In 1966, in a small wooden building situated among a grove of eucalyptus trees, UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies first opened its doors. Under the guidance of Dr. Martin Chamberlain, a former Peace Corps director in Africa, Extended Studies quickly established a reputation for being a reliable source of knowledge taught by national experts. The first educational programs reflected the social turbulence of the times, with courses in radical rhetoric and international affairs. Other offerings included a statewide lecture series on integrated circuits for engineers and performances by prominent jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.
With an entrepreneurial mindset, Chamberlain's staff assured Extended Studies' viability by providing instruction focused on personal growth and career advancement, with courses in accounting, real estate, nursing and women’s studies. Chamberlain also helped create a lecture series presented by Latino and African American community leaders and launched an English as a Second Language program for international students. “What makes a good administration is looking at what’s going on in society and determining how you can contribute to that,” Chamberlain said.
Interpreting the community's needs was, and is today, key to Extended Studies' programming. Beginning in the 1970's, Extended Studies recruited a diverse pool of local leaders from companies and organizations to sit on an advisory committee, and today Extended Studies' programs are developed collaboratively with multiple advisory committees. To extend the intellectual reach of UC San Diego into the community, Extended Studies recruited professors to offer lectures on the university's cutting-edge research. Extended Studies' philosophy continues to make UC San Diego's groundbreaking work accessible to the public through outlets such as UCSD-TV and UCTV.
Chamberlain said Extended Studies’ programs today are just as relevant and responsive to the community as they were in the 1960s.
“San Diego has always voiced a desire to pursue education at every stage of life,” he said. “The trick is to try and anticipate what’s going to be needed six months from now.”
One person who has been able to tap into early trends is Mary Walshok, Ph.D., who took over as the dean of UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies in 1981. Through her deep connections to the San Diego community and across the globe, Walshok helped position Extended Studies as a regional, national and global model of university outreach for research, education and assistance for growing companies.
During the 1980s, Extended Studies responded to the needs of the private sector by developing some of the nation’s earliest interdisciplinary education and assistance programs focusing on high-tech and science based industries.
“Today, Extended Studies-originated programs such as Executive Perspective for Scientists and Engineers and CONNECT are helping citizens understand the trends that are changing our world, assisting start-up enterprises and enhancing skill development in critical professions,” Walshok said.
The focus on business innovation was balanced with vibrant intellectual and cultural programs. Inquisitive minds were treated to lectures on energy issues and child development, traditional crafts of the Middle East and study abroad tours.
In the 1990s, Extended Studies launched three pivotal offerings focused on regional needs: online classes, the San Diego Dialogue and UCSD-TV. Identifying a need for on-demand learning, Extended Studies was one of the first providers of online courses, and today offers more than 60 on topics ranging from pharmaceutical sciences to engineering to healthcare. San Diego Dialogue was founded as a public policy research center and has conducted research on long-term challenges and opportunities facing the bi-national region, as well as helping to implement viable solutions to improve quality of life. Helping to connect campus and community, UCSD-TV offers more than two hundred original programs each year, reaching 2 million viewers locally and 15 million homes nationwide through UCTV. The station has been recognized with multiple awards including seven Emmys.
The new millennium saw Extended Studies address the growing needs of San Diego’s health care and biotech sectors by offering instruction in clinical trials design and management, regulatory affairs, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and development.
Today, Extended Studies' presence is felt throughout the region and around the world. Core offerings have evolved to fulfill a range of needs, including education and professional training, civic and cultural enrichment and regional economic solutions.