Tips and trends for filing your 2016 taxes


With football season officially over, it’s time to touchdown on your 2016 taxes. For some – who are scrambling to collect W-2s and 1099’s and assembling write-offs to prepare their tax returns – this process can be stressful and daunting, especially with constant changes from the IRS.

UC San Diego Extension instructor Akore Berliner, a CPA specializing in business and real estate taxation, takes some of the guesswork and anxiety out of individual tax returns, and offers some tips and trends to help you best prepare for a smooth and easy filing.

  • Audits are on the rise: The IRS is hiring more staff and increasing its audits, especially on small businesses, which are starting to see notices even on $1,000 items. “When preparing your own tax return, sometimes people make mistakes that get them audited; a lot of those happen by writing things off you shouldn’t have or it was prepared wrong,” Berliner said. “If you’re unsure at all, utilize resources that are available and get a consultation. TurboTax has a hotline you can call and talk to a CPA. The IRS will even answer questions for free. The IRS website is actually amazing.”
  • Cyber security and identity theft: Berliner advises taxpayers to ensure the security of their computer networks when filing taxes. Passwords on computers, for example, can prevent fraud and relieve a lot of headaches and stress. “The biggest issue we are seeing is protecting our clients’ data,” she said. “Someone can hack into your Wi-Fi and get right into your network. I’ve had so many issues where a hacker had filed a fraudulent tax return for a client by getting their social security number. The IRS is cracking down on that, but people still need to cautious of their sensitive data. The thieves are out there. It’s easy money for them.”
  • Earned Income Credit increase: The maximum allowable Earned Income Credit will go up modestly in 2016. For those with three or more qualifying children, the maximum credit will increase by $27 to $6,269. Those with two children will get a maximum of $5,572, which is $24 more than in 2015. One-child families can get up to $3,373, which is $14 more than last year. Those without children will see a $3 increase and can claim up to $506 for 2016.
  • Charitable donations: Don’t forget to keep track of your charitable donations and receipts throughout the year. Even if your donations add up to $1,000 for 2016, you could receive $300 extra on your tax bill, Berliner said.
  • Education credits: Keep in mind that student loan interests and tuition expenses are also great write-offs that many people forget. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for college expenses.Taxpayers may be able to deduct up to $4,000 for tuition-related expenses for themselves, their spouse or a dependent.

Berliner, who has been a tax accountant for 17 years, teaches three UC San Diego Extension tax-related courses, including Federal Individual Income Taxation which includes an overview of federal individual income tax law and procedures. The course covers topics such as taxable entities and tax calculations, filing status and exemptions, gross income inclusions and exclusions, business and personal deductions and losses, depreciation and tax credits, and property transactions. A brief review of California tax coverage is also included, with an emphasis on tax law and tax planning, rather than on tax preparation.

Berliner takes a no-nonsense approach with her students by offering basic, useful tools for filing individual tax returns.

“I try to do a high level view so they can understand it in an aggregate form. I really want to make it relevant and interesting for them. In reality, taxes are interesting, especially the individual taxes because it impacts everybody,” she said. “A lot of my students are getting their CPA license, but I try to make it as simple as possible. I want them to understand the concept rather than the mechanics. After taking the course, they even feel more confident doing their own taxes.”

For more information on UC San Diego Extension’s Taxation certificate and other related courses, visit

Lean Six Sigma produces results for UC San Diego

img_1160As a global leader in higher education, UC San Diego strives for excellence in all aspects of campus life – from offering world-class educational opportunities to leading the industry in research accomplishments – that ambition transcends to employees as well. In order to become better, UC San Diego has partnered with UC San Diego Extension to provide employees the opportunity to gain valuable problem solving tools through the Lean Six Sigma program.

Lean Six Sigma’s process improvement methodologies teach participants how to eliminate steps and activities that don’t add value to a process, ensuring the employee’s skills are being used to the best of their potential. Because people are the most valuable asset of any organization, this is an important component to the program’s goals.

pierre_ouilletPierre Ouillet, vice chancellor and CFO of UC San Diego, believes in the necessity of constantly improving and is a strong advocate of the Lean Six Sigma program.

