of this Undergraduate Experience Survey(33) are available in the comprehensive “Undergraduate Student Experience and Satisfaction” (USES) Report,(34)which includes a great deal of data and 162 recommendations for further consideration and possible implementation. The report identified three broad, key recommendations, and established nine USES principles under which the various recommendations could be characterized and addressed. (CFRs 1.2, 1.7, 2.10, 2.12, 4.1, 4.3, 4.8)
Review and implementation of the recommendations was made a high priority by the Chancellor, and the VCSA was given the specific directive to lead a USES Steering Committee in conducting a three-year follow-up to the USES initiative. (CFR 3.8) The work of this Steering Committee dovetails nicely with many areas of importance to this WASC review. The USES Steering Committee issued progress reports in each of three years, and many initiatives were completed (see especially the 2008 USES Steering Committee Progress Report).(35) Selected examples include new on-campus housing for transfer students, a substantial expansion of the Price Student Center, a new annex at RIMAC (the recreational center), a completely revised and updated Student Affairs calendar and website that makes communication with students readily transparent, initiation of a campus-wide convocation with invited speakers, and the introduction of nearly 200 freshmen and senior limited-enrollment seminars to enhance student-faculty interactions. A pilot project to develop special transfer student seminars was also begun, and the senior seminars were opened to transfer students. (Note that the current budget crisis has required a suspension of the funding related to some of these seminars, even though they have been extremely popular with both students and faculty.) The USES Steering Committee completed its original three-year charge and is transitioning into the Committee on Student Life and Engagement (CSLE), which maintains emphasis on student experiences at the forefront of campus development. The Undergraduate Student Experience and Satisfaction Survey has been repeated in alternate years since 2002, and it continues to provide a benchmark for campus efforts. (CFRs 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, 2.14, 4.1, 4.6)
Another major new initiative implemented by the VCSA is the Wellness Center.(36) (CFRs 2.13, 3.8) This effort is coordinating all aspects of student health to promote healthy lifestyles and balance intellectual, physical, occupational, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, and environmental wellness. The Wellness Center provides one-stop shopping for students in eight all-encompassing areas related to their general well being.
The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) (37) is an academic support service closely related to the Wellness Center. The office works directly with departments, faculty, and students to facilitate educational access for students with disabilities. Following OSD’s formal assessment of a student’s disability and determination of appropriate accommodations, the office provides academic support services such as real-time captioning and sign language interpreters, adaptive equipment and software, exam accommodations, note-taking services, and alternate media. OSD reports to the AVCUE due to its close connection to the academic pursuits of UC San Diego students. (CFRs 2.10, 2.13, 3.8)
A brief discussion of structures and efforts more specifically related to supporting students’ academic success is in order. As evidenced by data on the quality of entering freshmen and transfer students, it is reasonable to assume that each student who enrolls at UC San Diego has the capability to achieve academic success and to continue on to a very productive career. The challenge for UC San Diego is like that facing all similar, large public institutions – to add value by going beyond the large classroom experience in providing more personalized interactions with the faculty and student peers. Whether one talks with a graduate of UC San Diego or Swarthmore College, the most meaningful experience frequently expressed by both the exceptional and the average student is the senior thesis or an independent research project, in which the student has a mentoring opportunity with a faculty member. When a campus is expected to educate 28,000 undergraduates with less than 900 ladder-rank faculty, the reality is that a great deal of differentiation must occur, and many programs and types of academic experiences must be available with different scales of participation (an individual research project, a four-student course design project, an internship, or a 15-student mini-seminar). UC San Diego is confident that all motivated UC San Diego students who want to have such an experience can in fact find those opportunities. Also, departmental and college advisors, Career Services Center staff, and numerous other program staff members help guide students in their search for opportunities. (CFRs 2.12, 2.13, 3.1, 4.6)
The college system at UC San Diego was in part conceived with the express goal of transforming the large (sometimes impersonal and overwhelming) public university environment into a smaller, more personalized campus environments, along the lines of an Oxford or Cambridge, with the goal of providing more opportunities for personal and academic experiences. (CFR 4.6) Faculty and students are assigned to a college, independent of their discipline or major fields of study. Each college has the responsibility to establish (subject to approval of the Academic Senate, which has set minimum common requirements) (CFRs 2.4, 3.8) general education requirements for its students, and each provides advising services to its students, along with housing services, during their first two years at UC San Diego. (CFRs 2.1, 2.2, 2.11) The college system has worked well to provide a transition to the larger campus for freshmen, establishing some academic breadth to their view of higher education and what it can offer, and providing the benefit of interactions with peers across all disciplines while they decide on a major. (CFR 2.11) Naturally, as students enter into a specific major, their advising and intellectual experiences shift to the departments that oversee their major degree requirements. (CFR 2.2) A primary concern with the college structure has been the intersecting requirements, one set for general education, and another set for the major. The simultaneous set of requirements can potentially create an advising conflict between the colleges and the departments. However, most of these issues have been resolved over the years due to strong coordination between the units and annual meetings of the appropriate staff.
