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Happy New Year, Tritons: A Message from Chancellor Khosla

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Welcome back to campus, and Happy New Year! 

As we begin 2024, we have the opportunity to look back at the past year, celebrate our many successes and evaluate our progress against our ambitious institutional goals. I am immensely proud of all we have accomplished.

Together, we expanded our education, research and health enterprise and continued to serve our students, patients and the community in line with our mission as a world-class public research institution. These strides would not have been possible without our dedicated students, faculty, staff, alumni, community and philanthropic partners. We see your hard work and your Triton pride, and we have much to look forward to in the upcoming year and beyond.

Strategic Plan refresh

We are starting the new year by refreshing our UC San Diego Strategic Plan. We will be seeking your input to the process as we update the university’s Strategic Plan, which I implemented in 2014 as a framework and guide for our campus transformation.

Initial sessions with deans and my leadership Cabinet began in the fall, and we look forward to incorporating input from faculty, staff, students and the community. Because our plan has been successful, we are not undertaking a complete overhaul, rather refining strategies and incorporating new ideas and lessons learned to fuel our growth into the future.   

I look forward to reflecting upon the tremendous growth and progress we have forged together over the past 10 years and am excited to engage with you in the new year. We hope you will be a part of it.

Campus life and student experience

In 2023, we celebrated many traditional campus gatherings, such as Convocation, Homecoming, Triton Weeks of Welcome and many exciting Division I sporting events – including a first-ever Big West championship for men’s baseball. We are providing more and more world-class performances and art exhibits, along with interactive studios such as the Craft Center and the upcoming Glass Center to cultivate creativity among our campus community and visitors. 

Our living and learning neighborhoods and unique college system are intentionally designed to foster connections and strong communities, and we want students to enjoy their educational experiences, express their creativity, deepen friendships and have fun as they learn and grow together. Moving forward, you will see and experience the many ways we are fostering an even more vibrant destination campus with every thoughtfully planned investment we make.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

In 2023, we reaffirmed our collective commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. We progressively embedded EDI principles into our campus priorities, policies and accountability structures, as seen in our Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence and our Strategic Accountability Process. Additionally, we steadily expanded access and affordability for underserved students by adding new scholarships and bolstering existing scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. 

We welcomed outstanding underrepresented faculty who are not only changing the makeup of academia, but who also are contributing new teaching methodologies and filling critical role model gaps for our historically underrepresented students. We also integrated equity, diversity and inclusion into our campus art selectioncultural events, new building developments and designs and virtually every aspect of university operations. We remain committed to taking bold actions that build and maintain an inclusive culture that celebrates unique perspectives and contributions and advances equality. We will continue to ensure that every member of our Triton community can thrive and reach their full potential.

Campus transformation and on-campus housing

Our campus continues to transform physically, culturally and intellectually before our eyes – all with student support and success at the center – and empowered through philanthropic support, which reached an all-time high of $565.7 million this past fiscal year. 2023 also marked several milestones on student-centered projects currently underway, which are all part of our commitment to serve as a regional destination for arts, culture, education, research and patient care as a valued public asset.

Access and a more affordable cost-of-living for students are two main priorities as we serve the community, and creating bustling and welcoming neighborhoods is an integral part of this effort. We know students thrive on campus, and in such an expensive regional housing market, on-campus housing helps to lower the overall cost of a top quality university education.

While we are currently the third largest provider of on-campus housing in the country and offer a two-year housing guarantee, we are on track to become the single largest on-campus housing provider by 2025. Our ultimate goal is to provide a four-year housing guarantee at 20% or more below market rates.

We recently celebrated the groundbreaking for Triton Center and Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, opened the doors to the reimagined Mandeville Art Gallery and celebrated the new Ted and Jean Scripps Marine Conservation and Technology Facility at our world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In the coming months, Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood will continue its phased opening that began in Fall 2023, adding 2,000 new beds and welcoming students as the home of our newest college, Eighth College. Construction is also moving along at Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood, which will open in fall of 2024 and provide 1,300 new beds for transfer and upper division students.

I am grateful for your patience and flexibility amid the ongoing construction as we bring this vision to life. 

Research progress and rankings

UC San Diego continues to rise in rankings as a globally recognized leader in education, research, medical care, innovation and discovery that expands scientific understanding and propels our society forward. This year, our research enterprise grew $1.76 billion in sponsored research – our tenth consecutive year of more than $1 billion. And prospective students are eager to learn – UC San Diego is the second-most applied to university in the entire country. 