“Our Strategic Plan gives us an imperative to challenge ourselves to constantly increase both the efficiency of our operations and the quality of the services we provide in support of teaching, research and public service” said Ouillet. “The Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement methodology enables us to do so. It has a long history of success not only in its traditional manufacturing industries, but also across service industries, higher education and health care.”

Having the opportunity to gain effective skills is paramount to always improving, which is why Ouillet allocated funds for 26 scholarships for participants in the most recent Lean Six Sigma course.

“Through our Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives and in partnership with UC San Diego Extension, we are building and supporting a culture of continuous improvement through targeted projects, education and collaboration,” said Ouillet “A great importance is the ongoing positive impact on service quality and our collaborative culture.”

A number of UC San Diego staff have completed UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma program, earning a green belt and implementing the methodologies in the workplace to achieve results.

Lisa Thai Schlossman, principal human resources analyst at UC San Diego, said the Lean Six Sigma program taught her to look beyond the surface of a problem to understand the underlying issues.

“What Lean Six Sigma teaches you is to explore the root cause of a problem and to measure it with data,” she said.

A principle methodology is teaching participants how to step outside the process in order to see what is painful about going through the process and then making improvements.

“One of the best things that Lean Six Sigma did for me was help me understand the process for the customer,” Schlossman said. “It taught me to expand my perspective and understand how the customer is experiencing the process.”

Rosemarie Marino Del-Mar, IT project manager at UC San Diego, appreciated the emphasis of real-world learning in which participants could immediately apply their new knowledge.

“We came in with projects from our work environment that we needed to solve,” she said. “What I like is that there was a real goal.”

img_1076The impact of the Lean Six Sigma program is felt throughout campus and has already improved a number of processes including:

  • reducing the amount of time to recruit and hire staff;
  • shortening payment terms while ensuring UC San Diego’s commitment to consistently pay on time;
  • developing an objective measuring system to receive and understand patient experiences in the International Patients Program;
  • shortening compliance approval processes for recruiting faculty;
  • reducing errors in the HDH Hospitality Express Catering Orders;
  • identifying ways to expedite the UC San Diego’s Staff Volunteer Appointment Process;
  • and reducing cycle time for the job classification process.

As an active supporter of continuous improvement, Ouillet said he plans to offer additional scholarship funds for upcoming Lean Six Sigma courses through Extension to further UC San Diego’s efficiency and superb customer service.

For more information on UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma programs, visit us online at

Launch pad: Taking successful product management to the next level

product-managementBy Andrea Siedsma

In today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven market, having the best product or technology doesn’t always equal success. In fact, companies are faced with mounting pressure to define, develop and launch the right products and services at the right time and in the right market. Product managers are at the forefront of this evolution, bringing together business and consumer needs while articulating strategy, defining requirements, and being involved in on-going delivery.

A new Product Management program through UC San Diego Extension addresses these challenges and changes by offering students a comprehensive look into the elements and skills necessary to transition into a product management role at their company. The Product Management program provides the real-world tools necessary to be a successful product manager, from learning the phase-gate process critical to product management success to the team and leadership skills necessary to lead a cross functional product management team. Coursework ranges from in-class lectures to field trips and guest speakers, as well as hands on cases, projects and market simulations. The program kicks off on Feb. 9, 2017 with an opening dinner, followed by the first module on Friday, Feb. 10.

While developing new products and managing them through their life cycle is the lifeblood of companies, especially those in technology and science, new product development is risky and most new products ultimately fail. The goal of the in-depth UC San Diego Extension program is to improve a company’s ability to bring successful products to market and maintain that success throughout their lifecycle.

carlton“Product management is in greater demand than it’s ever been because the pressure on companies to be innovative, especially technology companies, is as high as it’s ever been – somebody sitting at home watching a football game can impact a whole industry by creating an innovative app,” said Carlton C. O’Neal, program director of the UC San Diego Extension Product Management program. “The only way for a company to be systemically innovative is to have quality product managers following a world class product management process.”

O’Neal (pictured here) said successful product management also includes knowing how to fail quickly and efficiently.