Previous reviews of the cost effectiveness of the college system have suggested that the system does effectively provide services that would need to be offered through divisions and schools, regardless of the campus structure. Colleges are able to sponsor many interdisciplinary activities that might not occur in departments or even divisions and, again, these broaden the university experience for the students. The administrative head of each college is a provost (a confusing title, since at many universities it is more typically reserved for the equivalent of our SVCAA), a colleague chosen from the professorial ranks and appointed to a five-year (renewable) term. (CFRs3.1, 3.4, 3.8) These faculty, who are particularly interested in undergraduate education, have often played leadership roles in developing undergraduate curricula in their academic departments. The Council of Provosts (COP) is represented on all major decision-making bodies, such as the PRC, and reports directly to the SVCAA through the AVCUE. (CFR 3.8) COP’s wisdom and concern for undergraduate students is broad and unbiased with respect to any specific discipline.
Originally it was planned that there would be 12 undergraduate colleges, each home to about 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. It is now projected that there may be no more than the six existing colleges, each with about 4,000 undergraduates. The ability to accommodate this number is driven largely by two factors: (1) The numbers of transfer students admitted to the campus has increased substantially over the years and, since they enter into the upper division, they impact their major departments more than the colleges, and resources must flow accordingly to address those effects; and (2) Smaller-sized colleges are economically impractical, especially given the reduced level of state funding that has evolved over the past three decades. The colleges have adapted to this growth and have advanced their educational programs without sacrificing their ability to address student needs. (CFRs 3.5, 4.4)
The last major review of the college philosophy and general education requirements occurred in 1999, when a Senate-Administration planning committee was appointed to plan for a Sixth College, the latest college to be formed. Their informative report is attached as Reference,(38) as is an earlier report from 1982, Reference.(39) The 1982 study, an in-depth examination of the college system per se, especially examined the cost-to-benefit ratio of the system because many colleagues perceived that the multiple administrative structures were necessarily more expensive. That committee surveyed large numbers of faculty, students, and alumni. It also made explicit organizational comparisons between UC San Diego and UC Irvine, as well as its own analysis of essential services provided by the colleges. The committee concluded that there was no evidence of an increased cost per student, and they enthusiastically recommended continuation of the college system. (CFRs 3.5,4.1)
The more recent Sixth College planning document is useful reading for the WASC reviewers in that it exposes several of the issues the faculty discussed in establishing the college. The committee solicited input from individual faculty and interviewed every department chair regarding breadth requirements for department majors,(CFR 2.3) college themes, and the relationships between department faculty and their colleges. (CFRs 2.4, 3.3)Committee members discussed the college experience with a group of alumni representing a distribution of age and college experience. (CFR 4.8) They reviewed literature on general education at other leading institutions, as well as other important documents, including the 1998 WASC Accreditation report, (CFR 1.9) CEP guidelines and standards for general education requirements, (CFR 3.1) and the principal recommendations from the 1999 Task Force to Consider Transfer Student Issues.(40) (CFRs 2.14, 4.1) This important task force report re-affirmed that transfer students should be integrated into the colleges and campus services, and not be isolated in a single college as a separate class of students. Finally, the planning committee invited external colleagues to a General Education Conference that provided useful dialogue and input for campus discussions.
