Research-focused, Service-oriented

As a public research university with multiple pillars of excellence, UC San Diego transforms lives, shapes new disciplines, and advances the frontiers of knowledge. From its beginnings on a dusty mesa with rows of Quonset huts, to the vibrant, multilayered institution it is today, UC San Diego has dared to be different. A culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, risk taking, and innovation infuses its institutional DNA.

As a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public institution, UC San Diego embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential ingredients in academic excellence. For more than a decade, the campus has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top ten public universities, and for the past four years by Washington Monthly as number one in the nation in rankings measuring “what colleges are doing for the country.” Academic year 2012–13 marked the fourth consecutive time that the university secured approximately $1 billion in annual research funding.

A record 24,792 freshmen were admitted to UC San Diego for the fall 2013 term—the most ethnically, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse class in campus history. The number of admitted students represented an 8.1 percent increase over the previous academic year. The new freshman class was selected from a record 67,392 applications.

From left: Faculty/staff Strategic Plan town hall; student speaks at another town hall

Today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni—and in 2013, alumni philanthropy was at a historic high. Every individual and every dollar represents the graduates’ confidence in UC San Diego and the values and ideals it advances.

Rethinking the Future of the Public Research University

UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2010 was both a golden milestone and a reflective moment for the campus that had come so far so fast. What’s next was the inevitable question. It was time to assess the university’s distinctive strengths and comparative advantages, develop a unifying vision for the next fifty years, and strategically implement that vision.

UC San Diego is at a critical inflection point in its history. As one of the nation’s top public research universities, it faces profound resource constraints on the one hand, and transformative opportunities on the other. In today’s diverse and interconnected world, industry leaders are asking for a different kind of graduate: a creative problem solver who is culturally competent and civic-minded as well as being technically knowledgeable. Funding agencies have become increasingly focused on the societal impact of the research projects they support. Philanthropic donors want to see the tangible impact of their gifts.

To develop a framework for sustainable excellence, UC San Diego launched its first campuswide strategic planning process in 2012. After establishing the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council, the campus engaged more than ten thousand stakeholders to gather ideas and insights regarding potential challenges and unprecedented solutions. The collaborative effort required the commitment and bottom-up participation of faculty, staff, students, alumni, university supporters, and community friends.

The Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Council has set the stage for a 2014 rollout of UC San Diego’s blueprint for future growth. In 2013, based on preliminary input and emerging themes and goals, campus leaders identified opportunities and responded to them in a timely fashion. Key initiatives included an undergraduate scholarship program for underserved communities in San Diego, the new Center for Brain Activity Mapping, and a plan to increase the number and quality of PhD students. The campus also began a review of credit requirements to improve time-to-degree, and commenced the renovation of biology and chemistry labs.

Universities are unique in providing a home for basic research, scholarly activity, and other investigations with a longer-term payoff that cannot be carried out in industry or other settings. For the next several decades, UC San Diego research will focus on four “grand challenge” areas where the campus has broad and deep expertise:

  1. Understanding and protecting the planet
  2. Exploring the basis of human knowledge, learning, and creativity
  3. Enriching human life and society
  4. Understanding cultures and improving society: addressing disparity, social justice, access, equity, and inclusion

Solutions to pressing, real-world issues rarely occur in defined boxes or disciplinary areas. The nimble, multidisciplinary model for problem solving is critical to UC San Diego’s continued success.

T. Denny Sanford announces gift to found the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center

$100 Million Gift Launches Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center

In a bold step toward delivering the therapeutic promise of human stem cells, businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford committed $100 million in October 2013 to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego. His gift is the second largest donation received by UC San Diego in its fifty-three-year history, following only the $110 million gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs to endow the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. In 2008, Sanford donated $30 million for the development and construction of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine facility, which opened in 2011.

The Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center will accelerate the development of drugs and cell therapies inspired by and derived from current human stem cell research by establishing, promoting, and disseminating clinical trials and patient therapies. It will provide the essential physical and human resources needed to leverage stem cell research currently being conducted at the Sanford Consortium—an innovative “collaboratory” of San Diego scientists from UC San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, and other institutions on and around the Torrey Pines Mesa, such as the J. Craig Venter Institute.

