Accountability Report 2016

Chapter 10:

The public service mission

As a service to the state of California and its residents, UC manages an extensive network of world-class museums, libraries, herbaria and other facilities that are open to the public. The University hosts a wide range of performances and events that attract audiences from all parts of the state. But beyond its campus-based resources and services, UC’s impact can be seen throughout the state, with a significant presence in nearly every community.

UC contributes significantly to the well-being of the state’s population and its economic growth through its public service mission — a fundamental and defining feature of UC throughout its history. The University’s origins, and the nature of its public service mission, can be traced to the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, which enabled states to use federal lands to establish colleges “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanical arts,” along with scientific and classical studies. UC was chartered in 1868 as California’s land-grant university, and since its founding, UC’s public service mission and its other two missions of teaching and research have been closely intertwined.

This chapter highlights aspects of life in California where UC’s impact has been and continues to be profound: agriculture, environmental stewardship, health, education at all levels and the overall economy.

Agricultural research and extension

Federal legislation subsequent to the Morrill Land-Grant Act expanded the mission of the nation’s land-grant institutions to conduct research in Agricultural Experiment Stations (AESs) and to connect that research with local communities throughout each state through Cooperative Extension (CE).

In 1975, UC merged these two divisions, AES and CE, under the leadership of the UC systemwide Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR). ANR serves as the major land-grant arm for UC and the state, as part of the nationwide public university system “built on behalf of the people” (Abraham Lincoln). 

Through research and education, ANR provides worldwide leadership in sustainable, safe, nutritious food production and delivery; promotes economic success in a global economy; helps sustain a productive natural environment; and encourages youth development. ANR coordinates the Agricultural Experiment Station, a multi-campus organized research unit. While both AES and CE conduct research, CE is also the outreach arm for ANR. CE serves the public in all 58 California counties, bringing UC research to local communities to address real-world problems.

Overseeing nearly 3,700 local partnership programs, ANR maintains and enhances connections that engage UC with the people of California (see indicator 10.1.1 in this chapter). The ANR network develops and delivers science-based solutions for healthier food systems, healthier environments, and healthier Californians.

Across all campuses and divisions, the University operates at least 23,000 community-based programs (a conservative estimate). 

Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources 2,998 1,094 1,904
Nutrition/Health Services 2,377 589 1,788
Community/Social Services 1,958 1,958  
Cultural Resources/Arts 648 648  
University Extension 735 735  
Business/Economic Dev. 219 219  
Public Policy 364 364  
Teacher Professional Dev. 8,563 8,563  
Teacher Preparation 190 190  
K-12 Student Services 4,625 4,625  
Community College Student Services 524 524  
  23,201 19,509 3,692

UCOP produces an interactive map, “UC in California: Impact Beyond Campus Borders,” which highlights UC-operated community-based programs across the state and by legislative district. Find the map at:

Agricultural sustainability

ANR serves as the bridge between local agricultural and environmental issues and the power of UC. ANR scientists are one of the driving forces behind California’s $54 billion agriculture sector, a major contributor to the food supply of not just the state but also the nation and the world. California’s continued success in agriculture depends on adopting scientific and technological innovations derived from the results of research in agriculture and nutrition. ANR works with communities and industry to enhance California’s agricultural economy; to improve water quality, quantity and security; to increase science literacy; to secure food supplies; to manage pests and diseases; and to improve energy security and green technologies. For example, ANR’s response to the invasive Asian citrus psyllid involves a wide-ranging program of research and education including informing the public about how to manage backyard citrus trees as well as helping the citrus industry.

Environmental stewardship

While UC’s public service mission has evolved well beyond its 19th-century agricultural origins, UC’s extensive portfolio of environmental stewardship activities is a natural outgrowth of this history. Today, ANR manages a wide network of conservation and sustainability programs addressing critical issues such as drought, climate change and invasive species. For example, ANR’s drought research informs policy, decision-making and water management. One AES study on drip irrigation has influenced state policy to provide incentives for this method of water conservation and has helped to increase its adoption.

The public service impact of ANR’s academic researchers is greatly extended by a statewide network of UC-trained volunteers. ANR’s California Naturalist program uses a hands-on science curriculum and citizen science to foster a diverse cadre of volunteers all over the state through federal, state, local and non-profit organizations.

The University of California directly manages lands representing most of the state’s ecosystems, which are utilized for research, teaching and public service. The UC Natural Reserve System comprises 39 sites with more than 756,000 acres across California. These lands provide undisturbed environments to conduct research, enhance students’ educational experiences and provide sites for public service programs. The latest addition is the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands reserve, next to UC Merced.