Our world-renowned faculty are leading the way as experts in their fields, providing students with the very best instruction and hands-on research opportunities. Our researchers ranked as No. 7 most highly cited in the world – and No. 1 among all University of California campuses – a significant scholarly achievement that demonstrates our global influence in the research community. 

We continue to contribute to global economic development through our groundbreaking work related to inventions, startups, patents and licenses. In fact, in fiscal year 2023, we filed 390 unique disclosures of viable inventions, placing us among the world’s top innovation universities. We are gaining more global recognition for our research leadership and impact. We continue to rank among the top public universities and health systems in the nation and worldwide. U.S. News & World Report ranked UC San Diego as the No. 6 public university, and Forbes ranked us at No. 3. We are also ranked by the Princeton Review as the No. 8 Best Value College in the nation, signifying our high-quality, affordable education that sets up our students for future career success. We should all be very proud of our progress and well-deserved recognition as an engine of socioeconomic mobility, scientific discovery, patient care excellence and transformative impact for the greater good. 

UC San Diego Health

For the first time in our history, UC San Diego Health earned its place among the nation’s top 20 hospitals (18 of 4,500), being recognized on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” National Honor Roll. We continue to rank No. 1 in San Diego and are tied for No. 1 in California.

We recently acquired Alvarado Hospital in eastern San Diego and are finalizing a joint powers agreement to operate Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. Together, these projects add more than 650 beds to the health system in key parts of the region. East Campus and Tri-City community hospitals will provide quality, comprehensive care closer to home for many more county residents, while allowing our flagship destination medicine programs to develop and expand at our academic medical centers in Hillcrest and La Jolla. Patients from around the state and across the country travel to UC San Diego Health to receive the latest in world-class care. We are truly fortunate to have this level of care growing ever stronger, right here in our own backyard.

This year, Student Health and Well-Being also launched the Triton Compassionate Response team, known as Triton CORE, a team of interdisciplinary mental health professionals that works in partnership with UC San Diego Police to respond to students experiencing mental or behavioral health crises that do not require a law-enforcement response.

Supporting an inclusive campus environment

Ongoing and devastating wars and terrorist attacks have caused pain and fear among many and has sparked many passionate protests and conversations on university campuses, including ours, with many raising their voices in support of issues and causes close to their hearts. Throughout this time, campus leadership has met with our students, faculty and staff to listen and offer assistance, worked to support members of our community and ensured that security and safety measures are in place. In 2024, we will be offering a series of educational events featuring experts to help educate and offer productive ways to counter Antisemitism and Islamophobia, while upholding free speech and strengthening our campus community.  

As we recommit ourselves to the constitutional protection of free speech, we also recognize that the right of free speech is not absolute, and violations of policy or law will not be tolerated. UC San Diego firmly stands against hate and intolerance wherever it emerges and will hold accountable to the maximum extent of its abilities anyone who engages in conduct that violates the law or university policy, such as disruptions of university activity, violence or vandalism. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority and all reports of violations will be reviewed. Support resources are also available to our community members. 

My fellow chancellors and University of California President Michael V. Drake issued a joint statement condemning acts of bigotry and intimidation on campus and pledging our commitment to support a safe and inclusive campus environment. Our community is strong, resilient and committed to inclusion, and will remain unequivocally so. 

The year ahead

This upcoming year, we will continue to lead as a research, medical and academic powerhouse, making an impact globally with advances across a wide array of disciplines, such as artificial intelligence and climate change. I am looking forward to the Triton Leaders Conference, many incredible arts and cultural performances at the Epstein Family Amphitheater, fully opening the Theatre District and Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhoods, continued construction progress on projects such as the UC San Diego Health Hillcrest campus and Triton Center and the upcoming graduation of the Class of 2024. I also look forward to advances in development of the recently approved Science Research Park and the Viterbi Family Vision Research Center. With our limitless Triton potential, we are poised for another year of excellence.

Thank you and Happy New Year

To our outstanding students, patients, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, volunteers and community partners, thank you for your steadfast commitment to UC San Diego and each other. I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful 2024 filled with good health, happiness, peace and prosperity.

Pradeep K. Khosla
Chancellor

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