Strategic Academic Focusing Initiative

Our faculty-focused development of a strategic academic vision

Strategic Academic Focusing must consider where future investments in academic programs and support infrastructure are best made.

As a first step in the process, we want to hear from faculty and campus units.

We need articulation of growth trajectory and evaluation metrics for faculty-identified academic programs. Your ideas or responses are not restricted to the 2009 Strategic Plan.

We ask that you address the five broad questions found in the September 26 memo. Briefly:

  1. Refinements to the 2009 Strategic Academic Vision
  2. Important research problems or questions in your field(s)
  3. Resources that are needed
  4. National programs that are most closely aligned
  5. Important campus metrics that are met
  • Oct 28 - Nov 15: First Round Open Submission Phase
    • We will invite broad comments and encourage collaboration and potential connection to other initiatives.
    • These initial submissions will be the basis for providing input to the "2020 Project" RFQ Process in 2014.
    • You can return and login to update/edit your proposal and/or comment on other submissions at anytime before Nov 15.
  • Nov 18 - Dec 2013: First Round Review
    • Initiatives will be reviewed in preparation for 2020 Project RFQ Process.
  • Dec 2013 - Apr 30, 2014: Open Improvement Phase
    • Continue to build upon ideas, taking advantage of input and expertise acquired through this forum.
    • Update Initiatives, work on more detailed refinements and collaboration opportunities.
  • Deadline May 2, 5:00 pm: Second Round Open Submission Phase
  • May 3 - Summer 2014: Review Phase
    • All initiatives will be reviewed internally and externally, and used to develop a new Strategic Academic Plan for the campus.

Proposals (57 total)


Community and Social Benefit

Proposal Status: 
Principal Authors: 

SAF Work Group

Research for Community and Societal Benefit

The list below is a re-evaluation of the fit of the 9 proposals of the original theme, “Research for Community Benefit”. It is recommended that 3 themes would serve as better descriptors of the content of these proposals. In some cases, the 9 proposals were so divergent in focus, that aligning them together in content or goals was difficult.

Catalysis Science

Proposal Status: 
Principal Authors: 
Hrant P. Hratchian and Jason Hein
We propose Catalysis Science as an area of Strategic Academic Focus. This area inherently involves researchers with a number of traditional disciplinary backgrounds. Substantive opportunities exist for simultaneous basic research and applied sciences leading to meaningful knowledge discovery, technology transfer, and societal impact. A number of current faculty in life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering fields will form the nucleus for growth in catalysis science.

Materials Science and Engineering: a focus on energy, sustainability, and manufacturable devices

Proposal Status: 
Principal Authors: 
Christopher Viney, Lilian Davila, Valerie Leppert, Jennifer Lu, Vincent Tung

This proposal evolved from two “Round 1” submissions in the SAF exercise: Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Graduate Group, and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Undergraduate Program. It describes MSE as a central discipline within the SAF-defined theme #8 – Matter Science and Engineering: from theory to application, linking fundamental sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics) and other engineering specialties (mechanical, computing/electrical, environmental, bio).

Human Health Sciences: From Cells to Society to Improve the Health of the People in the San Joaquin Valley

Proposal Status: 
Principal Authors: 
Paul Brown (HSRI and Public Health), Jennifer Manilay (MCB), David Ojcius (MCB) and Jan Wallander (Psychological Sciences)
'Human health sciences' is currently a major research and education area at UC Merced. This Strategic Focusing Initiative (SFI) outlines how four proposals from the first round—Healthy Development (Psychological Sciences), Public Health, Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI), and Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB)—have been combined into a single joint vision how to achieve excellence in research and education related to human health sciences at UC Merced by 2020.

Diversity, Inequality & Representation

Proposal Status: 
Principal Authors: 
Donald Barclay, Libraries Robin DeLugan, Anthropology Jan Goggans, English Tanya Golash-Boza, Sociology Emily Lin, Libraries Carolyn Jennings, Applied Philosophy Stergios Roussos, Blum Center Zulema Valdez, Sociology Nella Van Dyke, Sociology Jeff Yoshimi, Cognitive Science Alex Whalley, Blum Center
This cross-disciplinary theme focuses on research and teaching that critically examines historical and contemporary experiences and conditions of diversity (ethnicity, gender, race, sexuality, social class); inequality (in poverty, education, health, migration, the environment, and politics); and representation (portrayals and inclusion of diverse populations).