UCSD Extension will celebrate its 50th anniversary with $50,000 in scholarships, as well as a variety of special programs and guest speaker events. The campaign, titled “The Next Fifty Years,” will focus on the initiatives and programs that will expand its operations in the future.
These programs are meant to uphold UCSD Extension’s mission to “serve the critical lifelong knowledge and skill development needs of individuals, organizations and the community.”
One of the initiatives involves offering 10 scholarships worth $5,000 each to recipients with a high school degree or an equivalent who want to take UCSD Extension’s courses or enroll in certification programs. Applicants are required to write a 500-word essay on how UCSD Extension will help them in their careers and in the pursuit of their passions by July 1.
Another feature of the anniversary is the weekly “Voices of the Future” program. This initiative will provide leaders in the San Diego community with speaking opportunities to give their insights on technological and social advances coming in the next half century. These thought leaders will come from UCSD faculty, as well as members of industry and the civic sector. Currently scheduled speakers will include award-winning environmentalist writer Barry Lopez and Director of UCSD’s Center for Algae Biotechnology Stephen Mayfield.
Furthermore, Career Week, which will run from March 22–24, will be hosted by UCSD Extension in order to focus on emerging careers that students could pursue.
A public conversation with Bill Keller, former editor of The New York Times, will be held on May 16 in order to discuss the evolving criminal justice reporting industry and the rapidly growing usage of broadcast channels and online media.
Dean of UCSD Extension Mary Walshok told the UCSD Guardian that UCSD Extension has had an impact on the San Diego community by helping public school teachers through technology and foreign-language usage.
“UCSD was a very new campus when I came, nobody had personal computers or cellphones,” Walshok said. “Those types of devices have transformed the teaching-learning process. And so, we serve thousands of public school teachers annually with updates on technology and foreign languages.”
Walshok also noted that UCSD Extension helps classrooms adjust to student diversity.
“Look at the demographics of the public school classroom compared to 30 years ago,” Walshok added. “It’s much more diverse; many more languages are taught. We help people adjust to those changes.”
Established in 1966, UCSD Extension has served as the professional education and public service division of UCSD.
For example, the Clinical Trials and Search Programs established in 1998 offers specialized certificates in clinical trials administration and clinical trials design and management.
Another example can be seen with its Health Law Master’s Degree, which equips its recipients with knowledge on subjects such as ethics and management practices that intersect with healthcare and legal domains.
Walshok hopes that UCSD, in conjunction with UCSD Extension, will change education to be suited for the modern world.
“Understanding what’s happening in Syria [and] the Zika epidemic — these are things that require knowledge and [are] immediate and current,” Walshok said. “My hope is that in the next 50 years, lifelong learning will be [the] core to what the university does as opposed to [being] marginal.”