UC Santa Cruz announces ambitious investment to hire 100 additional faculty over decade, part of broader effort to advance student success and research excellence

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UCSC will have an unparalleled opportunity to advance its research impact, diversify its faculty, and provide greater access to
UCSC will have an unparalleled opportunity to advance its research impact, diversify its faculty, and provide greater access to research and learning opportunities for its students.
shj@ucsc.edu (Scott Hernandez-Jason)

To advance its place as an international leader at the intersection of innovation and social justice, UC Santa Cruz announced today its intention to prioritize faculty hiring by adding 100 additional faculty over the next decade. It is the most significant faculty hiring effort the campus has pursued since its founding more than 50 years ago.

“This is a transformative investment in our campus and will have long-lasting impacts on our students, research enterprise and future as a university,” Chancellor Cynthia Larive said. “We are going to amplify our positive impact on California and the world.”

Coupled with an anticipated 200 to 250 additional faculty hires to replace departures due to retirement and separations, UCSC will have an unparalleled opportunity to advance its research impact, diversify its faculty, and provide greater access to research and learning opportunities for its students.

“This is an incredible moment for our campus community to share big ideas about how to advance both student success and our research mission,” Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer. “I am excited to see what this planning process and subsequent faculty growth can achieve.”

This planned series of campus conversations will guide the transformation of UCSC’s interdisciplinary education and research enterprise to create the vision for the campus of 2032 as an innovative student-centered research university, equipped to innovate solutions for the world’s greatest challenges.

The conversations will also include the development of a strategic vision for enhancing the student experience, evaluating staffing levels and roles as the mix of in-person, hybrid and remote modalities evolve, reexamining space utilization and, taking advantage of the 2021 Long Range Development Plan, developing a timeline for constructing new academic buildings, and student and employee housing to support the campus’s education and research mission.

UC Santa Cruz has the highest ratio of students to faculty in the UC system, and at the current enrollment 72 additional faculty members would be required to move the ratio to the systemwide average.

This prioritization of faculty hiring is one part of a multipronged strategy to advance student success, increase the impact of campus research, and foster a more inclusive campus climate.

The Student Success Initiative, announced in fall 2021, is a wide-ranging effort to increase financial support for undergraduate and graduate students, and advance their access to the guidance and experiences fundamental to their education and ultimately future success.

Continuing to be a great neighbor

Chancellor Larive said it is critical for the campus to ensure there is both campus housing and academic and research space available for new faculty members as well as the students they’ll be teaching.

“Available and affordable housing is needed for our students as well as for our employees,” Larive said. “Our new long-range development plan, which was informed by regular and extensive community engagement, forecasts building significantly more housing.”

UC Santa Cruz plans to add housing for 100 percent of new full-time student enrollment above 19,500 and housing for up to 25 percent of new employees, based on demand.

While the plan to hire more faculty is rooted in the academic mission, the entire campus must work to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure the future success of UC Santa Cruz.

Faculty guidance, mentorship critical in student success

One of the campus’s highest priorities is advancing student success by increasing retention rates, eliminating achievement gaps, and ensuring students are able to graduate in a timely manner. Faculty are a critical component in a student’s experience and a defining characteristic of a UC education, Kletzer said.

Increasing the number of Senate faculty members will lower the campus student-to-faculty ratio and create more opportunities for students to join in research and creative scholarship, experiences that contribute to their academic success while also preparing them for successful careers. They will also further enrich the student experience by creating new courses and areas of study for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Building on excellence and pursuing new areas of inquiries

The new faculty positions—coupled with an anticipated 200 to 250 additional recruitments needed to replace faculty who retire or leave the university—provide an unparalleled opportunity to make bold new investments, Kletzer said.

Using practices such as cluster hiring and target of excellence recruitments, UC Santa Cruz will attract new faculty members who will be part of a new generation of scholars leading at the intersection of innovation and social justice.

Further advancing diversity and strengthening a feeling of belonging

Over the past ten years, UC Santa Cruz’s Senate faculty has gone from 12.6% to 17% historically under-represented minority (Latinx, Indigenous, or Black). This progress is the result of intentional efforts that consider contributions to diversity statements and other inclusive hiring practices that have been shown to be effective in producing diverse candidate pools at each stage of the hiring process.

This effort will be amplified as UC Santa Cruz seeks to expand its faculty while prioritizing diversity reflected through research, gender, identity, intersectionality, race, ethnicity, life experience, and more. The goal is to have a faculty that reflects the diversity of the student body and can help further a feeling of belonging among students while pushing forward the frontiers of world-class research.

“The strength of UC Santa Cruz begins with the faculty, and I am so thrilled about what this faculty hiring initiative will mean to our students, to our campus and to California,” Chancellor Larive said. “This is a moment unlike any other.”

The conversations we will have in the coming years will be critical to achieving the university’s goals of advancing student success, elevating its research profile and impact, strengthening a sense of belonging among students, faculty, and staff, and ensuring effective, efficient, sustainable and resilient operations.