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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

“To Boldly Go” campaign takes aim at UC Davis’ future


10-year strategic plan started by Chancellor May currently being drafted

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May recently announced the creation of his “To Boldly Go” campaign, a 10-year strategic plan for the university. The specific details included in the plan are currently being drafted and discussed.

“The strategic planning initiative started in October with the retreat of about 90 or so faculty, staff, students and alums,” May said. “It is now at the stage where we defined the steering committee to gather input of the community and to distill it into some actionable tasks for the plan, and will be drafted and ready for review sometime in April or so.”

The namesake for the strategic plan has its roots in one of May’s most noted passions.

“We thought the title, ‘To Boldly Go,’ [would] be appropriate, because number one, I am a Star Trek aficionado,” May said. “Davis has historically been a place that has been very good in many areas, great at some areas but overall a pretty humble place.”

In regard to the drafting of the plan, May said “a lot of it still has to be determined.”

“The general objective is to raise the profile of the university,” May said. “Some of the early things that I am sure will be part of the plan […include] stronger engagement [with] the city of Sacramento around innovation.”

A stronger partnership between UC Davis and Sacramento is at the forefront of the concept of Aggie Square.

“This idea of Aggie Square will certainly have some appearance in the plan in some form,” May said. “The idea there is for the university to partner with the City [of Sacramento] to engage with the business community and do a better job of taking the many wonderful ideas that come out of the laboratory and get it to the marketplace. One of the main motivations for doing [this] is economic development and job creation. I always thought that innovation [was] one of the most important and sustainable ways to create new industries, new jobs and new opportunities for not only our students but the region and the community.”

Professor Ken Burtis, a faculty advisor to the chancellor and provost and a co-chair of the campaign discussed the purpose and aims of the “To Boldly Go” campaign.

“What this process is about is, ‘Where does the university need to be in 10 years?’” Burtis asked. “We are seeking input to develop a plan. What goal do you have in mind for the university that is a 10-year goal? Having named that goal, what strategies do you think the university should be engaging in in order to achieve that goal? At the level of the whole university, what should we be thinking about? What is out there? What is changing?”

Regarding the timeframe of the campaign, May said there are short-term plans in process at the moment.

“The short-term object is more or less to align all of the stakeholders in the UC Davis environment and get them rolling in the right direction,” May said. “We will probably come up with a small handful — five or six — broad objectives which all aspects of the campus can and should buy into and help them to steer in that direction.”  

May also discussed the diversity of students and faculty members which comprise the steering committee.

“The steering committee has faculty and staff from across the university, and there are also […] graduate and undergraduate student representatives as well,” May said. “We expect everyone [to have] an opportunity to be heard — [that] is the real goal. In addition to the committee, there is the website and the email address where people can send in their ideas.”

Roy Taggueg, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, the president of the Graduate Student Association and a member of the steering committee, offered a particular appreciation for the inclusiveness of the campaign.

“One thing that I particularly like as a student is that it is pretty comprehensive,” Taggueg said. “[Chancellor May] has somebody in every corner of UC Davis and beyond to basically do all the survey to get all of the information.”

Anthony Bulaclac, an MBA student in the Graduate School of Management and another member of the steering committee, expressed his excitement to be able to contribute to the campaign.

“It is great to be able to play my part in making sure that the leaders [who work] with the chancellor […] make the right decision that will have a positive impact in allowing UC Davis to reach [its] potential for the next 10 years,” Bulaclac said.

Burtis discussed the activities of the steering committee in the upcoming months.

“We figure we are going to collect input over a couple of months, then the committees are going to work for a month to assimilate that input and see if we find some themes,” Burtis said. “And then we will produce a kind of a summary that summarizes what we have come up with […] and [we will] be sending that around for feedback. By April or May, we begin to have […] a finished document that the chancellor will have received.”

May also emphasized the impact strategic planning can have on a university.

“I [have] been involved in strategic planning at various levels for long time, and I always thought it was a good mechanism for not only setting a direction for whatever the organization is, in this case, the University of California, Davis, but also as a way for building the community,” May said. “Bringing people together and helping them drive the same direction. And in many cases, you find that the process of doing that is as valuable and sometimes more valuable than the final product.”


Written by: George Liao — campus@theaggie.org


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