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Goals, Objectives, Measures, Targets and Initiatives

The strategic plan outlines three overarching and interlocking campus goals. As outlined below, each goal is defined by a set of related objectives. Each objective has its own targets that will allow the campus to track progress towards that objective. For each objective, the plan also includes examples of initiatives to demonstrate the kinds of efforts that will support each objective. Initiatives will be refined as the plan is implemented.

GOAL 1: Engage Our World and Region Through Discovery and the Advancement of Knowledge

We are a young campus already recognized for the unparalleled trajectory and quality of our research. As we move toward joining the select number of campuses at the very high research classification (R1), we will continue to establish ourselves as a national hub for interdisciplinary and transformational research that supports equity and prosperity globally and locally, with particular sensitivity for the San Joaquin Valley. Research experiences, a hallmark of our educational programs, will provide fertile ground for our undergraduate and graduate students to develop the 21st century skills and knowledge essential to creating and leading positive change at global, national, and local levels.

Measure 1.1.1: Advancement rates for tenure and promotion, disaggregated to track parity.2

Targets: Maintain or increase the percentage of faculty promoted at barrier promotions; develop capacity to regularly disaggregate and report data.

Measure 1.1.2: Number of impactful publications, relevant to disciplinary norms.

Targets: Increase department-specific numbers; metrics will be developed.

Measure 1.1.3: Participation in public and professional service activities related to areas of expertise.

Targets: Increase the number of awards, consultancies, advisory board memberships, Op-eds, public scholarship, media citations, etc. that reflect contributions to public and professional service; metrics will be developed.

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Grow industry, agency, and community relationships to support and collaborate on research and educational programs
  • Continue to invest in areas of faculty research expertise through academic planning
  • Continue to improve and expand mentoring and workshops to support faculty tenure, promotion, and advancement
  • Develop a formal structure to prepare faculty nominations for national awards and recognitions, i.e. National Academies of Sciences
  • Adopt technologies and staff support that increase the external profile of the campus’ scholarly and creative activities
  • Cultivate a staff culture of thought-leadership in functional roles, including specific contributions to the research enterprise
  • Nominate staff for national professional development programs and opportunities
  • Increase the utilization of open-access scholarship to promote research dissemination
  • Build institutional capacity to enable faculty and staff to host conferences at regional, national, and international levels in areas identified as strategically important.

Measure 1.2.1: Total research and development expenditures*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
$45 million $70 million $85 million $100 million

 

Measure 1.2.2: Percentage of doctoral students supported by Graduate Student Research (GSR) appointments and external fellowships,3 disaggregated*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
23% 27% 30% 33%

 

Measure 1.2.3: Expenditures on Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and training grants (i.e. NRT)*

Targets: Increase expenditures; develop capacity to measure.

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Expand programs (e.g. mentoring, workshops, and pre-submission review) and pre-award services (e.g. grant writing, editing, institutional data gathering, graphics assistance, etc.) to support success in extramural funding, including for fellowships and REU and training grants
  • Develop administrative capacity to support large-scale grants
  • Streamline grants and contracts workflow to industry standards and prioritize the integration of technologies to ensure post-award financial management, including up-to-date expenditure accounting and timely, correct invoicing
  • Expand the number and use of research centers and organized research units (ORUs) to support interdisciplinary scholarship and creative activity
  • Develop donor base in support of research priorities identified through academic planning
  • Establish budget mechanisms that increase revenue streams to departments in support of research and graduate programs
  • Strengthen school-based administrative support for the teaching, research, and service mission

Measure 1.3.1: Ratio of research/technical support staff with a doctorate to faculty member4*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
0.17 0.19 0.27 0.36

 

Measure 1.3.2: Doctoral degrees conferred, disaggregated to track parity*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
63 80 80 150

 

Measure 1.3.3: The percentage of graduating seniors who report conducting research with a faculty member as an undergraduate at UC Merced, disaggregated to track parity (Graduating Senior Survey)*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
33% 36% 38% 40%

 

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Increase the number of grants that fund research/technical staff with doctorates
  • Expand undergraduate research opportunities, including donor support for increased student participation and data infrastructure to track post-baccalaureate outcomes
  • Expand non-traditional, research-related opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students (e.g. applied research, support for CORE facilities)
  • Increase the number of doctoral students advised per faculty member, while decreasing time to degree
  • Simplify the processes by which research staff, graduate student researchers, and teaching assistants are appointed

