University of California, San Diego


November 20, 2001


SUBJECT:  Managing Future Growth in Research and Graduate Studies

Dear Colleagues:

Our series of internal communiqués on campus growth continues with this message from Richard Attiyeh, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. Dr. Attiyeh reminds us that managing the growth of a major research university is a long-range project. The state's current fiscal crisis will mean belt-tightening in the short run. But in the long run, the University of California will grow to accommodate population growth, and its expansion will sustain the excellence that has made it a world leader in education and research. As Dr. Attiyeh points out, the key to sustained excellence is balance. We must increase graduate enrollment across the disciplines; we must strengthen both academic and professional programs; we must bolster our research enterprises; and we must build student and faculty diversity.

                                                Robert C. Dynes



November 20, 2001

As the campus has begun a period of rapid enrollment growth, considerable attention is being given to the need to achieve institutional balance, graduate-undergraduate balance, disciplinary balance, and academic-professional balance.

As a consequence of steady undergraduate enrollment growth combined with little graduate enrollment growth over the past two decades, UCSD has a ratio of graduate to undergraduate students that is unusually low for a leading research university. It has become a high priority for the faculty and the administration to increase the graduate share of General Campus (including SIO) total enrollments from 12% in 2000-01 to 18% by 2010. Given that undergraduate enrollment is planned to increase by 52% over this decade, graduate enrollment will need to increase by 2,750 (123%) to achieve the 18% goal. We have made a good start on achieving this objective by increasing General Campus graduate enrollments in 2001-02 by 370. In addition to General Campus enrollment growth, Health Science Ph.D. students are projected to grow by 160 (72%) during this decade.

The planned growth provides for increases in all disciplinary areas. Strong programs in all disciplines contribute to a symbiotic environment in which disciplines nourish one another intellectually. This is obviously true for graduate education, where so much exciting contemporary research cuts across a wide range of disciplines. Moreover, without strong graduate programs in all disciplines, our departments will be unable to attract the high quality faculty and teaching assistants necessary for excellence in undergraduate education. In the past, UCSD has been an innovator in developing programs in emerging disciplinary areas. We had, for example, one of the first programs in the nation in cognitive science, and just last year, we inaugurated one of the first programs in bioinformatics. Given the interdisciplinary tradition at UCSD, new graduate programs can be expected to emerge as a result of faculty research collaborations across disciplines.

Compared to most of our peer institutions, UCSD has a surprisingly small number of graduate professional programs. We have been fortunate to have an outstanding M.D. program in our School of Medicine which, in addition to achieving national prominence, has been the basis for much of the campus's strength in the biological sciences. Our only other professional school is the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, which is the only school of its kind in the western United States. As we grow, we will be working to attain an appropriate balance between academic and professional programs. Last year, we added a School of Pharmacy. Just last month, the Regents approved our proposal to establish a Management School. Our Teacher Education Program was recently authorized to award the Master of Education degree, and plans are underway for the development of a Doctor of Education program. And future plans include restarting the school of architecture that was established in 1989 but fell victim to budget cuts in 1992.

By 2010, it is expected that professional (including M.D. and Pharm.D.) students will constitute 34 per cent of graduate enrollments at UCSD. Collectively, our new and existing professional schools and programs will fulfill the campus's responsibility to meet societal needs for rigorously trained professionals. In all our professional programs, the campus intends to maintain a strong research orientation and to bring together theorists, experimentalists, and practitioners who both are concerned with the improvement of professional practice and bring an awareness of unsolved problems to bear on the search for new fundamental knowledge.

In order to achieve our enrollment goals and attract high quality students, it will be necessary for us to obtain the funding needed to provide attractive financial support packages to our graduate students. This is especially true in our Ph.D. programs, where we face keen competition for the best applicants. Given that we can expect our faculty to continue to be successful in attracting extramural funding, we should be able to realize significant growth in the number of research assistantships in many fields. Also, the anticipated undergraduate enrollment growth will generate proportionate growth in the number of teaching assistantships. Our biggest challenge will be to obtain sufficient funding for fellowships, which are an essential component of competitive support packages. Fellowship support is important in all disciplines, particularly in the first year in all fields and in the dissertation years in the humanities and social sciences where extramurally-funded research assistantships are not so readily available. For this reason, fund-raising for graduate student fellowships will be a high priority for future development efforts.

As we grow, it is important that our graduate programs be accessible to students from all groups in our richly diverse society. Consistent with Proposition 209, which prohibits providing preferences on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or gender, UCSD has expanded its outreach efforts to ensure that students from underrepresented groups understand the benefits they can receive from advanced training and are aware of the opportunities open to them on the campus. At the same time, we as a campus need to be sure that we maintain a learning environment in which students from diverse backgrounds are comfortable, feel welcome, and can flourish academically.

Growth in graduate enrollment is critical to addressing the need of California and the nation for people with advanced training, to preserving the intellectual climate appropriate for a research university, and to taking advantage of the important role that graduate students play in our teaching and research programs. UCSD has had extraordinary success in its short history and is internationally recognized as a major research institution with outstanding graduate programs. The synergistic relationship between graduate education and research will continue to be key to the continued excellence of the campus.

                                                Richard Attiyeh
                                                Vice Chancellor for Research
                                                Dean of Graduate Studies