“Product management, especially in smaller companies and even some bigger companies, is typically not managed as a separate function with an iterative phase-gate process – a series of phases separated by approval gates. It’s necessary to balance a bunch of different priorities, from trying to innovate or fail quickly, to using limited resources, and getting buy-in from all different departments,” he said.

The program has been designed to benefit a wide range of employees, whether in engineering, marketing, sales, finance, operations, customer service, or manufacturing, who might want to move into a product management role, as well as current product managers who want to sharpen their skills and learn the latest product management techniques. Throughout the course, students learn how to collect new ideas, and launch and manage products throughout their lifecycle. The comprehensive program covers product management for the full life cycle of products including overall fit with the company strategy, as well as new technological developments. Students are even introduced to various product management tools, such as innovative product roadmap tools.

Hand drawn product management circular conceptWhile this is a holistic approach to looking at a company’s strategy and product development, O’Neal said it’s critical that organizations also be flexible in the creative process.

“The challenge is that senior executives and companies are under increasing pressure to be more innovative and more rapidly create a new product every two years instead of five years or a new software release every six months. But if you are too efficient, you won’t be as innovative,” said O’Neal, who has 25 years of product management and marketing experience and designed the program based on industry best practices across a wide range of world-class companies. “The challenge is how to maximize creativity and innovation while at the same time being efficient and successful with new products.”

For vibrant tech regions like San Diego, such a program could give local companies the boost they need to remain competitive. In fact, the UC San Diego Extension program was designed based on input from several local CEOs.

“San Diego as a growing city is constantly upgrading its professional community. One of the fastest and best ways to enhance the San Diego business community is to have companies be more innovative and more successful with their new products,” O’Neal said. “UC San Diego Extension’s mission is to help businesses very quickly improve their new product development approaches and to be more innovative and more successful in growing their companies. We are a local resource; for only a few hours a month, we can greatly impact the success of local businesses in terms of innovation and launching new products.”

The easy way to share ideasThe UC San Diego Extension Product Management program includes six training modules, including: Product Management, Planning and Innovation; Team Building and Decision Making; Financial Considerations for Product Managers, Marketing and Sales; New Product Process including Phase Gate; and Product Portfolio Management and End of Life. For more information about the program, call (858) 534-9148 or visit


A change in the marketplace – UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma Program breaks bottlenecks, improves efficiency

lss1Lean Six Sigma Green Belt students Tina Mata, Sarah Barron and Ana Portlock

As a computer programmer for more than two decades, Tina Mata has learned that technology doesn’t solve every problem. In fact, many times, inefficiencies in the workplace can be improved the “old fashioned” way — through problem solving; identifying and removing unnecessary processes; and working as a team to effect change.

Mata was part of a team that did just that during the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program offered through UC San Diego Extension. Lean Six Sigma is a set of tools, techniques, and operating principles that represents the best of practices in quality and process improvement, resulting in improved performance and reduced costs. The Green Belt, a new addition to Extension’s Lean Six Sigma program, requires students to locate $40,000 in projected annual savings via their projects.

Through the program, students earn various colors of belts, which indicate their levels of mastery of expertise. A person who has earned the designation of Lean Six Sigma Green Belt often plays a key role in the success of an organization’s process improvement initiatives. After earning their green belts, students can move on to the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certificate program, which includes a projected $100,000 in annual savings for each project.

Mata and her teammates won Best in Class for the Spring 2016 Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project presentations. The project focused on improving the turnaround time for invoices that flow through UC San Diego’s Marketplace, the portal the university uses to purchase goods and services. The project significantly cut down the average time to process an invoice.

Mata, a programmer analyst at ITS/Housing Dining Hospitality at UC San Diego, said the project opened her eyes to a world sans technology.

“Some people say, ‘Let’s just automate it.’ But they don’t look at the overall process—what is happening to the data and information,” she said. “Six Sigma forces you to look at the process instead of saying, ‘We’re going to buy this piece of software and it will be better.’”

The team’s Invoice Cycle Time project examined UC San Diego’s ability to offer expedited payment terms. Currently, invoice payment terms for paper invoices defaults to net 30 days in order to allow enough time for processing. When the project started, the estimated processing time was 1 to 20 days. The goal of the project was to shorten the processing time to less than 10 days in order to offer shorter payment terms.

