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The Education Imperative
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8 Mile
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Spring 2004
The Education Imperative
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Universities not only must prepare educated citizens who will shape the future; they have a responsibility to ready the generations coming up to enter the ranks of academe

Illustration by Ken Orvidas
Photography by Mark Berndt
Illustration of a Book as an Academic Institution

IN THIS SPRING 2004 ISSUE, UCLA Magazine focuses on K-12 education and preparation for higher learning. That intersection between K-12 and higher education has long been a priority for Chancellor Albert Carnesale, who sat down with UCLA Magazine to discuss his thoughts on what universities must do to prepare students for lifelong learning and success.

Q: You have noted that, like all critical institutions in society, higher education exists within an environment of rapid, pervasive change — some related to technology, some demographic and some economic. To respond to these changes, the role of the university itself, and the public's expectations of higher education, also is changing. In what ways is this occurring?

A: At research universities like UCLA, we believe it is our obligation to produce informed citizens. We prepare leaders and well-trained professionals who will shape our shared future. In the United States today, higher education is a priority for the majority of people. Nearly two-thirds of American high school graduates go on to some form of post-secondary school. Moreover, as the workplace becomes increasingly complex, and as careers shift over time, we find that adults are pursuing further study through venues like UCLA Extension or our Executive Education programs. As a public university, we feel a special obligation to serve all constituencies by ensuring access to the university.

Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate everyone. Impediments to university access are very real — we need to provide safe and well-equipped facilities and attract and retain quality faculty. If we are going to prepare leaders for all segments of our society, we must have students from all segments of our society. As state funding diminishes and our state's population increases, we face a real challenge to our goals of quality and access.

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