GOAL 2: Develop Future Scholars and Leaders

As our campus continues to grow, we will provide our students with the personal and academic support to succeed through world-class educational experiences delivered by outstanding educators and researchers. Honoring our students’ experiences as strengths upon which to build, our offerings will develop lifelong learners empowered by the habits of mind and tools of a researcher and address whole-student development, lead to career readiness, and encourage and enable civic engagement. Through a supportive community and educational experiences that are inclusive, high-impact, experiential, and research-based, we will foster the intellectual and personal development of diverse scholars and leaders. Our students will leave our campus recognizing the importance of global and local community and having contributed to the San Joaquin Valley. They will be prepared to be the next generation of diverse scholars, leaders, and agents of change.

Measure 2.1.1: Total campus enrollment (undergraduate and graduate)

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
9,018 11,800 14,000 15,000

 

Measure 2.1.2: Undergraduate student-to-Senate faculty ratios*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
26.7:15 27.7:1 27.7:1 27.7:1

 

Measure 2.1.3: Undergraduate student access to courses measured as the percentage of courses with an active waiting list broken down by required and elective courses*

Targets: To be determined; wait-list function in development

Measure 2.1.4: Graduate student access to courses measured as the percentage of respondents rating the “availability of courses to complete your graduate program” as “excellent” or “good” (as opposed to “fair” or “poor”) to question 6 on the existing Graduate Student Survey*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
63% 70% 75% 80%

 

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Develop new schools, majors, tracks, minors, and/or combined programs in high demand areas and signature undergraduate experiences that will attract new students, including domestic non-resident students
  • Grow transfer student enrollment by continuing to develop relationships and pathways externally and internally to UC Merced
  • Develop analytic capacity, including market analytics, to identify new degrees, certificates, and skill sets that are in demand now and predicted to be so in the future
  • Implement a wait-list function for courses
  • Increase the number of summer session offerings and align offerings with programmatic needs
  • Sustain and improve affordability, access, and debt reduction efforts
  • Develop high quality, targeted, online course offerings, including certificates
  • Expand Extension offerings for the public and working professionals
  • Integrate the General Education program into the campus's educational culture
  • Expand donor support for historically underrepresented students (e.g. scholarships and fellowships)
  • Build the campus’s capacity to market and conduct outreach for our educational programs, including with a focus on continuing to attract historically underrepresented students
  • Ensure that faculty hiring aligns with student expectations and disciplinary norms

Measure 2.2.1: Percentage of seniors reporting participation in two or more high impact practices (HIPS6). (NSSE)

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
55% 59% 62% 65%

 

Measure 2.2.2: Percentage of seniors reporting involvement with student organizations (UCUES)

Targets: Maintain or increase current value of 73% (which exceeds UC value of 64%)

Measure 2.2.3: Percentage of seniors reporting participation in community service, internal and external to the campus. (UCUES)

Targets: Maintain or increase current value of 56% percent of respondents reporting off-campus community service (which exceeds UC value of 47%)

Targets: Maintain or increase current value of 42% percent of respondents reporting on-campus community service (which exceeds UC value of 32%)

Measure 2.2.5: Percentage of graduate student respondents indicating satisfaction with “graduate program mentorship and advising” on the UC Graduate Student Experience Survey

Targets: To be determined; following first administration of the survey in spring 2021

Measure 2.2.6 Percentage of graduate student respondents indicating satisfaction with “the career support I receive in my program” on the UC Graduate Student Experience Survey.

Targets: To be determined; following first administration of the survey in spring 2021

Measure 2.2.7 Percentage of undergraduates employed in fields related to their degrees, with well-paying salaries, one year after graduation.

Targets: To be determined; develop the capacity to measure.

