As a public, urban research university, UCLA is committed both to addressing societal needs in the tradition of land-grant universities and to maintaining high academic distinction. As we move toward our second century, we are guided by a singular goal: developing UCLA as the model public research university for the 21st century.
To that end, early in my tenure, I outlined four overarching priorities: academic excellence, civic engagement, diversity and financial security. These are the guiding principles of UCLA's long-range academic plan, which is presented in full on the executive vice chancellor and provost's website.
UCLA has a tradition of world-class scholarship and teaching. Our students are outstanding, and UCLA provides undergraduates high-level research opportunities that at other great research universities might be open only to graduate students. In disciplines across the campus, our faculty, acknowledged leaders in their fields, consistently earn the most prestigious awards.
To build upon our excellence, we emphasize our strength in interdisciplinary teaching and research. UCLA’s interdisciplinary initiatives—in the arts, biosciences, nanoscience, international studies, the environment and other areas—already are producing groundbreaking results.
Enhancing our academic excellence requires us to continue attracting premier faculty, staff and students. To do so, we must maintain a campus that is a highly desirable working—and living—environment.
As a public university, UCLA must make a difference in the civic life of Los Angeles and positively impact people around the world. Through our students, faculty and staff, our campus already is deeply invested in this effort. Moving forward, we will bolster initiatives in community-based, applied and translational research—innovations that can be brought to the marketplace to improve quality of life.
UCLA provides widespread programs in civic education through classroom instruction, service learning and professional training. An outstanding example is the UCLA Community School, which opened in 2009 in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and community organizations and employs UCLA’s expertise in K-12 education in a severely underserved neighborhood.
International engagement is also critical. Our location on the Pacific Rim affords UCLA the opportunity to pursue meaningful partnerships with peer institutions in Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. These relationships will enhance our faculty’s research capabilities and expose our students to critical global issues.
UCLA has long championed diversity and remains one of the nation’s most diverse research universities, especially socioeconomically. UCLA serves as a vital engine of opportunity for students who are the first in their families to attend college or who represent underserved populations. Among research universities, UCLA has one of the highest percentages of undergraduates who receive Pell Grants, federal assistance based on financial need. In 2009-10, the figure was 37 percent.
We will continue to increase the diversity of our faculty, students and staff. We are committed to fostering a welcoming campus, as well as understanding and tolerance within the UCLA community.
As state support of higher education continues to shrink, we must implement aggressive strategies to operate more efficiently and self-sufficiently in order to thrive in the 21st century.
To that end, we are streamlining academics and administration and pursuing new revenue streams for the campus, such as monetizing more of UCLA’s substantial and growing intellectual property holdings.
Although we remain “public” in our history and mission, UCLA must increasingly rely on private support to develop and sustain outstanding scholarship and teaching. We must significantly bolster our endowment in order to remain competitive among the nation’s leading universities in recruiting students and faculty. We continue to receive generous financial support from alumni, parents and friends in Los Angeles and across the country. We are deeply grateful for their philanthropy, which will play an increasing role in UCLA’s future.