ANR’s nine Research and Extension Centers (RECs) serve as a premier research management organization, providing land, labor, facilities and equipment that deliver services to academics and the public. The centers are also focal points for community participation and for active involvement in current agricultural and natural resource challenges.

Health and nutrition programs

UC’s research activities, particularly clinical trials, help improve health outcomes by understanding diseases and finding effective treatments (see Chapter 9: Research). Chapter 11 (UC Health) describes UC’s role in training California’s health care workforce and providing direct care to residents.

UC’s five medical centers serve as the state’s fourth-largest health care delivery system, and engage in a wide range of activities to address the needs of specific populations. For example, the five medical centers maintain long-term institutional partnerships with regional Veterans Affairs Health Care systems. In addition to conducting research on health issues of concern to veterans, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, UC faculty and medical students provide quality care for several thousand veterans annually through the VA.

UC also expands its health outreach through telemedicine, providing care for patients living in rural areas or in areas where specialty experts are not available. Telemedicine activities include real-time video and phone consultations between UC health care specialists and staff in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms and intensive care units.

Both on campus and in communities throughout the state, promoting healthy outcomes for all Californians is an important element of UC’s public service mission. ANR delivers community partnership programs statewide to address childhood obesity, healthy choices and food insecurity. For California, ANR directs the national Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education Connection (SNAP-Ed), known as UC CalFresh in California. These programs assist limited-resource families to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that help them tackle social and health disparities associated with hunger, malnutrition, poverty and obesity. Through these programs, families change the way they eat, practice food safety and food budgeting, and become more physically active.

ANR also informs statewide and national nutrition policy. For example, research on childcare nutrition practices is changing food environments for California preschoolers through multiple state laws. In addition, studies have contributed to changes in nutrition standards in school foods nationwide by informing the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Beginning in 2015, students may only have “smart snacks” that meet nutrition standards in cafeterias, in vending machines and through school fundraisers.

Education partnerships

For more than 40 years, the University of California’s Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP) programs have helped prepare California students for higher education. SAPEP programs such as the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) and The Puente Project are designed to improve academic preparation for students by focusing on specific areas of college readiness.

In addition to the activities UC undertakes to strengthen K–12 and community college students academically, UC plays an important role in preparing California’s teacher workforce. UC’s Teacher Education Programs prepare teacher candidates to engage students in rigorous, relevant and inquiry-based educational experiences. Located at eight UC campuses, Teacher Education Programs recruit, prepare and support educators who are committed to academic excellence, equity and integrity, and to cultivating the highest levels of achievement and opportunity for all students.

UC also provides ongoing support to educators already in the workforce through professional development programs. For example, the California Subject Matter Project (CSMP) is a network of nine discipline-based statewide projects, providing more than 2,000 professional development programs each year for educators at schools throughout the state. CSMP professional learning opportunities are aligned with state-adopted standards and are collaboratively designed by K–12 and university educators to enhance learning for all students.

UC’s economic impact

As California’s economy becomes increasingly dependent on highly educated workers, the role of the University of California in training the state’s future workforce becomes more vital. Industries relying on skilled workers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) represent a major component of California’s economy. UC awards half of the state’s bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields.

UC’s operations also add significantly to the state’s economy, as it is one of California’s largest employers. With expenditures of about $29.5 billion, much in the form of salaries, wages and benefits, UC annually generates more than $46 billion in economic activity in California and attracts over $8 billion in annual funding from outside the state.

True to its land-grant mission, the UC system touches most aspects of society. The UC public service mission has evolved in tandem with the changing needs of our state and our local communities, and has developed programs and partnerships that improve the lives of all Californians.

For more information

UC Information Center dashboards:

UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources brings the power of UC research and education to local communities across California.

10.1.1 UC agriculture, environment and natural resources programs, and UC natural reserve sites, Fall 2015


Source: UC Campuses

UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serves as the state’s land-grant arm, bringing the power of UC research to all counties and helping to solve local agricultural and natural resource issues. ANR operates a vast statewide network of researchers and educators collaborating to develop and provide science-based information.

ANR includes 115 Cooperative Extension Specialists and about 650 affiliated Agricultural Experiment Station researchers. These academics are located in 40 departments on the Berkeley, Davis, Riverside and, more recently, Merced campuses.

Cooperative Extension has over 175 academic advisors conducting research, outreach and education from 60 locally based Cooperative Extension offices and nine Research and Extension Centers (RECs). The statewide network of local CE sites is often the face of UC to Californians with no other connection to the University. In 2015, CE had contact with nearly 950,000 adults and over 400,000 youth.

