My July newsletter

July 26, 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope you’re finding time for fun and relaxation this summer.

I am pleased to share with you some good news about how UC is helping to address the global challenges before us, some UC successes, and also some additional information about the recent State audit that I think you’ll find helpful.

Using technology to solve global agricultural challenges

I recently spoke at the Forbes AgTech Summit, which brought together several hundred agriculture and tech industry leaders in Salinas. As I said in my remarks to them, California is at the epicenter of unprecedented challenges: a changing climate, years of drought, the deteriorating health of our soils and a shrinking supply of skilled farm workers, just to name a few. Simultaneously, we must confront how we will feed a growing global population, including Californians who still lack access to fresh and nutritious food.

At UC, we are looking beyond the obvious and working on developing innovative solutions to these challenges. To offer just one example, greenhouses have been largely out of reach for farmers due to the high energy costs. Now, solar-powered greenhouses — using technology developed at the Thin-Film Opto-electronics Laboratory at UC Santa Cruz — could change that by decreasing initial capital costs and dramatically lowering the cost of powering their operation.

Our people at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, who have equipped California farmers with the latest scientific and technological advances in agriculture for over 100 years, are constantly generating and testing new ideas. You can stay abreast of their great work through their newsletter Connected.

Solving these challenges is about using ingenuity to engineer desperately needed solutions, combining our strengths and collaborating to ensure a stable future, a healthy environment and a h3 economy here in California and across the globe.

Accountability Report released

With a combination of rising enrollment and ever-improving graduation rates, UC has seen the number of bachelor degrees awarded jump 55 percent since 2000. There are now 1.8 million UC graduates around the world!

These are just two highlights of the newly released 2017 Accountability Report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of UC’s progress in meeting its teaching, research and public service goals.

On the research front, UC received about $4.4 billion in the 2015–16 academic year, most of which came from out of State. While these funds fuel the innovation that takes place on our campuses every day, they also bring important economic benefits to the State and local communities, providing about 27,500 full-time research positions and contributing to the tax base.

Furthermore, the discoveries that emerge from our labs translate into patents, technology licenses and startup activity throughout the State. In 2014 — the most recent year for which we have data — California startups based on UC technology licenses employed 19,000 workers and generated about $14 billion in revenue.

In addition to data about UC’s research enterprise, the 2017 Accountability Report shows our progress in undergraduate success, financial aid, diversity and finance, among other areas. You can also find more information in the UC Information Center.

UC honored for environmental and economic leadership

I was proud to accept, on behalf of the UC system, the 2017 Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Award, given annually by the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (CCEEB), a nonpartisan coalition of business, labor and public leaders.

The award recognizes the efforts across our campuses to protect the environment, from faculty and researchers working to better understand climate change and how to combat its damaging effects, to administrators who facilitated the largest solar purchase ever made by a U.S. university in support of UC’s efforts to go carbon neutral by 2025, to students and staff who step up every day to lessen their carbon footprint.

At this crucial time, California has shown that we don’t have to choose between environmental stewardship and economic vitality, and as the State’s public research university, UC is at the forefront of research innovation and operational reforms that thoughtfully balance these priorities.

In presenting the award, California Council President Gerald Secundy noted UC’s world-class research and its role in developing and implementing environmental policies and regulations. “California businesses are able to leverage the innovation in cleaner technologies and best practices, just like state and local agencies learn from the university’s forward policy thinking,” he said.

FAQs about the State audit

Lastly, whether you’re an employee, alumnus, or simply a friend of UC, you may have questions about the State audit report that was issued recently. In addition to the website we developed to publicly track our progress implementing the auditor’s recommendations, we have compiled an FAQ on some of the key issues mentioned in the report. I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks for reading. As always, please email me at janet@ucop.edu if you’d like to share an idea or comment, and feel free to pass on this letter to friends and colleagues and invite them to sign up for future newsletters if they’d like.

Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano