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Strategic Futures Committee

June 25, 2004

To: Acting Chancellor Chemers
Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Delaney
LRDP Committee
Campus Community
From: Gary Griggs, Chair, Strategic Futures Committee
Re: Strategic Futures Committee Final Report

Dear Colleagues,

In the period since the Strategic Futures Committee forwarded its initial enrollment recommendation for 2020 (March 2004) and its Interim Report (April 2004), we have received a number of thoughtful comments submitted via our website[1] and have engaged in both one-on-one and public forum conversations about our observations.  As part of this message (representing the final report of the Committee), I would like to

  • Clarify the intent/nature of our recommendations:  The Strategic Futures Committee recommendation is neither a mandate to grow nor an implementation plan for growth—nor is it an academic plan. Instead, it is a recommendation that the land-use plan associated with the campus’s 2005-2020 LRDP accommodate growth associated with our suggested 2020 enrollment capacity and programmatic vision;
  • Reaffirm the Committee’s interim recommendation that the campus’s 2005-2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) accommodate a three-quarter-average on-campus enrollment of up to 21,000 FTE—a greater proportion of which are graduate and professional students.  This enrollment envelope represents a careful, responsible, and strategic growth rate of 400 new students/year, on average, and equates to a growth rate of 2.7% in 2005, falling to 1.9% in 2020—a significant reduction from the average annual growth rate of 7.3% for the last five years and 3.8% for the last fifteen years; and
  • Make some further observations that stemmed from the Committee deliberations—observations that, while falling somewhat outside our charge, correspond to principles/criteria against which we invite the LRDP committee to test the 2005-2020 land-use plan.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for the work of the Strategic Futures Committee members who generously contributed their time and effort over eight months—including participating in weekly meetings, conducting research and data analysis in subcommittees and focus groups, and preparing the drafts that were organized into our report.  In particular, I wish to acknowledge that the faculty actively participated in the work of the Committee while maintaining their normal teaching, research, and service loads.

The need for on-going planning and consultation.  If, as we recommend, growth is to be strategic and emphasize the campus’s pursuit of excellence, then it must

  • Be informed by collaboratively articulated and widely communicated campus goals and values;
  • Take place in the context of sound on-campus academic planning structures and processes; and
  • Be developed in partnership with both the on-campus and our surrounding communities—with the goal of working together creatively so that both University and community growth and development is planned in synergistic ways that benefit both parties.

To ensure that the enrollment envelope and the land-use plan that comprise the 2005-2020 LRDP is maximally leveraged in pursuit of the campus vision and goals for 2020, planners and decision makers will need to consider carefully and strategically individual actions taken along the way; monitor the adequacy of the campus’s (operating and capital) resources to support reasonable growth; assess the campus’s progress toward articulated goals (e.g., with respect to the percentage of graduate and professional enrollments, with respect to its community and regional goals); and scan for changing circumstances and new opportunities.

Accordingly, we recommend that the campus constitute

  1. an on-going strategic futures group that constantly looks over the horizon for opportunities and challenges, as well as creative examples of solutions and approaches that might be considered by UC Santa Cruz; and
  2. an on-going campus/community group charged with identifying new approaches and solutions to University/community issues and challenges and with identifying opportunities for collaborative efforts.

Summary/reaffirmation of Committee recommendations.  Based upon its analysis of the campus’s programmatic goals and aspirations—particularly those articulated in our vision for the campus in 2020; the opportunities and potential for new academic programs, research centers, and professional schools in emerging or new disciplines; and the campus’s responsibility to provide access to higher education, the Committee reaffirms its recommendation that the campus’s 2005-2020 LRDP accommodate a three-quarter-average on-campus enrollment of up to 21,000 FTE and that the campus continue to build the breadth, depth, and quality of our academic programs to enable UC Santa Cruz to attract and support a greater proportion (about 15%) of graduate and professional students.[2]  This recommendation is intended to reflect

  • A recognition of the need to retain flexibility to enable the campus to evolve and change over time in response to changing demographics, societal needs and values, and technological developments, as well as external challenges, economics, and employment opportunities;
  • A commitment to a growth rate that is responsive, responsible, and strategic; is consistent with an emphasis on quality and with campus values—including the campus’s desire to work with the Santa Cruz community to seek practical solutions to the inevitable challenges of change and growth; and
  • A strong sense that future campus development should be strategic and emphasize the campus’s pursuit of excellence—not simply be based upon an assumption of growth.  This should be true whether such development results in a larger campus enrollment or the renewal/evolution of existing programs at the same enrollment levels.

