Monday, August 31, 2009

Bob Samuels: Yudof and the Divided University

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yudof and the Divided University

When UC President Mark Yudof was asked during a press conference why the UC can lend $200 million to the state but has to cut the salaries of its own employees, he gave a very telling response. He said that the university will be making money by lending cash to the state, but if it just paid salaries, the money would be gone. In other words, from his perspective, an activity that does not generate a profit is a waste of funds. So we must ask, how does instruction fit into this profit-driven framework?

Recent actions have made it clear that if instructional programs cannot show themselves to be profitable, they will be downsized or eliminated. For instance, at UCLA, we have been told that writing and language courses may need to be moved to either summer, extension, or online because they do not generate their own revenue. Of course, these programs do teach a large number of students at a relatively low cost since they rely mostly on less expensive non-tenured faculty for the majority of their courses. Yet, since required courses are not tied directly to external grants or auxiliary services, the teaching-heavy programs have to go. One idea from management is to wring some revenue out of these courses by requiring students to take them but offering the courses only in the summer—thus gathering more student fees for summer session. Moreover, like the extension programs, summer session is not only a revenue generating sector, but it also is allowed to hire faculty without having to worry about expenses like salary increases or benefits.

This move to push students to the privatized sectors of the university mirrors the idea that the revenue-generating faculty should not be part of the furlough system. For instance, faculty and researchers funded out of external grants will not be getting a pay cut, and the most highly paid faculty in the UC system, the medical professors, will be excluded from the furlough/salary reduction program. What is being set up here is a divided university, where one part receives special support because it brings in more money, while the other part is reduced and furloughed because it does not generate its own revenue. In this incredible splitting of higher education, instruction is cast as a waste of time and money.

Yet, this notion that the teaching-heavy programs in the humanities and social sciences do not generate revenue is a myth. In fact, the high-enrollment, low-cost courses in the humanities generate a huge profit that often gets siphoned off by the supposedly profit-making sectors. Large general education and introductory courses taught through departments in the humanities teach many students from the sciences and other fields outside of the humanities. Furthermore, required writing and foreign language courses generate student credit hours for the whole university, but these programs are usually funded entirely out of the humanities’ budget. While these courses in the humanities may not be tied to external grants and other profit-making sectors, they do produce a large percentage of student credit hours, and thus they bring in money through student fees and state funding. Courses in the humanities also accomplish the core mission of educating undergraduate students. From Yudof’s perspective, however, it is not enough to just teach students; programs and faculty have to show that they are profit-making entrepreneurs.

The university, therefore, is at a crossroads: it has to decide whether it still wants to fund undergraduate education, or shift as much money as possible into profit-generating activities. Of course, this is a false choice, since what is really going on is that the state and the students are subsidizing the profitable sectors. What we really need is a transparent and fair budgetary system that is coupled with a clear commitment to balancing instruction and research. We also need to rededicate ourselves to the idea that we are all part of a single system and we must all share in the profits and the costs of being part of this educational community. One solution would be a simple tax on all programs and units to be used to support the core missions of the university. Another needed reform would be to fund shared programs and required courses, like writing, foreign languages, and general education, through the chancellor’s office. If we do not make these changes now, all non-profitable programs will be placed in the position of UCLA, which is considering suspending all undergraduate requirements.

Bob Samuels

Friday, August 28, 2009

UCSB Senate Letter on Instructional Furloughs

August 28, 2009
Dear President Yudof,

I am writing on behalf of the Executive Council of the UCSB Academic Senate to express our deep disappointment in your decision, based in part on recommendations from most of the Chancellors and Executive Vice Chancellors, to go against the unanimous recommendation of the Academic Council regarding furloughs on instructional days. The approach recommended by the Academic Council is fundamentally consistent with UC’s mission as a research university, whereas the shielding of instruction from the impact of furloughs over-privileges instruction. The teaching mission is not paramount but must be balanced against the research and creative activities of UC that are being disproportionately impacted – weakening UC’s role as a primary economic engine of the State.

