A longer work: why is UCSD struggling with student experience?

Part of the reason I haven't blogged recently is I'm a bit over 20 pages in to a writeup on why UCSD's undergraduate experience is different or perhaps worse than it should be. I started working on it prompted by three motivations.

  1. I am graduating
  2. It's been in the news that UCSD is having problems with alumni donations.
  3. Some people have characterized the vote to have Division I sports as a panacea, and I am convinced that it is not. Perhaps helpful, but there are many other issues which I think are more important than sport.

The other reason for the lack of blogging is finals, but let's not talk about that.

Thus far I've developed the following themes as to why UCSD is in the position it's in.

  1. The college system. Though everyone says it is 'student focused', a tiny bit of archival research as well as a book of UCSD's history shows that it was more out of convenience than anything. Oxbridge be darned.
  2. Lack of clarity in direction. UCSD has always been a research school, but right from the beginning there has been the tendency to split. UCSD identified as "not a large public university" even as it was becoming one. This disconnect bwe
  3. Lack of willingness to listen. The strategic planning initiative yielded the results the school wanted. I went to the planning meetings where they got feedback and criticism. And instead of listening, those speaking were told they were wrong. As such, the strategic plan doesn't actually do anything.
  4. Lack of organicness. Oddly enough UCSD hasn't gained the sort of traditions that other campuses have. I struggle to explain this, but the one elephant in the room is Sun God. When campus enthusiasm and life revolves around one event of debauchery all year, and removing it threatens alumni support, it's quite possible that things are messed up!