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Welcome to the EVC's Blog!

I will be using this space to share thoughts, information, and stories that I think will be of interest to the campus community. If you have an idea or suggestion for something that should be on the blog, please email my Strategic Communication & Engagement Director.


Posted March 8, 2024

Colleagues' Ideas About Honest and Purposeful Communication

Ever since my blog post on “Honest and Purposeful Communication”, I have been visiting with groups of campus staff and leaders to talk about the post and hear their thoughts on the topic. The conversations have been very lively and productive.  People offered many ideas about how their local department or the entire university could do better at communication and suggested how this could improve the campus experience for students and employees alike. 

Today’s post summarizes a few of the main ideas that emerged from those conversations. Some are items for general awareness; others are approaches that various departments have found to be valuable.

Items to be aware of:

  • While the UC Office of the President provides a framework for university operations, many of our rules and practices are set locally, under the authority of the Chancellor or the Senate, and can be updated and improved as needed.
  • Even changing a small aspect of a rule or practice can sometimes have a large impact. On the one hand, this means trying a minor fix may be valuable.  On the other hand, it means we should consider possible consequences carefully beforehand – and doing this successfully often requires communication with colleagues from many different units.
  • Knowing what’s going on in units across campus can be very helpful and can often prompt conversations and changes. Kim Lamke Calderón, who edits the Academic Affairs Newsletter, welcomes your suggestions of events, news, and topics to include in future issues.

Approaches some departments have found to be helpful:

  • Hold an open conversation about how to improve communication inside the department or information flow with external partners or clients. This can spark excellent ideas.
  • Offer a channel for anonymous feedback about rules and practices that need updating This allows employees to share ideas without fear of being seen as a “complainer” or “troublemaker.”
  • Publicize when improvements are made in response to feedback (anonymous or not) so department members see that feedback is heeded and those who give it are respected.
  • Reward individuals who suggest improvements that are adopted and make a difference.
  • Encourage employees to obtain Lean Six Sigma training through the Division of Extended Studies and participate in our annual Process Palooza
  • Create a process improvement committee charged with fixing or eliminating processes that are not working well. Let everyone know how to submit suggestions to the committee and have the committee report on its work to the rest of the department.
  • Hold gatherings where one part of the department explains their areas of focus to the rest of the department and then answers questions. In a large unit, people may not know what their colleagues do, and that can hinder communication.

I hope that sharing these ideas generated by your colleagues will inspire further efforts to build a culture of honest and purposeful communication here at UC San Diego.


 Posted December 12, 2023

Honest and Purposeful Communication

I appreciate it when people let me know about university processes or operations that are not as helpful or timely as they should be – and I try to remember to express this in the moment.  It takes courage to bring up disappointing news, especially if you fear this may be interpreted as assigning blame or causing trouble for a colleague.  

The reality is that we can only improve as an organization if we treat honest feedback as the route to a better future, a springboard towards collaborative solutions.

Often, the person reaching out to me has previously shared the information with their unit head, yet has the impression that the matter was not addressed. Sometimes the situation really does remain unresolved.  Other times, it turns out that their input was considered and appropriate changes have already been implemented – but the news of the improvement has not been shared widely enough. 

All of us in leadership positions at any level have responsibilities for communication as well as problem-solving; when someone brings us news of an opportunity to improve university operations, we need to consider both dimensions. 

 If we don’t know how to resolve the issue ourselves, it’s our responsibility to communicate the opportunity to someone who can do what is appropriate. If the matter does fall within our scope, then after we’ve addressed it, we should share news of the change with those impacted (including the individual who first raised the question) so the improvement will have maximum impact.

By communicating in an honest, purposeful and complete way, we promote a workplace where everyone can express their thoughts, concerns and ideas openly and to good effect. Such an environment fosters innovation and collaboration, benefiting each of us individually, and UC San Diego as a whole.


Posted October 13, 2023

Academic Personnel Initiatives to Improve Transparency, Efficiency and User Experience

With a focus on improving the efficiency of operations within Academic Personnel Services, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor Bob Continetti and Cindy Palmer, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel Services, have shared a number of initiatives designed to improve the efficiency of the system and provide transparency to faculty and staff regarding the status of the academic review process. 

I recently spoke about these initiatives at a Representative Assembly meeting for the San Diego Division of the Academic Senate and wanted to share with everyone the memo detailing these efforts

Please reach out to Bob Continetti or Cindy Palmer if you have questions about this memo. 


Posted October 5, 2023

UC San Diego Appears at the Top of the Rankings, Again

Once again, UC San Diego has risen even higher in several well-known and well-respected rankings. 

The 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has recognized the University of California San Diego as No. 4 among public universities in the United States, rising one spot from last year. UC San Diego also jumped two spots to No. 19 in the world in the latest edition of the annual ranking released by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

Our position in the 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities highlights what so many of us who work here already know – this is a community of scholars focused on thinking further and pursuing discoveries others would not even dream of. 

