1995 Convocation: Chancellor's Address

 FALL 1995 CONVOCATION ADDRESS
UC Davis Chancellor Larry N. Vanderhoef

“THE INTERACTIVE DREAM MACHINE”

Wednesday, September 27, 1995
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Freeborn Hall

THANK YOU DR. METCALF.

ONCE AGAIN, LET ME WELCOME ALL OF YOU TO THE THIRD CONVOCATION AT UC DAVIS.  LAST YEAR, YOU MAY RECALL, WE ATTACHED A PERIPHERAL CEREMONY ONTO THE CONVOCATION -- THE INAUGURATION -- BUT WE RETAINED THE PRIMARY INTENT, WHICH IS TO PRESENT TO YOU SOME SMALL SENSE OF WHAT'S ON THE MINDS OF UNIVERSITY ASSEMBLAGES LIKE THIS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WITH PERHAPS SOME WORDS ABOUT WHERE WE AT UC DAVIS HAVE BEEN RECENTLY AND WHERE WE MIGHT LIKE TO GO.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO THE CAMPUS -- WHETHER YOU ARE STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF, ACADEMIC FEDERATION -- YOU HAVE JOINED A VERY SPECIAL FAMILY.

AS WAS JUST MADE WIDELY KNOWN AGAIN IN THE SPATE OF RECENT SURVEYS, THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IS NOTHING LESS THAN  A MODERN DAY MIRACLE.  NO UNIVERSITY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD HAS ACHIEVED OUR COLLECTIVE NINE-CAMPUS ACCOMPLISHMENT -- ALL OF OUR CAMPUSES IN THE TOP 15 PERCENT, VIRTUALLY ALL OF OUR UC DAVIS GRADUATE PROGRAMS RANKED AS HIGHLY EFFECTIVE, OUR SCHOOL OF MEDICINE FAMILY PRACTICE PROGRAM RANKED SECOND IN THE COUNTRY, MANY OF OUR VET MED AND AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS, IN FACT OUR ENTIRE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, RANKED FIRST IN THE COUNTRY, AND ON AND ON.  YOU HAVE, INDEED, CHOSEN THE BEST.

GREATNESS, THOUGH, NEVER GUARANTEES A TROUBLE-FREE EXISTENCE.  AS WE KNOW FULL-WELL AT UC DAVIS, TRAUMA, TURMOIL AND TROUBLE ARE EVER-PRESENT RESIDENTS AT GREAT UNIVERSITIES.  AND WELL IT SHOULD BE, FOR WE ARE THE SANCTUARY FOR IDEAS AT THE EDGE, FOR THE NEWEST PERSUASIONS, THEORIES, AND HYPOTHESES.  THAT REGULAR PEEK INTO TOMORROW, YOUR GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE, ARE JUST SOME OF THE REASONS YOU WILL GROW TO LOVE UC DAVIS.

THE TITLE OF MY TALK IS THE INTERACTIVE DREAM MACHINE.  IT RELATES DIRECTLY TO SOME VERY SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR UNIVERSITY.  FIRST, IT REFERS TO THE FACT THAT WE MUST, ALL OF US, ENGAGE IN DREAMING ABOUT AND THE MAPPING OF OUR FUTURE.  WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT CHANGE IN UNIVERSITIES LIKE OURS IS BEING REQUESTED, SOMETIMES DEMANDED, THAT IS NOT THE PRIMARY INCENTIVE FOR US TO ENVISION, AS BEST WE ARE ABLE, NEEDED CHANGES IN OUR FUTURE.  THE REAL REASON IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE DAY WE STOP DREAMING AND CHANGING IS THE FIRST DAY OF OUR DECLINE.

AND SO WE MUST KEEP OUR DREAM MACHINE WELL-OILED AND FUNCTIONAL.

I WILL TALK MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT SOME OF OUR LIKELY FUTURES IN JUST A MOMENT, BUT FIRST LET ME TELL YOU WHY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, AND ESPECIALLY AT UC DAVIS, I CALLED IT THE INTERACTIVE DREAM MACHINE.

