Welcome to my newsletter

March 3, 2014

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for signing up for my newsletter and for wanting to be in touch. As I mentioned in my invitation, I’ll be sending these notes out about once a month to let you know what I’m thinking and doing, and also to hear what’s on your mind.

Let me mention a couple of recent events.

When President Barack Obama asked me to lead the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games, I was humbled and excited. It was an honor to represent the United States and the University of California on the world stage and a privilege to stand up for diversity, equality, and excellence.

Those values – so central to what makes our country great – are also core UC values. As I proudly represented the United States, I was struck by the parallel between the Olympic motto – citius, altius, fortius – and our commitment at UC to strive always for greater heights of excellence in everything we do; to expand the boundaries of what’s possible; and to strengthen our community by valuing our differences and using them to learn from each other.

Speaking of our community, I was delighted in January to participate in an online Google Hangout with students. The lively exchange gave us all the chance to talk candidly about a wide range of student issues. It also deepened my understanding of the concerns of students and helped me to think creatively about ways to address them.

In some cases we’ve already taken significant steps on this front. We brought together a group of student veterans to discuss the issues affecting that community. Based on that conversation, I’m forming a Presidential Advisory Committee of student veterans to advise me on how best to address the particular challenges student veterans face when resuming higher education during or after military service. And I’m working closely with the leaders of the California State University and the California Community Colleges to ensure UC continues to provide access to as many qualified students as possible.

Other issues were new to me. The question of whether open-source materials are a viable way to tackle the high cost of textbooks—a significant burden for some of our students—is one example. I’m looking forward to learning more about this and other issues that were raised.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Web chat, and the intelligence and eloquence of our student body. And that includes those who challenged me on some difficult issues. I’ll be back on Google throughout the year for more hangouts – next will be staff’s turn so watch for further announcements.

Thank you for taking the time to check in, and I’ll be in touch again soon. In the meantime, if you have something you’d like to share with me please feel free to write me at janet@ucop.edu. And if you know anyone you think might also like to receive my notes, please invite them to sign up.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano

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