Campus to face challenges

Chancellor Robert C. Dynes spoke of the challenges facing a maturing UCSD and of how the university will come to redefine what a research university is in the next decade during his annual State of the Campus Address on Nov. 22 in Price Center Ballroom.

Jessica Horton

Dynes described UCSD as having a “”tradition of no tradition”” that allows the university to innovate. He commended UCSD’s rise in status among research universities to among the top half-dozen universities in the country since he became chancellor in 1996.

“”I don’t want us to just follow those other schools,”” Dynes said to a lunchtime crowd of about 170 individuals. “”I want us to define what a university is going to look like in the next decade.””

Dynes outlined four challenges to the university’s mission of education, research and public service. Particularly, he spoke of finding the strengths of the campus’ educational institutions, increasing diversity across many fields, accommodating the increasing enrollment and maintaining research support. On the last point, the chancellor noted that despite Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s centennial celebration, the state’s budget shortfall has led to a 10 percent cut in research funding as well as some employees being laid off.

To address these four challenges, Dynes announced the launch of an institutional campaign to broaden UCSD’s base of financial support and to increase public awareness of the university’s tripartite mission. The campaign, which will support the academic mission of UCSD, will increase support for student scholarships and graduate fellowships, as well as increase faculty recruitment and retention, new academic programs and health care research.

The chancellor cited examples that illustrate the university’s three-part mission, including the neurosciences program and the homeland security division at UCSD.

Dynes recalled 9/11 and how it changed the demands made on research, scholarship and the academe. He lauded a collaboration between San Diego State University and UCSD to serve as neutral brokers in coordinating a first-response to a terrorist attack in the San Diego region. The collaboration, he said, is a model for the country.

Additionally, he stressed the need to increase scholarship and understanding of Arab and Muslim cultures and languages.

The chancellor also defended his belief in a need to moderate free speech with mutual respect for others as outlined in the UCSD Principles of Community. He did not cite any specific instances or groups by name.

“”We have to bend over backwards to be sure that we promote tolerance for different opinions and allow different opinions to be voiced,”” he said. “”But I do not regret speaking out forcefully against public speech that is deliberatively hostile to individuals or groups just because they are different.””

Speaking to university employees, the chancellor addressed the effects of the budget on employees’ salaries, sharing the sentiments of many employees by calling the 1.5 percent salary increases “”lousy.””

When asked if he wanted to become president of the University of California, Dynes reiterated his affection for UCSD, yet left the open possibility of succeeding Richard C. Atkinson, who served as chancellor of UCSD before becoming UC president in 1995.

“”Asking me whether I want to be the president of the University of California is like putting a hockey puck in front of a hockey player,”” he said to a laughing audience. “”I’ll be genuinely honest with you: I’m hoping they don’t ask.””

The address was the second of three — the first taking place on Nov. 20 at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and the third to take place on Nov. 26 at SIO.