University of California 2012 Accountability Report

Quality Trends at UC

Table of Contents

The University is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost public research university systems and has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation for the high quality of its academic enterprise. However, recent series of reductions in state funding for higher education present the University with the challenge of maintaining academic quality despite budgetary constraints.

To assess how well the University is managing this challenge, this section considers trends in four areas — undergraduate education, graduate education, faculty, and research — that together provide an overview of the academic enterprise. The trends are depicted here via small charts called sparklines. Legends and time scales remain the same throughout, except where noted. The red dot indicates the minimum value, shown in the first column of numbers. The blue dot indicates the maximum value, shown in the second column. The grey dot represents the most recent value, shown in the third column. Each graphic is scaled to three standard deviations above and below the mean value.

For example, the following graph shows that graduate enrollment as a percent of total enrollment was at a low of 21.4% in 2001-02, peaked in 2006-07 at 22.2% and was 21.5% in 2010-11.

Undergraduate Admissions, Access and Education

A key component of UC's quality is the caliber of its students; this, in turn, is dependent on the quality of California public K-12 education, from which UC draws the majority of its undergraduates. This section shows that undergraduate competitiveness and student financial support are holding steady. Degree completion rates are improving as well.

Undergraduate Access & Diversity

UC has increased the share of underrepresented minority public high school graduates who enroll. This growth, however, still fails to fully reflect the diversity of public high school graduates. The graph below shows the percent of each racial/ethnic group that is admitted. For example, 15.4% of all public high school graduates were admitted in 2010-11, while 9.0% of African American graduates were admitted. The following set of graphs shows that 7.5% of all public high school graduates enrolled.

Percent of CA public HS graduates who are admitted, by race/ethnicity

Percent of CA public HS graduates who enroll, by race/ethnicity

While the percent of public school graduates enrolling at UC has remained fairly steady over the past several years, the percent of private school graduates enrolling has fallen.

Percent of CA private HS graduates who are admitted/enrolled

Undergraduate Student Support

UC's need-based financial aid programs have largely protected the lowest-income students from tuition increases as measured by net cost. Middle- and upper-income students have experienced higher costs over time.

Net cost for dependent CA residents, by family income (thousands)

Undergraduate Competitiveness

The average high school GPA of enrolling freshmen has increased over time.

Average high school GPA, enrolling freshmen
2003-04: low average high school GPA of 3.80. 2010-11 average high school GPA is 3.91 (also the high point).

Faculty Contact

Senate faculty are teaching more undergraduate student credit hours, reflecting a reduction in the number of lecturers and other faculty.

Percent of undergraduate student credit hours taught by Senate faculty
2007-08: low percentage of 51.6%. 2004-04: high percentage of 56.9%. 2010-11: 56.7%.

Degree Completion

Graduation rates for both entering freshman and transfer students have risen over the past ten years. Time-to-degree has fallen for both groups of students.

Six-year (freshmen) and four-year (transfer) graduation rates (note years: entering freshmen of 95-04, entering transfers of 97-06)
Freshman students - 2001-02: low of 76%. 2009-10: high of 82.3%. 2010-11: 82%. Transfer students - 2001-02: low of 79.7%. 2008-09: high of 86%. 2010-11: 85.3%.

Freshman students - 2001-02: high of 4.4. 2010-11: 4.2 (also the low point). Transfer students - 2001-02: high of 2.6. 2010-11: 2.4 (also the low point).

Graduate Education

Graduate academic students play a vital role in contributing to the quality and effectiveness of UC's research and teaching enterprises, and recruiting the best students is a major goal for UC's graduate academic programs.

Graduate Student Enrollment

The number of academic doctoral students enrolled has increased over the past ten years as shown in the first graph. The second and third graphs show that the percent of graduate academic doctoral students, and of all graduate students (including professional degree students), as a share of total enrollment has remained steady over the past ten years.

Total academic doctoral enrollment

Percent graduate academic doctoral

Percent graduate (including professional)

Graduate Student Diversity

As with undergraduate students, a diverse graduate student body contributes to UC's academic quality. Enrollment of underrepresented minorities in UC's doctoral programs is low and has improved only slightly over time. The graphs below show the share of new doctoral student enrollment by racial/ethnic group. For example, 14.5% of new doctoral students were Asian in 2010-11.

At the graduate academic student level, citizenship/national origin can be an important contributor to diversity and the educational experience. International students provide global connections and ensure that UC attracts the world's top applicants. In 2010-11, international students represented 24 percent of new doctoral students.

New doctoral student enrollments, by race/ethnicity and gender1


The academic caliber of the University of California is determined by the quality of its faculty. Recruiting and retaining a world-class faculty is one of the University's highest priorities.

Faculty Competitiveness

Fewer faculty are being hired, while departures of tenured and tenure-track faculty have remained fairly constant. As a result, the total number of faculty has shrunk, as shown in the net loss of 291 faculty in 2010-11. Faculty salaries have been fairly flat relative to comparator institutions.

Net hires

Faculty salaries as a percent of the "Comparison 8" benchmark, by rank2

Faculty recognition

UC faculty continue to garner recognition as measured by memberships in national academies.

AAAS, NAE, NAS or NatEd invited memberships as percent of ladder-rank faculty headcount3

Faculty Diversity

A diverse faculty is an important aspect of the overall quality of the university's academic enterprise. In 2010-11, 4.4% of all hires were African American.

Faculty hires by race/ethnicity4

Teaching Effort

As UC has reduced the use of lecturers and slowed faculty hiring, existing faculty have responded by teaching more. This could be seen as an improvement in undergraduate education, but may simply reflect larger classes.

Student credit hours per ladder- and equivalent rank faculty FTE

Degree Output

Degrees per ladder- and equivalent rank faculty FTE


Performance toward achieving UC's research goals may be measured in many ways: the quantity of research that is conducted; the contribution to the public of research findings; and the economic and societal benefits that flow directly from research results. Measures of research quality and impact are difficult to generate, but it is evident that UC remains highly competitive in securing external funding for research; the success rate for research proposals also remains high.

Research Funding

Research funding has been growing and remains strong. UC's share of the total awarded to academic institutions has remained fairly steady.

Research expenditures:
Total, federal and by discipline5, in billions

Proposal Success

Research funding varies widely by discipline; significantly more funding is available in health, biomedical and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Award dollars as a percentage of proposal dollars

Technology Transfer

One significant aspect of the University of California's public service mission is to ensure that the results of its research are made available for public use and benefit. This "technology transfer" is accomplished in many ways: through educating students; through publishing results of research; and, by ensuring that inventions are developed into useful products in the commercial marketplace.

UC's portfolio of active inventions increased by 4.6% from 09-10 to 10-11. The number of inventions newly covered by a utility license, option, or letter of intent increased by 8.4%. Invention disclosures as a ratio to research spending have remained steady. Total income from technology transfer reached a record of $164.6 million, $86.2 million of which represents a prepayment of future royalty income.

Invention disclosures per $10 mil of research expenditures and licensing income6

1American Indians and unknown not shown.

2 The comparison 8 benchmark is halfway between the average of 4 public institutions (Illinois, Michigan, SUNY Buffalo and Virginia) and the average of 4 private institutions (Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale).

3American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Engineers, National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Education.

4American Indians, Unknown, and Internationals are not shown.

5 Adjusted for inflation, direct research expenditures only, excludes indirect expenditures.

6 Research expenditures averaged over last five years. Licensing income is inflation adjusted.