Excerpts From Our Interview With UC President Janet Napolitano

Gabriella Schwarz / March 27, 2015

For Janet Napolitano, the seed for engagement in higher education was planted by her father, a former medical school professor and dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

“I kind of grew up with that as the dinner table conversation—people around, faculty members and the like all the time,” Napolitano told Flipboard during our “red couch” interview in her Oakland, California office this month. “So I always had the idea.”

After serving as attorney general and governor of Arizona and secretary of Homeland Security she decided to return West and serve as president of the University of California.

“When I was governor what I liked working on, almost the best of everything was higher education because the impacts are so immediate, both for the students involved but also the economy of a state or a region,” Napolitano said. “So I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I could move back West, and maybe be in higher ed someplace and then I got a call from a headhunter. And then things happened.”

Now, as leader of the 10 campuses that make up the UC system, Napolitano is working to expand the role innovation and research play on campus, amid a difficult political climate. Watch Napolitano discuss her goals for the UC schools and the responsibility she feels toward diversity.

For more, watch the full interview here.

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~GabyS is reading the “Education Technology” topic tag