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To the Campus Community: Welcome to the 2011-12 academic year at UCLA. On Tuesday, more than ...

Chancellor Block welcomes students, faculty and staff for new academic year

By Gene Block {$article_source}
September 22, 2011
( UCLA Newsroom ) --

To the Campus Community:

Welcome to the 2011-12 academic year at UCLA.

On Tuesday, more than 6,000 freshmen and transfer students, and 1,100 more upperclassmen, staff, faculty and alumni participated in our third annual UCLA Volunteer Day. Fanning out to 26 sites around Los Angeles, Bruins cleaned up parks, beaches and schools; and provided assistance to a homeless shelter, senior center, food bank and the Veterans Administration medical center. The event was a fitting way for our Bruin community—which is nationally recognized for our commitment to service—to launch our 93rd year.

As classes begin, we extend a warm Bruin welcome to the newest additions to our family, who include a record number of first-year students chosen from an unprecedented number of applicants. In all, our freshman and transfer students represent 54 countries and 38 states, the District of Columbia and two territories. Our 2011 freshman class includes more California residents than any previous class and we are proud to have our state so well represented. We are also privileged to welcome more students from outside of California than ever before, and I am confident that they will contribute a diversity of ideas and experiences that will enrich the academic environment for all of us.

In light of the influx of students, campus leadership has worked hard to ensure that all undergraduates have access to the courses and services they need to meet their requirements and enjoy the outstanding academic experience UCLA delivers. A special fund has been created that will allow us to quickly deploy teaching resources where required, introduce innovations in teaching methods and curricula, and safeguard the quality of education.

To that end, I am pleased that we are providing well-deserved merit-based salary increases for faculty and policy-covered staff this fall. Funds for this purpose were authorized by the Regents as part of our 2011-12 budget. The measure is essential for retaining the employees who, year after year, are the individuals responsible for the outstanding quality of our institution. (Information about merit increases for staff is accessible on the Campus Human Resources website; information for faculty is on the Academic Personnel Office website.)

We also welcome two longtime faculty members to new campus leadership roles. Robin Garrell, who joined UCLA in 1991, is the new vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division; and Carole Goldberg, a member of the School of Law faculty for nearly four decades, is now serving as vice chancellor, academic personnel. Please join me in congratulating both of them on their new positions.

During the summer, the Bruin family lost two of our dearest friends and most generous benefactors. Alumnus John Anderson—who attended UCLA on a scholarship and decades later gave nearly $42 million to support the UCLA Anderson School of Management that now bears his name—passed away in July at the age of 93. In addition, Edie Wasserman died in August at the age of 95. Together with her late husband Lew, she created a UCLA legacy that includes the Wasserman Scholars program and will include the Edie and Lew Wasserman Building at the Jules Stein Eye Institute. Their memories will long endure at UCLA and among those whose lives they enriched.

We have been very fortunate that generous individuals continue to embody the tradition of John Anderson and Edie Wasserman. For the 2010-11 academic year, private giving to UCLA totaled more than $479 million, far surpassing the $379 million we received in 2009-10, and we are maintaining our fundraising momentum. A recent landmark gift of $10 million from alumnus Lowell Milken established the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law, and was the capstone for the school’s successful $100 million fundraising campaign.

Our success in securing gifts and pledges from private individuals, foundations and corporations is especially significant given the deepening decline in support from the state of California. The state budget situation continues to pose challenges, but increasing private philanthropy and building our endowment is just one element of our strategy to strengthen UCLA as we approach our centennial in 2019; we also will increase revenues in other areas, including intellectual property; we will seek to establish more self-supporting academic programs; and we will continue to increase academic and administrative efficiencies. While it is clear that we are operating in a new economic reality, together we will further our commitment to world-class research, teaching and service.

Finally, during summer orientation, every new student received a copy of the 2011 UCLA common book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which raises important questions about race, class, research and ethics. I encourage you to participate in discussions about the book, which will be held for the entire campus community throughout the year, or to attend author Rebecca Skloot’s scheduled appearance at Royce Hall on November 1 (tickets are free through CTO). For more information, please visit the Office of Residential Life’s common book website.

I wish you a very successful and rewarding year, and I look forward to seeing you on campus. As always, I welcome your comments and ideas at Go Bruins!


Gene D. Block


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