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President Drake shares his priorities for UC

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To the UC community,

This fall represents the start of a new academic year as well as the beginning of my third year as president of our great University. I am tremendously proud of all you have done to enable us to move forward during the unprecedented challenges we have faced. 

Over the past two years, I have met with and heard from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, our Board of Regents, state lawmakers and others. And I have reflected deeply on where we should focus our efforts to maximize our impact, not just tomorrow but for decades to come.

These dialogues, partnerships and reflections have represented areas of focus that are both urgent and well-suited for contributions from the University of California. Indeed, these priorities fall into four areas in which the University is, has been and will continue leading with solutions and innovations that benefit us all:

  • Expanding opportunity and excellence;
  • Leading on climate change;
  • Strengthening an inclusive, respectful and safe university community; and
  • Promoting health across California, including its most vulnerable communities. 

Each of these four priorities represent a set of specific and measurable goals. Some of this work will sound familiar. That’s because, from the very beginning, the University of California’s mission has centered on building a better world — with open doors and open minds. We’ve done it through exceptional teaching, cutting-edge research and unparalleled public service. It is a privilege to be a part of this creative, compassionate and forward-thinking University community, pushing limits in every way imaginable.

Some of these priority areas capture efforts already well underway — for many years, the University has been laying a solid foundation in each. Recently, we’ve been hard at work implementing the UC Community Safety Plan, with important milestones met in the last year. We continue to nurture critical climate research collaborations and are aggressively pursuing our carbon neutrality and sustainability goals. We’re also focusing on creating debt-free pathways for more of our undergraduate students. And we continue to expand access to our world-class health care services. We’re now ready to begin the next phase of this work.

In other areas, we’re setting ambitious new targets and exploring creative ways to improve our university community and better serve California. We’re focusing on strengthening practices and policies that mitigate bias and discrimination across the University and expanding the cultural competency of UC leaders at all levels. We’re also aiming to improve the screening and management of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and long COVID among our patients. And, as we continue to grow the footprint of our university and serve more students, we aim to become an industry leader in low-carbon construction and to transition away from fossil fuels in our operations.

The University has already made substantial progress on these priorities, and I recognize that they represent only part of the incredible work happening at every UC location every day. These are impressive accomplishments at any time, but especially during the past two years. The pandemic response demanded much of our attention and resources, yet we still pushed forward with our studies, our research, and our professional and institutional goals. And I am forever grateful to every member of the University of California community for helping us get through those challenges to where we are today.

I’m also energized and excited about the opportunities ahead of us, and the chance we have to work together on next steps. You can read more about these priorities here, and we will share additional details as we move forward. For now, I ask that you join me in recommitting to the essential UC mission and in continuing to blaze a trail forward for the University of California.

Fiat Lux,

Michael V. Drake, M.D.
President, University of California

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