Frequently asked questions

Update: In September 2018, the strategic academic plan information moved to this webpage


Has the CP/EVC and Senate leadership worked out a timeline for Senate review of the Strategic Academic Plan?

Yes. Senate leadership and [CP/EVC Tromp] have recently come to an agreement on a timeline that will afford the opportunity for a comprehensive Senate review and, just as importantly, time for meaningful consideration of Senate feedback and for implementation to start during the 2018-19 academic year. [CP/EVC Tromp is] grateful to Senate Chair Ólӧf Einarsdóttir, Vice Chair Kim Lau, and Planning and Budget Committee Chair Carl Walsh for their creative, thoughtful efforts to work [together] in developing a practical way forward.
Senate engagement is critical to our SAP process, and [CP/EVC Tromp has] deep respect for our shared governance and for our Senate leadership. Indeed, the Senate was the first group [CP/EVC Tromp] consulted on the possibility of producing a SAP. While many universities simply bring together senior leadership to set a strategic direction, that didn’t seem right for UC Santa Cruz. Ours is a campus in which broader engagement matters. At the launch of the planning process, [CP/EVC Tromp] requested we solicit Senate input on a wide range of consequential issues pertaining to internal barriers, development of resource streams, and resource and FTE allocation. And [CP/EVC Tromp has] asked that all of the reports produced by our consultants be sent out for Senate review and comment as soon as they arrive. [CP/EVC Tromp has] no doubt our plan will be enriched through the Senate’s active participation, and [CP/EVC Tromp] looks forward to its ongoing involvement over the course of the year.
We expect to have a first draft of the SAP in June. While the Senate will have seen all major components of the plan, as each piece is produced and posted along the way, this will be the first time all parts of the plan will be united. Senate leadership and [CP/EVC Tromp] have agreed to complete the review by Aug. 31. This will permit time to consider and incorporate Senate feedback, present the plan to campus, allow our deans to engage their departments regarding the 2018-19 faculty FTE call, and permit the same Senate committee membership that has seen the materials all along to opine. [CP/EVC Tromp] will gladly compensate committee members who engage in plan review over the summer. The chancellor and  [CP/EVC Tromp] will be pleased to receive Senate feedback in a timely fashion, so that we can deploy our resources strategically during the 2018-19 academic year. Without Senate input on this timeline, we do not feel it would be appropriate for us to proceed allocating resources including FTE. We genuinely care about the Senate insights and want to make sure our strategic directions reflect our engagement with them. [This Q&A added 4/9/18.]

Is my research area/department likely to wither if my Themed Academic Working Group is not ultimately selected as a campus priority area?

No. We will commit to a strategic investment of resources, but we also have an earnest commitment to offer a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences education. It is foundational to our identity, and each of our curricular areas depends upon and benefits from the contribution of the others. Every UC Santa Cruz student should experience and grow from the full richness of our curriculum. In addition, we hope that our new focus on resource generation will enable us to advance all areas of the university.

Moreover, the focus of our SAP on eliminating barriers should improve the research and teaching opportunities for everyone on campus. The Senate, the academic departments and leadership, and many support units have responded at length to our request to identify internal barriers to their work. In many cases, they have even provided imaginative solutions. Over the coming months we will work with the Senate and the deans to rank the significance of the many barriers you’ve identified, then engage a staff implementation group to develop options for their reduction or elimination. [This Q&A added 4/9/18.]

Is campus feedback being taken into account in the SAP process?

Absolutely, and it is worth naming a few of the ways in which this has happened.

  • We responded to more than 250 email questions and ideas and have made numerous adjustments to the process in response to the thoughtful suggestions of faculty, staff, and students.
  • We added student representatives to the Academic Advisory Committee, the group charged with evaluating, shaping, and ranking our academic priorities.
  • We created the Themed Academic Working Groups to ensure all academic employees have an opportunity to make a case for what their research areas could accomplish with the right support.
  • We provided an online forum for discussion of SAP topics.
  • We posted online notes from every committee and group meeting held to date.
  • We added eight community forums to provide updates, take questions, and get your feedback.
  • We scheduled meetings with every interested department to explain the SAP process and receive comments.
  • And finally, we extended the timeline for Senate review to ensure adequate consultation and the ability to allocate resources strategically during the 2018-19 academic year. [This Q&A added 4/9/18.]

Why are we doing this now?

With its excellent and innovative faculty, unique character, and remarkable students and staff, UCSC has the capacity to provide a new vision for higher education nationally and internationally. Proactively charting our course together will allow us to enhance our research profile, better serve our faculty and students, and increase our impact, even in a time of dwindling state financial support.

How is this different from Envision?

Envision, which was completed nearly three years ago, was a comprehensive campus strategic plan. The final report is available on the Envision homepage and also here.

We are now embarking on a strategic academic planning process that will develop a shared vision for the future of academics at UC Santa Cruz. Academic planning will run from fall 2017 through the end of the academic year. The following academic year, 2018–19, will focus on implementation.

Will anything actually come from this process?

Absolutely. The Chancellor and CP/EVC are committed to developing a five-year plan that sets a clear vision for the future of academics at UC Santa Cruz and outlines concrete steps to move the campus forward. By the end of spring of 2018, we will have a step-by-step guide for implementing the plan.

Is this all about valuing some disciplines more than others?

The strategic academic planning exercise will articulate the major themes that make UC Santa Cruz the remarkable place that it is—one of those things has been the rich liberal arts tradition that grounds our curriculum. The expectation is that the plan will help us to chart a course that will build upon our strengths, imagine new ways that we might lead from those strengths, and identify how we can best support a number of strategic opportunities. Identifying and building upon those things that make us uniquely who we are will improve our capacity to recruit faculty and students, capture extramural funding, and encourage donors who want to invest in our programs, faculty, students, and future.

We remain committed to providing future generations of students an innovative, forward-looking, and meaningful liberal arts and sciences education. Moreover, we believe that growing from our strengths will benefit all areas of the university through increased recognition, resources, and support.

Does campus leadership already have a new direction in mind?

No. CP/EVC Tromp firmly believes that campus stakeholders are best positioned to identify and build on our strengths and discover new ways to more fully develop our identity to meet a transformed world. She wants an academic plan that leverages our current resources, generates new opportunities, and positions us for future success. The planning process is designed to generate and explore the best ideas on campus and ensure that our future direction is one that has emerged from our community.

I’ve participated in past plan exercises and little came from them. Why should I join this process?

This is important work that will set UC Santa Cruz on its distinctive trajectory for years to come. We want your voice and insights to be a part of the process and to help chart our direction. We will provide regular updates throughout the process so that the campus community will be able to follow our progress month-by-month.

How can I get involved?

We will send email updates to the community on a regular basis that outline opportunities for participation. We also have an online suggestion box to which you are always welcome to send ideas. We welcome your participation. For questions, please email