Saying that the University of California and all of higher education in the state have "entered a new era in terms of how we allocate educational opportunity," UC President Richard C. Atkinson recently unveiled a major initiative to help prepare greater numbers of California young people for a university education.
Atkinson, addressing the UC Board of Regents at its Jan. 15 meeting in San Francisco, described the initiative-called the Outreach Action Plan-as the "next step" in the regents' mandate to develop new directions and increased funding for outreach, now that UC policy and state law have eliminated the use of race, gender and ethnicity as factors in the admission of students.
"We owe much of our success in achieving diversity over the past 30 years to our highly effective affirmative action efforts," he added. "Yet I also believe the university now has the opportunity to shape an approach to diversity that puts greater emphasis on individual promise and potential, less on characteristics like one's gender or the color of one's skin."
Atkinson's Outreach Action Plan has three main elements:
"We are proposing to improve educational experience and preparation of K-12 students on a scale and scope never attempted before," Atkinson said in presenting his plan.
Atkinson said he would issue a letter to the UC community asking regents, faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends of the university to contribute their ideas, time, talent and energy to the outreach initiative.
"The Outreach Action Plan is one of my highest priorities. We are mobilized and organized and believe we know how to succeed. I intend to give it my personal attention and involvement," he said.