Chancellor of the University of California San Diego Pradeep Khosla
Welcome to ovation a weekly conversation with people who are shaping the technology landscape. I'm Peter Hi. President of Meta Strategy Advisor Technology Technology Executives Forbes columnist book author and your host each episode of technician features insights from top executives thought leaders at the intersection of business technology and ended notation. If you like what you hear we'd be grateful that you give us a rating on itunes or through. Whatever other sources you use for podcasts? Please subscribe so you. Don't miss a thing. Thank you weakest pretty closely pretty the Eighth Chancellor of University of California San Diego a public university nearly forty thousand students and revenues roughly sleep five and a half billion dollars becoming chancellor in two thousand twelve pretty his roll down the first ever spooky to plan for the university further. He's worked to expand college college access and affordability for underserved populations and enhanced the university's relationship with the community prior to joining UCSD. Pretty was the dean of the College of Engineering Hiring and Philip and Marsha Dowd University professor at Carnegie Mellon University in this interview pretty details the strategic plan. He's lead while he cites that he founded Great University when he arrived he knew it was destined for even greater things he set out to create a vision to realize that goal. We also discuss how the University of California system schools in Iraq racked and share best practices. Why pretty preferred at eight wor strategic plan over a longer form plan why he misses being a professor and a variety of other topics chancellor appropriate to speak with you today? Thank you thank you sir. It's a pleasure so You are the East Chancellor University of California San Diego that's in the role in August guest of the two thousand twelve just for context for those were listening at University of thirty nine. Forty Thousand Sheldon's and rising Twenty thousand employees revenues roughly five and a half billion dollars six undergraduate colleges five academic divisions graduate or professional schools. A University of growing influence and I wonder if you could take a moment and described university you found seven years ago and some of the details tales of the initial strategic plan you put in place soon thereafter right so the university I found seven years ago when I got here was to begin with amazing place. It had a billion dollars. Research Portfolio a twenty twelve. It was only fifty two years old. We were born in nineteen in sixty fifty nine years old. It had more research than some of the top Ivy League schools in the country It had more national cabinet members Uh the many topless country It was about twenty five. Twenty seven thousand students thing Maybe twenty eight thousand zooms in like nearly forty thousand so it was a blaze that had intrinsic strength it was primed for greatness US united said this in many of my talks This university was destined for greatness. It did not become great. It was destined the way this was created. Ruspoli had had to be drained. And why is that because it was created forced to fall for the first couple of years as a graduate only institution and windows created created. The criterion for Hiring Faculty was Nobel laureate or National Academy member of anything less than that wouldn't cut it in we have have the DNA has just propagator child We hire people with the great care to quality I know many any departments would leave. The line's open. If they don't find the right person the right quality and they were not finished for the sake of filling it and I just don't take these lines back act. Just because he didn't fit the repatriates. I think which recycled here. It's really interesting. So Quentin ambitious beginning and an end the dishes in terms of the kinds of the caliber of professors that the organization brought in. I would imagine that any university would love to have that and you've got some some Just before where we start rolling Taking a look gorgeous campus that you have here right on the Pacific Ocean. You've got some good structural things that others can't replicate I suppose. But what what's it whereas I would imagine as I say the university's mission to hire only Nobel laureates or were at the top of their fields. What is it about this university? That's been able to realize condition so I think initially this university game out of a scripts institution of which now griffey which is like if not the top the top due to an certainly the oldest ranked Graphic Institute in the country Director Roger Revile who was the visionary behind the creation of displays. I wanted an academic institution because scripts which not Griffey was primarily. A research institute is like. Sri So he wanted something like a caltech behind it These that's where the story goes into. It was created with that vision in mind so that was a sense of quality that somebody had in mind Mike when this was created a moment to go to the fact that not long after you ride you put together the first ever strategic playmate I keep talking about some of the substance of that right so when I got here like I said this is a great place But it was obvious to me that it was destined for bigger greatness In what I thought was already a very strong platform that we arrived at without any planning it was not clear to me the whereas all the world around me at that time that we could keep on going without planning An end up in the right place so my idea of creating a strategic plan had several components to it one was to provide guiding rails. So that the property of ending of the right place was higher that that if it was a random walk secondly I thought if we could villa plan which people could buy into. They will