And UC San Diego jumped two spots to be named the sixth best public university in the United States according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings released last month. Overall, UC San Diego ranked No. 28 on the complete list of over 400 of the nation’s colleges, jumping six spots from last year. 

Washington Monthly named UC San Diego the seventh best public university in the nation for contributions to social mobility, research and public service for 2023. This ranking evaluates campuses based on their “contribution to the public good,” and recognized UC San Diego for its Pell performance rank, which is very focused on the number of Pell recipients who graduated with a degree and their predicted average earnings 10 years after graduation. 

Finally, the university received 66 individual distinctions according to Clarivate’s most recent Highly Cited Researchers list, jumping up from 51 the previous year.  This list singles out exceptional researchers whose outstanding citation rate demonstrates their significant impact on the research community.

Why do we spend so much time talking about rankings? Why do they matter to us? 

On one level, rankings are points of pride that celebrate the hard and productive work of our faculty, researchers, and other campus colleagues. They reflect our innovation, our drive, our scholarly and creative advances, and the educational experience we provide. 

Rankings also communicate beyond UC San Diego about the quality of scholarship and academics at our institution. They enable academic, governmental and industry institutions, prospective students and their families, and prospective faculty or staff, to recognize UC San Diego as a great prospective partner, employer, or institution for pursuing their educational dreams. 

This type of recognition also signals to legislators and donors that what we do is valuable, impactful, and worthy of financial support. Likewise, certain rankings can alert people to new programs that are rising in prominence or colleagues whose work is especially impactful. 

In short, while rankings aren’t the only way our work can be validated, they are something to celebrate and learn from. Today, we can all be proud of our accomplishments and the rankings we’ve helped UC San Diego earn.



Posted September 19, 2023

Some Reminders as We Ease Into Fall... 

As we embark on another academic year, I wanted to be sure to welcome you back to  campus.  I hope that you know my door is always open if you would like to talk. I have regular office hours that you can schedule to discuss new ideas, ongoing challenges, or other topics of importance to you.

I’d also like to remind you of some resources for research, teaching, and personal support that may be of help to you as you start the Fall Quarter.

Promoting Research and Instructional Excellence

UC San Diego provides a wide array of resources to support your essential work as a scholar and educator.  Many sservices dedicated to helping you navigate the requirements of a successful research career can be found organized by topic on Blink and by unit on the Research Affairs website. One key example is the ORA Research Development Team which helps PI’s find and pursue funding opportunities, collaborate effectively, produce compelling proposals, and compete more successfully for research funding.  On the educational side, the Teaching + Learning Commons offers consultations, workshops and courses to further evidence-based, learner-centered, and equitable teaching practices. In addition to referring students to The Commons for academic support, please consider taking advantage of the tremendous resources they have for educators. 

Technology Support for the Classroom

If you would like to do a Classroom Technology walk-through prior to the start of the term, you can schedule a free 15-minute demonstration with a technician before your first class to ensure a smooth experience. Email or call (858) 534-5784 to set up an appointment.

Several other popular kinds of tech support are:

  • If you are teaching in one of the larger classroom spaces and feel that you need additional amplification, dedicated lapel microphones are available for your use throughout the quarter. You can request a mic by submitting a request to
  • All classrooms with a video camera are Zoom-ready if you would like to teach a particular session remotely, or in a hybrid format. For more information on classroom technology, you can visit the Ed Tech Classroom Technology page.
  • If you would like to record or podcast your lectures, all teaching spaces feature lecture capture capabilities, however you must opt-in to the service in order for it to be activated. For more information visit the Podcast Your Course webpage.

Supporting Students in Distress

Faculty and staff play a key role in supporting students as they transition back to campus and in helping them feel a sense of belonging at UC San Diego. Demonstrating support and care to students, especially if they may be showing signs of emotional, physical or psychological distress can make a life-saving difference. Guidance is available online to help faculty and staff who have identified a student who is in distress.

Please know that as the incidences of mental health crises on our campus and on university campuses nationwide have increased, the campus has developed additional support resources. The Triton Concern Line at 858-246-1111 is a 24/7 hotline to call to report concerns about distressed students. Personnel can also use the Triton Concern Form to alert staff to a student in need of support, if the matter is less time-sensitive. If you are supporting a student in an emergency situation, please call 911 or UC San Diego Police Dispatch at 858-534-4357. 

Resources for You When You Need Support

Transitioning into the academic year, adjusting to new routines, and helping new colleagues or students may have you feeling additional stress or in need of more support. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is a confidential Employee Assistance Program that helps faculty and staff resolve concerns that are affecting personal well-being and/or job performance. You matter and your mental health is important. Please reach out and use this confidential resource should you need it. In addition to one-on-one counseling, FSAP also oversees many support groups for faculty and staff that address a wide variety of topics including parenting and caregiving, neurodivergence, and mindfulness. 

Finally, more than anything, I hope that as we enter this school year we will continue to show each other kindness and grace as we navigate the old and the new together. 

See you on campus soon!