Nearly 200 undergraduates became the first students ever to take part in a UC San Diego strategic planning process when they gathered for a January 8 town hall meeting at the Price Center. Invited by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla to participate as a key stakeholder group – “at the end of the day,” he told them, “you are the reason why we are here” – the students offered an array of ideas for charting the institution’s next 50 years. They expressed a common desire to have a greater voice in setting priorities for the campus, and they asked for more transparency and more open communication.
Following a presentation by the Chancellor on “Defining UC San Diego’s Future,” Executive Vice Chancellor Suresh Subramani moderated a discussion of three topics central to the strategic planning process:
Student feedback on UC San Diego’s strengths included its reputation for academic excellence; outstanding professors who challenge students intellectually; dynamic interdisciplinary programs like cognitive science and environmental sustainability; and the small campus experience provided by the six colleges.
Ideas to improve the academic experience included:
- Enhance faculty teaching skills and insist on faculty teaching excellence.
- Restore funding for campus libraries because they play an essential role in student academic achievement.
- Help students make connections between theoretical learning and real-world applications of those theories.
- Coach students in the fundamentals of effective communication and presentation.
- Introduce the importance of career planning in the first or second undergraduate year.
Ideas to improve the social experience included:
- Strengthen support for student organizations, especially those which strive to foster diversity by raising the admissions “yield” of underrepresented applicants.
- Create more opportunities for direct student-alumni engagement.
- Build school spirit by increasing support for and vibrancy of Athletics and Greek life.
- Designate additional facility spaces for student organizations and activities, and make those spaces easier to schedule.
- Raise UC San Diego’s visibility out in the community, in part by deploying campus leaders more strategically.
Future stakeholder group town hall meetings will be held for graduate and professional students, health care staff, and the external community. The next town hall meeting is Thursday, January 10, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Services Center Multipurpose Room.