SHARED GOVERNANCE RECOGNIZES THAT THE BURDEN OF OUR THREE MISSIONS -- TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND SERVICE --  RESTS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE FACULTY, THEREFORE THE FACULTY RIGHTFULLY HAS AUTHORITY OVER OUR PRIMARY ACTIVITIES, SUCH THINGS AS ESTABLISHMENT AND DISESTABLISHMENT OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMS, ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS, GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS, AND SO FORTH. THE ADMINISTRATION, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTINUALLY ASSESSING CAMPUS-WIDE CIRCUMSTANCES SO THAT WE MIGHT WISELY DISTRIBUTE RESOURCES.  JUST AS IMPORTANT, THE ADMINISTRATION MUST, WITHIN ALL POSSIBLE CONTEXTS, PROVIDE THE LEADERSHIP AND DIRECTION THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR ADVANCEMENT OF THE TOTAL UNIVERSITY. 

IN ADDITION TO SHARED GOVERNANCE, WE AT DAVIS ENJOY CONSULTATIVE GOVERNANCE, WHICH IS PERHAPS EVOLVED TO ITS HIGHEST FORM HERE ON OUR CAMPUS.  WE HAVE OVER THE DECADES COME TO AGREEMENT THAT THOSE WHO ARE AFFECTED BY DECISIONS -- MUST BE A VERY REAL PART OF THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.  WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT THE PRIMARY UNIVERSITY RESPONSIBILITIES FALL ON THE FACULTY AND ON THE ADMINISTRATION, WE ALL RECOGNIZE THAT WE COULD NOT DO OUR JOBS WELL WITHOUT A STAFF THAT BUYS INTO THIS UNIVERSITY AS IF IT WERE THEIR VERY OWN,  AS IF IT WERE FAMILY.  WE COULD NOT FUNCTION  WITHOUT AN ACADEMIC FEDERATION THAT IS AS DEVOTED TO THIS UNIVERSITY AS ANY OF US, WITHOUT STUDENTS WHO FEEL THAT THEY CAN HAVE THEIR SAY IN OUR MAJOR DECISIONS, AND WITHOUT A SURROUNDING COMMUNITY THAT MUST CONTINUE TO BE BENEFITTED BY, AND INTERACTIVE WITH, THIS UNIVERSITY. 

WE PAY ATTENTION NOT ONLY TO SHARED GOVERNANCE THEN BUT TO CONSULTATIVE GOVERNANCE AS WELL.

AND SO, AS WE PLAN, AND AS WE CONSIDER THE FUTURE,  WE MUST DREAM TOGETHER.

[PAUSE]

LET ME SPECULATE NOW ABOUT THAT FUTURE.

PERHAPS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE LAST 20 OR 30 YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN RAPID CHANGES OCCUR IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES.  TECHNOLOGY AND THE INFORMATION AVALANCHE IS, AT LEAST ON SOME DAYS, OVERWHELMING.  TIME MAGAZINE RECENTLY HAD AS ITS COVER STORY AN ARTICLE ENTITLED, "20TH CENTURY BLUES."  THE THEME OF THE ARTICLE WAS THAT OUR NEW WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY, OUR WORK LIFE DURING WHICH AN AVERAGE OF SEVEN CAREER CHANGES WILL TAKE PLACE, OUR WORKING LANDSCAPE WITHIN WHICH "PEOPLE MANAGEMENT" NOW DOMINATES VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE CAREERS OF UNIVERSITY-EDUCATED PEOPLE -- ALL OF THIS IS A WORLD WITH WHICH OUR PSYCHE'S COPE POORLY, OFTENTIMES NOT AT ALL.  WE EVOLVED AND GREW AS A SOCIETY  IN A CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WAS SO MUCH DIFFERENT, SO MUCH SIMPLER, THAT WE NOW SEEM, AS A POPULATION, TO BE STRUGGLING TO DEAL WITH TODAY'S NEBULOUS NATURE OF REALITY. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE EDUCATION OF OUR UNDERGRADUATES?  WE WILL, I EXPECT, BE GIVING SERIOUS THOUGHT TO THE FACT THAT THE UNIVERSITY IS NO LONGER THE SOLE GATEKEEPER FOR NEW KNOWLEDGE, AS WELL AS THE REALITY THAT MOST OF OUR GRADUATES, A DOMINATE MAJORITY, WILL BE IN ROLES THAT REQUIRE THAT THEY BE GOOD PEOPLE MANAGERS.  SIMILARLY, WE WILL, I PROJECT, BE TAKING THE OPPOSITE VIEW FROM THAT OF THE CAREERISTS, THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT WE MUST MORE CAREFULLY PREPARE PEOPLE FOR SPECIFIC CAREERS.  RATHER, WE WILL STUDY TOGETHER HOW WE MIGHT BETTER GIVE THEM THE EDUCATION THAT BEST POSITIONS THEM FOR THE INEVITABLE CAREER CHANGES IN THEIR LIVES.

