California Competes Leadership Discuss Their Vision for the UC’s Next President

by California Competes


Topics: Affordability, Bachelor's Degrees, Degree Attainment, Four-Year Colleges, Ed Equity


California Competes Executive Director Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez and Leadership Council member and former California Senator Carol Liu testified before the Regents Special Committee to Consider the Selection of a President as the University of California searches for the system’s next president. Current President Janet Napolitano submitted her resignation last year and will continue serving in the role until August.

College Futures Foundation organized two public forums at UC campuses in December and January to allow the committee to consider diverse voices and perspectives throughout the search. As an organization focused on the role of higher education in driving our state’s economy, California Competes believes new leadership should focus on increasing enrollment and degree attainment rates for California’s underserved communities.

January 14, 2020

Dr. Jez, a graduate of UC Berkeley, said the UC must embrace the changing demographics of the traditional student who now often juggles a host of responsibilities and is frequently the first in their family to attend college.

“Some may think that serving these students will require a trade-off in academic quality or rigor but these are the same ideas that kept women, people of color, and immigrants out of highly selective universities—the universities that develop our nation’s leaders—for too many years,” Dr. Jez testified.

Whether through online education, credit for prior learning, or other innovative models, the UC’s next president should be open to trying new approaches to ensure these Californians—and the UC—are not left behind.

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

The UC’s next president should build off President Napolitano’s increased acceptance of transfer students and also prioritize access points for adult students, including those who attended some college but stopped out before completing their degree.

“Whether through online education, credit for prior learning, or other innovative models, the UC’s next president should be open to trying new approaches to ensure these Californians—and the UC—are not left behind,” Dr. Jez said.

Read Dr. Jez’s complete testimony.

Hon. Carol Liu (ret.)

During her testimony before the special committee’s closed session in November, Leadership Council member and former California State Senator Carol Liu advised that the UC’s next president must be open to taking strategic risks while balancing the pace of progress to better serve our diverse state.

Former Senator Liu, who serves on the Cal Alumni Association Board of Directors, encouraged the university to appoint a leader who embodies diversity and is committed to building campuses where students and faculty are more representative of the state’s population.

Can we find a President who can relate to being a first-generation college student, a transfer, a minority in ethnic background, religion, or other gender identification?

Hon. Carol Liu (ret.)

“Can we find a President who can relate to being a first-generation college student, a transfer, a minority in ethnic background, religion, or other gender identification? Can we find someone who understands what kind of cultural shifts are required to achieve inclusion?” she asked.

Former Senator Liu noted that the UC system has the opportunity and capacity to illuminate pathways to equity, economic well-being, and sustainability, with its campuses serving as laboratories and beacons of positive change.

Read former Senator Liu’s complete testimony.