Board of Regents - Strategic Campus Overview

UC Davis Strategic Overview graphc

Board of Regents - Strategic Campus Overview


Thank you. I appreciate this opportunity to share an overview of UC Davis and the strategies we’re taking to ensure the most resilient possible future. I’m endlessly proud to serve as UC Davis’ chancellor. There is challenging work that make the job difficult at times, and certain things that keep me up at night. But I have the utmost faith in our UC Davis community that we will always persevere. We have so much to be proud of at UC Davis right now. We’re ranked as the #4 public university in the country. We lead the nation for inclusiveness, diversity and internationalization. We’re regarded among the world’s best schools for veterinary medicine and agriculture. And, we’ve been on the forefront of technological innovation, community safety and patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m glad that you’ve asked to hear from the campuses and hope that we can have another opportunity to talk about our day-to-day challenges. Here’s a look at where UC Davis is now and where we’re headed.


Strategic Plan

We’re moving forward with a clear sense of purpose and action. Examples of this can be seen in our report and its overview of UC Davis’ 10-year strategic plan, titled “To Boldly Go.” We are in the third year of implementing this plan, which is centered on 5 goals:

Number 1: Provide an educational experience that prepares all of our students to address the needs and challenges of a diverse and changing world.

Number 2: Enable and support research that matters at the frontiers of knowledge, across and between the disciplines, in support of a healthy planet and the physical and societal well-being of its inhabitants.

Number 3: Embrace diversity, practice inclusive excellence and strive for equity; and make UC Davis a place of excellence for learning and working by supporting a culture that values the contributions and aspirations of all our students, staff and faculty.

Number 4: Support our community, region, state, nation and world through mutually beneficial and impactful partnerships that reflect a firm commitment to our mission and increase the visibility and reputation of the university.

And, Number 5: Create an intellectual and physical environment that supports the development of an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that extends the benefits of our research activities beyond the boundaries of the university.

I’m confident that this plan will take UC Davis to even greater heights over the next decade. These future plans should be definitive in pointing the way forward, but flexible enough to adapt to changing societal needs and nimble enough to seize upon unexpected opportunities.


Let’s take a look now at UC Davis’ financial profile. UC Davis revenues total over $5.7 billion from many sources that are generally aligned with the overall mix of funds for the entire UC system. UC Davis Health, including the medical center and the academic programs, accounts for more than half of the campus budget. The Health campus has also shared a robust multi-year growth plan to support significant capital investments over the next ten years. State funds and tuition accounts for about 18% of all sources. In January 2020, the campus identified the need to reduce reliance on these funds by $100 million by 2025. The shortfall is largely driven by increases in compensation and costs of growth that are not fully funded. Schools, colleges and other units have been assigned core fund budget savings targets and the campus is identifying new resources and strategic cost savings to address portions of the gap. This is challenging work and a careful balancing act where we are slowing some faculty hiring and continually asking our departments to find savings and create new revenue opportunities, even as we advance select priorities. Financial impacts from COVID-19 pandemic have been profound on the healthcare industry overall. However, UC Davis Health has maintained a solid financial performance that’s consistent with pre-pandemic performance. This was possible with support from the CARES Provider Relief Funds of $176.4 million, as well as smaller grants from state agencies and private parties. Clinical activity is currently at or near capacity on a daily basis, placing significant demands on our workforce who have sustained excellent patient care. Rising labor and supply costs due to resource shortages are increasing at a rapid pace, which may negatively affect future performance. UC Davis also experienced COVID-19 financial impacts of about $225 million outside of UC Davis Health. We have received $97.5 million in federal institutional relief funds and are pursuing FEMA claims for over $10 million. The campus is using one-time funds and multi-year bridging strategies to address the remaining gap – manageable in the long-term, but additional strain in the short-term. The more significant impact seems to be the challenges we are experiencing with staff and student recruitment and retention. As I trust many of you know, it is a difficult market and we are all struggling to adapt. Revenues have increased steadily over the last ten years, from $3.4 billion in 2010-11 to $5.7 billion for 2020-21. The largest increases have occurred at the medical center and with other restricted funds. State funds and tuition has decreased from 22% to 18% of all sources. Private funds from gifts and investments have increased from 5% to 7%.


Philanthropy at UC Davis is reaching new heights. UC Davis recently recorded the greatest fundraising year in its history. For fiscal year 2020-21, the university raised a record $269.4 million from more than 36,000 donors, with an all-time high of 63,650 gifts and pledges. The university is making significant progress toward its comprehensive fundraising campaign goal of $2 billion. As of December 16, about 106,500 donors have contributed more than $1.49 billion toward the goal of raising $2 billion by 2024, which represents 75% to goal. Since then, this figure has risen to more than $1.5 billion in contributions.

