On July 23, Chancellor Katehi unveiled “UC Davis: A Vision of Excellence,” a project 10 months in development that seeks to provide a framework for reaching long-term goals of the campus.
The document points to six primary objectives that include: to foster a vibrant community of learning and scholarship, to drive innovation at the frontiers of knowledge, to embrace global issues, to nurture a sustainable future and propel economic vitality, to champion health, education, access and opportunity, as well as to cultivate a culture of organizational excellence, effectiveness and stewardship.
Enrique Lavernia, provost and executive vice chancellor, explains what, in his eyes, is the vision’s main purpose.
“The Vision of Excellence reaffirms our campus’s commitment to providing students access to an excellent education and to equip them to become creative leaders, fully engaged on a variety of levels in addressing the most pressing issues that face our state, our nation and our international community,” Lavernia said.
The project was spearheaded by since-retired Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Janet Gong. On Sept. 14, 2009, Chancellor Katehi met with her deans and vice chancellors to discuss the development of the vision. Prior to the meeting, Gong had compiled enough information to serve as a blueprint to the first draft.
Fred Wood, vice chancellor of student affairs, welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback as he attempted to bring a student interest perspective to the document’s development. Wood explained the important opportunity the vision presents to student and administrative interaction.
“Fee increases have created a divide and we’re now trying to bridge that divide,” Wood said. “The vision provides a cohesive force and common direction for us and it helps students know that they have a role in the future of this institution.”
George Mangun, dean of the division of social sciences in the college of letters and science, agreed with Wood adding that students have much invested in the implementation of the vision. He believes that students should not only become familiar with the vision’s goals, but to help in the development of specific actions to meet those goals by working with the administration of their colleges.
“The campus is here for the students, to provide them with an exceptional education and experiences that will prepare them to serve society,” Mangun said. “The Vision Statement describes how we reach for this goal.”
Winston Ko, dean of the division of mathematics and physical sciences in the college of letters and science, spoke to another important goal of the vision that he believes would also directly benefit students.
“UC Davis strives to be one of the great American universities and with the vision’s help, we will ensure that,” Ko said. “The vision will maintain UC Davis’ excellence. That of the education it provides and that of its students.”
Wood pointed to the effect of the vision that he argues is as important as the other more concrete plans. With the help of the students, he is confident that the vision and the action plans formulated by the administration will create an even better campus identity.
“The vision is a framework that gets everyone around the table and heading in the same direction,” Wood said. “In some respects, it draws us together and creates a community. Together, we’ll be able to offer an even higher quality education to the next generation.”
KYLE SPORLEDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.