Measure 2.2.8 Percentage of graduate students employed one year after graduation*

Targets: To be determined; develop capacity to measure

Measures to be developed:

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Establish a strategic, holistic development and grant-getting plan for funding undergraduate experiential learning and student success initiatives
  • Enhance and expand graduate student preparation and pipelines for academic and non-academic careers
  • Foster a student-first focus across campus
  • Increase internships through partnerships with industry, agencies, the community, and alumni
  • Develop a campus-wide Customer Management System (CMS) to build an integrated student journey from prospect to graduation; use the CMS to enable on-demand and personalized academic advising, mentoring, and other support services for all students
  • Develop a plan for progressive student employment experiences that grow student skills and abilities over time in support of career preparation and to meet campus work needs
  • Engage alumni in student success, e.g. mentoring, networking, internships, and provide data to school leadership to facilitate alumni involvement
  • Expand the athletics facilities and programs to transition from NAIA to Division III, or beyond
  • Expand and enhance leadership and community service opportunities
  • Continue to develop and expand undergraduate and graduate student wellness support services, including for basic needs
  • Continue to develop and expand student constituency/identity programming and associated spaces

Measure 2.3.1: First-time, full-time, first-year student four-year and six-year graduation rates, disaggregated to track parity*

  Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
Four-year 43% 50% 55% 60%
Six-year 69% 73% 77% 80%

 

Measure 2.3.2: Full-time, transfer student two-year and four-year graduation rates, disaggregated to track parity*

  Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
Two-year 40% 55% 60% 70%
Four-year 88% 88% 89% 90%

 

Measure 2.3.3: PhD completion rate over a 7-year time interval7, disaggregated to track parity*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
57% 59% 61% 65%

 

Measure 2.3.4: First-time, full-time first-year student retention rates, disaggregated to track parity*

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
86% 86% 89% 90%

 

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Engage in, and expand support for, pedagogical and curriculum redesign
  • Expand support for graduate students, including those who are first generation and historically underrepresented
  • Develop an asset-based student success plan, that engages all administrative units, and identifies culturally responsive ways to assess student success
  • Assess existing student support activities, eliminate redundancies, and invest in and scale practices that have measurable impact
  • Expand and automate capacity to identify and analyze underlying systemic influences on undergraduate retention and timely completion that are specific to the UC Merced campus, communicate findings to faculty, staff, and administrators, prepare advisors to use and response to data analytics, and develop and prioritize strategies to address these causes
  • Further develop an early alert system to enable timely interventions that connect students with the resources they require to support academic and personal success
  • Build out ‘recovery pathways’ for students who veer off track

GOAL 3: Cultivate a Culture of Dignity and Respect for All

Bold scholarship requires us to dismantle long-standing exclusionary practices in higher education. We aim to adopt research-grounded practices that drive our campus toward inclusive excellence. To do so, we will invest in the resources, and cultivate the skills, knowledge, and comprehensively inclusive and anti-racist attitudes necessary to ensure that each unit, department, division, and stakeholder clearly demonstrates their contribution to our Principles of Community.

Measure 3.1.1: Campus enrollment (undergraduate, graduate, and transfer students) disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities9

Target: Maintain undergraduate, graduate, and transfer student diversity as we grow to 15,000 students

Measure 3.1.2: Number of academic and administrative staff by school and major disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities

Target: The composition of academic and administrative staff reflects that of the state of California

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Establish and implement a university-wide equity and justice strategic plan that engages all campus constituencies, internal and external, in developing collective practices and policies in support of the campus strategic plan10
  • Recruit faculty, including from diverse backgrounds, who are passionate about inclusion, and who genuinely value diversity in their teaching, research, and service
  • Create a sustainable and innovative fundraising approach for diversity work by seeking and expanding individual donors, philanthropic partners, and grant opportunities
  • Continue to develop and implement creative strategies and secure resources for the recruitment and retention of faculty and academic and administrative staff of color (e.g. cluster hires, cohorts, mentoring programs)
  • Provide targeted and equitable professional development for academic and administrative staff within each unit to support recruitment, retention, and leadership cultivation
  • Enhance campus onboarding efforts for academic and administrative staff and ensure succession planning efforts within and across divisions are equitable
  • Build intentional relationships with other post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations to recruit and support faculty and administrative staff of color
  • Integrate nontraditional and creative measures of success to review and evaluate academic and administrative staff (e.g. mentoring)
  • Develop institutional infrastructure and practice to assess and improve the successful inclusion and development of faculty and staff

Measure 3.2.1: Campus climate data by campus stakeholder type disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities.

