Ensuring all students can succeed at UCLA begins with building equity into the student experience and making sure that basic needs for housing, food, financial support, mental well-being and community are met.
That was the key message UCLA Chancellor Gene Block shared in a presentation during University of California Board of Regents May monthly meeting, held on campus at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center. The presentation outlined several current focus areas for UCLA, all aimed at enhancing the campus’s impact upon those it serves.
“At UCLA — like at all of the UC campuses — we measure our value by the positive influence we have on the state, nation and world … and by the effect we have on the lives of the students we serve,” Block said. “While we certainly strive to be excellent, UCLA’s greater focus is squarely on impact.”
UCLA strives to maximize its impact by making certain that all students — no matter their background or means — can take advantage of the opportunities UCLA offers and can graduate in a timely manner.
The university is working to achieve these goals through efforts like guaranteeing all incoming first-year undergraduate students space in campus-owned housing for four years, and all transfers for two years. Aside from housing, UCLA is looking to significantly expand its food pantry and bring together other disparate basic needs resources into a new 5,000-square foot “Bruin Basics” hub.
A lack of access to basic resources can make it much more difficult for students to take advantage of the vast opportunities UCLA provides, Block said. If students have to spend their time working two jobs or worrying about where they will sleep at night, it is more challenging to feel connected to the campus and its community, Block said.
Block also noted that direct financial support for low-income students was important to their success. He shared information about a recent rise in philanthropic support for scholarships and mentioned the new Bruin Success Scholars program, which begins this fall and will award an additional $2,000 each year to 1,300 students with the greatest financial need.
Aside from support for students, other main priorities Block covered included how UCLA is rethinking the summer term, efforts to enhance faculty diversity, and investments in research and connections to the city of Los Angeles.
“UCLA — just over one hundred years after its founding — remains focused squarely on our systemwide goals: lifting up the people of California, being bold in how we approach education, and using our commitment to advancing knowledge to transform our state and our world.” Block said.