Here are some of the results from the team’s winning project:

  • Significantly shortened invoice processing time by eliminating unnecessary or redundant steps
  • Improved visibility of defects in the invoice process
  • Used data to dispel bias
  • Improved the client experience and relationships with vendors by accelerating the invoice cycle time to ensure UC San Diego’s commitment to consistently pay on time

Mata was one of seven students who received scholarships for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program for 2015–2016. She plans to apply for another scholarship to earn her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. UC San Diego significantly increased the scholarship program for fiscal year 2016–2017 in hopes of attracting more university staff to take part in the program to help implement efficiencies across the campus.

“I am so grateful to take this class,” Mata said. “It has opened my eyes to ask questions that I wouldn’t have asked before, and I have a better understanding of what my end customers want to do. It will play a significant role in my career.”

Process of Elimination

Ana Portlock, the team’s project leader, will also carry the Lean Six Sigma mantra into her everyday work life. She said while the university has transitioned to electronic invoicing, some suppliers have not yet made the switch and are still sending in paper invoices, which can create a backlog.

“There is still a lot of ground to cover,” said Portlock, a senior business analyst serving as a project lead on the Integrated Procedure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS) Technology and Project Management Team at UC San Diego. “Even if we automated invoices, we still have to make sure that flow isn’t causing a backlog. We want things to keep moving. That’s what the whole Six Sigma program is about: to make sure things are flowing and continuously moving through the system. We are still looking at ways to improve to make sure we are not wasting time and resources on things that we can do better.”

She said the most impactful part of the project was empowering staffers to examine their own processes and brainstorm improvements. This yielded some of the best results.

“Eliminating one person’s step in the whole process was a small but significant change,” Portlock said. “There was a time when this step, which was to count and log batches of invoices, was necessary based on the volume of invoices and the need to track them. Paper invoices have since decreased, and the step was no longer necessary. This is just one example of a step that was removed from the process to save time and keep the invoices flowing.

“This class and project were eye opening for me,” she added. “Most companies make assumptions that if you automated processes, all problems go away. That’s not true.”

Improving Vendor Relations

Reducing the invoice-to-payment time has not only made Sarah Barron’s job a little easier, it has improved her department’s relationship with vendors.

“Improving our payment terms with the Lean Six Sigma program will help us negotiate more favorable contracts with vendors in the future,” said Barron, director of fiscal affairs in the business office for the UC San Diego Department of Medicine and a key member of the Invoice Cycle Time project team. “If we don’t have a good reputation with the vendors in the community, they won’t want to work with us.”

For example, she said, her department runs a large number of events annually with individual event coordinators working with various vendors. A lot of time was spent tracking down invoices and payments, coordinating communications, and going back and forth.

“Lean Six Sigma opened my eyes to how we can be more efficient; it changes your mind-set of how you can improve processes and free up extra time,” Barron said.

The team had about a month and a half to collect data and to implement its changes.

“It was pretty intense,” said Barron, who also received a scholarship for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program. “It was stressful because of the condensed timeframe to implement an improvement, and we had to show that it worked. But it forced us to tackle any issues head-on. It was hard to take that time from your day-to-day tasks, but I know learning those skills will improve my outlook and my ability to create positive change for years moving forward. While the time commitment in the short term is hard, it has long-term benefits.”


Pay It Forward

Besides helping to create efficiencies within the university, UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma program is also open to organizations and companies throughout San Diego County. Past students have come from organizations and companies such as Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm and even the City of San Diego. After all, who doesn’t want more efficiency in their processes?

“To come into a program that guarantees that you will see at least $100,000 in annual savings (for the Black Belt certificate) is very appealing to a lot of different organizations,” said Hugo Villar, director of business, science and technology at UC San Diego, noting that the average annual savings for the Lean Six Sigma program is actually $250,000 for most projects. “To be able to achieve that in only 14 weeks is pretty amazing.”

“We teach students how to work effectively as a team and to take that knowledge back into their work environment and get the buy-in from everybody around them to implement these plans,” he added. “It fuels collaboration and connectivity with others.”

More information on UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Program can be found here.