Most faculty at UCSB were unhappy about the furlough plan in general, but many felt that, if it did need to be implemented, it should include the option (or the requirement) that some furlough days be taken on instructional days. A substantial fraction of these faculty felt they should be able to choose when to take their instructional furlough days, feeling that individual faculty are the best judges of how to restructure their curricula to accommodate the furloughs and minimize the impact on the education of students. They are not happy that the freedom to choose has been taken away from them. There is another substantial fraction of the faculty who felt strongly that instructional furlough days should be declared campuswide, or possibly systemwide, to visibly demonstrate the true impact of the cuts and furloughs. In their view, UC has for too long accepted cuts in state funding while trying to claim that the same levels of service could be provided to the people of California. They argue that this behavior pattern has encouraged the State to continue cutting UC budgets and they stress the importance of taking a stand and sending a clear message that we cannot continue to provide quality education with severely reduced funding. Doesn’t denying that the furloughs have any adverse impacts on teaching seriously weaken the case that must be made for restoring UC’s funding in the next budget cycle?

Faculty are now asking what aspects of our jobs can be reduced, given that reductions in direct instruction have been proscribed. Should faculty spend less time preparing for instruction? This would inevitably reduce teaching quality. Most of us are unlikely to spend less time on our research or scholarship considering the important role that it plays in a research university. That leaves service, which may be easiest to reduce but will likely have unfortunate consequences for the functioning of the university and our relationships with the larger communities we serve.

President Yudof, I know you recognize that the excellence of UC rests on the outstanding quality of the faculty and their efforts in all three areas – teaching, research, and service. I think you would agree that we will need to call on all of the creativity, perseverance, and good will the faculty can muster to make it through the difficult challenges we are facing. The decision on instructional furlough days has seriously upset many faculty at a time when we most need their assistance, and I urge you to take extra time and energy this year to work on mending your relationship with the faculty. I have two specific suggestions. First, require the necessary planning at all levels in the university to ensure that the furloughs last no more than one year. Second, spend more time on the campuses talking with and listening to faculty. Both you and the faculty will benefit substantially from this kind of direct interaction.

Joel Michaelsen
Cc: Provost Pitts
Chancellor Yang
EVC Lucas
Senate Chair Croughan
Senate Vice Chair Powell

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UC Berkeley Mitigations in the Furlough Program

August 24, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Only this week have we learned the final disposition of many elements of the furlough plan's impact on UCB faculty. You have already received a transmission from Nathan Brostrom, which outlined the proposed plans for campus closure (December 23-January 6; March 22-26) and certain other features, and which informed you of convenient links, both UCB and UC Office of the President (UCOP), through which you can find answers to many specific questions.

I am writing to alert you to the many ways in which the furlough plan was changed dramatically in response to the faculty and staff feedback solicited by President Yudof and received as well by us. The original plan was highly standardized and provided very few exclusions and mitigations. By contrast, the final plan, altered both centrally and locally, contains the following features that were not in the original plan. I summarize here only those concerns that were most strongly and widely advocated in your feedback. More detailed issues are addressed in the links provided in Nathan Brostrom's CalMessage of August 20.


1. The salary reductions are now graduated into seven bands, ranging from 4% to 10%.

2. Pensions and benefits are not affected by the pay reductions.

3. Summer 9ths, from whatever sources (administrative stipends, endowed chairs, grants, etc.) are not affected by the pay reductions; they may be calculated on the 100% base salary.

4. The UCB Committee on Research will soon announce a plan for allocating to about 150 of the lowest-paid ladder faculty (those with base salaries below $85,000) summer-salary supplements equivalent to their pay reduction this year, in response to the submission of non-competitive research proposals. These faculty are disproportionately concentrated in the arts and humanities and the humanistic social sciences, including these disciplines within selected professional schools, such as Education and Social Welfare, among others.

5. All new ladder-faculty recruits who begin in residence July 1, 2009 or January 1, 2010 will be "made whole" through a partnership between deans/chairs and the EVCP that supplements their "recruitment allowance" using non-State funds for this purpose. This is in response to your arguments that ethical, legal, and reputational risks would attend the inclusion in the furlough program of these new ladder-faculty hires, who had recently been recruited in a competitive context.

6. Faculty are not required to provide university service during the mandatory and elective furlough days.

7. Some senior faculty have asked whether they may transfer a portion of the yield of their endowed chairs to colleagues in need. This may be done if the allocation is to be used for legitimate research purposes and is consistent with the terms of the chair. "Legitimate research purposes" include summer salary for a period during which the faculty member is engaged in research.

