The University of California System
The University of California traces its origins to 1868, when Governor Henry H. Haight signed the Organic Act providing for California's first "complete University." Classes began the following year at the College of California in Oakland. The first buildings on the Berkeley campus were completed in 1873, and the University moved into its new home. The following June, the University conferred bachelor's degrees on 12 graduates.
Today the University is one of the largest and most renowned centers of higher education in the world. Its 10 campuses span the state, from Davis in the north to San Diego in the south. In between are Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Merced, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Irvine and, of course, Los Angeles.
All campuses adhere to the same admission guidelines and high academic standards, yet each has its own distinct character and academic individuality. Riverside, for example, excels in the plant sciences and entomology; Davis has a large agricultural school and the University's only veterinary medicine program; San Diego has excellent oceanography and marine biology programs; San Francisco is devoted exclusively to the health sciences. Among the campuses there are six medical schools and four law schools, as well as schools of architecture, business administration, education, engineering, and many others.
The UC campuses have a combined enrollment exceeding 234,000 students, over 90 percent of them California residents. About one fifth study at the graduate level. Some 150 laboratories, extension centers, and research and field stations strengthen teaching and research while providing public service to California and the nation. The collections of over 100 UC libraries on the 10 campuses are surpassed in size on the American continent only by the Library of Congress collection.
The UC faculty is internationally known for its distinguished academic achievements. On its 10 campuses the University has 31 Nobel laureates, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences is the largest of any university in the country.
The UC system is governed by a Board of Regents whose regular members are appointed by the Governor of California. In addition to setting general policy and making budgetary decisions for the UC system, The Regents appoint the President of the University, the 10 chancellors, and the directors and deans who administer the affairs of the individual campuses and divisions of the University.
The Regents delegate authority in academic matters to the Academic Senate, which determines academic policy for the University as a whole. The Senate, composed of faculty members and certain administrative officers, determines the conditions for admission and granting of degrees, authorizes and supervises courses and curricula, and advises University administrators on budgets and faculty appointments and promotions. Individual divisions of the Universitywide Academic Senate determine academic policy for each campus. Students participate in policymaking at both campuswide and systemwide levels.