be energized. More they were they were already energize enough. But in I was gonNA write because the more they got energize. The more focused on doing the right things Anson Anson Last seven years a research has gone from nearly nine fifty million to one point four billion. So we've added more than research in seven years that most students have as their total research budget right and this is no work work. There's nothing I did anything about this. This is all the faculty hiring great people. Great people working hard in writing programs and really projecting a great vision So the whole strategic planning process so the third part of this process was for me to open a window where I could create a very very safe space for people to talk about their dreams or aspirations there's deductions there you know. What are the unhappiness? I could see in this window in about ninety days. I had knowledge were ten years working out here but I held it against. That's nobody I just learned Then I forgot who said what but I just remember the facts that happened to be true right and that has given me I think personally a a great ability to navigate this complex California Public University landscape it also. Uc San Diego as a campus Your role is chancellor. You have the ability to influence end end the part of an ecosystem that has influenced instead. It is really multi headed you mentioned the University of California system arguably the greatest stuff up set Ably Yeah Yeah I forgive to me at all right and of course you have the renowned faculty Russian you have the students you also have a wide ecosystem of donors owners of one of the reasons. Why this institution has done so incredibly well in terms of fundraising and I wonder how do you think about each of those constituent groups in how to divide your time Spending time each of them so first of all anything in everything I do including this interview to me is propagating the message passage of the intrinsic strength in the greatness of this place that's auto and I do it shamelessly Greek prime and once you do that and it is supported by facts and it's supported by a passion of people around you it becomes true and when people perceive it to be true. They WANNA support you because everybody wants to bet on a winning horse And I think It would. We had not done talk about why we were winning all the time. We just assumed that was a case where it was but the world is not that way. So that's amazing. And it sounds seems as though there's really a virtuous cycle that's been enacted here. You talked about the remarkable research and faculty that date back to the arrestees founding We've already talked about the one point. Three five billion dollars e sponsored research as I understand that the seven worldwide for public universities. You must super proud You also second only to UCLA in terms of number of applicants and so in the country in the entire country right United States. In so as I say this virtuous cycle that seems to be spinning round and round right improving with each turn each of those impacting the other to imagine yet there is. I think there are many reasons for the cycle of but I think I may want him inject one point which I think is kind of responsible a little bit too immediate the scientific plan most institutions Van It's like a forty page document. They might make a twenty pages but nonetheless. It's multi attends pages just document it is goals ABCD And some of these goals might be aspirational but nonetheless. The goals like we would be a number of top five in the next ten years or something like that. When we did this plan I decided less was more so the plan was gonNA be more a framework in not a twenty thirty forty base document And the plan was condensed into eight. Words student centered Research focused service-oriented of the university. And the interesting was that everybody who came to work read these. He's eight words. They decided what they meant. The words meant to them in their job and they did the right thing that day that month that year and there there was no top down mandate of students centered means You gotTA manage a fifty every year or interact with forty sorts today. None of that. That stuff right This empowered the staff and the faculty because there was no top down mandate it has become your responsibility to make this better blaze which is a much tougher proposition than me telling you if you work nine hours it will be a better place. Check the box and that's it right. Yeah so this was the uniqueness about this strategic plan in their many institutions that have copied are quote unquote framework. Because this from what I can tell was never done on. Before we're less was more words. Describe the plan and few words so like today if you ask me. What's your vision? It's one word destination so that he's a with a second. What does it mean destination It means for students for patients and for the local community so the first everybody understands what people don't understand what does is it needs to be a destination with the local community and then the answer is a destination for art culture entertainment for broader Sandiego as rich as people think San Diego is in terms of natural beauty and the dollar wealth. It's not quite that rain dollar wealth so I want us being a public institution. Russian doogie accessible significant underserved population out. Here they have never been to opera. They have never been to a dance. They've never been to a music show. I want them to be you you Enjoy all of this on our campus free of cost that's where it really compelling I WANNA go back to the UC system generally only speaking. I'm curious how do the different chancellors of ten universities work together to what extent they are influenced drawn from one another best practices share versus competition between the the the other