8. The following categories of employees are exempt from the furlough program:

a. all academic student employees (ASEs, which includes GSIs)
b. all post-doctoral fellows
c. all those paid 100% on grants and contracts, and
d. all those on H1-B visas.

We await word from UCOP on whether lecturers (Unit 18) will be exempt from the program. This remains a matter of discussion with the union.

9. Faculty with grants and contracts, research gifts, or endowed chair income who wish to pay themselves for furlough days during the academic year may do so, assuming that, in the case of grants and contracts, their granting agency explicitly allows the practice, and, in all cases, that they plan to conduct research on the indicated days. Other recruitment and retention funds may not be used for this purpose, as they are derived from State-funded sources (as also in #5, above).

10. For the policy on faculty and research staff whose appointment is split between grant funds and State funds, please consult the relevant UCB and UCOP websites.

11. Furlough days, both mandatory (11 days during campus closures) and elective (one's total furlough days minus 11), will be added to the normal 39 days of allowable, compensated days for earning outside income. Of course, this action and the previous one are mutually exclusive.

12. The Office of the President has decided that faculty may not take their elective furlough days on those days when they are scheduled to teach.

13. It is our intention to urge the Office of the President to eliminate or, if events necessitate, to drastically reduce this furlough program after one year, ending August 31, 2010.


We acknowledge that the concept of "furlough" better fits the life circumstances of staff than of faculty, most especially those faculty who do not have external funding for research or consulting. For that reason, some faculty have expressed dismay that they may not take furlough on days they would otherwise be teaching. In the case of faculty, this program may better be thought of as a temporary pay reduction. However, had we used different rubrics for faculty and staff, it was possible that, for technical reasons, several of the above mitigations would not have been permissable. Indeed, it was for that reason that the Academic Senate's Budget Committee urged us to use the term "furloughs" rather than "pay reduction" when describing the faculty program.


Many faculty have expressed concern about our valued staff employees who are not covered by any of the above mitigations. On the one hand, it is undeniably the case that most staff do not have the alternative sources of income that inform many of the faculty mitigations above. It is equally true that staff employees are subject to layoffs while faculty are not. On the other hand, our staff have been allocated more furlough days than faculty because they are year-round employees, and staff receive genuine vacation days during the mandatory and elective furlough days. In any case, our staff will be feeling a disproportionate share of the pain during the coming years and we ask you to please be attentive to their needs and accord them the respect, recognition, and support they deserve. We are proud of the fact that, unlike many private universities, our staff employees are not shouldering the burden of the furlough program alone. With faculty participation, this furlough
rogram has, in total, generated savings that would otherwise have required about 450 staff layoffs to accrue.

Thank you for your assistance as we attempt to navigate through the difficult waters in which the State currently finds itself.

George W. Breslauer
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

UCSD Furlough Policy

University of California, San Diego


August 25, 2009


Subject: UC San Diego Implementation of Systemwide Furlough Program

In its young history, UC San Diego has emerged as one of the world's premier educational and research institutions. Our world-class faculty and dedicated staff have been and will continue to be integral to this success. Even during these turbulent economic times, we remain fully committed to our research, instructional, and public service mission and to maintaining and enhancing UC San Diego's academic excellence.

To this end, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and Deans, in collaboration with the Academic Senate, have been working hard to address how implementation of the recently approved furlough program will affect our faculty and staff, and to minimize its impact on our
core mission.

I write to share the most up to date information from the Office of the President, as well as information regarding how UC San Diego will implement the furlough program for academic appointees.

*Winter Holiday Closure

As you were previously notified, the campus will close for sixteen days between Saturday, December 19, 2009 and Sunday, January 3, 2010. This closure will maximize energy savings for the campus and will provide some public visibility for the consequences of the drastic budget cuts being absorbed by the University.

The closure period includes four University paid holidays (December 24, 25 and 31, and January 1). Six days (December 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30) are not paid holidays and non-represented Academic appointees who are subject to the salary reduction/furlough program are required to use furlough days to cover this period.

This closure will be handled in the same manner as past campus closures; employees who must be on campus during the closure period may do so with appropriate approvals, and in these situations will not be required to use furlough time.

*Grant Funded Employees

Chancellor Fox and I, with support from campus faculty and administration, helped to convince UCOP not to include fully grant funded employees in the salary reduction plan. The plan approved by the Regents exempts employees funded exclusively from federal, state, other
government or private contracts, grants or cooperative agreements (excluded funds).