WE WILL ALSO BE RECOGNIZING THE FACT THAT AN INCREASING NUMBER OF OUR PH.D.'S  ARE NOT GOING INTO CAREERS IN UNIVERSITIES.  INSTEAD, THEY ARE GOING INTO RELATED INDUSTRIAL OR MANAGERIAL CAREERS, OR INTO A WHOLE RANGE OF CAREERS ONLY REMOTELY RELATED TO THE AREAS OF THEIR EDUCATION.  WE WILL BE EXPLORING TOGETHER THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS FOR OUR PH.D. PROGRAMS.

ALSO, REGARDING SOME OF OUR PH.D. AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS, IT IS NOW BEING ASSERTED THAT IN SOME ACADEMIC AREAS THERE MAY BE MORE GRADUATES THAN JOBS IN THEIR SPECIFIC AREAS.  IT IS DR. WILLIAM MASSEY'S THEME THAT WE HAVE GOTTEN INTO THIS SITUATION BECAUSE OUR INCENTIVES TO ACCEPT GRADUATE STUDENTS INTO OUR PROGRAMS ARE IMPROPERLY ORDERED.  IS THIS TRUE?  IF IT IS, WHAT SHALL WE DO ABOUT IT?  OUR DEAN OF GRADUATE STUDIES AND OUR SENATE GRADUATE COUNCIL WILL BE HELPING US TO THINK TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY ABOUT THESE CONCERNS.  IT MAY NOT BE EASY.  IT IS A PROBLEM WITH MANY COMPONENTS, INCLUDING, ON ONE HAND, THE WORLD'S GENERAL NEED FOR MORE GRADUATE EDUCATION, NOT LESS, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE UNIVERSITY'S QUESTIONABLE PLACEMENT OF HIGH VALUE ON SELF-CLONING, AND, PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANT, THE ISSUE OF TOO MANY SECOND-TIER PH.D.-PRODUCING INSTITUTIONS, MOST OF THEM PRODUCTS OF THE BOOMING GROWTH YEARS OF THE 1960'S.

AS THE THIRD OF THE FIVE SUBJECTS I WANT TO TOUCH ON TODAY, IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY CLEAR THAT WE MUST BE DEVELOPING THE PROGRAMS AND MECHANISMS TO MAKE THE WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSITY'S ESTABLISHED RESEARCH PROWESS MORE RESPONSIVE TO SOCIETY'S NEEDS.  AGAIN, AS AN ASIDE, MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT:  THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA'S RESEARCH ACCOMPLISHMENT IS UNMATCHED IN THE WORLD.  FIVE OF OUR CAMPUSES ARE IN THE TOP 30 WITH REGARD TO TOTAL RESEARCH EXPENDITURES.  THREE OF OUR CAMPUSES ARE IN THE TOP 10 WITH REGARD TO FEDERAL FUND EXPENDITURES FOR RESEARCH.  WE ARE, IN FACT, AS I STATED EARLIER, TRULY A MODERN DAY MIRACLE.

WILL WE BE ABLE TO DIRECT THIS UNBELIEVABLE STRENGTH TOWARD SOLUTIONS TO TODAY'S MOST PRESSING SOCIETAL PROBLEMS?  I AM CONVINCED WE WILL.  I AM ALSO CONVINCED WE MUST.

I WATCHED LAST WEEK IN AWE AS ABOUT ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FACULTY, STAFF, STUDENTS AND ADMINISTRATORS CAME TOGETHER, GIVING THE UNIVERSITY TWO LONG DAYS OF THEIR LAST SUMMER MOMENTS.  IN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS THEY DEVELOPED PRE-PROPOSALS FOR THREE ACADEMIC PROGRAMS.  THESE PROGRAMS SIMULTANEOUSLY, ONE, BUILT ON SOME OF THE CAMPUS'S MAJOR RESEARCH STRENGTHS, TWO, EMPHASIZED MULTI-DISCIPLINARITY, AND THREE, CONCENTRATED ON ADDRESSING VERY REAL NEEDS IN TODAY'S SOCIETY.  WATCH, THIS YEAR, AS THESE PROGRAMS IN HEALTH PRESERVATION, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND GLOBALIZATION ARE STUDIED AND CONSIDERED FOR REALITY STATUS.

