Public postsecondary institutions: It’s all about access

By Morgan Appel, director of UC San Diego Extension's Education Department

The keystone of any public postsecondary institution lies in its ability to serve myriad constituencies in a way that attends to contextual needs in a rigorous and thought-provoking way. In a state as diverse as California, this can mean many things. To the Education Department at UC San Diego Extension, a fundamental cross-cutting theme embedded in service is accessibility. California is well served by postsecondary institutions that dot the landscape from Yreka to the Mexican border. As one might intuit, access is multidimensional and does not necessarily equate to easy enrollment. Indeed, we believe that that true access encompasses the following characteristics:

  • An intellectually stimulating and contextually grounded academic experience for all practitioners, irrespective of geography

  • Coursework and programming that is personalized, convenient and affordable for those who wish to participate

  • Coursework and programming that offer opportunities for synergistic discussions around teaching and learning and serving diverse populations across the globe

  • Wide arrays of resources provided based on academic and professional need and interest versus predetermined syllabi

  • Course-embedded content and metacognitive strategies that empower practitioners to attend to the cognitive and affective needs of pupils

  • Coursework delivered by seasoned professionals that not only enhance knowledge but ignite passions for teaching and learning and the education profession

  • Programs that bring the best that the University of California has to offer to its stakeholders

The Education Department seeks to provide access to our Commission-approved programs in a number of ways:

  • Focusing our efforts on three approved programs to ensure that coursework is of the highest academic caliber and utility in the field

  • Eliminating fees for application and recommendation

  • Providing highly specialized custom-designed cohorts at a discounted rate

  • Offering multiple points of entry to our programs (rolling admissions and monthly starts)

  • Offering coursework and programming online to broaden our reach, serving impacted urban, suburban and rural areas

  • Capping courses at 20 to maximize quality of interaction between candidates and between instructors and candidates

  • Embedding materials within courses to mitigate costs associated with textbooks

  • Updating our cache of courses to meet the needs of practitioners

  • Providing multiple avenues for feedback within the context of coursework and programming

The underlying message in this post is that educators should never have to settle for what is available. We invite practitioners across the P-20 continuum to experience access to professional development in a way that is quite different from the norm. For more information, please contact Morgan Appel, director of the Education Department at or by telephone at 858-534-9273.

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