Enhancing patient care by breaking through language barriers

latinahealthcareUC San Diego Extension launches new certificate program to meet growing demands of Spanish-speaking population

Language has always been a part of Graciela Gomez Vittori’s life. As a young girl growing up in Argentina, aside from her native Spanish language, she also studied English and French at the insistence of her father. Vittori resisted in the beginning, but little did she know that being multilingual would help pave her future career.

“My father always thought that learning languages was important,” said Gomez Vittori, who has spent the last 20 years as an interpreter. “I was always complaining about why I needed to know English. I didn’t like it. My father said, ‘One day you will thank me.’”


Vittori has grown to love languages and knows that multilingualism has become a social phenomenon fueled by globalization and cultural openness. As a current administrative assistant for UC San Diego Maternal Fetal Care and Genetics, she also serves as a Spanish interpreter for the facility’s medical staff.

In an effort to teach Spanish language and culture to other medical professionals around San Diego County, Vittori is also the lead instructor for a new foreign language certificate program at UC San Diego Extension called Spanish for Healthcare Professionals. The targeted certificate program was designed to feed the growing demand for Spanish-speaking medical professionals in San Diego. The certificate includes three courses: Spanish for Healthcare Professionals I, Spanish for Healthcare Professionals II, and Spanish for Healthcare Professionals III.

The specialized certificate is designed for individuals with little or no formal training in Spanish. The goal of the program is to build student’s effectiveness in communicating with Spanish-speaking clients in various health care settings. Throughout the courses, students learn both general Spanish and Spanish medical terminology in order to understand their Spanish-speaking patients and increase their cultural competence, which will help them connect and build rapport with patients as well as give them more insight into patient-interpreter conversations.

It’s a much-needed skill – especially in San Diego.

According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, San Diego County is home to about 732,023 Spanish speakers, or 24.6 percent of the region’s population. Meanwhile, California is home to nearly 7 million people who are categorized as limited English proficient (LEP). Those numbers coupled with the fact that more people are accessing health care systems because of the Affordable Care Act and it is easy to see why there is a need for health care professionals to be able to communicate with Spanish speakers. On a global and national level, experts predict that by the year 2050, there will be 530 million Spanish speakers, with about 100 million of those living in the United States.

Vittori said the quality of care rises significantly when healthcare professionals can communicate directly with their Spanish-speaking patients. She said breaking the language barrier leads to fewer errors, less misdiagnoses, and better compliance with treatment plans. This, in turn, results in cost savings for the provider and less morbidity and mortality throughout the Spanish-speaking community.

“Cultural competence is very important to see how that patient is going to interact. In the UC San Diego Extension classes, I teach my students about the importance of body posture when they are talking to Spanish-speaking patients,” Vittori said.

In order to provide her students with a real-world approach to working with Spanish-speaking patients, Vittori has them perform a lot of role playing in class as well as watch interactive videos. The certificate program began as a pilot last year, which included a variety of health care professionals, such as dentists, medical students, cardiac nurses and respiratory nurses. It also included transportation nurses, who frequently traveled to and from other states with large Spanish-speaking populations, such as Arizona, to pick up and care for babies in incubators and young seriously ill children.

The Spanish for Healthcare Professionals is a critical program for a region like San Diego, Vittori said, because the need for health care professionals to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients is so great.

“It improves the employment and skills of the health care professional and gives them a cultural view of the Spanish-speaking world,” she said. “Knowing Spanish also improves the care for patients 100 percent.”

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 http://extension.ucsd.edu/.

The “language” of success

UC San Diego Extension Grad Runs Multilingual Company From Around the Globe

GabyVasallo2.1Foreign languages have been part of Gaby Vasallo’s everyday life since she was young – the Guatemala native started attending bilingual classes in preschool to learn English.

The entrepreneur, who also studied French in college, became more interested in translation about a decade ago when she decided to make a career shift from working for large public relations and advertising firms to launching her own communications business. It was then that she created her own multilingual translation and communications firm, Lexico. Shortly after, she enrolled in UC San Diego’s Translation & Interpretation Certificate program to sharpen her Spanish language skills.