The new stem cell center will integrate operations at four locations: the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and a nearby proposed clinical space, both scheduled to open in 2016; the UC San Diego Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM); and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM).

Since 2006, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency, has awarded UC San Diego scientists more than sixty grants totaling almost $138 million, with millions more given to other area institutions. Funding from CIRM and elsewhere has already helped push some stem cell-based projects into early clinical trials, with more nearing readiness.

New Leadership

Janet Napolitano was named the twentieth president of the University of California in 2013. She served as Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009–13, Governor of Arizona from 2003–09, Attorney General of Arizona from 1998–2003, and US Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993–97. As governor, Napolitano focused on education, from pre-kindergarten through public higher education.

From left: Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering; Margaret Leinen, vice chancellor for Marine Sciences, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and dean of the School of Marine Sciences; William McGinnis, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences; Steve Gamer, vice chancellor for Advancement

UC San Diego recently named three new academic leaders and a vice chancellor to direct fundraising efforts and alumni relations. Albert (Al) P. Pisano, the new dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, came from UC Berkeley, where he served as chair of the mechanical engineering department, was acting dean of the engineering school, and founding faculty head of the Operational Excellence program office. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the cofounder of ten companies.

Margaret Leinen, the incoming vice chancellor for Marine Sciences, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and dean of the School of Marine Sciences, spent seven years at the National Science Foundation as assistant director for geosciences and coordinator of environmental research and education. She has extensive national and international experience in ocean science, global climate and environmental issues, federal research administration, and nonprofit start-ups.

UC San Diego’s international search for a biology dean culminated in the appointment of one of its own internationally renowned scholars. William (Bill) McGinnis, a professor of cell and developmental biology in the Division of Biological Sciences, and its interim dean, is the new division head. His discoveries have shaped scientific thinking as to how genes regulate early embryonic development. McGinnis was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow at the University of Basel in Switzerland and a professor at Yale University, where he held joint appointments in biology, and molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

Steve Gamer, who spent the last eleven years as a fundraising trailblazer at UCLA, is UC San Diego’s new vice chancellor for Advancement and president of the UC San Diego Foundation. As associate vice chancellor for development at UCLA, Gamer oversaw a record-setting fundraising year of $512 million in gifts and pledges in fiscal year 2012–13. Under his leadership, the campus expanded its fundraising capacity in multiple areas while growing the organization to include special focus on donor relations and stewardship, scholarship fundraising, and online giving.

Celebrating the Community, the University, and the Message

James Cameron Honored

James Cameron speaks at the 2013 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest event.

When James Cameron, the acclaimed director of Titanic, Avatar, and Terminator films, came to UC San Diego to claim the 2013 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, he was greeted by a sold-out crowd. Mostly, Cameron won for his historic 2012 dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans, but the prize was also a career achievement award given to a man who described his blockbuster movies as merely the source of money that pays for more exploration.

Cameron formally donated a lander named Deepsea Challenge that was used during his expedition, along with his $25,000 Nierenberg Prize money, to launch the new Lander Lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The lab will support future uses of the lander, an instrument system that can be sent to the deepest parts of the ocean to deliver information on marine life, geochemistry, tectonics, and other phenomena of interest to individual researchers.

Health-care Revolution

Optimism met pessimism at the third annual “Atlantic Meets the Pacific” forum, which brought thought leaders in technology, the sciences, and health to the campus. The Atlantic magazine and UC San Diego cohosted the three-day event. Panelists were all in agreement that the world’s aging population, the advent of smart devices, and the avalanche of scientific and medical data are creating both overwhelming opportunity and overwhelming challenges for health care in general, and cancer care in particular.

Triton Day

One of the newer campus traditions is Triton Day in April, when the benefits of living and learning as a UC San Diego student are on full display. Roughly twenty thousand admitted students and their families turned out for the second annual Triton Day in 2013, which included demonstrations of cutting-edge research and technology, student-guided campus tours, and live entertainment.