ON ANOTHER FRONT, THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS CURRENTLY STUDYING THE POSSIBILITY OF AN OFFICE NEAR SACRAMENTO, PERHAPS ON THE DAVIS CAMPUS, THAT WILL ACT AS THE "BRAIN," AS THE CENTRAL COORDINATING OFFICE, FOR LINKING THE NEEDS OF STATE GOVERNMENT WITH THE EXPERTS WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY.  UC DAVIS MAY HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY IN THIS, AND, IF WE DO, I WILL BE FULLY SUPPORTIVE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT CAN DEMONSTRATE A WAY IN WHICH THE UNIVERSITY CAN BE MORE ENGAGED IN HELPING OUR GOVERNMENT ADDRESS SOME OF SOCIETY'S STARTLING PROBLEMS.

LET'S NOW TALK ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA DREAM - THE DREAM THAT SERVED TO CATAPULT CALIFORNIA TO BECOME A MAJOR ECONOMIC FORCE IN THE WORLD.  AND THE DREAM FOR CALIFORNIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY.  CAN WE EVEN BEGIN TO DREAM WITHOUT PAYING ATTENTION TO THAT DREAM'S PRIMARY UNDERPINNINGS -- ACCESS FOR EVERYONE TO TOP QUALITY EDUCATION?

I AM TALKING, OF COURSE, ABOUT THE ONGOING ROLE WE MUST ALL PLAY, THE AFFIRMATIVE, PROACTIVE BEHAVIOR WE MUST ALL PROMOTE, TO CONTINUE TO ASSURE THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA REMAINS ACCESSIBLE TO THOSE WHO SEEM TO US TO BE UNFAIRLY EXCLUDED.   THAT IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BY WHATEVER NAME, AND IT MUST NEVER STOP, FOR IT IS PART OF OUR LAND GRANT PUBLIC UNIVERSITY CHARGE AND ETHOS.

OF COURSE, BECAUSE OF THE RECENT REGENTS' ACTION, WE HAVE A NEW CHALLENGE BEFORE US.  WHILE, CONTRARY TO UNIVERSITY HEADLINES, THE REGENTS HAVE NEVER SAID THAT THEY INTENDED TO ELIMINATE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, THEY HAVE SAID THAT WE MUST ACCOMPLISH THIS PURSUIT OF DIVERSITY WITHOUT REFERENCE TO RACE, ETHNICITY OR GENDER.  IT IS A FORMIDABLE CHALLENGE, BUT NOT, IN MY MIND, BEYOND OUR CAPABILITIES.  THE NEXT FORUM ON THIS ISSUE, INTENDED TO BEGIN OUR DELIBERATIONS, IS SCHEDULED HERE IN FREEBORN HALL NEXT WEEK.  PLEASE RESOLVE TO GET INVOLVED.  WE MUST NOW ESTABLISH NEW PRINCIPLES AND NEW PRACTICAL TACTICS TO ASSURE THAT THOSE WHO SEEM UNFAIRLY EXCLUDED RECEIVE OUR SPECIAL ONGOING ATTENTION.

I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES THAT THE PURSUIT OF DIVERSITY WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE.  AS WE MAKE DECISIONS IN THIS UNIVERSITY WE ARE MAKING THEM IN A WORLD THAT IS RAPIDLY SHRINKING AND IN A POPULATION THAT IS RAPIDLY INCREASING IN ITS DIVERSITY.  THOSE DECISIONS WILL BE WISER, BETTER- INFORMED DECISIONS IF WE HAVE THAT SIMILAR DIVERSITY WITHIN OUR WALLS AND AROUND OUR DECISION-MAKING TABLES.  WE MUST NOT LET UP ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OR ON THE PURSUIT OF DIVERSITY, BUT WE SURELY MUST FIGURE OUT NEW WAYS TO IDENTIFY THE TARGETS OF OUR PROGRAMS.