The report commented on a substantial diversity of opinion about the goals and strategies for general education breadth requirements, possible college themes (even questioning the value of a college theme), and methods for introducing and teaching writing. It was clear that writing and speaking are considered essential components of a general education, and the alumni spoke strongly about the need for communication skills, computer skills, internship experiences, and individual or small-group projects. The experiences highlighted by alumni underscored the importance of personalized, individualized, and applied learning. Despite the caveats associated with the administration of the colleges, this structure is seen on balance as a very effective attempt to make the large public institution assessable and more user friendly to undergraduate students, both academically and socially. (CFRs 2.10, 2.11, 3.8, 3.9, 4.8)
Academic support services, which focus on improving student learning outcomes, have evolved in the standard university manner, using tutors and teaching assistants within Academic Affairs and throughout the campus – in departments, divisions, schools, and colleges. An overlapping system has evolved in Student Affairs, where the primary oversight has been through the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS). OASIS, which has focused on lower-division academic achievement, provides tutoring, mentoring, and counseling; therefore, its role is broader than the support of classroom academics. To assess the effectiveness and coordination of such broad-based academic support, a Senate-Administration Task Force on Coordination of Undergraduate Academic Support Services (UGASS) was charged jointly by the SVCAA and the VCSA to assess how the supplemental academic support programs of Student Affairs should be most effectively coordinated with academic departments. (CFRs 2.11, 2.12, 4.4, 4.6) The UGASS final report, Reference,(41) has recently been released and should be a primary document for the WASC reviewers to help assess this area of student support. The report’s recommendations are currently under consideration. Again, this substantial review effort is seen as a useful precursor to the current WASC review, and many of the recommendations will be endorsed and will further strengthen the type of academic support encouraged by WASC. (CFR 1.9) Selected highlights of this 30-page study follow.
The committee consulted broadly, gathered information on available services, and identified improvements recommended by faculty. (CFR 2.4) Existing support services, which are extensive and widely distributed, with little coordination, range from individual tutoring, to tutoring laboratories, to drop-in TA sessions, to writing centers and learning communities – some taught by faculty, some by staff, and some by students themselves. Many of the academic support services were deemed to work very well. (CFR 2.13) Some of the main recommendations are: (1) develop a comprehensive website to guide students and faculty and staff through the maze of available support; (2) establish a permanent mechanism to ensure coordination and communication among the various units; (3) establish a centralized writing center; (4) strengthen and clarify the academic mission and role of OASIS in academic advising at the lower-division level (the committee recommended that except for the writing center, the academic departments should be in charge of academic support for upper-division courses); and (5) establish a comprehensive system for faculty and other instructors to learn more about teaching. The committee also suggested that further discussions focus on enhancing the organizational structure of Academic Support Services.
Teaching at UC San Diego is also supported strongly by the technical and resource support offered by Academic Computing and Media Services (ACMS) (CFR 3.7) and the University Libraries. (CFR 3.6) Information about these entities was made available in the C&PR, and UC San Diego believes that it is positioned at the leading edge of instructional technology capability. This past September, Jim Dolgonas, the CEO and President of CENIC, stated at a statewide workshop that "UCSD has the most sophisticated campus network in the country.” (CFRs 1.3, 3.1) CENIC, the Corporation for Educational Networks in California, oversees the deployment of intercampus communications infrastructure and supporting resources accessible to all institutions of higher education in California. The presence of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) ensure that the campus has the latest infrastructure. At the present time all campus buildings are networked with more than 1-Gigabit connectivity, though the campus has a 10-Gigabit connection to the statewide education network designed and managed by the CENIC. ACMS supports the use of WebCT for all courses, and this past year more than 400 faculty per term took advantage of WebCT to interact with students enrolled in their courses. All classrooms are outfitted with media stations, and the use of available technologies by the teaching faculty is rapidly increasing. For example, in the past two years, the utilization of web-based podcasting of lecture courses has increased to more than 70 courses per term, a technology welcomed by students to enhance their learning. Note that the concern expressed by some faculty regarding the possibility that the availability of podcasting lectures would lead to diminished class room attendance simply did not happen. This summer UC San Diego is experimenting with video podcasts in some classes. (CFRs 1.3, 3.1, 3.7)
