2014 SF TechTable: Janet Napolitano

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[staff name=”Janet Napolitano” position=”President | University of California” img=”https://www.t4a.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/10548057_558192704291095_7032798903723465308_o.jpg”]Janet Napolitano was named the 20th president of the University of California on July 18, 2013, and took office on Sept. 30, 2013.

She leads a university system with 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program.

Napolitano is a distinguished public servant with a record of leading large, complex organizations at the federal and state levels. She served as Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-13, as Governor of Arizona from 2003-09, as Attorney General of Arizona from 1998-2003, and as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993-97. Before that, she practiced at the law firm of Lewis & Roca in Phoenix, where she became a partner in 1989. She began her career in 1983 as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. As Governor of Arizona, Napolitano focused on education, from pre-kindergarten through public higher education. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association, and was named one of the nation’s top five governors by Time magazine.

Napolitano earned a B.S. degree (summa cum laude in Political Science) in 1979 from Santa Clara University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, a Truman Scholar and the university’s first female valedictorian. She received her law degree in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. Napolitano holds honorary degrees from several universities and colleges, including Emory University. Pomona College, and Northeastern University. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal (Law), the University of Virginia’s highest external honor.

Connect with President Napolitano here: [v_icon color=”#444444″ url=”mailto:President@ucop.edu” size=”18px” target=”_self” name=”moon-envelop”][/staff][/column]

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[heading]Key Takeaways[/heading]

[v_icon color=”#1B75BB” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-link”]Despite the success of the UC system, we cannot ignore the rising cost of higher education. While many universities try to reduce the cost by expanding online courses, President Napolitano stresses the importance of resources, such as professors, TAs, and labs, in public research universities. Unfortunately, tax and philanthropic dollars are no longer enough to sustain these needs. One of Napolitano’s goals as President is to explore new sources of funding as well as forge new partnerships that will allow revenue to come back to the University over time. Part of the problem though tends to be the disconnect between those on the research and academic tracks at the universities and those in the practitioner community, or the private sector. One suggested solution was for the UC system to partner with businesses that set up incubators rather than setting up their own. Another was to invite the public in on some of the research, particularly in the form of crowdsourcing. With 10 campuses spread across the state and various business communities (agriculture, technology etc.), it becomes tough to create these linkages organically. To this end, Napolitano asked our group to think about the following question: How do you create an effective link of a university with ten campuses and these various sectors without having to go to a million different places at the same time?

[v_icon color=”#F37320″ style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-rotate”]One of the biggest challenges facing the UC system is the seeming reduction of investment and engagement in the public higher education system. As our technology representatives pointed out, many alumni and non-alumni would like to get involved in the university but they don’t know how. This led our group to ask the question: Aside from becoming a professor, what are the opportunities for engagement? Napolitano is very open to exploring this, but points out that consistency has been a problem in the past. It takes money to implement these types of programs and the university needs to be sure that this type of investment will yield outcomes. Our group pointed this out as an important factor to discuss further so that the university can begin to engage in these types of meaningful partnerships. The question became: how do we institutionalize this engagement to allow alumni and the public to give back in a different, multi-faceted way?

[v_icon color=”#FBAD1D” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-lightning”]Our technology cohort observed that while it’s clear that the University of California is doing great things, this doesn’t seem to be conveyed effectively to the public. To this end, they suggested a rebranding strategy for the university. Aware that resources at the University can be limited, our group suggested using free outlets such as social media and alumni validation. They also suggested getting students and faculty involved in this push. There’s also a marketing problem when it comes to the services that the university offers with respect to lower income prospective students. According to Napolitano, students whose household income is less than $80,000 can attend the university for free. Many students who would qualify for this (and their counselors), however, are unaware of the offer and tend to self-select out, believing they cannot afford to go to a UC school. While the school is combatting this by developing specific pipelines with 30 community college districts, there is still more to be done in getting this message out.

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Gallery coming soon…

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1 Comment

  1. […] attendees and convening guests. Not surprisingly, this issue was raised during our TechTable with Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California. She was asked the question, “Do you believe the […]