“It gave me the additional confidence that I needed and many more tools to run my business. It also provided some excellent contacts, which have served me well in order to collaborate in translation projects,” said Vasallo, who graduated from the program in 2008.

“I knew I had the skills to be a translator, but had no idea where to begin or how to become a translator,” she added. “Going through the UC San Diego Extension program saved me a lot of trial and error that I would have gone through on my own. Most importantly, it gave me a lot of tools, knowledge, and the confidence to say, ‘Yes, I can do this!’ The professors are very dedicated, and I enjoyed all of my classes very much, even Spanish grammar.”

She said the program also gave her the confidence boost she needed to manage a wide-range of clients, which now include an impressive list of large companies and brands, such as Petco, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Kitchen Aid, Smart & Final, Best Western, and the San Diego Water Authority to name a few. Lexico currently has clients in various fields, from marketing/advertising to financial services, nonprofits, medical/healthcare, telecommunications, legal, and consumer goods. Besides translation, Vasallo has expanded her company offerings to other communications services such as copywriting, design, and website localization.

“There are a lot of freelancers who are happy just focusing on their languages and they do very well. In my case, I wanted to build a network and offer many languages, not just what I could translate myself. Now I have an excellent team and for our clients it’s important that they don’t have to go looking somewhere else for another language. They know Lexico is a one-stop shop, and that we are still small enough to provide excellent quality and personal service.

“When you start a business you invest a lot of time in it,” she added. “You are a translator, administrator, secretary, accountant, website designer, sales team, and human resources all in one. Eventually, I did reach what I think is an ideal balance for me.”

That balance now includes running her business from various parts of the globe.

“The entire company can be run from a laptop with an Internet connection,” Vasallo said. “Therefore, my husband and I have traveled to over 50 countries and I have been able to continue working wherever we may be at the time. We would have missed out on a lot of experiences if I had not been able to ‘pick up and go.’ We spent some extended periods in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina, and Spain just because we were enjoying the culture and lifestyles of those countries.”

Vasallo is currently based in Barcelona, Spain, where she plans to live for the next three years, while spending the summers in either San Diego or Miami, where Lexico is headquartered.

“I love the great flexibility of being independent while collaborating virtually with many talented people around the world,” she said. “I’d like to thank my UCSD professors for teaching me very valuable information and techniques to jumpstart a successful translation career. I am very grateful to be where I’m at.”

The making of a UC San Diego Extension certificate program (infographic)

There’s a point in every person’s career when they realize they want to changes jobs or move up the organizational ladder, but maybe they’re not quite sure how to make it happen. Should it involve going back to school full time? Will it require a degree? And how can it be done without having to spend (or go into debt for) tens of thousands of dollars?

Enter UC San Diego Extension’s certificate programs. Every program offers students an opportunity to examine a new field and demonstrate to others they have the discipline to work toward a specific goal while increasing their earning potential and marketability.

The completion of a certificate program provides:

  • Documentation of specific, formal study at a highly-regarded academic institution
  • Career-oriented, post-graduate training to complement a college or university degree
  • Well-developed job skills and knowledge for your current job, a promotion, or career change

Why a UC San Diego Extension Certificate?

A UC San Diego Extension certificate is a widely-respected academic credential certifying completion of a rigorous and specialized course of study that’s recognized and valued by employers. Designed by industry experts and academic faculty, our cutting-edge programs meet high academic standards and provide real-world skills.

Here’s how to we take an idea and develop it into a high-quality, high-value certificate program:

PNG-WI16-3036 Cert Creation Info Graphic.jpg

We offer two types of certificate programs: Professional and Specialized. Professional programs consist of a minimum of 20 units of approved continuing education credit (200 classroom instruction hours). Specialized programs consist of a minimum of 9 units of approved continuing education credit (90 classroom instruction hours).

Curious about what we have to offer? Take a look at our list of programs to see if there’s a one that’s right for you.

Four Steps to Earn Your Certificate

  1. Review the Certificate Course Matrix (i.e. class schedule) and apply for the certificate program of your choice (click the Apply Now button on the specific certificate page you are interested in). Make sure to fill it out completely!
  2. Receive your program approval via email and enroll in course(s) listed on the Certificate Course Matrix.
  3. Complete all required courses and your chosen electives with a grade of C- or better, within five years.
  4. Submit your Notice of Completion online, or by mail to the address specified above.