Research Funding

We’ve also seen significant growth in research funding. UC Davis set a new record for research awards in 2020-21 with $968 million, reflecting about a 30% increase over the last ten years. The awards included research topics in human and animal health, protecting the world’s food supply, strengthening college preparation through diverse course pathways, and a broad range of others. One of those research awards went to Karen Moxon, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She received a $22 million grant from the Department of Defense and leads a consortium of universities, biomedical startups and nonprofits to carry out research on spinal cord injuries. The largest new award went to Marc Schenker, a distinguished professor of public health sciences. He received $51 million from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research will focus on improving public health outcomes for all Californians by providing proper disease surveillance and prevention. We are all proud of this new record. It shows the unwavering commitment of our research community and their passion to address important societal needs — especially during a time when operations were constrained due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s clear that the societal impact of UC Davis research is far-reaching, spanning geographical boundaries and catering to diverse populations and needs.


In terms of enrollment, UC Davis continues to attract a diverse and dynamic student body from around the world - and especially from around California. The campus envisions modest growth on the Davis campus moving forward. For the fall 2021 academic quarter, UC Davis enrolled 40,050 students, including undergraduate, graduate and professional students across all UC Davis locations. Students come from 57 of California’s 58 counties and all 50 states. Every fall since 2010, the Davis campus has enrolled the most California resident undergraduates in the UC system. For the fall of 2021, this number was 26,168. In the fall of 2009, we enrolled almost 23,800 California resident undergraduates. Since then, we have not been substantively below that number. In fact, over that timeframe, we increased our enrollment of California residents by 1,950, or about 10% of the systemwide growth. Since fall 2010, Davis has met the 2:1 freshman to transfer ratio, with the only exception being this year, fall 2021. While we met our target for transfer students, the over-enrollment of freshmen caused us to be just short of the goal. We have a long-standing commitment to transfer students and I have no doubt that we will continue to succeed in this area.


During this time of enrollment growth, UC Davis has worked hard to be a good neighbor. We’ve made substantial progress on our 2018 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), which predicted enrollment capacity of 39,000 in 2027-28. The 2018 LRDP studied growth of 5,175 students, and as of last year we have already grown by 3,175. Note that we are over enrolled about 1,200 students that have NOT yet been funded. There will be some opportunities to adjust as we further improve graduation rates. And, we continue to pursue opportunities for undergraduate enrollment growth at locations other than the Davis campus such as the Quarter at Aggie Square program. In September 2018 UC Davis, the city of Davis and Yolo County signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaboratively address issues affecting our region, including a historic shortage of affordable housing for students. In the process, the MOU helped strengthen our town-gown relationship and create long-term benefits for our communities. UC Davis has enjoyed a new era of partnership both in Davis and Sacramento over the past three years. We are collaborating effectively with city leaders, local communities and neighborhood organizations to advance projects related to housing, transportation, development, and other mutual issues.


In particular, the Healthy Davis Together program has been a tremendous success and noted as a role model for universities around the country. This joint initiative between UC Davis and the city of Davis is keeping our community safe through free, widespread testing, contact tracing and vaccine clinics. The UC Davis Genome Center processes thousands of samples daily from the UC Davis community and Davis residents, along with other communities in Yolo County, with the goal of producing results within 24 hours. Public health messaging has also been critical. As a result, we’ve seen very low test positivity rates for COVID-19 on campus. For much of 2021, our campus positivity rates were well under 1 percent.


We’re also proud of our good neighbor status in Sacramento. As you know, the City of Sacramento has advocated for Aggie Square on our Sacramento campus as a cornerstone of regional identity and economic development. The city advocated for the project, encouraged participation with the nearby neighborhoods and also participated in the developer selection process. To assist nearby neighborhoods and help address gentrification and displacement, the city of Sacramento established a $50 million Stockton Boulevard Affordable Housing fund, with UC Davis contributions of $5 million. The Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District (EIFD) tax finance mechanism approved by City of Sacramento designates splitting city tax revenue for the Aggie Square Parking Structure and for external community benefits. The Community Benefits Partnership Agreement (CBPA) for Aggie Square signed by both UC Davis and the City of Sacramento includes additional workforce development planning and a UC Davis impact payment up to $1M for a City of Sacramento intersection. Workforce development and job pathway programs are aligned with both construction employment and long-term operational jobs.


