Regents hear about UCSD growth

    The UC Board of Regents finished its two-day formal visit to UCSD on Feb. 27, when board members attended presentations on the future growth of UCSD, the California Cultures Initiative and homeland security issues.

    Tyler Huff

    The second day of the Regents’ visit began at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and was centered around UCSD’s new campaign: “”Imagine What’s Next.”” With no public comments to start, the conference opened with remarks from Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, in which he praised the success of UCSD.

    “”UCSD is the place to watch,”” Dynes said. “”We are on track for being a model institution of the 21st century.””

    Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Marsha Chandler presented the first part of the conference. Her presentation focused on the future of growth and resource allocation at UCSD. Chandler laid out a very descriptive plan for growth in three main areas: the faculty, the undergraduate programs and the graduate/professional school programs.

    “”This is a very competitive situation we are in,”” Chandler said regarding faculty growth.

    UCSD continuously recruits faculty from top institutions around the country, Chandler said, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other campuses of the University of California.

    “”We are at our highest rate of recruitment right now, and we must continue this until 2010,”” Chandler said.

    In addition to the expansion of undergraduate programs, which Chandler praised as a result of continued faculty growth, the graduate and professional programs have also been expanded, with new research in areas such as bioinformatics, environmental studies, computational sciences, political science and international affairs.

    “”Graduate growth is fundamentally important,”” Chandler said. “”Our graduate programs serve our society.””

    Concluding the morning presentations, Dynes pointed out UCSD’s success in research and the importance of continued excellence.

    “”We received $550 million in federal research grants last year, ranking us fifth in the nation,”” Dynes said. “”Research universities have the stewardship of America’s intellectual property.””

    The afternoon portion of the meeting was held in the new Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall. The presentations continued with a new UCSD initiative called “”California Cultures in a Comparative Perspective.””

    David Pellow is serving a three-year term as the program’s first director.

    “”California is one of the most ethnically and economically dynamic regions in the world,”” Pellow said, pointing out the need for this new program.

    California is what Pellow calls a “”majority-minority”” state. A 2000 study found that California’s minority population was over 50 percent and rising.

    California is also facing many ethnic and racial issues as a result of the diversity. Tensions continually arise regarding issues like public education, racial profiling and bilingual education. Pellow and others working with the California Cultures Initiative have sought to study, explore and combat these issues and problems.

    “”UCSD must remain on the cutting edge,”” Pellow said.

    The program is focusing on new research and teaching approaches, as well as service initiatives, to combine intellectual exchange and community service. Additionally, there is an effort to study California as its own unique culture, rather than focusing primarily on racial and ethnic differences among Californians. Pellow also added that the program could possibly become an undergraduate minor.

    The California Cultures Initiative is comprised of more than 60 affiliated faculty members, as well as numerous supporting programs and institutes. The full program is expected to be presented in an international symposium later this year.

    The final topic presented dealt with issues of homeland security.

    “”Research in homeland security is not a new mission at UCSD, and started well before Sept. 11, 2001,”” Dynes said when he opened the presentation.

    San Diego has been thought of as a prime target of terrorism because it contains a large port, one of the nation’s busiest border crossings and several military bases.

    “”Sept. 11 closed the door on traditional research and development,”” Dynes said. “”The focus now is on research, development and deployment.””

    Working with government agencies such as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies, UCSD has been at the front lines of San Diego’s homeland security integration, including coordinating San Diego’s counterterrorism efforts for the 2003 Super Bowl.

    UCSD is also playing a key role in studying cyberterrorism. UCSD has been working with the federal government to tackle five priorities: a security response system, threat and vulnerability reduction, security awareness and training, securing the government’s cyberspace, and facilitating national and international cooperation.

    UCSD is also working on other aspects of securing the Internet, such as tracking computer worms with the aid of the San Diego Supercomputer.

    In addition, a new doctorate program has been introduced to focus on weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation around the world.

    At the end of the presentations, Dynes concluded the two-day meeting with his thoughts on the ongoing UC labor disputes after the issue was first brought up during the public comment section of the first day’s meetings.

    “”We have to think harder about the people that run this school,”” Dynes said. “”I could not do my job without this staff.””

    Those in attendance were very pleased with the presentations, and were impressed with the progress that UCSD has made and the goals for the future.

    “”I found the meeting very informative,”” said Student Regent Dexter Ligot-Gordon. “”I was particularly impressed with how the chancellor really went to bat for the faculty and staff. The [labor] problems are not really his fault; they are really the Regents’ fault.””

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