Have questions about our programs? Feel free to search our website or contact Student Services with your questions. We are happy to help you!

How to request a transcript: Five things you need to know

transcriptBy Kristen Gross

There are several great reasons you might need an official copy of your transcript from UC San Diego Extension. Perhaps your employer needs to see your status in good standing in order to initiate the reimbursement process. Maybe you’re about to apply to graduate school. It could even be that you’re just curious. No matter the reason you need a transcript, UC San Diego Extension Student Services is here to help you get it. Here are five things you need to know:

1. It’s all in the asking

Transcripts are not sent out automatically. In order to receive one, you must submit a transcript request to Student Services.

2. Put it in writing

Before your records can be released, we need your signature to authorize the sharing of this information. You can pick up and submit a form in person at UC San Diego Extension Student Services, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., Bldg C, or download the form and mail to:

UCSD Extension, Dept 0176-H
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093-0176

3. We take special requests

For some graduate programs, employers, or other special circumstances, additional materials may need to be sent along with your transcript. No problem! Simply attach special requests or forms that need to accompany your transcript with your request form, and we’ll take care of the rest. Please be aware that some special requests may extend processing time.

4. There is a (small) fee

For an official transcript, printed on watermarked paper and enclosed in a signed, sealed envelope, we charge a processing fee of $15 per copy. If you would like your transcript just for interest’s sake, you can request an unofficial copy for just $5. Depending on other factors (i.e. a rush, international fax, express shipping) there may be additional fees. Learn more on our website.

5. Feel free to follow up

We always love to hear from students. If you are not sure your transcript request has been received, we don’t mind checking on it. We know that these requests are often time-sensitive, and usually part of an exciting process. If you would like us to make sure it’s on track, please give us a call at (858) 534-3400.

To learn more about the transcript process and request form at UC San Diego Extension—including more details on fees and contact information—please visit extension.ucsd.edu/student. You may also contact Student Services by calling (858) 534-3400, emailing, or stopping by one of our locations.

Discover what’s next for your career


When it comes to your career, the persistent question is: “What’s next?”

What’s next for the job market? What’s the next skill I’ll need to stay competitive? What’s my next career move?

To help answer those questions and more, UC San Diego Extension held its UCSDnEXT event Sept. 10-12, 2015. Filled with workshops, panels, information sessions and networking events, the free three-day event gave attendees an insider’s view on a wide range of industries from health care to computer science to marketing to accounting. UCSDnEXT also covered what’s happening in some of the region’s most cutting-edge and emerging careers in such fields as big data, cybersecurity, and health care information technology.

The event is  part of UC San Diego Extension’s larger mission to ensure everyone is able to take the next step in their careers and in their lives, and UCSDnEXT is designed to provide attendees the best and latest information about the skills they will need for some of the most in-demand careers.

UCSDnEXT highlights hot career trends including:

Children’s Book Writing & Illustration: Want to write a children’s book? Find out how a former student successfully wrote and published her first children’s book on Saturday Sept. 12 from 10 to 11 a.m.

Data Analytics: Three leading experts from the San Diego Supercomputer Center explain the size and scope of the ever-growing “big data” field on Thursday Sept. 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Health Care: Come hear from some of San Diego’s top health care executives as they detail how the Affordable Care Act continues to reshape the industry and its workforce on Thursday Sept. 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Internet of Things: With everything from clothes to cameras to cars now connected to the Internet, there is a growing need for people who can help secure these new networks and devices. Find out more about these jobs of the future on Thursday Sept. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Project Management: Key industry experts discuss how changes in the workplace and workforce are creating are remaking the project management field on Friday Sept. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sustainability: Join a breakfast presentation by Beth Brummitt, president of Brummitt Energy Associates, as she explains how the push for Zero Net Energy buildings, which are designed to produce as much energy as they consume, is creating new opportunities in the construction industry on Friday Sept. 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL): Get first-hand knowledge of the TEFL teaching market from a current instructor, a program graduate, and an ESL/EFL teacher employer on Thursday, Sept. 10. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The majority of the programs took place at UC San Diego Extension’s University City Center location, which is located at 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego, 92122. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Open House took place on the La Jolla campus, located at 9600 Torrey Pines Road, 92037.