In terms of housing, UC Davis is home to more than 15,000 UC Davis students each year. More than 5,000 of them are first-year students who live in the residence halls. That includes Shasta Hall, which opened in September and is pictured here. UC Davis has made significant progress in terms of implementing the LRDP housing plan. We’ve added approximately 4,000 beds toward a total MOU target of 5,200 new beds. An additional 1,500 new beds are under construction for occupancy in fall 2023. As part of our Long-Range Development Plan MOU, UC Davis also agreed to contribute $2.3 million for local traffic improvement projects adjacent to UC Davis and benefit our entire community. Off-campus housing still remains a challenge for many students. Vacancy rates frequently fall below 1% in the city of Davis. As a result, UC Davis contributes $25,000 per year to the city of Davis for a rental resources program. This program provides increased tenant and landlord education, dispute resolution, a registration program for landlord and a complaint process for tenants. The good news is we are almost done with the most ambitious student housing expansion in UC Davis history. This occurred over many years, with much planning and significant investment and is well aligned with our LRDP. During this time, the local housing lagged the growth and that caused a lot of consequences. However, we’re about caught up now and the city of Davis is also delivering. Now, I believe we should allow some time to rebalance the housing market. Hopefully, the additional student housing will allow single family homes to return to the market for staff and faculty.

Classroom Space

Back on campus, we sometimes joke that UCD stands for “Under Construction Daily.” That’s certainly the case for our classroom space. In the last four years - from 2018-19 to 2021-22 - UC Davis added more than 2,300 classroom seats to campus. That’s an increase of 24%. For the current academic year, we are adding more than 1,500 classroom seats. That includes more than 850 in our Teaching and Learning Complex and more than 350 in Cruess Hall, which was formerly the location of the Department of Food Science. We also added about 300 additional seats in Wellman Hall, which is one of the most familiar buildings on campus. The other significant increase came with the completion of California Hall, which added almost 600 seats in the winter of 2019. This was primarily done with campus funds. The campus has also invested about $5 million each summer for the last 5 years to renovate general assignment classrooms and refresh technology. Our current focus is to address gaps with teaching laboratories. We have plans to address this gap over the next several years, but we are not there yet. 


Now, I’d like to switch gears and highlight a couple more core strengths at UC Davis. UC Davis continues to ascend as a role model for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. I am proud that UC Davis was named No.1 in the nation for campus diversity, inclusiveness and internationalization in the most recent QS World University rankings. The university has made strategic investments to implement goals set forth in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, which was developed in 2017, and UC Davis’ overall strategic plan. To further those goals, UC Davis created the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2019 to lead efforts across all campuses. The university has engaged the entire campus community and is making progress by investing in student support; faculty and staff; opportunity gaps and campus climate; research, teaching, public service and training; and community and accountability. Some of these notable investments include:

  • Hiring positions to address the recommendations made in the School of Medicine’s Racial Justice Report Card 2020 Report, which was produced by student leadership within the UC Davis chapter of White Coats for Black Lives.
  • Expanding offerings of seminars related to DEI, including racial consciousness workshops and video series, as well as unit and department trainings focused on increasing awareness and sensitivity about diversity.
  • And, partnering with Student Affairs and Graduate Studies to fund graduate student researcher positions to specifically support graduate students in the LGBTQIA Resource Center, Cross Cultural Center, and Women’s Resources and Research Center.


A commitment to sustainability also remains a key value at UC Davis. That’s shown in our No. 1 in North America spot with the GreenMetric World University rankings — a top placement we’re now celebrating for the sixth consecutive year. UC Davis is applying its collective strengths in science, engineering, art and design to the problem of climate change and a warming planet. Research is happening everywhere — in the air, at sea, and on land. Researchers at UC Davis, and at our sister UC campuses, are revealing the many impacts of rising temperatures on the atmosphere and environment. At UC Davis, we have the nation’s largest solar installation on a university campus, with a 16.3-megawatt capacity production. This installation provides about 14% of the campus’s electricity needs and reduces the university’s carbon footprint by 9%. Our West Village student housing project is among the largest “zero net energy” communities in the United States. It’s also home to the campus’s energy and transportation research centers. I’m proud that UC Davis achieved a 40% reduction in our business operations-related greenhouse gas emissions since 2007. We’re certainly on track to meet the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative by 2025.


I hope this presentation has given you new insights about UC Davis and where we stand. Like all of our sister campuses, we face plenty of challenges during this historic and unpredictable times. But, we continue to move forward with confidence and a deep care for our community. Our strategic plan continues to guide us now and is positioning us for the strongest possible future.

Thank you for this opportunity. I’m happy to take your questions.

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