The mission of the University of California, Merced is embodied in its proud claim of being the first American research university of the twenty-first century. Opening in 2005 as the tenth campus of the University of California, UC Merced continually strives for excellence in carrying out the University's mission of teaching, research and service, benefiting society through discovering and transmitting new knowledge and functioning as an active repository of organized knowledge. As a key tenet in carrying out this mission, UC Merced promotes and celebrates the diversity of all members of its community.
A research university is a community bound by learning, discovery and engagement. As the first American student-centered research university of the 21st century, UC Merced's strong graduate and research programs mesh with high-quality undergraduate programs. New knowledge increasingly depends on links among the disciplines, working together on questions that transcend the traditional disciplines. UC Merced fosters and encourages cross-disciplinary inquiry and discovery.
Interdisciplinary practice in research nourishes undergraduate learning, building a foundation in connecting the ways that academic disciplines understand and grapple with society's problems. UC Merced undergraduates experience education inside and outside the classroom, applying what they learn through undergraduate research, service learning and leadership development. As apprentice scholars, graduate students build their understanding of and ability to do independent research in their chosen field, as the groundwork for entering professional life. Lifelong learners continue to hone their knowledge and workplace skills.
The twenty-first century ushered in the promise of new ways of connecting people to new knowledge and to one another. UC Merced capitalizes on this promise by functioning as a network, not simply a single place, linking its students, faculty and staff to the educational resources of the state, nation and world. The idea of network extends to UC Merced’s relationships with neighboring institutions: educational, cultural and social. Born as a member of the distinguished network known as the University of California, UC Merced seeks strong and mutually supportive relationships with a variety of collaborators in its region: public and private colleges and universities; federal and state organizations that share UC Merced’s educational and research goals; and cultural and social institutions.
This networking principle is also realized through the physical and intellectual integration between UC Merced and its surrounding community. The campus has been established as a model of physical sustainability for the twenty-first century, inviting all members of the campus and surrounding community to think and act as good stewards of the environment that they will convey to future generations. UC Merced celebrates its location in the San Joaquin Valley, reflecting the poetry of its landscape, history, resources and diverse cultures, while capitalizing on and expanding the Valley's connections to the emerging global society. UC Merced recognizes that research that begins with the natural laboratory at home can extend what is known in the state, nation and world.