For more information about each session, visit extension.ucsd.edu/next

I’m looking for a job. What can UC San Diego Extension do for me?

iStock_000054380670_smaller“I just” — take your pick here — “a) graduated, b) got laid off, or c) decided to change careers and I’m done with taking classes.” I’ve heard this countless times as I’ve attended career fairs and community outreach events on behalf of UC San Diego Extension. “I’m here to find a job” is the refrain of the day.

Battle-weary after months of fruitless job searching, the San Diego job seekers who attend these fairs are more than ready to land those elusive jobs. Resumes in hand, professionally attired, confident smiles and firm handshakes ready to be deployed, they make the rounds at Recruiter Tables Row.

When they arrive at our table, they’re understandably stumped. “What is a major university’s continuing education division doing at a career fair? How can you help me get a job?” they wonder. I tell them that we’re the continuing education and public programs division of UC San Diego. That we’re here to help them with their professional goals. Or personal enrichment, for that matter. That we may not have actual job openings, but we can help them get a job.

Here’s how.

Become more hireable with real world know-how

Many recent college graduates find themselves in uncharted territory. The bioengineering degree that Brad Jensen is completing may not equip him with the nuts and bolts needed to hit the biotech ground running. Theoretical courses in college somehow don’t easily translate to practical applications, he finds out.

At UC San Diego, undergraduate students like Brad are able to register for an Extension professional program at no cost while they complete their college course work. The LAUNCH program allows them to supplement their bachelor’s degree with real-world knowledge taught by working professionals who practice what they teach and share their firsthand expertise.

When Brad graduates, he’ll also have a professional certificate in Biotechnology Project Management along with his diploma, which will boost his chances of getting hired.

Get a taste of what it’s really like with a “Next Step Experience”

Internships are, of course, a great way for both students and job seekers to gain hands-on, immersive experience. UC San Diego Extension offers an internship-like program through “Next Step Experience” courses. Practice over theory is emphasized — precisely why they are an essential component of many certificate programs, including Brewing, Fitness Instruction and Exercise Science, Business Management, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling. It’s a practical capstone that nicely tops off a practical education.

Fertile ground for networking

Most of Extension’s 31,627 students have a college degree and are working professionals. For students, this means amplified networking advantages that can be cultivated into valuable professional connections. It’s a well-known fact that most jobs are not advertised (up to 80% according to Howard Poplinger, owner of human-resource company Epic Development and Evaluation), with employers increasingly bypassing online job boards and opting instead to hire directly through their employee networks. It’s all about “who you know.”

Realign your strengths, acquire needed knowledge

When asked about the nature of the jobs they seek, our job hunters respond confidently: positions in Human Resources, Digital Content Marketing, Information Technologies, or Teaching English to non-native speakers. Well and good. The only wrinkle is that, more often than not, their work experience and skills don’t reflect the right knowledge to land their dream jobs. Their expectations and actual experience are not aligned. And most of the time, they weren’t even aware of it.

Andy Harris may have had a successful retail sales career for 15 years but that won’t make the case for the HR job he wants now. Similarly, Marla Ramos may have worked as a web designer for five years until she got laid off. But that won’t seal the deal for the digital content editor position she’s pursuing. There may be some qualifications Andy and Marla can readily bring to the table, but those won’t be enough. Andy will need to learn about strategies for hiring and retaining talent, while Marla will need to hone effective writing skills to complement her design background to be in the running for the job she wants.


Continuing education certificates and courses can bolster your strengths and help you acquire knowledge relevant to your new career. They’re tangible proof of what employers seek:

  • Commitment
  • Dexterity
  • Adaptability

And, yes — additional proof of your knowledge, the evidence employers want.

Access free career resources

At some point in your career — be it early, mid, transitional, or later stage — you may benefit from objective assessments of your strengths and weaknesses, along with professional guidance. UC San Diego Extension offers quarterly free clinics that can point you in the right direction so you can arrive at an optimal life/work balance. You may discover valuable, career-propelling insights that you may have missed on your own.