There are many specific academic enrichment programs that enhance undergraduate educational experiences at UC San Diego, including the following three illustrative examples:
One final area of academic support and enrichment at UC San Diego that must be acknowledged is faculty efforts to engage undergraduates in their research. At least 40% of undergraduates participate in a research project during their time at UC San Diego. While some of this experience occurs through small groups in senior honors courses or project design courses, much of it takes place in faculty laboratories and research groups where students are engaged in independent research, either as a 199 independent study course or as a volunteer or paid laboratory assistant during the academic year or summer. Up to four units of academic credit each term may by earned under a 199 course number for juniors and seniors, a 99 independent study course for sophomores, or a 99R research seminar for freshmen who are Regents Scholars. While the number of students who can be accommodated in this special educational enrichment is limited by faculty numbers, it is impressive to note that last year more than 8,000 units of research were taken by undergraduates. (CFR 2.5) Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine how many students are engaged through voluntary internships or as paid laboratory assistants. To make such research opportunities more visible to undergraduate students, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Initiatives (a new position), together with the Director of Undergraduate Research in Student Affairs, has created a special initiative to coordinate such activities, including the development of a new website where students can learn how to find a faculty research advisor and make the most of the relationship. This campus-wide coordinated effort overlaps with those that occur in several departments and colleges, with the direct contacts that students make with professors in the classroom, or through more formal processes. (CFRs 1.6,2.3)
Many possible metrics could be applied to assess whether a students’ education at UC San Diego has served them well, and has served the local, national, or global communities they enter. In fact, it is important to realize that students will develop their own personal metrics, changing in time, as they look back and assess their careers and community standing. Two outcome measures readily come to mind in this respect: postgraduate professional careers and alumni relationships. It is to be expected that an institution such as UC San Diego would provide a firm educational foundation for students moving on to medical school, law school, business schools, and to M.A./M.S. and Ph.D. academic programs in all disciplines. It is just as important to examine how UC San Diego students have been motivated to go into teaching (especially K-12), government, or other important service careers, although obtaining specific data in these fields is not straightforward.
The average age of UC San Diego alumni is currently below 45, so they are only now beginning to fill the full spectrum of lifetime careers. However, their input is becoming more and more important to the campus, and they are being asked to contribute on important committees and advisory groups, such as the USES initiative noted above, on search committees for college provosts, the Deans’ Advisory Councils in each of our academic divisions, and the Chancellor’s Associates Council, which includes alumni and community members. (CFR 4.8)One measure of the alumni’s long-term satisfaction is in fact their involvement as alumni and their contributions to the many needs of the campus. Both the Career Services Center and the Alumni Association maintain excellent websites that describe their multifaceted programs and provide a broad spectrum of data that WASC reviewers are encouraged to examine. (CFRs 1.2, 2.10, 4.4) In addition to campus surveys, which include a periodic post-baccalaureate survey (last run in 2005, and slated to be repeated in 2009-2010), Reference(42) UCOP periodically surveys the undergraduate experience across all UC campuses; the last of these was the 2008 University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), available at Reference.(43) (CFRs 1.2, 1.3, 1.7,2.10) The sections below briefly highlight selected outcomes that may provide some measure of whether or not UC San Diego is moving forward in its mission to educate future leaders in a broad spectrum of careers. (CFRs 1.9,4.3)
More than 84% of graduates have indicated a “positive” to “very positive” attitude toward their education at UC San Diego and feel that the campus exhibits a strong commitment to undergraduate education. (CFRs 1.2, 1.6, 2.8,4.8) As the profile data show, graduating seniors also self-report having made strong and substantial gains since their freshman year in a spectrum of skills, including analytical and critical thinking, understanding of a specific field of study, the Internet, library and other research skills, and their ability to read and comprehend academic material. (CFRs 1.6, 1.7, 2.1, 2.6, 3.6, 3.7) Nevertheless, the same type of survey indicates that less than 50% of seniors judged themselves to be “very good to excellent” with respect to such skills as foreign language,mathematics and statistics, leadership, the ability to make a presentation, and research skills; only 54% rated their ability to write clearly and effectively at this level. Most of these self-assessed metrics would be typical of any large public institution limited by state budgets, but often the survey results do correlate with the challenges brought to light or reinforced during this WASC review, as well as the many recent Senate-Administration studies we have referenced in this report. (CFRs 1.9, 4.3)