This free event aims to persuade the best and brightest students to choose UC San Diego as their undergraduate home. Students who are weighing an enrollment decision have an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff of various departments. During Triton Day middle and high school students and their families are invited to campus to attend a college prep session, offering tools on planning for, getting into, and paying for college.

Spreading the Word

Eye-catching messages are putting UC San Diego in the spotlight—and on the world stage. The campus advertising campaign began by highlighting the leading minds and uncommon scholars who flourish at UC San Diego. Next up was telling world travelers and national readers about the research collaborations that solve the most perplexing puzzles in science and medicine. Spirit, the in-flight magazine for Southwest Airlines and Airtran, touts UC San Diego’s number five ranking in R&D expenditures, medical advances, and leadership in climate research, while Science covers groundbreaking research in architecture and urban design. In US Airways and Spirit, a four-page spread takes an all-encompassing view of what draws students, faculty, and staff to UC San Diego.

Campus Beautiful

The San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Orchids & Onions competition highlights picks and pans in San Diego’s built environment. UC San Diego captured three orchids in 2013, including the top award for the Stuart Collection’s Fallen Star by artist Do Ho Suh, the small blue house cantilevered at an angle off the seventh floor of the Jacobs School of Engineering building. A renovation project at Galbraith Hall, constructed in 1965 as the university’s first central library, was honored for interior design, and the Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) Building won for architecture. Home to structural engineers, nanoengineers, medical device researchers, and visual artists, the SME building’s design encourages interaction among faculty and students working at different scales and in different disciplines.

Presidential Medals of Freedom

Mario Molina, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego, and a professor in the climate, atmospheric science, and physical oceanography division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Sally Ride, former professor emeritus in physics at UC San Diego and the first American woman in space, was honored posthumously. They were among the sixteen individuals who received the medal in 2013.

Ride, who was cited as “a role model to generations of young women,” founded and led the educational company, Sally Ride Science. The US Navy recently named a research vessel that will be operated by Scripps Oceanography after Ride.

Molina won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his role in identifying how commonly used chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) damage the Earth’s ozone layer, work that ultimately convinced governments around the world to eliminate CFCs from spray cans and refrigerators. He served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008, and is currently on the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Katzin Prize recipients (from left) Tina Tallon, Brandon Cisneros, Melissa Burney, and Lucas Chang

Katzin Prizes Awarded for
Graduate Study

Four UC San Diego graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences were the inaugural recipients of the Katzin Prize in 2013. The recipients were Tina Tallon in music, Brandon Cisneros in chemistry, Melissa Burney in psychology, and Lucas Chang in cognitive science. Each will receive fellowship support of $10,000 per year for up to five years, over and above the support packages offered by their departments.

Established in 2012 with a $4 million endowed gift from Jerome and Miriam Katzin, the Katzin Prize is designed to support UC San Diego’s strategic priority of growing its graduate student population with students who excel across disciplines. Jerome Katzin, a retired investment banker and chair emeritus of the UC San Diego Foundation, together with his wife, Miriam, created the Katzin Prize Endowment Fund to help the campus stay competitive as a top public research university.

Diversifying Revenue Sources

UC San Diego’s ongoing challenge is to maintain its excellence, reputation, and access despite declining state contributions to the University of California budget, indeterminate federal funding, and a nation that is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. California currently provides only 6.6 percent of the university’s total revenues. In academic year 2011–12, for the first time in campus history, students contributed more than the state to the cost of their education.

The Stuart Collection’s Fallen Star by Do Ho Suh won top honors in the 2013 Orchids & Onions competition; student volunteer at Triton Day 2013

To sustain its excellence in all areas, UC San Diego continues to strengthen its community ties and diversify its revenue sources. In 2013, the campus’s total revenues were $3.6 billion, representing a 120 percent rise since 2001, and a 63.7 percent rise since 2006.

Health-care and grants and contracts revenues remain UC San Diego’s two largest funding sources. In 2013, UC San Diego Medical Center revenues were $1.13 billion, an increase of 8.8 percent over the previous year.

Most of the contracts and grants money comes from the federal government and is allocated for research. Grants and contracts revenue from all sources totaled $961.0 million, representing 27 percent of annual revenue, and a one-year decrease of 2.6 percent.