City of San Diego teams up with UC San Diego Extension to improve customer service and increase productivity

10175285 - above view of four business partners interacting at meeting

Thanks to a new connection between the University of California San Diego Extension and the City of San Diego, 911 wait times were reduced, street light maintenance was expedited and customer service for libraries and infrastructure projects were improved. These changes resulted from city staff members’ participation in process improvement training known as Lean Six Sigma at UC San Diego Extension.

Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement program that companies around the globe use to identify problems and deliver data-driven solutions. Almis Udrys, director of the city’s Performance and Analytics Department, said he saw the UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma training as a way to help city staff begin to look at the problems facing the City of San Diego in new ways.

“I see this training as opening a door to a new culture at the city – a culture that embraces innovation, data-enabled decision making and a commitment to continuous improvement,” Udrys said. “It really is an extension of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s vision for a city government that is as innovative as the people it serves. Investing in this training is investing in the future by ensuring staff have the tools and insights to drive meaningful change. We’re looking forward to taking the lessons our team learned and deploying them citywide for the benefit of more San Diegans.”

The City of San Diego sent seven people through the 16-week program. The projects resulted in a variety of improvements, including:

Reduced emergency call times: By revising the information input screen and automating a portion of the call process, a working group from the Fire-Rescue Department was able to reduce the length of 90 percent of calls received by 16 seconds in the first few months – a 16 percent improvement compared to the same time period a year ago. The city calculated that the reduced call times had the potential to save an estimated additional 22 lives annually.

Improved library material delivery: To reduce the wait times for library patrons to receive requested books and other materials, one team analyzed how to improve the material sorting process. By identifying and cutting out a step in the sorting process that consumed a significant amount of time and motion, the team was able to come up with a simplified process to increase their productivity by 42 percent, which was valued at an estimated $121,953 of annual cost avoidance in terms of staff time.

Faster street light maintenance: A team from the Transportation and Storm Water Department created a new workflow system that reduced the lead time for street light maintenance by about three days and resulted in an estimated $15,000 in savings. In follow-on phases, further efficiencies will be gained via the elimination of paper work order forms.

Improved operations at the Public Works Customer Service Center: By eliminating paper forms, transitioning to newer technologies and eliminating unnecessary steps in the process, a team from the Transportation and Storm Water Department was able to shorten the time it takes to handle customer complaints. The changes also resulted in an estimated cost avoidance of around $113,000 per year and improved communication with customers.

“The results of this program really add up, which is why Mayor Faulconer and the City Council have been so supportive of our efforts,” Udrys said. “Every productivity gain, no matter how small, means a better experience for each resident, in line with the city’s mission to effectively serve and support our San Diego community.”

Hugo Villar, director of business, science and technology at UC San Diego Extension, said the partnership with the City of San Diego is part of Extension’s larger mission to ensure organizations and individuals have the skills they need to bolster the region’s economy and quality of life.

“In this rapidly changing world, we know employees need to constantly add new skills to advance their careers and to benefit the organizations where they work,” Villar said. “Our Lean Six Sigma courses enable people to identify problems and come up with innovative solutions. It was a pleasure to work with the City of San Diego to deliver this education and training to its employees.”

50 Voices of the Future: Kurt Gering knows talent when he sees it


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

There was a time when the average American worker figured he would stay at the same company for his entire career. But over time, there’s been a dramatic shift in how people envision their career trajectories. Today, workers are much more flexible – and much more likely to hop from job to job and from one company to another. Kurt Gering, who teaches a course about strategic talent acquisition at UC San Diego Extension, sees a big shift in the role of a company’s human resources department. Gering – director of Talent, Culture and Capability at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority – sees a future in which HR takes a much more hands-on role in shaping a company’s culture. As the workforce becomes more flexible, so, too, must the people in charge of doing the hiring. The best HR departments of the future, Gering says, will be the ones that “see talent as an asset and something you really need to invest in and nurture and grow.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Over the last 50 years, we’ve evolved from a production economy to one built around intellectual capital. In the past, up to 80 percent of an organization’s value was most likely dependent on tangible assets. That paradigm is gone. Today that model is reversed for most organizations; 80 percent of the value is intellectual capital and only 20 percent is tangible assets. And so the focus has to be on the human component. That is the value creator and differentiator of truly successful organizations in the future. How will human resources create value in this new paradigm? It’s really on the strategic side. It’s about assuring the organization has the right people, in the right seats, at the right time, with the right skills, for the right price, and making sure that they are engaged and really giving their maximum capacity every day.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