UC San Diego instills a strong appreciation for continuing education and a pursuit of professional careers. Nearly 35% of our graduating seniors choose to pursue advanced degrees immediately after graduation, with the majority of them entering various health professions. In particular, in 2008 UC San Diego was the 7th largest source of medical school applicants nationwide, and the 17th largest source of Hispanic applicants to medical schools. About 17% of our graduates chose to go onto law schools, where their 74% admission rate well exceeds the national rate of 66%. A recent survey of new alumni reported their fields of employment to be predominantly in business (~ 32%), followed by technology (~29%), human services (~17%), life/health sciences (%7e16%), and arts and communications (%7e6%). (CFR 1.5, 2.1, 2.10, 4.5)
More than 200 high-technology companies in the area were developed by UC San Diego students and faculty.(CFR 1.4, 2.8) Although most of these certainly involve graduate and postdoctoral students, the leaders of San Diego’s high-technology companies acknowledge that the ability of UC San Diego to provide a source of well-educated graduates, plus the capability for continuing education, is of paramount importance in locating their industry in this region. The quality of education is one reason UC San Diego undergraduates recently ranked third nationally in salary according to Forbes magazine. (CFR 2.9) The synergy between UC San Diego and local industry that transfers technology and provides career opportunities for our students may also influence the subject matter and skills taught in some courses. The rate at which new knowledge and technology moves and needs to be acquired can often exceed the time-to-degree, so again it is the quality of faculty and students that keeps UC San Diego up to date and well respected.
Another outcome of importance to UC San Diego can be distilled from the broad career categories above. Approximately 10% of graduates report that they are teachers in the elementary and secondary levels. This outcome relates to the “pipeline” challenge of developing a strong pool of well-qualified students for admission to UC. (CFRs 1.5, 1.6) To strengthen this career track, UC San Diego has been one of the primary supporters of the UC “California Teach” initiative through the recently developed Science and Mathematics Initiative (SMI) housed in the Division of Physical Sciences, Reference.(44)
The SMI is intended to recruit increasing numbers of science, mathematics, and engineering undergraduates at the freshman level and prepare them to pursue teaching credentials as highly qualified teachers of mathematics or science. This program features Math Education and Science Education minors that are coordinated with students’ primary science or engineering major and permit these students to apply to the graduate-level teacher credential program housed in the UC San Diego Education Studies Program. (CFRs 2.8, 2.9)
Despite the youthful profile of UC San Diego’s approximately 125,000 alumni, nearly one-fourth of the alumni have been generous donors to UC San Diego programs. In particular, they have established an endowment of $5.6M, of which $3.6M is in scholarship funds; 58 scholarships were awarded from this fund in 2008. The Alumni Association also supports several campus awards, one of which honors a faculty member each year with the Alumni Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching. (CFR 3.5) Similar to nearly all outstanding institutions of higher education, UC San Diego has a growing list of distinguished alumni from all disciplines who have been acknowledged by their peers for the impact of their work. Although it is difficult to document the specific difference UC San Diego’s undergraduate education made in their lives, these alumni generally represent the type of special student who is bright, motivated, and sufficiently self-assured to take advantage of opportunities at a university campus like UC San Diego. As mentioned above, one of the university’s primary responsibilities is to motivate the average student to do the same.
No goals can be more important for UC San Diego than the ones we noted at the beginning of this report: “quality” and “access.” As discussed above, quality is measured in many ways. According to numerous national and international rankings, UC San Diego is one of the premier universities in the world. (CFR 1.3, 2.1, 2.6)Sustaining quality, especially the quality of the undergraduate education, is more subtle because metrics can be debatable. They come with many caveats, and they can be buried in a myriad of data and statistics. The type of planning and review processes discussed above have helped the campus make wise choices about new directions and where to invest resources – both funding and time – that will make a long-term difference. As suggested earlier in this report, whether it involves the hiring of faculty for a new research direction or the launching of a new undergraduate degree program, there is a strong coupling between processes for planning new initiatives and those for reviewing existing programs and implementing recommendations to improve them.