The RECs are situated throughout California’s varied crop production areas and climatic zones. They offer researchers places to conduct field experiments and educational opportunities for the public. In addition, ANR operates eight statewide programs and two institutes with multidisciplinary approaches to complex issues.

In 2015, ANR conducted around 500 agricultural research projects and disseminated its research results through roughly 700 workshops, demonstrations and field trips. This enabled growers, both small farmers and allied industry professionals, to adopt best practices resulting in increased yield, reduced inputs, increased efficiency, increased economic return and conservation of resources. In addition to other outreach materials, ANR maintains approximately 75 unique, agriculture-specific websites.

During 2015, naturalists trained and certified by ANR’s California Naturalist program contributed over 22,000 hours of public service, conducting scientific research, environmental monitoring, restoration and conservation and public education.

The UC Master Gardener Statewide Program, managed by ANR, extends research-based information about home horticulture and pest management to the public. The program provides training to volunteers who in turn contribute services and outreach to the public in more than 50 of California’s 58 counties. Last year, 6,055 active UC Master Gardener volunteers donated 398,150 hours — the equivalent of 191 full-time employees, which would have cost $11 million if the time had not been donated. Since the program’s inception in 1981, volunteers have contributed more than 4.6 million hours.

The 4-H Youth Development Statewide Program, managed by ANR, engages California youth from ages 5 through 19 using a positive youth development framework and combining experiential, hands-on education and inquiry-based science learning in areas that include environmental, plant and animal sciences. In 2015, 300,000 youth participated in 4-H. Youth who participate have been shown to be 3.4 times more likely to contribute to their communities. Girls in 4-H are twice as likely to plan to pursue science careers.

As a major component of UC’s environmental stewardship role, the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) manages a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 39 sites include more than 756,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world.

UC promotes healthy outcomes across the state by leveraging partnerships with local communities.

10.1.2 UC nutrition and health programs, Fall 2015


 Source: UC campuses


Through some 2,400 nutrition and health community partnership programs, UC nutrition educators present the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and share strategies for meal planning, food shopping, food preparation and food safety. ANR manages nutrition education activities throughout the state, focusing on obesity and food insecurity challenges. ANR nutrition research and education programs annually receive support of nearly $30 million from USDA and nonfederal sources.

ANR’s two main nutrition education programs are the UC Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), in 24 California counties, and the UC CalFresh Program, in 15 counties. Over the past four years, EFNEP enrollment has increased by 17%, averaging 9,400 low-income families, with 90% improving nutrition practices and 85% improving their skills managing a food budget. The UC CalFresh Program focuses on youth, utilizing schools as the hub for community engagement. In 2015, the program was delivered in 361 K–12 schools, 171 preschools, 40 afterschool programs and 65 other sites statewide.

The University recently launched a Global Food Initiative, which seeks to address food insecurity issues and challenges associated with sustainably feeding our growing population. The initiative involves all ten campuses, UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (For more information, see

UC is involved in communities across California through a wide range of local-level service programs.

10.1.3 UC community and social services, cultural resources and arts, university extension, business and economic development, and public policy programs, Fall 2015


 Source: UC campuses

UC administers nearly 2,000 programs providing community and social services throughout the state. These programs include internship and field study programs that connect students and alumni with their communities, and volunteer centers working on issues such as domestic violence, fair housing advocacy and employment training.

UC manages about 650 arts education and outreach programs that teach art, dance, drama, music and digital arts in the community. These programs expose students and community members to art and culture through performing arts, theater, cultural events and other activities.

UC’s public service mission incorporates a focus on local business and economic development. The University operates about 220 business-related programs statewide. These include internships offered in partnership with local companies, where students gain both UC credits and professional experience. Other programs bring local high-tech and green-tech companies together with motivated individuals to foster student participation in community economic development.

Serving about 420,000 course registrants, about 730 UC University Extension programs encourage lifelong learning for all Californians. Additionally, more than 360 public policy programs are dedicated to engaging the community and raising awareness on public policy issues.

UC prepares California’s teacher workforce and strengthens the skills of teachers throughout their career.

10.2.1 UC’s teacher professional development and teacher preparation programs, Fall 2015


 Source: UC Campuses

The University of California plays an important role in preparing teachers and providing teacher professional development. UC manages more than 8,500 teacher professional development programs and about 200 teacher preparation programs.

The California Subject Matter Project, for example, creates sustainable teacher learning communities throughout California. Its network of nine discipline-based projects supports professional development to improve instructional practices and student achievement.

Teacher professional development activities include teacher workshops related to Common Core State Standards, writing, mathematics and in-service teacher training.

