Author, educator and community leader Dr. Mary L. Walshok has been credited with creating innovative new platforms of lifelong learning by integrating the fields of education, civic and cultural enrichment, and economic development. As Dean of University Extension and Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs at UC San Diego, Walshok serves as the chief executive of the continuing education and public programs arm of the university, which annually educates 56,000 enrollees through innovative local, corporate and online programs.
She is the author of more than 100 articles and reports on regional innovation, the role of research institutions in regional economies and workforce development. She has authored and co-authored numerous book chapters and articles on the world of work, including: Blue Collar Women (1981), Knowledge Without Boundaries: What America’s Research Universities Can Do for the Economy, the Workplace, and the Community (1995), Closing America’s Job Gap (2011) and the forthcoming book for Stanford University Press, Invention and Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Entrepreneurial Economy (2013).
As an industrial sociologist studying the dynamics of regional economic and workforce development and transformation, Walshok has studied various communities across America. She has evaluated 13 WIRED regions funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, studied three innovative regions for a National Science Foundation-funded project, and assessed one region’s efforts to grow an industry for a Lilly Endowment endeavor.
Walshok has developed outreach efforts to help accelerate the San Diego region’s economic vitality, assure a globally competitive talent pool and helping college graduates transition to employment areas that are in higher demand.
She also helps provide access to a vast array of regional intellectual resources through the award-winning UCSD-TV, which is broadcast to 1 million homes and reaches millions more around the globe through the Internet (15 million views a month).
Walshok was an early pioneer in the national movement of learning in retirement. In 1974 she created the Institute for Continued Learning, later renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers over 120 academic courses, plus tours and social events. There are no education requirements – just the desire to learn for learning’s sake.
Walshok is the recipient of numerous awards including the Kellogg Foundation’s Leadership Fellowship and induction into Sweden’s Royal Order of the Polar Star. Active on boards of a number of arts and philanthropic organizations, Walshok chaired the boards of the San Diego Community and the International Community Foundation. She currently serves on the board of CONNECT, a San Diego nonprofit committed to accelerating the innovation economy, which she helped found as UCSD CONNECT in 1985 and spun-out in 2005.