We were also successful in helping to persuade UCOP to allow UC San Diego employees who are split-funded between "included" (non-grant funded) and excluded fund sources (grant funded) to participate in the salary reduction program (and also accrue furlough time) only in
proportion to the percent they are paid on included funds. This will be implemented when the salary reduction plan is initiated, rather than later in the year as was originally proposed.

*Faculty Usage of Furlough Time

It is assumed that faculty will use furlough time during the campus closure period, and also for the four service days during the spring break week. If faculty must be on campus or in service during these periods, this is permitted only with appropriate approvals. Furlough
days may be used in advance of accrual during the winter and spring recess periods.

Beyond the winter and spring recesses, faculty may utilize furlough time as they deem appropriate (in coordination with his or her department chair), however OP has announced that faculty may not use furlough days on instructional days (days for which a faculty member is scheduled to give lectures, lead classes or workshops, have scheduled office hours,
or have other scheduled face-to-face responsibilities for students). It is important that we minimize the impact of the salary reduction and furlough program for the students as much as possible.

Faculty will be expected to maintain normal scholarly and teaching workloads throughout the furlough program period. To provide faculty with opportunities to more fully benefit from the furlough program, I have worked with the Deans to find creative avenues for faculty to
utilize the furlough time without impacting their research and instructional responsibilities. These opportunities include the following:

1. Outside Professional Activity

* Faculty are permitted to use accrued furlough time to engage in outside professional activities, even in excess of APM 025 limits. Such activities may provide an opportunity for faculty to offset the loss of income outside of the University while on furlough. All other rules of APM 025, Conflict of Commitment continue to apply, including the categories of outside professional activity and reporting requirements.

2. Salary Reduction Research Exchange

* Non-represented academic employees (excluding members of the Health Sciences Compensation Plan) who are subject to the furlough program may choose to devote extra effort to research projects in exchange for forfeiting the furlough time they would otherwise be accruing.

* Appointees are still subject to the loss of income while furloughed on his or her included fund sources, but may charge an equivalent amount of effort to extramural funding, provided this is permissible with the funding agency. All charges must be compliant with Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21. Appointees are responsible for attaining agency permission.

* Participation must be approved prior to the service period of the research activity and may not result in earning salary higher than the pre-salary reduction rate.

* Appointees who elect this option will forfeit their furlough hours and therefore will be expected to be in service during any other furlough periods.

* Faculty may not reduce their teaching loads in order to participate in this exchange program.

3. Furlough Time during Extended Leave

* Faculty may report furlough days during an extended leave, in order to avoid forfeiture of sabbatical credit, as is currently required under PPM 230-10.

* Extended leaves must still be approved, and the total length of the absence, including how many days will be counted against furlough accrual must be provided in advance.

Faculty who are on sabbatical or on a leave of absence with pay during the furlough period are subject to the furlough plan, and therefore must determine an appropriate way in which to utilize the furlough time.

Furlough time will not carry forward after the designated expiration date.

At the invitation of the Deans, I will attend the fall general campus divisional meetings to provide an update on the implementation of the salary reduction program and other campus efforts to ensure the continued excellence of our University, despite current budgetary
challenges. I encourage you to raise any questions you have with your department chair or staff personnel. You may also submit questions or comments to

For the latest questions and answers regarding the systemwide Furlough Plan or to determine whether your position is subject to the furlough program and how many furlough days you will need to take, please see UCOP`s Furlough Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions. Please
visit UCSD's Budget Line for campus budget information and a quick link to the faculty pay-cut/furlough tables.

These times of financial difficulty are opportunities for re-examination and re-invention. UC Board of Regents Chair Gould has launched a Commission on the Future of UC co-chaired by himself and UC President Yudof to explore long-term options for the system. This will be informed by us all thinking creatively and strategically. I have tasked the Deans with planning for the "UC San Diego of Tomorrow" and exploring opportunities for new synergies and structures that cut across existing boundaries and enhance our University's excellence under new conditions.

I am also cooperating with the Academic Senate to establish a Joint Senate-Administration Task Force on Budget Reconciliation, as another pathway for fresh ideas to emerge regarding new revenue sources as well as other areas that might be consolidated or cut to achieve fiscal
efficiencies. I am counting on all of you to bring forward innovative suggestions about the future course of our University. Collectively, we can manage this challenging period without losing focus on our clear vision for academic excellence, and we can take control of our continued
evolution and eminence moving forward.