Move forward with lifelong learning

Innovation is a wonderful thing. But expect to continuously update your skills and knowledge to keep up with advancements and new technologies that will impact our global workplace. Expect to be nimble, to embrace new things. UC San Diego Extension’s goal is to be your lifelong learning resource and partner so you can continue on your path to career and personal growth.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how UC San Diego Extension can help. Next time you visit a career fair, you just may find that we have a table there. Please stop by and say hello. And let’s talk about the next steps that will lead you to that job. Or wherever you want to go.

Solimar Hillier: Helping students enjoy the colors and flavors of Brazilian Portuguese

By Rafaela Lombardino

Over the past decade Brazil has seen a surge in its economy and is currently the destination for sports lovers. Brazil was recently the host country for the 2014 FIFA World Cup of Soccer and will host the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games. It is only natural that more people are eager to learn this Romance Language for both business and pleasure.

Solimar Hillier, UC San Diego Extension Portuguese for Communication instructor

Solimar Hillier, Portuguese for Communication instructor

According to a news story by Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Brazilian Portuguese classes being taught in North America and Europe are packed with oil and mining executives, jewelers and retailers who have a need to buy and sell in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the two largest cities in Brazil. With close to 240 million speakers worldwide, Portuguese is now the world’s sixth most-spoken language―and it is Brazil’s version that is spreading.

This trend can be confirmed by native Brazilian Solimar Hillier, who has taught Portuguese classes at UC San Diego Extension for nearly 12 years. As the primary instructor for the Brazilian Portuguese program, she teaches Portuguese for Communication levels one through five.

Solimar has worked as an English and Portuguese teacher since she finished college in Brazil. When she first arrived in the United States, she worked as a substitute teacher in middle schools while pursuing her Master’s degree in Education. Once she completed her Master’s degree, she transitioned to teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) as well as Portuguese, and has been doing both ever since.

“I used to teach Portuguese to a completely different audience in Brazil, because I was teaching Portuguese to native speakers in a high school setting,” she recalls. “At Extension, I started teaching Portuguese to non-natives, which is quite different in terms of student goals as well as the content and techniques I need to use.”

In discussing her diverse UCSD Extension student population, she highlights that many students who come to her classes are married to Brazilians and want to learn the language in order to communicate with their spouses’ friends and family. “Something that is really interesting to me is that these students who are dating or married to Brazilians often complain that their significant others don’t teach them Portuguese, and that is why they take a class―which is something I can relate to from my own experience,” she jokes.

She says other students also come to UC San Diego Extension because they work with Brazilians or their companies trade with Brazil, which may require some business trips to the South American country. A third group is taking classes because it is a requirement for their Master’s degree, and Solimar says their motivation is very different from the other two groups.

The fourth type of students she interacts with are those who are looking for cultural enrichment. “I have students who take classes just because they like the culture and the music, or simply because they love Brazil.”

Solimar moved to the United States after falling in love with California during a visit, and soon decided to stay. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys learning more about Modern Art, going for walks on the beach and exercising her creativity in the kitchen. “Cooking is a passion for me. It is when I relax and can become creative with ingredients and spices. I cook almost every day and enjoy it each time.”

To learn more about the UC San Diego Extension programs, please visit the Foreign Languages page for details, course descriptions and more.

Five facts about using VA educational benefits: What you need to know

cami-flagBy Renzo Lara

If you have served in the United States military and are eligible for educational benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), UC San Diego Extension is proud to play a part in realizing your educational goals. Applying for VA educational benefits at any college or university can be a complicated process, so we’ve compiled five fast facts that address frequently asked questions to help make registration easier.

1. We can help you with multiple types of VA educational benefits.

  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33)
  • The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 33)
  • Vocational/Rehabilitation Benefits (Chapter 31)
  • Dependent Benefits (Chapter 35)
  • Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)

2. The VA only pays for approved academic programs.

Eligible students must plan to pursue an entire certificate or program of study as opposed to individual classes or multiple certificates. VA benefits exclude courses that are not part of the selected certificate or program study.

3. You must apply directly to the VA for benefits.

If you have never applied for VA benefits, start by filing form #22-1990. If you have applied for educational benefits and used them at another school, please complete form #22-1995. (Chapter 31 students, please visit the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment website.)