In the freelance and gig economies, work is no longer constrained by a physical organization. I can work when I want, and I control the terms of my employment by doing that. And I can sell my intellectual capital or my product virtually. And so you’re starting to see incredible flexibility in the work arrangements. You really are seeing that ability to freelance and have relationship networks that drive value creation instead of traditional organizations. And to me, that’s where we’ll see the biggest change. There’s also much more mobility of labor. People can work virtually. And so, people can work for companies in different parts of the world or different parts of the nation in a way that never would have been possible before. And so, your ability to identify and tap into really incredibly diverse talent is huge.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big thing truly is an empowered workforce. Our definition of leadership is changing and new workers can come in with technology at their fingertips and the ability to access learning and information from anywhere. The notion that somehow the work is confined to a relationship within the organization is just eroding so rapidly. And so, how we think about leadership in that context and how we develop leaders who can manage in that context, I think, is really the biggest challenge that we face both in our organization and, I think, in most organizations, because it really does require a different type of leader, a different skill set and capability that, oftentimes, is at odds with the traditional leadership model that we’ve had for many years.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I think it’s actually really an exciting time to get into human resources, because what’s happening is, you’re kind of seeing a shift from the transactional to the strategic. In the past, we would have been manually processing and doing all the transactional stuff – the benefits administration, the compensation, the employee relations – and a lot of that can all be done online, electronically now. And so, I think our contribution is going to be, really, helping organizations, both locally andSt globally, see talent as an asset and something you really need to invest in and nurture and grow. And part of the process is defining the strategic capabilities needed for your particular organization. And I think, ideally, HR can help organizations think that through, identify it, and recruit it. Once engaged and onboard, those types of folks will really help drive long-term value creation.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Five decades from now, I would imagine that our profession is much more relationship-based and collaboration-based than it is transactionally based. I would imagine that we are integrated and seen as a core function that supports flexible talent deployment across an organization. I think the HR role is going to be to help people optimize their potential and growth. This will allow them to help the organization meet their needs from a talent perspective and really stay agile in responding to a rapidly evolving market place.


Kurt Gering, director of Talent, Culture and Capability at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, teaches Strategic Talent Acquisition at UC San Diego Extension, which is a part of the following certificate programs Business Management, Human Resource Management and Talent Acquisition.

UC San Diego Extension announces “The Next Fifty” scholarship recipients

50thLogoCMYKUniversity of California San Diego Extension has announced the 10 recipients for “The Next Fifty” scholarships, which is part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The scholarship program is UC San Diego Extension’s way to give back to the community by helping people prepare for what’s next. Awardees can use the $5,000 scholarship toward Extension’s courses and certificates.

Extension selected the 10 recipients out of close to 500 applications and the recipients represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The recipients and their areas of study are:

  1. David Beatty for Business Analysis Tools and Strategies
  2. Lala Forrest for Art and the Creative Process
  3. Rami Husseini for Datamining
  4. Norma Lopez for Teaching Adult Learners
  5. Patrick Mazza III for Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Alexandra Southard for Business Intelligence Analysis
  7. Kathleen Stadler for Fundraising and Development
  8. Abigail Wattierrez for Sustainable Business Practices
  9. Ryan Williams for Community Research and Program Evaluation
  10. Jordan Woolsey for Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English)

The scholarships were open to those with at least a high school degree or equivalent and who saw UC San Diego Extension as a way to advance their career or pursue their passions. The applicants were required to write a 500-word essay on how Extension can help them prepare for the future, which will be shared on Extension’s blog in the coming weeks.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community outreach and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said “The Next Fifty” scholarships deliver on Extension’s mission to offer the education and training needed to ensure the region is prepared for changes occurring in everything from the arts to technology to science.

