Innovation Timeline
UC San Diego Extension
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Innovation Timeline

A History of UCSD Extension's Role in the Community


In the early part of the century, the University of California takes steps to open access to the university through its Extension programs. Beginning in 1920, UC Extension offers timely training and professional certification programs, arts and cultural enrichment, and tens of thousands of courses of all descriptions to the public. Service to the larger public by means of knowledge diffusion, "the notion that the University would actually travel to the people," lay at the heart of Extension's mission.

Before the founding of the UCSD campus, early Extension courses in San Diego include such subjects as science, journalism, and agriculture. Perhaps most important and best attended are continuing education and graduate-level courses for San Diego's teachers. Through WWII, expanded curriculum embraces business classes for men and women, law, Spanish, and music. Students receive a good value for their money: six dollars bought fifteen hours of instruction.


With no state support, UC San Diego Extension begins to operate as an independent office as part of the new UCSD campus. Dr. Martin Chamberlain, a former Peace Corps director in Africa, is appointed director. Courses and programs reflect the social turbulence of the 60s with course titles such as The Extremists: Radicals Speak for Themselves, Censorship and the Modern Novel, and Great Issues in International Affairs.


Following the Vietnam War, San Diego, along with the nation, enters an introspective period. Extension's courses reflect this trend with offerings in the psychology of interpersonal behavior, alcohol studies, nutritional science, and alternative energy.


Just 20 miles north of Mexico, Extension reflects the region's diversity with a growing portfolio of Spanish classes. Today more than eleven languages of all levels are taught to an increasingly global community. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and Russian, among others.


Responding to an aging population, Extension forms The Institute of Continued Learning, known today as the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute. The vibrant organization is established to offer continuing education and cultural enrichment to retirees.


With the growth of San Diego's schools, and the passage of the Fisher and Ryan Acts, Extension offers specialized training for teachers in areas such as early childhood education, mathematics, and cross cultural education. Today, Extension has diversified into instructional design for online learning, theories of second language acquisition, and college counseling.


What begins as an experiment with ten students arriving from Japan is now the UCSD Extension English Language Institute (ELI.) Today ELI attracts an annual enrollment of more than 2,000 students from more than twenty countries including Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Japan and Thailand.


Dr. Mary L. Walshok is appointed Dean of University Extension by Chancellor, Richard C. Atkinson. Walshok was named assistant dean in 1975 and associate dean in 1978. As a trained sociologist and author of Blue Collar Women: Pioneers on the Male Frontier, Walshok introduces a fresh perspective on how applicable knowledge creates new opportunities in the workplace.


With the introduction of the personal computer, Extension's curriculum is expanded into advanced C programming, UNIX development tools, microcomputer system integration, and MS-DOS programming.


To help scientists and engineers develop the leadership and management skills needed for successful tech companies, the Executive Program for Scientists and Engineers (EPSE) is launched. Certification programs in business administration, microcomputer engineering, and healthcare management issues is also offered.


At the urging of San Diego's business leadership, Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson, and Dr. Mary Walshok start CONNECT. Together with Bill Otterson, they build a program widely regarded as one of the world's most successful programs linking entrepreneurs with resources for success. Today CONNECT is an independent organization attracting a membership of more than 100 companies.


With an endowment from San Diego philanthropist, Helen Edison, Extension introduces The Helen Edison Lecture Series. The free public lectures are designed to help advance humanitarian objectives. Speakers have included Noam Chomsky, Luis Valdez, Toni Morrison, Carlos Fuentes, and Robert McNamara.

By building off Extension's network of high-tech leadership, UCSD Athena is founded. Through its members, Athena contributes to the vitality of women's roles in San Diego technology businesses while nurturing the next generation of women executives.


UCSD Extension strengthens its relationship with private sector business by offering customized on-site corporate training programs to companies such as Qualcomm, Sempra Energy, and Biogen-IDEC. Programs include the Manager's Toolkit and systems engineering. The most requested offerings focus on management training, information technology, and world languages.

To raise awareness of emerging business trends, the UCSD Economics Roundtable is established in conjunction with the UCSD Department of Economics. The purpose of the lecture series is to connect top executives and community leaders to experts in the fields of economics, finance, business, and public policy. Speakers have included Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Nobel Laureates Clive Grange and Rob Engle.


To develop a socially and economically sustainable crossborder region, the San Diego Dialogue is founded by Chancellor, Richard C. Atkinson, and Dr. Mary Walshok. Under the leadership of Chuck Nathanson, the Dialogue provides an innovative forum for leaders of the San Diego/Tijuana region to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the region, and develop key research programs and policy initiatives for mutual benefit.


Identifying a need for on-demand learning, Extension offers its first online learning class called "Microcomputer Hardware Design." Later "first in market" offerings include CDMA wireless technologies and clinical trials.


With a ruling by the FCC to increase low-powered TV broadcasts, UCSD- TV is established. Reflecting San Diego's rich intellectual and cultural diversity, partners include the San Diego Opera, San Diego City Club, and the Old Globe Theatre. Today, UCSD-TV boasts seven Emmy awards and reaches more than 1 million homes locally and 15 million homes nationwide through UCTV.


University Extension Dean, Dr. Mary Walshok publishes Knowledge Without Boundaries, What America's Research Universities Can Do for the Economy, the Workplace, and the Community. Using case studies and examples from distinguished research universities such as Johns Hopkins, The University of Chicago, and the University of California, Walshok details how institutions are creating knowledge linkages between academic resources and such diverse groups as parents, social agencies, and corporations.


Addressing the growing needs of San Diego's healthcare and biotech sectors, Extension's curricula diversifies into clinical trials design and management, regulatory affairs, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and development.

Balancing San Diego's workforce needs, UCSD Extension also launches a series of enriching arts and cultural programs such as Revelle Forum at the Neurosciences Institute and UCSD Jazz Camp. Academic Connections, a youth program, receives it first cohort of students inviting high school youths to their first university experience.


In an effort to strengthen San Diego's international connections, Extension launches Global CONNECT™ (GC). The first annual meeting takes place in the U.S. and attracts globally-minded entrepreneurs and organizations working to develop international high-tech and life science linkages.


As a result of its crossborder relationships, UCSD Extension is selected by the state of California to run the California Office of Binational Border Health (COBBH). COBBH serves as the California Department of Health Services liaison to Baja California and Mexican health officials and addresses issues such as migrant health, environmental health, and food- borne diseases.


With a growing number of K-12 students speaking Spanish as their first language, UCSD Extension addresses a need for highly trained teachers and administrators statewide through the UC Professional Development Institute (UCPDI.) UCPDI improves student achievement in grades 6-12 through its partnerships in urban and rural districts throughout the California region including Los Angeles and Imperial Counties.


UCSD Extension celebrates its 40th anniversary with the San Diego community.

Note: Many thanks to Abraham Shragge for his valuable research into UCSD's early history. Growing Up Together: The University of California's One Hundred-Year Partnership with the San Diego Region, The Journal of San Diego History, Fall 2001, Volume 47, Number 4.

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Jennifer Davies
Phone: (619) 405-2741