For fiscal year 2012–13, a total of 30,289 donors helped to ensure UC San Diego’s place as one of the top fifteen research universities worldwide, by raising $150.3 million in private support—a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year. Public and private foundations provided the largest source of support in the last fiscal year, representing 30 percent of total funds raised. Giving by UC San Diego alumni jumped to a record 15 percent of the total funds raised.

Technology Transfer

The UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office (TTO) manages the university’s technology portfolio and is responsible for patenting and licensing intellectual property developed on campus. At fiscal year-end 2013, TTO managed more than 3,000 innovations and approximately 400 active license agreements. The total portfolio consists of 816 US and 836 foreign active patents, with 62 US and 177 foreign patents issued during fiscal year 2012–13. During that period, fifteen new start-up companies were formed with licensed UC San Diego innovations.

To date, more than 650 companies have been launched by and/or use technology produced by UC San Diego faculty, staff, and alumni, including many San Diego biotech and technology firms. Of this group, more than 185 start-ups have licensed university technology from TTO to found their companies.

2013 Sustainability Awards ceremony

Sustainability Stars

UC San Diego is a living laboratory where environmental sustainability comes alive. In 2013, the campus was one of seven colleges in California to achieve a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) gold rating, which will remain in effect for three years.

The annual STARS survey, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, is based on concrete performance metrics at participating institutions in three sustainability-focused categories: education and research, operations and planning, and administration and engagement. The survey gauged hundreds of factors at UC San Diego, including campus use of alternative transportation, water conservation, energy efficiency, green building accreditations, recycling levels, sustainable purchasing, and the number of student sustainability organizations.

“Making Zero a Reality” was the theme for the campus’s annual Earth Week celebration in April 2013, illustrating UC San Diego’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Target dates are zero waste by 2020 and climate neutrality by 2025. Events included a campus cleanup, documentary screening of Bag It, trash sort, sustainability awards ceremony, and volunteer gardening opportunity. Student sustainability organizations led many of the activities, which included a guest appearance—sponsored by the Student Sustainability Collective—by Van Jones, former special adviser for green jobs in the Obama administration.

Emerging Experts in Their Fields

2013 Postdoctoral Scholar Award recipients Che-Ming Jack Hu, PhD; Ping Piu Kuo, PhD; Carl Melis, PhD; and Kristen Tolson, PhD

UC San Diego’s 1,250 postdoctoral scholars, one of the smallest academic demographics on campus, skillfully manage immense research projects, secure grants to support the continuation of their work, present their findings at conferences, and mentor budding students. Occupying a unique place in academia, these ambitious scholars possess a doctoral degree and choose to advance their knowledge by taking a research training position after completion of a formal graduate program. Many specialize in the natural sciences and medicine and use the opportunity to bridge their knowledge with a related field. They spend up to five years training under a faculty member before continuing on to faculty positions, launching their own laboratory, or beginning a career in a related industry.

In fall 2013, UC San Diego’s postdocs were invited to celebrate and connect during the fourth annual Postdoc Appreciation Week. New this year was the Research Symposium, which offered participants a chance to present their work to a variety of audiences, attend career-building workshops, and engage in networking events. The inaugural Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Scholar Awards, which recognize standout contributions in research, mentoring, service, and professional engagement, went to four postdoctoral scholars: Kristen Tolson, reproductive medicine; Che-Ming Jack Hu, nanoengineering; Ping Piu Kuo, electrical and computer engineering; and Carl Melis, physics.

Strategic New Academic Directions

Recruitment in 2013 for the general campus, School of Medicine, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego yielded a diverse group of seventy-four new faculty members. Among them were several interdisciplinary hires who will play key roles in shaping four research initiatives that were established in the 2011–12 academic year. These initiatives are interdisciplinary in nature, assure a competitive advantage for the campus, and focus on major societal problems.