night all of the above. So every month. We meet We spent a whole day together every month. First Wednesday of every month in Oakland convened by the the president of the system. And this is where we talk about the what's going on in the exchange best practices. It's not just US meeting the executive vice chancellors meet the CFO's meat and all of this is enabled by the president's office and that allows us to share best practices from the chancellor down to the director of admissions multi strategy of sharing practices. Very interesting I I want to also talk about your past. Prior to this role. You were the dean of the College of Engineering in the Philippine. Marsha Doubt University professor at Carnegie Mellon University On the shortlist of one degrees universities in the world and certainly in the discipline of engineering and your specific surprise of electrical engineer. Regan Computer Science Eddie. Eddie reported robotics as well particularly famous. They're all sending Just a remarkable university from a technology perspective. What what did you? What did you bring? Obviously you had administrative experience as a result of being deem you'll set academic credentials were top notch as well. I'm curious what you drop your experiences. This is a professor especially as a professor technology in your in your current role so what I have drawn is the ability not to look at large amounts of information complex situation and extract the problem on say statement and a problem strategy from there so instead of just thinking deeply about issues My view is we think deeply about issues and then we were deeply to solve the issue. We just keep on talking right and I think that is really engineering education especially Carnegie Carnegie Mellon for my PhD. So that's what I learned It was problem. Assad expanded Jesus and understanding how to articulate complex issues into problems that are solvable condense solving that. Yeah it's been quite some time since you were just a professor you vis those days after the do so. When I was a professor I used to teach freshman in and that was the most enjoyable? I used to teach freshmen introduction to electrical and computer engineering and then I would teach graduate. Students Robotics and it was a two extremes creams I am. I actually enjoyed both but I really enjoy teaching freshmen. Because I think it's the greatest pleasure to take somebody buddy fresh out of school and ability to teach them complex concepts that everybody thought dot is impossible to teach impossible to make it easy. That's interesting I know that you've also speaking of Ecosystems I reference or you personally have a strong on consistent in the venture community in startup communities. Well you sound audible organizations and no doubt drawing bass expose ZAC DEMOC and somebody who's involved involved distance world. I'm curious how you remain abreast of developments from that perspective. You must be so pleased that so many of your former students have gone to remarkable things starting some of the great companies. So they've done really well so A. It's not quite as easy to remain abreast on mytalk clan. But having said that I try and let me tell you how I try the first on this campus a joke. But it's actually serious. I have more than two thousand people. Top people in areas willing to give me free tutorials on any topic. I want and I used that very shamelessly I mean I have. I run into faculty s questions. I'm asking asking questions not because I'm doubting their doing. I'm asking questions with Prang alert. They're saying and what they're doing and why they're doing it and because of that From somebody who did not care about biology growing up or did not like organic chemistry if you look at this place. These are the two two significant strengths of the space and life sciences. And I have a lot of these areas very Muslim. Be At that at least understanding understanding the issues in the areas So that's one. Secondly I go to conferences. I meet people the Alumni I get I get engaged with some some one way or the other. One needs to be abreast of developments. But not as deeply as I would like we talked without the university bound seven years ago. Some of the things you've enacted in the results of striking results say many cases actually ahead of schedule or plan address. Progress progress up. Where would you like? Let's say seven years. Hence where would you see the university if you were to accomplish what you so. You're not seven years hands I I think I don't know how to qualify this. But here's what I would like this to be at where I would like it to be. At at a point where the alumni the community own visa who we are intellectually emotionally And physically I can interpret that multiple different ways but when I see that ownership of our our existence from somebody else's point of view then I know that we have grabbed the mindshare That we wanted to grab over time. We become a awesome. Well Chancellor pretty cost thank you so much for joining tech innovation today. It's inspiring to hear all that you've accomplished from your years as an academic damage from your your leadership positions as Dean now as Chancellor Universities Congratulations Invest which thank you and thank you for doing this. Thank you for this the opportunity thanks for tuning in. Please join me next week when my guests will be Steven Schwartzman the founder and CEO of Blackstone and his twenty nineteen comes to a close. I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our loyal listeners. We recently named feed spots list of top ten must-listen Cio podcast of twenty nineteen. And this would not have been possible without support if you found are content to be valuable. I greatly appreciate it if you give us a ratings on apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you again and happy holidays.