Student studying

Guiding Principles

Strategic Academic Plan

The guiding principles are a conceptually coherent set of aspirations intended to represent the objectives of a large number of campus constituents, and, as a collection to be distinctive, precise and unambiguous. The four guiding principles advance our institutional values and will help facilitate a shared understanding around how initiatives are prioritized.

Drive research and creative work that transform our world

UC Santa Cruz seeks to be a pioneering research university, a home to faculty and students who lead their fields, and take them into new territory. With a reputation built by breakthroughs from assembling the human genome, which has changed healthcare and our understanding of life, to sparking the global sustainable agriculture movement and creating media that changes play and public thinking, it is clear that we are shaping our fields of study and changing the world around us. Identifying and building on our faculty’s unique strengths—in areas that cut across all of its academic divisions and school—will allow UC Santa Cruz to recruit the best faculty and graduate students and expand its research in high impact areas that will help drive innovation, sustainability, and ethical technology.


1.1 Develop a robust campus infrastructure to support research development

1.2 Create and implement formal seed funding program within the Office of Research for new disciplinary and interdisciplinary research/creative activity efforts

1.3 Promote and increase open access publication to widely and equitably disseminate research

1.4 Better support graduate students through five-year packages and continuing professional development

Create enriching experiential learning and research opportunities for students

UC Santa Cruz aspires to be a university for students to think innovatively. Already an enriching environment, UC Santa Cruz wants to be a place where students discover by doing, driven by profound curiosity and a spirit of engagement. World-class natural resources and on- and off-campus experiences, coupled with innovative research and creative opportunities, provide unique learning environments for students. However, demand for these key hands-on experiences currently exceeds supply. By supporting additional transformative experiential learning and research opportunities, UC Santa Cruz can build on its strengths, find new ways to be inclusive, and expand student learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Deepening connections to internal and external organizations could enable more enriching collaborations and partnerships. The wide range of valuable on- and off-campus experiential learning, includes but is not limited to, internships, field study, project-based scaffold-type research and scholarship either within a class or as an independent study. Experiential learning helps prepare both undergraduate and graduate students to be creative thought leaders who are sought after for their innovative thinking and who have capacity to make an impact on the world around them; the qualities and skills developed assist graduating students with future employment and securing a spot in graduate school.


2.1 Expand alumni outreach and engagement to increase networking opportunities with current students, alumni mentors, internship and job opportunities offered to undergraduate and graduate students

2.2 Expand the portfolio of global learning programs

Engage, support, and attract a diverse faculty, staff, and student body

UC Santa Cruz understands that all employees, academic and administrative, must work together to ensure that the education we deliver meets the needs of all students, especially those who are underserved and from diverse backgrounds. Among its achievements, UC Santa Cruz is a leader in graduating first generation students and is ranked among the top five in the nation for social mobility. Based upon CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index, the university also ranks highly in terms of value and ethnic diversity. UC Santa Cruz is proud to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as both a Hispanic Serving Institution (one of only four in the AAU) and as an Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution. The campus seeks to enhance its longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to better support our diverse community. Role models and the presence of critical mass are important for students, staff, and faculty. Adjusting the curriculum and the pedagogy to be more inclusive will advance student success. Students emphasize the importance they place on the institution’s diversity, noting that it enables and encourages them to embrace their individuality and thrive in our increasingly heterogeneous and multicultural society. Engaging, supporting, and attracting a diverse community of undergraduate and graduate students, academic and administrative employees, and volunteers paves the way for our students to become powerful advocates for diversity and inclusion throughout their professional careers.


3.1 Improve first-year experience for undergraduate frosh and transfer students

3.2 Develop an integrated approach for undergraduate advising and student support

3.3 Develop additional opportunities to assist instructors in enhancing inclusive curriculum and pedagogy/Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

3.4 Support and expand the Cota-Robles Fellowships for graduate students

3.5 Foster, cultivate and uphold an anti-bullying campus culture

3.6 Foster a more robust and supportive advising and mentoring environment for graduate students through CITL workshops and new faculty orientation activities

Support inventive interdisciplinary connections in research and teaching

UC Santa Cruz is committed to free expression, vigorous debate, and the examination of all viewpoints. By bringing together a global community of individuals with diverse backgrounds, UC Santa Cruz aspires to propel faculty and students to examine the intersection of widely diverse fields, paving the way for innovative, inventive, and serendipitous discoveries that have big impacts. The campus has several successful interdisciplinary activities. One of the most recent is the Coastal Science and Policy Program that prepares graduate students for leadership in coastal science and conservation and ensures interdisciplinary knowledge generated by coastal scientists informs real-world solutions and creates measurable, scalable change. The Genomics Institute is our most visible interdisciplinary venture. The Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) catalyzes the power of the arts to explore critical issues of our time. Through mind-expanding, idea-provoking cross-disciplinary exhibitions, partnerships and public events, student programs, and academic collaborations, the arts together with the sciences, social sciences, and humanities engage audiences on and off campus and broaden the impact of UC Santa Cruz scholarship, teaching, and public service.


4.1 Coordinated complementary cross-disciplinary hiring