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UCnetwork: April 2024

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UCnetwork is emailed monthly to UC staff, but all members of the UC community are invited to join our email list. You can subscribe online here. Read on for our April issue!

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Welcome to the new UCnet!

We’re excited to announce the new and improved UCnet website — our systemwide source of employee news and information about the many benefits of working at UC and what it means to be part of this remarkable institution. Designed with input from thousands of users across the university, the new site improves usability, is more visually engaging, works seamlessly on mobile devices, and will make it even easier to find the information you need when you need it, along with more opportunities to connect. Learn more about the new UCnet!

It’s the greenest month of the year

April is Earth Month! We’re celebrating at UC by highlighting the amazing research and progress taking place throughout our university in support of our beautiful planet. From students who are turning climate anxiety into action to researchers who are leading equitable water distribution, adding solar panels to irrigation canals, creating biodegradable microplastics and working to save the world’s frogs, our university is making a difference.

P.S. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our newest obsession — a deep dive (with video!) on peregrine falcons, featuring UC Berkeley’s Annie.

AI is here. So is UC.

Whether you’re enthralled by or hesitant about artificial intelligence, it’s making headlines — especially at UC. UC researchers have called out AI biases and proposed solutions to counter them. We’re leading the conversation on AI’s role in health care, with transparency and equity top of mind. We’ve also formed a first-of-its-kind Academic Congress on Artificial Intelligence, uniting disciplines in exploring the perils and promise of AI, while envisioning how our university can help shape AI in the service of public good.

Woman painting in a studio

Your retirement roundup

If you’re getting ready to retire on July 1, congratulations! To help make sure you’ll get all your questions answered, the RASC team has extended its hours and is now offering free retirement counseling appointments. RASC also recently launched a helpful video that clarifies the No Lapse in Pay and Benefit Continuation option. To ensure your plans are on track, please note that the factors used to calculate UCRP payment options are changing on July 1. Not sure where to start in planning your retirement? Check out the retirement roadmap.

UCAN student ambassadors in Washington, D.C.

Bringing student voices to D.C.

UC students are the best people to describe what’s most important to them — from the availability of Pell Grants to affording basic needs, like housing and food, to completing the FAFSA form. Earlier this month, nine UC students traveled to our nation’s capital to meet with federal lawmakers, share their peers’ voices and make a difference.

You can help champion the university, too! Become a UC advocate.

Man worrying

Play this; watch that: Reduce stress and improve your well-being

Have you ever hidden from a bad day on your sofa? You’re not alone and shouldn’t feel too guilty. UC’s award-winning Fig. 1 video series recently shared science-based evidence on how video games can reduce anxiety and winners of this year’s Greater Goodies movie awards can help you see what’s good in humanity — and perhaps even what’s good in yourself.

Roger Hailstork in front of the UC San Diego bookstore

UC People: Roger Hailstork, secret introvert

Roger can espouse on his favorite topics — including public transportation and the role of the university bookstore — for hours. You might be surprised to learn that he identifies as an introvert. Meet Roger.

President Drake

From President Drake: Our story of discovery

In so many ways, the University of California is a wellspring of innovation. It’s a vast ecosystem of new, fresh ideas that emerge from our 10 campuses, six academic health centers, and three affiliated national labs. This is one of the many reasons why Grad Slam – coming up on May 3 – is a unique experience that I look forward to every year. This annual contest showcases some of the University’s most pioneering graduate students explaining years of their research in just three minutes. It’s inspiring, exciting and also quite fun!

This year’s 10 finalists represent a wide range of academic disciplines, with research ranging from forest health to gut viruses to self-talk. Their accomplishments are a great reminder of the power of our 50,000 masters and doctoral students, whose diverse ideas are instrumental in keeping California on the cutting edge.

Making research more understandable, accessible, and exciting to the world beyond a classroom or laboratory is a wonderful goal.  From basic research to the innovation that propels the University of California to produce four inventions per day, we have an amazing story of discovery to tell — and no one tells it better than these amazing graduate students. I hope you’ll join me in tuning in on May 3!

Fiat Lux!

Michael V. Drake, M.D.
UC President

UC voices

“Students are learning more than just the mechanics of the language. They are learning about a rich and vibrant culture.”

— William Madrigal Jr., UC Riverside doctoral student, on his experience in helping to create an Indigenous language series that includes opportunities to explore the Cahuilla culture and worldview. 

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