“UC San Diego Extension wants to be a positive force for change. For more than 50 years, Extension has been evolving its programs and educational offerings to meet the needs of San Diego,” Abeyta said. “These scholarships will help individuals stay ahead of the curve and get ready for what’s next and underscore our commitment to lifelong learning.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Extension has been publishing a weekly blog feature called “Voices of the Future,” which showcases thought leaders including UC San Diego faculty, industry and civic leaders as well as Extension instructors on the technological and social advances envisioned in the next 50 years. These stories are designed to cover a wide variety of topics and highlight the life-changing advances happening on campus, in the San Diego region, and in the education sector itself.

UC San Diego Extension has also offered a variety of public lectures and programs to deliver on Extension’s anniversary celebration’s core mission and message, which is to prepare individuals and institutions for change. Upcoming events include a panel on the Election 2016 that Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, will moderate and that will feature, Thad Kousser, chair and professor of political science at UC San Diego; Scott Lewis, editor of the Voice of San Diego; and Laura Fink, professional political consultant.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s anniversary scholarships, blog features and events, visit

Nonprofits demand data

49845204 - home office design workspace room concept

For nonprofits, their success has long been tied to whether they can tell their story in a compelling way. But now, it is just as important for nonprofits to make sure their numbers add up. With the rise of big data and a demand for evidence-based decision making, more nonprofits need to be able to demonstrate the impact of their work. In fact, their funders are demanding it.

“We have moved into an era where just having an important cause or an emotional story is not enough,” said Josh Shapiro, director of UC San Diego’s Center for Research on the Regional Economy. “You need to demonstrate how you are making a difference because funders have become more impact driven. You need data to effectively tell your story.”

Because of the demand for nonprofits to show – and not merely tell – how they are making a difference, UC San Diego Extension has developed a new certificate in Community Research and Program Evaluation that is launching this fall. The 12-unit program will teach those at nonprofits how to design and implement a rigorous evaluation of their organizations’ work to demonstrate the benefits to the community and to their funders.

Shapiro said many of the 3,500 nonprofits throughout San Diego are clamoring for help in setting up systems to collect, organize and analyze their data so they can demonstrate they are delivering on their stated mission.

“After working with numerous nonprofits, I realized the directors and program managers were extremely smart and cared deeply about their mission, but none were trained in research and evaluation techniques. Data was an elusive necessity,” said Shapiro.

Aimee Zeitz, chief impact and data officer for the United Way of San Diego who served as an advisor during the development of the certificate, said the skills that will be taught are essential to any nonprofit.

“I see this certificate as a critical development opportunity across multiple fields,” she said. “From the community perspective working with hundreds of nonprofits in San Diego, this is spot on.”

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Shapiro agreed, saying the program is ideal for those working in schools, health care organizations, government, nonprofits, social service agencies and consulting firms. He said the certificate is designed to benefit a nonprofit organization in the short run while helping participants advance their careers in the increasingly competitive nonprofit sector, which currently employs more than 105,000 people in the region.

“Like almost every other sector, data analysis in the nonprofit world is not a nice-to-have skillset, it is a must-have,” Shapiro said.

For more information, visit or email

50 Voices of the Future: Reid Carr on the destiny of digital marketing


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Reid Carr’s life goal is happiness and work fulfillment – not just for him, but for his employees and the consumers he markets to. Carr is the president and CEO of Red Door Interactive, a San Diego-based marketing firm which also has offices in Carlsbad and Denver.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I love understanding consumers and I love the psychology of it all and the tactics and putting plans together and that sort of thing. It’s highly engaging work. It’s creative, it’s inspiring – being at an agency and working with lots of different companies and understanding where their challenges are and what they’re trying to overcome.

I think that translates well to the people who work with me at Red Door. I think it’s what the company is built to do, just have a good day at work. I think it creates growth. I think it creates a lot of opportunity for people, which is important to the community at large because we can then serve the greater good with what we learn. A lot of us serve on community boards and non-profit boards. I think we’ve learned a lot of things that can apply to helping to make the world better.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

It’s called mixed reality – which is augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality is this mix of the real world and virtual world. You can hold up a phone, for example, and the phone layers on stuff with the real world and puts virtual stuff on top of it so you could see what a house might look on a piece of property that’s actually still just a landscape, and the house doesn’t yet exist.