Initial testing of the land use, environmental, and community implications of our suggested capacity for 2020 enrollment—and presented jointly to the Strategic Futures Committee and the LRDP Committee over the spring quarter—indicate that it is reasonable for the campus to continue to explore this enrollment scenario.

Coincidence with the campus’s core academic goals and objectives.  The UC Santa Cruz 2005-2020 LRDP must reflect and further the campus’s academic objectives and planning principles as articulated in its academic planning documents.  The LRDP Committee asked that we identify a limited number of these objectives for their use in developing the land-use plan.  Such academic goals should include

  • Ensure a breadth and depth of undergraduate academic programs, a fully-developed range of focused graduate programs, and appropriate professional degree programs.
  • Create a physical framework that supports—and recognizes the integration and synergy of—the teaching, research, and public service mission of the campus.
    • Instruction:  Serve California (and the nation) by providing an outstanding education to its increasingly diverse population, fulfilling the University’s fundamental responsibility to help produce an educated population.
      • At the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels, that education is characterized by rigorous depth, disciplinary breadth, and a high level of direct interaction with faculty.
      • Create a physical environment that encourages student academic, personal, and social development, including facilities that create an intellectual and shared ethic fostering excellence and a sense of community on campus.
    • Research:  Continue to develop high-quality, internationally-recognized research programs; encourage faculty initiatives to build and maintain excellent programs and take risks when the potential rewards are great.
      • A dynamic intellectual community—one that provides exposure to a wide range of cultures and perspectives and generates the interactions that lead to new insight and discovery—is enabled by a campus organized and designed to foster the interactions that characterize a great research university.
      • Anticipate the need for additional space (for research, for intra- and cross-departmental research activities, for large-scale collaborations) in excess of enrollment growth as extramurally funded research and interdisciplinary connections increase.
    • Public service:  Contribute to the State and the region through research and education that is problem-oriented and cuts across disciplinary boundaries as needed to address societal issues.  Contribute to the cultural life and environment through public service programs and events as well as direct service by the UC Santa Cruz community in the surrounding community.  Recognize that, as a regional activity center, UC Santa Cruz also plays a significant role in the economic and public life of the region.
  • Grow and develop in a manner that is careful and strategic, is consistent with improving the quality of education and research, and is consistent with campus values.

Further observations, recommendations, and issues to consider.  As part of the Committee’s deliberations, we considered a number of wide-ranging topics—some of which were well beyond our focused charge.  Based upon these discussions, we would like to invite the LRDP Committee to test their land-use plan against the following possible planning principles/criteria:

  • Academic core:  Maintain an academic core containing primarily academic and centralized academic resources, developed with sufficient density to promote pedestrian convenience.  The 2005-2020 LRDP should recognize the potential need to expand the existing academic core and should accommodate such expansion while providing/preserving significant views into, within, and from the core as well as enhancing the design of corridors that interconnect it.
  • Residential undergraduate colleges:  In recognition of the importance of the UC Santa Cruz colleges as centers of intellectual and residential life on campus, colleges should surround (and be located within a reasonable walking distance of) the academic core, so that the living and learning paradigm can be successfully realized.
  • Graduate village and commons:  In recognition of the campus goal to grow graduate enrollments and programs, a site for graduate housing and community activities—as well as the potential for space to locate/consolidate selected academic support services—should be a part of the 2005-2020 LRDP.  This site should be separated from undergraduate housing, be within walking distance of the academic core, and make provision for adequate parking, an improved transit system, or both, so that off-campus graduate students can easily access graduate functions and services.
  • Professional schools and research units:  The development of one or more professional schools and additional organized research units through campus academic planning processes is a strong possibility during the timeframe envisioned by the 2005-2020 LRDP.  In general, such schools and research units should be located within or near the (existing or an expanded) academic core.  Their location within the core, however, is not as critical as for academic programs that provide a full range of undergraduate/graduate instruction and research activity.
  • Design for interaction:  In that future research fields will cross traditional boundaries, campus space planning should reflect the impact of diverse faculty groups working together—as research and instruction becomes increasingly team-based and multi-/inter-disciplinary, the campus physical design must foster the interaction and information sharing this new community demands.
  • Learning spaces of the future:  As an institution “where innovation is tradition,” facilities at UC Santa Cruz must provide for a robust teaching and learning infrastructure—in the classroom/class lab/field studies and in alternative delivery modes including distance- and web-based learning and collaboration.
  • Diversity and distinctiveness:  The scale and forms of campus physical space should be as varied and engaging as its intellectual endeavors.  The “marketplace of ideas” that characterizes the research university will take place in venues ranging from the idea-forming conversation occasioned by a chance meeting to the organized laboratory or large lecture hall in an academic building complex.  Meaningful and diverse connections—the spaces between, around and within campus buildings—provide important places for gathering, social engagement, civic discussions and advocacy, cultural programming, and other types of co-curricular activity.
  • An interconnected natural and built environment:  The built environment, resource lands, and natural areas should be strongly linked—the close proximity of classrooms and research space to these different habitat types provides a living laboratory for teaching and research.  Campus planning efforts should reflect a long-term vision for particular uses and for connections between the built and the natural systems that influence the environment; the natural reserve lands should be directly linked to and managed in support of the campus’s academic mission.
  • Stewardship of the campus’s natural setting:  The natural physical setting should be preserved to the maximum extent feasible, consistent with the programmatic requirements of the University.
  • Accessible/interactive and welcoming public service environment:  UC Santa Cruz serves as a valuable public place in California and in the region.  The academic core—containing the library, performance venues, central academic and administrative areas, etc.—should be accessible both to the public and to the rest of the campus.  Campus development patterns should make it easy for people to connect with the many assets that the campus has to offer and should foster a welcoming environment for the greater public to engage UC through educational outreach, cultural activities, events, and other activities.
  • Adjacencies and the value of contiguity:  Vital intellectual communities thrive when the entire scope of the academic enterprise is located in close proximity, which fosters the formal and informal interactions that lead to productive collaboration and learning.  Accordingly, units that are core to the fundamental teaching and research mission should be located on campus unless there is a compelling reason to locate off-campus; similarly, senior administration and academic support units that provide analytic services are also candidates for remaining on campus to facilitate in-person interactions.  Off-campus locations (including possible consideration of blended curricular/living spaces) work best if there is a critical mass of activity (both “intellectual” and “operational”) located at the site.
  • Seamless integration of multiple locations:  While the main campus of UC Santa Cruz will retain its historic centrality to campus intellectual life and the learning experience, the campus has expanded its scope of activities into other parts of Santa Cruz County, as well as Monterey and Santa Clara counties, to create significant research, teaching, and public service opportunities otherwise unavailable to a single-location institution.  LRDP planning should recognize and provide seamless integration for this regional university model.
  • Flexibility and longevity:  The LRDP must provide a framework that is flexible enough to accommodate new initiatives and constantly evolving academic program needs, while still achieving a connected and cohesive campus environment.  Land use planning for the UC Santa Cruz of 2020 should be set in the context of a campus master plan that will accommodate growth and development well beyond 2020, consistent with key academic and demographic rationales, future research and educational trends, campus priorities, and societal needs.  Furthermore, this long-range perspective should be an aspect of all campus planning efforts.

Although with this final report, the work of the Strategic Futures Committee comes to an end, members have agreed to make themselves available to the administration and to the LRDP Committee and its consultants (e.g., for future joint meetings similar to those which have occurred over the spring quarter)—if such additional service is deemed useful.  We will also continue to review and comment on any email that is sent to sfc@ucsc.edu about our recommendations.


Gary Griggs (x9-2464)


Cc: Chair Galloway
Strategic Futures Committee

[1] And from the Senate—including the Committee on Planning and Budget review of our Interim Report and the planning issues facing the campus (http://senate.ucsc.edu/cpb/GrowthRptS04final.pdf).
[2] Readers who have not yet had an opportunity to consider the academic rationale for growth discussed in our Interim Report are encouraged to follow the hyperlinks incorporated into this final report.

Web resources:


Maintained by:planning@ucsc.edu