Target: Improve measures of campus climate and ensure parity among stakeholder groups

Measure 3.2.2: Undergraduate and graduate student retention rates disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities

Target: Improve undergraduate and graduate student retention rates and ensure parity among groups

Measure 3.2.3: All faculty and staff retention rates disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities

Target: Improve or maintain faculty and staff retention rates and ensure parity among groups

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Develop inclusive curricula, programming, and services across the student experience
  • Provide inclusive excellence programming to all students, starting with orientation and matriculation
  • Increase opportunities that showcase and celebrate academic and administrative staff efforts that embody the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (e.g. traditions, awards, celebrations)
  • Evaluate campus communication strategies for inclusivity (e.g. alternatives to text-based communication, print/digital information in multiple languages)
  • Review campus climate and engagement indicators connected to academic and administrative staff sense of belonging and value – and effectively respond to negative and undesired trends
  • Invest in diversity and critical dialogue trainings, curriculum, and professional development within each campus office to drive inclusive culture change
  • Ensure all personnel and campus units, departments, and divisions demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion via statements, goals, values, commitments, syllabi, data visualizations of efforts, and core practices

Measure 3.3.1: Amount of budget and other resources available for diversity and equity-related efforts

Target: Budget sufficient to support comprehensive programming and services that improve academic and student success measures of equity over time

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Advance teaching and scholarship about power, privilege, and justice in contemporary and historical contexts so that the injustices of the past do not continue to shape our lives
  • Improve services and foster relationships that support the success and thriving of all students, faculty, and staff, on and off campus, including engaging our city, county, and region
  • Increase data literacy among all campus personnel with an emphasis on disaggregating, triangulating, and responsibly using data derived from mixed-method approaches
  • Develop meaningful opportunities to engage alumni and community-based organizations to advance our institutional mission
  • Integrate a focus on equity and justice into all aspects of the campus’s talent management activities

Measure 3.4.1: Percentage of seniors who have studied abroad

Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
5.2% 7.0% 8.4% 9.8%

 

Measure 3.4.2: Percentage of international students on campus, undergraduate and graduate.

  Current Value AY 2024-25 AY 2027-28 AY 2030-31
Undergraduate 0.2% 2.5% 4.3% 6%
Graduate 36% 36% 36% 36%

 

Measure to be developed:

  • Cultural enrichment

Example Strategic Initiatives:

  • Facilitate international research, educational, and cultural partnerships
  • Increase undergraduate participation in international experiences.
  • Increase the profile of study abroad at UC Merced
  • Improve curricular integration of courses taken abroad to increase the number that fulfill degree requirements
  • Implement mechanisms to increase affordability of education abroad (e.g. scholarships, financial aid packaging, new program models)
  • Develop an international student recruitment plan involving key campus stakeholders (e.g. Admissions, International Affairs)
  • Develop mechanisms to address the material, academic, and socio-cultural needs of international students and better facilitate their inclusion into the campus community

 

For each objective for Goal 3, the supplemental measures provided below will help the campus better understand progress on the primary measures in the plan and/or areas that require attention in order to advance the primary measure.

  1. Grow our academic and administrative staff demographic composition to be more representative of our state, as research shows that students succeed when they can see themselves in the institution.
    • Academic and administrative staff promotion rates disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Academic and administrative staff retention rates disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Percentage of graduate students supported by GSRs and external fellowships disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Timely degree completion, undergraduate and graduate, disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Student feedback on quality of educational experience disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Percentage of institutional budget allocated for academic and student success services with an equity and justice focus
       
  2. Transform campus culture by ensuring that all members of the community thrive as their authentic selves through equitable and inclusive structures, policies, and practices.
    • ion rates disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities
    • Number of professional development opportunities by campus constituency type
    • Number of equity and justice awards and recognitions by campus constituency type
    • Percentage of institutional budget allocated for academic and student success services with an explicit equity and justice intent
    • Number of equity-focused policies changes or additions by department/unit/office/division
       
  3. Build our collective capacity to remove structural barriers negatively impacting success through equity-informed administrative and educational decision-making
    • Ratio of personnel to students disaggregated following ethical data management protocols applied to all the data we legally collect
    • Percentage of institutional budget allocated for academic and student success services with an equity and justice focus
    • Fiscal and other resources available for equity-related efforts per academic year
    • Number of grants received to advance DEI efforts by campus department/office/unit
    • Number of unique equity and justice initiatives by unit/department launched and/or sustained per academic year
    • Percentage of university offices/units demonstrating commitment to advance diversity work through a diversity statement
    • Percentage of institutional budget allocated for academic and student success services with an equity and justice focus
    • Percentage of student debt disaggregated by different lived experiences and social identities