Another example of this is teaching someone, somewhere where they don’t have access to the equipment we have here, like how to perform a surgery, or how to fix a car. You can actually see that this thing should go there and the thing may not exist, but you would see where it would go and you would see it in practical real world vision and manipulation.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Again, it’s all about mixed reality. What that will do in retail in the physical world is theoretically you can try things on, you can see your new room – like if you stand in the middle of the room – and see what your room might look like if you bought all this furniture or rearranged it in certain ways. Or what your house might look like as it’s being constructed in a certain area, looking and seeing what it might look like completed despite not having all the things there yet.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is just in this fascinating place that I don’t know that people recognize what our potential is relative to that world. We’ve got the huge prevalence of mobile, with Qualcomm. We’re the birthplace of analytics in many ways; Google Analytics was created here by a company called Urchin. You’ve got mapping the human genome here as a form of analytics.

We’re in this really unique area of the world with some really unique talent. We’re sitting within all of that, as the conduit to put the pieces together. The talent we have access to and the things that we have access to, I think we’re in a really exciting and interesting place to do all of that.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Where we’re at now with our expectations is, “I can have that item delivered to me within a day, two days, with time I should have it tomorrow,” type of thing.

The future expectation will be: “As soon as I think of it, I want it now.” So you’re able to say, “Yeah, I really love that pair of shoes,” and have them printed for you right then and there.

It’s hard to wrap our head around what that’s going to be like, but we need that spirit of creativity, that hopefully I believe will still live on, and give people the right message at the right place and the right time that motivates the kind of behaviors and impulses that we want.

Learn more about the future of marketing as Reid Carr imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension including Predictive AnalyticsWeb Analytics, Front End Web Development, Marketing, and User Experience (UX) Design.

50 Voices of the Future: Neal Bloom on finding the perfect job


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

In a few short years, technology has revolutionized the way we doing so many things, whether it be dating, hailing a cab, or finding a place to stay on a trip. Technology is also changing our job-search techniques. We used to rely on networking and a good résumé. Now we can use various websites that sift through billions of bits of data to help match our skill sets with the right employer. Neal Bloom believes new technology such as artificial intelligence will play a larger and larger role in helping us advance our careers. Bloom recently helped establish the San Diego office of Hired, Inc., a website that helps match employers with job candidates. He describes himself as someone who is “energized by helping others discover their calling.” In the future, he says, finding the perfect job, like finding your soul mate, will be a task made ever more precise by science.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I think technology, mixed together with job creation, is really powerful. It’s giving people access to companies they never thought they’d work for.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The rise of Uber, Airbnb, online dating sites – algorithmic matching. This also applies to job recruiting. We’re in the third generation of HR technology. The first generation was Monster, job boards. The second was LinkedIn. Third generation is curated matching – the next best thing that’s happening. Computers are learning from recruiters how to judge talent. This is saving a lot of time on both sides. I see that on-demand mixed with (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic matching – that is driving a lot of hiring.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

With these new recruiting models being put to use in the hiring world, they’re starting with a pretty small field – the engineering world, mainly white-color workers. I think these models need to move faster and apply to everyone, from coal miners up to executives, CEOs. That’s where things are in the lab being tested right now, technology-wise. It’s obviously business-driven, so the places you can make more money is where the technology goes first. Engineers come with a higher salary than, say, a cleaning person. But either way, the whole goal is to find someone their dream job. And that’s where the technology should be headed. I see it going that way. I just think it needs more widespread adoption.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I specifically brought Hired to San Diego to help companies in San Diego grow and grow faster. The talent in San Diego is great, especially on the engineering side. I wholeheartedly believe that using this technology will help bring the right talent to San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

People are staying in jobs less amount of time. And people are taking on more either remote work or side work – they call them side hustles, side gigs. So I foresee that in the future, you may not be looking for careers. You may be looking for the perfect place to apply your skill sets for some money for a limited amount of time. People will be much more flexible.

Learn more about the future of HR as Neal Bloom imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension, including the Human Resource Management Certificate, the Talent Acquisition Certificate, Data Analysis & Mathematics Courses and the HR LearnAbout Tour.