Paul W. Drake
Senior Vice Chancellor

Monday, August 24, 2009

UC Davis Responds to UCOP Ban on Teaching Furloughs

Davis Enterprise, 8/23/2009, p. 1

Furloughs won't cut class time

By Cory Golden

Enterprise staff writer

Faculty furlough days will not take place on instructional days, the University of California Office of the President announced Friday -- a move that will go against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of UC Davis faculty.

In a letter Friday, Lawrence Pitts, UC's interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said that while the furloughs prompted by state budget cuts will cause problems for everyone, students shouldn’t suffer beyond the higher fees and larger and fewer classes they are facing already.

“In such difficult times, I believe that we must do everything we can to ensure that the students continue to receive all of their instruction,” Pitts wrote.

“Asking the faculty to carry a full teaching load during furloughs is a large request, but in my mind is justified by the university’s paramount teaching mission.”

Bob Powell, chairman of the UC Davis Academic Senate, said Saturday that, “in the letter, Provost Pitts is saying that all these other people trump faculty.”

Faculty asked for furlough days to fall on at least some instructional days in part because teaching, research and service are all required of them. An assistant professor’s research output is heavily weighted in tenure decisions, for example.

Powell said faculty has hoped for “some sense of balance.”

He said that he felt UC offered no strong statement about the disruption furloughs would cause careers, day-to-day lives, “and even young families,” no reasons why faculty should “bite the bullet,” and no plan for what UC will do so that furloughs are limited to a single year.

“Where’s the message he’s sending to these people?” Powell asked. “Basically he’s telling the faculty ‘keep working – keep doing research and teaching and service, you’re just going to get paid 8 percent less.’ … What I keep hearing from faculty is that they should just call it ‘pay cuts,’ because that’s what it is.”

A survey of 426 UCD Academic Senate members completed in July found that 82 percent wanted to see six to nine furlough days on what would normally be teaching days.

Similar sentiments echoed across the 10-campus system. The systemwide Academic Council sent a letter to Pitts indicating unanimous support for furloughs on six to 10 class days.

Under the furlough plan, faculty and staff will take up to 26 unpaid days off between September 2009 and September 2010, with the number depending on which of seven tiers their salary fits into. The loss in pay will range from 4 to 10 percent, with those who earn more than $240,000 taking the most unpaid days off.

Members of the senior management group, like chancellors and deans, will take no more than 10 furlough days, regardless of the size of their salary reduction.

Students are a key

Discussion on the pros and cons followed among executive vice chancellors, chancellors and those who handle state government relations and public affairs.

“With the exception of our council statement endorsing the concept that furloughs should affect instructional days, nearly all other groups expressed very strong concerns that the public would perceive that the students were receiving less education following several years of fee increases and anticipated additional increases,” said Mary Croughan, chairwoman of the systemwide Academic Council, in an e-mail Saturday.

“The ‘optics’ with the public and Legislature regarding potential future fee increases proved a driving factor in the decision to not have furloughs taken on instructional days.”

Croughan said she didn’t think professors would further resist the decision, “but the faculty do feel strongly that everything should be done to ensure that the furlough program does not go into a second year.”

Pitts briefly addressed that in his letter.

“We understand that the furlough program will cause hardships for the entire university family. As such, the president and the regents are committed to do everything possible to ensure that the plan ends after 12 months,” he said.

Linda Bisson, a professor of viticulture and enology and former chairwoman of the UCD Academic Senate, said that, in some ways, deciding whether to take furloughs on instructional days was a question with no right answer.

She said she understood why her colleagues wanted furloughs on class days, but added, “You have to keep in mind that it’s not just about faculty, it’s also about staff. The faculty can take a research day; but or staff, (furloughs) just mean less time, less money and the same workload.

“On the other side are students, so it’s a really tough decision. I’m sure that’s what the administration was struggling with: Whom do you make suffer?”

Redesigning classes?

Jonathan Eisen, professor of evolution and ecology at the UC Davis Genome Center, said in an e-mail that several issues led him to believe having furloughs on class days would not be the right idea.

“Making drastic changes in all courses across the entire campus would in my opinion be both very complex, as well as possibly more time-consuming than people imagine” and “highly unfair to the students.”