It typically takes 4-5 weeks for the VA to process new applications. For continuing students, it usually takes 2-3 weeks for the VA to process paperwork, so plan accordingly.

4. Students must complete the benefits application process.

In order to process your benefits, we will need:

  1. VA Educational Benefits Intake Form
  2. VA Requirements and Student Responsibilities
  3. UC San Diego Extension Terms & Conditions – Various VA forms (corresponds to a particular VA Chapter)

Our VA Registration Packet provides all of these forms, and provides full details on required VA forms and academic transcripts needed to process your educational benefits.

5. Registration depends on educational benefit.

  • Students using Chapter 33 and 31 benefits must contact their VA representative for class enrollments.
  • Chapter 30, 35, or 1606 students must enroll and pay for courses.

After students have enrolled, the VA representative certifies classes to the VA. Given the multiple student requests during our peak weeks (the first week or two of the quarter), students must submit course enrollments within a reasonable time frame before the beginning of each quarter.

For more information on our VA Educational Benefit procedures, please visit our VA benefits page or feel free to contact us at unex-veterans@ucsd.edu.

We sincerely thank you for your service and look forward to assisting you with the next steps in your educational career. It’s our goal for you to succeed. Please let us know how else we can help you reach your educational goals.

Conference gives Extension instructors a chance to connect and learn

By Eilene Zimmerman

“All work is learning,” said UC San Diego Extension’s Dean, Mary Walshok, when she took the stage at the Instructor Conference on Saturday, April 11, 2015. “We operate at the intersection of knowledge and practice and… it’s the knowledge and skills that you share with others that makes our community very competitive,” she said. The community Walshok referred to is a big one—over 30,000 students enroll annually in Extension programs, taught by 1,000 instructors.

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In Walshok’s energizing address to more than 120 Extension instructors, she emphasized the university’s commitment to the greater San Diego community, which includes its campus-based, cross-disciplinary research and teaching programs. “That’s where Extension is, just look at our hundreds of certificate programs,” said Walshok. Those programs are at the heart of Extension’s mission, often helping professionals repurpose skills and retool so they remain relevant in a work world that is constantly changing.

Bernie Greenspan, an Extension instructor who teaches courses in intellectual property law, said his students are often in career transition. Some are in the paralegal certificate program and others are paralegals wanting to specialize in patent law. “I also get scientists who want to leave the bench and become patent agents,” he said. “Careers aren’t single-path anymore. We all have to think more broadly.” Greenspan is a patent agent at Prometheus Laboratories.

Instructor Parker Pike teaches an introductory marketing class and said a high percentage of his students have master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, but “can’t run a meeting. They don’t understand the marketing component of their businesses,” he said. “They come to my class with the mindset of an academic and need to develop skills to think differently—to be able to listen to colleagues and the community, so they can do their job better.” Pike, who has been an Extension instructor for nearly 30 years, is both a serial entrepreneur and a seasoned marketing executive.

Instructors at the conference took advantage of a rare opportunity to connect with colleagues, something Bruce Dunn, the Extension’s associate dean and an instructor, suggests doesn’t happen often. “As an instructor you only really know the students in your classes,” said Dunn. “The conference is a chance for them to come together and know they are part of the larger community. And, it gives us a chance to update them on new university policies and procedures.” Instructors also mingled with Extension directors and attended workshops designed to enhance both their teaching and the classroom experience.

Workshop topics included: how to use discussion boards; data analytics and feedback tools to improve student success; and how to incorporate social media into teaching and learning. Vicki Krantz, director of business, science and technology programs for Extension, led a workshop that allowed instructors to share their teaching and classroom management strategies with one another. “Every person walked away from the workshop with something new to incorporate into their teaching,” said Krantz.

The conference was also a way for the Extension’s leadership to thank the instructors. “They are the heart of each student’s experience and our evaluations tell us that they are doing an extraordinary job,” said Krantz. “Ninety-four percent of students say their instructors exceeded their expectations.”

As a leading provider of professional education, UC San Diego Extension continually seeks highly qualified instructors with in-depth experience. If you believe you would be a good fit or have an idea for a new course, we encourage you to apply. Visit unex.applicantstack.com