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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


1 For Goals 1 and 2 an asterisk (*) next to a measure indicates the measure was adopted from academic planning, specifically the measures established by the Academic Planning Work Group.

2 For this and other measures specifying disaggregation, data will be disaggregated per the footnote associated with Measure 3.1.1.

3 E.g. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

4 Includes post-docs and non-faculty research staff with a Ph.D.

5 The current (Fiscal Year, FY 2020/21) undergraduate student to faculty ratio is lower than the FY 30/31 goal as a result of two factors. First, the campus hired a large number of new faculty, including an atypical number of spousal hires, in fall 2020 which resulted in a net increase of 36 Senate faculty. Second, the campus missed its Fall 2020 student enrollment targets, in part due to the COVID pandemic. The combination caused the ratio to fall sharply. For comparison, the FY 2019 ratio was 29.7 (8151/274). The 2030 target brings the ratio back to the average of our UC peers (27.7).

6 The National Survey of Student Experience (NSSE) gathers data on student participation in the following HIPS: service learning, learning community, research with faculty, internship/field experience, study abroad, culminating senior experience.

7 The percentage of students starting a PhD that complete them within seven years; calculated using projected growth in the number of graduate students advised per a faculty member.

8 For all Goal 3 objectives, Appendix II provides a set of supplemental measures that are essential to understanding progress on these primary measures and which the campus must develop the capacity to measure.

9 The University of California Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement states: “Diversity – a defining feature of California’s past, present, and future – refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region, and more.” As UC Merced’s data capacity grows, we anticipate data disaggregation by these lived experiences and social identities to assess our progress with integrity. See the full statement here.

10 Will support Goal 3 objectives 3.1 through 3.3.