Eisen used an introductory biology course he’ll be teaching for about 700 students this fall as an example. The class will have four lectures weekly, plus labs taught by teaching assistants.

“I cannot or the life of me imagine how we would redesign the class this summer in order to accommodate furlough days,” he said, adding that it probably would end up as a shortened version of the class and much time spent in redesigning labs.

Eisen said public perception is “incredibly critical.”

“Certainly, it seems unfair to faculty that we get furloughed by then are perhaps expected to work just as much as previously while others who get furloughed actually have days off,” he said. “But the public relations side of things could be disastrous if this were done. … If we slash instructional time as, in essence, a way to spread the pain, it would come back to bite us.”

Chris Dietrich, vice president of the Associated Students of UC Davis, said he supported UC’s decision.

“Students are paying thousands of dollars to attend UC schools, and the cost keeps going up, so it would be very unfortunate to have students paying such high costs and then getting less in class education at the same time,” he said in an e-mail to The Enterprise.

Pitts noted that research is permitted on furlough days, but that many faculty will not be paid for extra research unless they have grants that compensate them for putting in more work. Furlough days can be used for outside professional activities that generate extra income.

Campus decisions

The decision from the Office of the President clears the way for campuses to announce how each would like to handle furloughs. Plans still remain subject to collective bargaining.

UCD is expected to do so in coming days, along with what other steps it will take to handle the $33.5 million budget gap that remains.

Including about $22 million in faculty and staff furloughs, UCD has dealt with $80.5 million of its $114 million state budget shortfall for 2009-10.

Other steps taken to close the gap include a $20.5 million cut from academic and administrative costs, $17 million from a systemwide student fee increase and $5 million saved by slowing down faculty hiring.

-- Reach Cory Golden at or (530) 747-8046.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Newfield: Public Universities at Risk: 7 Damaging Myths (Chronicle, 8/21/2009)

October 31, 2008
Public Universities at Risk: 7 Damaging Myths


The presidential election has generated new proposals for reinvestment in America's basic social infrastructure: roads and bridges, health care, job training and employment, renewable energy, and education. Barack Obama's campaign has called for a "National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank," which has growing Congressional support, and last January mayors and governors from both major parties formed a coalition to start the rebuilding process.

The current financial crisis will undoubtedly cause short-term public budget cuts as government officials figure out how to pay a staggering bailout bill. But in the long run, it will reduce many leaders' confidence in market forces and encourage greater interest in public investments in the economy. People will be increasingly reluctant to let financial markets determine their standard of living.

Yet even though higher education is an important source of economic and social progress, public investment is not keeping up with increased enrollments or the costs of high-quality teaching and research — and the future doesn't look any brighter. According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers, state investment per public-university student was at a 25-year low in 2005, and the gains of the last two years are likely to be wiped out by today's weak economy. The presidential candidates offer only modest proposals for supporting public higher education when they say anything at all, and in most states, public universities are focused largely on minimizing another round of financial cuts.

Why is public education the poor pupil of public investment? Part of the explanation is political: A quarter-century of culture wars has undermined the egalitarian values and tax-based public infrastructure that made America a mass middle-class society after World War II. Since 1980, stratification by income has steadily worsened, and higher education has been caught in an ideological crossfire between traditional supporters and conservative elites who want to set that broad middle-class majority back. It is easy to blame the sponsors of the culture wars in particular, and the country's political leadership in general, for turning the public away from an inclusive social vision and the public institutions that make such visions real.

But after spending nearly a decade serving on and leading faculty committees for planning and budgets, participating in countless budget discussions, and working on two large-scale budget reports, I've concluded that the fault lies not only with the usual suspects but also with ourselves. Many public-university administrators are incapable of convincing political and business leaders of the need for financial support because they are no longer fully convinced themselves. They have systematically, if unintentionally, deprived themselves of their best arguments and have adopted a series of myths about public investment:

Myth 1: The public hates taxes now more than in the past. The claim here is that voters in the "golden age" of the 1950s and 1960s were happy to pay taxes, and that allowed higher-education leaders to do great things. In reality, railing against taxes is a timeless American tradition. The creators of the "Master Plan for Higher Education in California" in 1960 fretted in print that the public would never pay for it. To make matters worse, in 1959 — at the start of the first term of the state's governor, Edmund (Pat) Brown — the economy had fallen into recession and the state budget deficit amounted to 20 percent of the total budget. Yet California higher education grew because Governor Brown restructured the tax system, raised the top income-tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent, and pushed high-quality higher education as part of a package of infrastructural development that would serve the entire population. That led to the most important expansion in public-higher-education history.