FINALLY, LET US DREAM AND PLAN TOGETHER ABOUT THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER THAT I BELIEVE THIS CAMPUS MUST HAVE.  WE WILL BE DISCUSSING MUCH MORE THAN JUST A PHYSICAL STRUCTURE, FOR THIS PROJECT EMBODIES THE SYMBOLISM AND POTENTIAL FOR ACADEMIC EXPANSION AND GROWTH FOR THIS CAMPUS.  WE WILL BE PLANNING NOT JUST FOR ENTERTAINMENT VENUES, BUT, MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR THE NURTURING OF THE SOUL AND THE DEDICATION OF THIS UNIVERSITY TO THAT ENTERPRISE.  OUR STUDENTS WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THIS PART OF THEIR EDUCATION WILL PREPARE THEM FOR AN INCREASINGLY TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD, FOR THE STRESS AND ANXIETY AND THE DEPRESSION THAT THE EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGISTS ARE NOW TRYING TO UNDERSTAND.  IT WILL BE A DECLARATION TO THE WORLD THAT NOT ONLY HAVE WE MAINTAINED THE STRENGTHS OF OUR SCIENTIFIC AND AGRICULTURAL ORIGINS, BUT WE ARE ALSO A HOME FOR MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES. 

SHORTLY WE WILL HAVE AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL CAMPUS REVIEW A SITING PLAN, WHICH WILL DESCRIBE THE THREE BUILDINGS OF THIS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, A DESCRIPTION OF THE SIZE AND NATURE OF THE PERFORMANCE HALLS AND THE CHARACTER OF THE VISUAL ARTS FACILITY,  AND A STRATEGY FOR THE FUNDING ESSENTIAL FOR THE TREK FROM DREAM TO  REALITY.  IF WE ARE TO HAVE THIS FACILITY WE WILL, ALL OF US, HAVE TO MAKE SOME SACRIFICE.  WE WILL INDEED PUT INTO PLACE A SPECIAL FUND-RAISING PROGRAM FOR THIS FACILITY, AND WE HAVE OTHER STRATEGIES FOR GAINING SOME OUTSIDE FUNDING, BUT EVEN THE BEST FUND-RAISING PROGRAMS REQUIRE, EVEN DEMAND, THAT WE SHOW OUR INTERNAL COMMITMENT AS WELL.  WE'LL BE TALKING MORE ABOUT THIS DURING THE COMING YEAR.

REGARDING FUND RAISING, WE WENT INTO A NEW STRATUM JUST DURING THE COURSE OF THIS PAST YEAR.  WE HAD A 39% INCREASE OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR, GOING FROM NEAR $30 MILLION TO NEAR $42 MILLION.  PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY, DURING THE FIRST PARTS OF THIS ACADEMIC YEAR AND LAST ACADEMIC YEAR, WE BROKE THE LARGEST GIFT RECORD THREE TIMES AT UC DAVIS, FIRST WITH A GIFT FOR A RECORD $5 MILLION DEVOTED TO THE MEDICAL ARTS, PRIMARILY THE WORK OF A SINGLE FACULTY MEMBER, MICHAEL CHAPMAN, THEN A FEW MONTHS LATER WITH A $7 MILLION GIFT DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, PRIMARILY THE PRODUCT OF A WOMAN IN NEVADA, GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD WORK OF OUR VETERINARY FACULTY AND STAFF, AND FINALLY JUST VERY RECENTLY WITH A COMPUTER SOFTWARE GIFT-IN-KIND ESTIMATED CONSERVATIVELY TO BE WORTH ABOUT $8.5 MILLION.   AND SO WE ARE DOING MUCH BETTER THAN WE HAVE IN THE PAST.  ALL OF US WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE INCORPORATED FUND-RAISING INTO OUR TOTAL JOB DESCRIPTIONS, SOME OF OUR FACULTY ARE THINKING SIMILARLY, AND I THINK WE ARE POISED TO DO SOMETHING BIG -- LIKE ACCOMPLISHING THE REALITY OF THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER.

DURING THE COURSE OF NEXT YEAR AND THE YEARS FOLLOWING WE HAVE MUCH TO THINK ABOUT AND TO DREAM ABOUT.  LET ME FINISH THE WAY I STARTED:  WE WILL ACCOMPLISH NONE OF THIS, AND WE WILL GO NOWHERE WITH ANY OF THESE INTENTIONS UNLESS WE DO THEM TOGETHER.  WE ARE A COMMUNITY, A COMMUNITY THAT I LOVE AND TO WHICH I AM DEVOTED.  WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS TOGETHER, AND I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.