The shared governance structure at UC San Diego has maintained a strong level of ongoing program reviews through Academic Senate committees such as CEP and the Graduate Council working with the offices of the SVCAA, the AVCUE, and the Graduate Dean. The outcomes of these reviews are taken seriously and are addressed directly by the SVCAA and the Chancellor. This current WASC review has brought a broader self-examination and posed a most difficult question: how has the feedback been utilized – really? The most explicit case to be made at this point is frankly the WASC Educational Effectiveness Indicators, for which the AVCUE received strong support from the academic departments. This effort is expected to continue, and when combined with the CEP reviews and student exit surveys such as those now in use in the Jacobs School of Engineering, the Division of Biological Sciences, and other departments, is expected to collectively provide a basis for faculty and administration to implement changes.
The flexibility in working with WASC to set our themes and examine areas where we knew we had challenges has also brought immediate progress and set forth ongoing processes, particularly in writing and language. The usefulness of strategic planning is not inherent in the output plan (which becomes rapidly obsolete) but in the different constituencies such planning brings together – faculty, students, and staff, or even just faculty from different disciplines. It is especially painful to plan during a severe budgetary crisis such as the current one, yet it can be productive because the institution’s priorities come forth, and at UC San Diego these priorities are measured against “access” and “quality.” According to our mission statement, “UC San Diego is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through excellence in education and research at the undergraduate, graduate, professional school and postdoctoral levels.” (CFR 1.1) The State of California expects the University of California to achieve quality at all of these levels and acknowledges this special mission in the master plan for education and in the level of funding received. UC San Diego must therefore balance the goals for undergraduate education with those for graduate education and research. This report demonstrates that they are in fact synergistic and that we do look at them in a complementary manner in all planning and resource allocations.
“Access” is without doubt the most serious challenge facing the University of California and UC San Diego. The earlier discussion about the challenges and efforts with regard to diversity directly addressed the “access” issue, but as noted earlier, there is a considerable way to go to ultimately reflect the demographics of California. Since the budget crisis has an impact that diminishes “access” more rapidly than “quality,” the only safeguard is to maintain an ongoing dialogue about the importance and attention to diversity. The Chancellor, the SVCAA, and the VCSA have all kept this issue as a top priority and have included it as a critical issue in the accountability reports to the Office of the President. (CFR 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 4.1, 4.4)
As reviewers may appreciate after examining the many websites and attachments referenced in the body of this report and the numerous appendices, it was challenging to make decisions about the breadth and depth of topics to discuss. In order to provide continuity and some coherent objectivity, it was decided to focus on and organize this report around the specific issues raised in the C&PR report and the thematic approach originally set forth in the 2005 Institutional Proposal. While this approach deals directly with the C&PR actions, it is also the most useful to the campus in addressing the challenges of improving undergraduate education. At the same time, the important WASC elements have been addressed within the eight major sections; the body of the report specifically itemizes the CFR standards, and both the standards and the appendices specifically address other required WASC documentation. With regard to the seven elements, for example, the description of the approach to the Educational Effectiveness review, the process that was used, the engagement of constituencies, and the analysis of this review are addressed in the section on undergraduate program review and learning assessment as well as in the various task force reports embedded in the information literacy, the writing, and the foreign language instruction sections. An updated data portfolio is explicitly addressed in the accreditation website. The responses to the C&PR review recommendations are explicitly addressed in the sections on student learning and information literacy as well as the expanded sections on diversity and strategic planning. The integrative nature of the report is indicated by addressing common themes such as “quality” and “access,” shared governance, and integrated review structures at many levels and for nearly all aspects of the educational mission. Should there be particular issues that the report and its appendices have not clearly addressed, any remaining questions may be clarified during the site visit in the fall. (CFR 1.9)
UC San Diego’s goal of preparing students to be global citizens equipped with the tools of analysis, expression, digital information fluency, and cultural understanding required for leadership in today’s world can only be enhanced through self-evaluation processes such as WASC. The impact of this current review will be to improve the educational experience of the next generation of UC San Diego students.