Teacher preparation programs include CalTeach, a component of the Science and Mathematics Initiative (SMI). Through this program, UC recruits and prepares its undergraduates majoring in mathematics and science for teaching careers, and provides special coursework and field experiences in K–12 schools. Since its inception in 2005, CalTeach has served more than 10,000 UC undergraduates, many of them now credentialed STEM educators in California public schools.

UC programs improve academic skills of K–12 and community college students across California.

10.2.2 UC’s K–12 and community college student services programs, fall 2015


 Source: UC Campuses

UC engages K–12 and community college students in California through Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnership (SAPEP) programs. Activities are centered on student academic preparation, community college articulation support, school and community partnerships, and online and technology-assisted services.

The goal of these programs is to promote student achievement by supporting academic preparation and college readiness. Programs include the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), which focuses on “a–g” course completion (a pre-requisite for admission to UC and CSU); K–20 Regional Intersegmental Alliances (aka P–20), creating ties between campuses, schools, local communities and business organizations; Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), focusing on STEM skills development; The Puente Project, focusing on college-preparatory English skill development; and Transfer Prep, focusing on community-college transfer support.

Collectively, SAPEP programs served nearly 200,000 K–12 students at more than 1,100 public schools in 2014–15. Students who participate in SAPEP programs are more likely to complete “a–g” courses (76 percent of SAPEP participants vs. 42 percent of California public high school graduates) and attend California public 2- and 4- year universities (61 percent of SAPEP participants vs. 41 percent of California public high school graduates).

UC helps prepare and train students in STEM fields at every school level.

10.2.3 Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) partnership programs, Fall 2015


 Source: MESA programs

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program integrates UC’s core missions of teaching and public service by focusing on the academic preparation of students at K–12 schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Through its three components — MESA Schools Program (MSP), MESA Community College Program (MCCP) and MESA Engineering Program (MEP) — MESA serves more than 25,000 California students annually.

MESA Schools Program (MSP) centers are housed in 19 locations and serve about 400 K–12 schools. Centers offer classes before, during and after school on activities that reinforce math and science content standards. MESA activities include workshops aimed at strengthening students’ study skills and monitoring students’ progress.

MESA Community College Program (MCCP) manages 35 centers at community colleges. These centers provide academic excellence workshops, orientation courses, academic advising and counseling activities dedicated to helping community college students develop multiyear plans to transfer to a four-year university in a timely manner.

MESA Engineering Program (MEP) operates 13 centers located in public (UC and CSU) and private universities across the state. Centers assist college students in attaining four-year degrees in engineering and computer science by providing tutoring and academic skills workshops. In partnership with local industry leaders, MEP centers also provide career and professional development opportunities for students.

UC produces nearly a third of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in California each year.

10.3.1 UC’s share of degrees awarded in California, by discipline, Universitywide, 2013–14


 Source: UC Campuses

As California’s economy becomes increasingly reliant on high-tech industries, the University of California plays an important role in educating the state’s highly skilled workforce. UC contributes significantly to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees, awarding 57 percent of the state’s Life Sciences and 52 percent of the Physical Sciences bachelor’s degrees.

In addition, UC awards more than 60 percent of statewide graduate medical professional practice degrees. Within public higher education, UC has exclusive jurisdiction for doctoral degrees (with the exceptions of CSU’s doctorates of education, nursing practice and physical therapy, and joint doctorates with UC and independent institutions).

Of UC’s more than 1.6 million living alumni, many reside within California.

10.3.2 Home residence of UC alumni, Fall 2015


Source: UC Campuses

More than 1.2 million UC alumni live and work in California. They are leaders, volunteers and contributors to the vitality of its communities, businesses and culture.

UC alumni are an integral part of the state’s workforce. Of the most recent graduating cohort, more than 70 percent of in-state students, about half of domestic nonresidents and one-tenth of international students were found working in California after two years.1

1 These data are based on CA Employment Development Department data and exclude federal employees and those who are self-employed.

UC is one of California’s largest employers, with close to 200,000 employees.

10.3.3 Faculty, academics and staff employees; retirees, 2014-15


 Source: UC Information Center Data Warehouse

The University of California employs approximately 200,000 faculty, academics and staff, making it one of the largest employers in California. With its employees residing throughout the state, UC’s economic impact goes well beyond its ten campus locations. Members of its workforce purchase goods and contribute to local economies across the state.

All told, the ripple effect of UC’s operations generates more than $46 billion in economic activity statewide. In addition to the current employees, more than 50,000 of UC’s retirees reside in California, and their UC pension benefits also contribute to the communities in which they reside.