  • The Center for Educational Excellence will position UC San Diego as a national model for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. The initiative, with its emphasis on engaged teaching and engaged learning, is a bold, campuswide effort to revamp graduate and undergraduate curricula. Its major components are technology-enhanced education, including online learning; cocurricular and out-of- class activities; engagement inside the classroom; and real-world preparedness, transferable skills, and career competencies.
  • Quantitative biology (q-bio) will be the catalyst for future applications in medicine that will transform diagnosis and therapeutics. To jumpstart the q-bio initiative, UC San Diego hired eight faculty members with additional recruitments related to the initiative in process, is developing a graduate program with a specialization in q-bio, and will eventually offer an undergraduate major. The educational result will be a new generation of scientists who are highly focused on the quantitative aspects of biology.
  • The design initiative will blend the university’s work in social and cognitive sciences, focusing on the teaching and study of the visual imagination, and the engineering of new products and processes.
  • The advanced energy technology initiative will focus on the technologies, sciences, and policies of the new energy economy.

Diversity is a core value in the campus strategic plan. In 2012 the campus created a vice chancellorship for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and has continued to emphasize the hiring of a diverse faculty. The implementation of best practices in faculty hiring has contributed to a tenfold rise in African American and a twofold rise in Hispanic academic hires within the most recent three-year period, compared with the previous three-year period.

UC San Diego currently has 172 endowed chairs, including 14 that were established in the timeframe from fall 2012 to winter 2014.

New Degrees, New Programs

New graduate degrees established in the 2012–13 academic year include a PhD in structural engineering with a concentration in computational sciences, a PhD in art history theory and criticism with a specialization in anthropogeny, and a PhD in art history theory and criticism with a concentration in art practice and a specialization in anthropogeny. New undergraduate degrees include a BS in public health, which is the first undergraduate program ever offered by the School of Medicine, and a BS in marine biology. A BS in bioscience is currently under development.

A new Organized Research Unit (ORU), the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation, was launched in the 2012–13 academic year. ORUs are designed to promote interdisciplinary research on the general campus, in Health Sciences, and at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

UC San Diego 2013 women’s softball team

Sitting with Champions

Success over time characterizes great collegiate athletic programs, and UC San Diego softball is no exception. It is no coincidence that the 2011 NCAA title came just a year after the opening of the renovated Triton softball field. This state-of-the-art facility has generated increased visibility and helped push Triton softball to a new level of achievement.

The current objective is not only to win future national championships, but to do so on the Triton’s home field. The next step is to install permanent seating. The UC San Diego Softball Seating Campaign is seeking sponsors of one or more seats at $500 per seat. A personalized inscription will appear on each chair back section.

The plan is to create a chair back section of 313 seats in the area behind home plate. This would enhance the opportunity to host NCAA postseason events, including the NCAA Championship, and provide a more viable option for additional high caliber softball competitions such as the CIF Championships.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Increasing student support is a key priority at UC San Diego. Approximately 60 percent of UC San Diego’s undergraduates receive need-based support, and 15 percent of graduate students receive fellowships.

Scholarships keep a world-class education accessible to all who are motivated to work hard and dream big. Funding undergraduate scholarships is critical so that UC San Diego can continue to attract the most talented students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial circumstances. Support from donors touches the lives of students—and these students, in turn, touch the world. Upon graduation, UC San Diego students will become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

Graduate students help to fuel the discoveries that define a major research university. In addition to their own pursuit of knowledge, they are vital participants in instructing undergraduates. In today’s knowledge-intensive industries, the demand for expert, extensively trained professionals outstrips academia’s current output.

Global Reach

UC San Diego is a national leader in long-term study abroad, ranking eighth in the nation among doctoral institutions, according to the Institute of International Education Open Doors Report. Of the twelve hundred students who go abroad each year, roughly one hundred stay for twelve months or longer to study and conduct research. The university’s Programs Abroad Office helps students find international courses that will satisfy their degree requirements without adding to their time-to-graduation.

In 2014, for the fourth consecutive year, UC San Diego placed in the top fifteen in the Peace Corps’ annual rankings of large universities—earning the number twelve spot nationally and ranking number four among large California schools. To date, the university has produced 774 volunteers, and there are currently 54 undergraduate alumni serving overseas in the Peace Corps. Since 1961, the Peace Corps, an international service organization of the United States, has sent Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development.