Myth 2: The public rejects tax-based support for higher education. Some college leaders accept politicians' self-serving claim that an anti-taxation majority wants a "user fee" approach in which students use their own money to pay for an education that is for their own benefit. The idea is that the public sees college as a private good to be supported by private funds, with the addition of some grants and loans to help low-income students.

But in fact, voters say in surveys that the main problem with higher education is not that it is too public but that it is too expensive. A 2005 survey by the University of California suggested that high cost was starting to outrank high quality as the dominant image of the university in the public's mind. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has found similar concerns. In 2008, 62 percent of the people it surveyed thought that many qualified students do not have the opportunity to go to college. We can infer that voters with some relation to college education will oppose privatization when it is defined honestly as colleges making ever-greater use of families' private funds. Voters have tolerated the shift from public to private financing because political and educational leaders have told them to — not because they have an ideological commitment to privatization.

Myth 3: Privatization of public higher education has been happening for years and is an established practice. In fact, data cited to demonstrate the irrelevance of state support are misleading, because they include many valuable university activities that have little to do with core education. When our faculty budget group broke down the University of California's budget by removing all noncampus revenues (national laboratories, medical centers, auxiliary enterprises, contracts and grants assigned to individual faculty laboratories) and isolated the money actually available for campus operations, we found that the university relied on the state for 60 percent of its core operating budget as recently as 2001. That means the instructional activities that people associate with college remain far more dependent on state money than people are told. In addition, public research universities get most of their remaining "nonstate" support from federal agencies. Privatization means leveraging public money for donor-designated purposes, not giving private capital for general purposes like undergraduate instruction.

Myth 4: State cuts have no effect on educational quality or student outcomes. The cuts themselves are insufficiently appreciated. Consider just two dismal metrics: An Urban Institute study showed that higher education's share of state appropriations nationwide fell from 6.7 percent to 4.5 percent in the last quarter of the 20th century, and a University of California report found that state support for each student has fallen about 40 percent in real dollars since 1990.

Qualitative evidence of deterioration in educational conditions is easily found by talking to faculty and staff members. Our budget group heard more stories of decline than we could print: plumbing leaks that damaged lab equipment after years of nonrepair, the absence of graduate fellowships for students with special financial conditions, among many others. Rather than making little difference, public cuts reduce institutional quality — and, in turn, affordability, access, and attainment.

Myth 5: Revenues from industry can replace lost public money. At our university, we ran the numbers on a particularly strong research operation: Faculty members have doubled the contracts-and-grants income in real dollars since 1990. But even when gross revenues increase, net revenues to university operations are generally negative because research money goes to individual professors and labs to perform specific research. The supplemental overhead monies that are supposed to cover the "facilities and administration" costs of research actually fall short of covering full costs. The figures vary, but universities can easily lose 3 cents to 5 cents on the dollar from federal grants.

Industry sponsors and nonprofit foundations pay even lower overhead rates than the federal government. The result, according to an unpublished study by the University of California Senate, is that the university needs 60 cents to support every dollar of external research but nets only half of that. Extramural research is a vital social good that must be supported, and at higher than current levels. But it should be treated as a legitimate expense, not as a revenue stream.

Myth 6: Privatization won't hurt public universities because revenues from philanthropy can replace public support. Philanthropy can and does pay for many wonderful projects, but almost none of it goes to support university operations. Over all, 80 percent of public-university endowments are restricted to donor-specified undertakings. At the University of California, that figure ranges between 95 percent and 98 percent. Our budget group calculated that to replace the $1.1-billion in public money lost between 2001 and 2004, the university would have to raise $25-billion in new, unrestricted gifts.

Myth 7: Cutting higher-education support is a national trend that cannot be stopped. That belief is a self-fulfilling prophecy because leaders inside and outside higher education keep saying it's true — even though attitudes toward taxes aren't worse today than 50 years ago, the public doesn't want high fees, reduced state support has hurt educational quality, and industry and wealthy donors can't replace public money. The myth is also self-serving because it supports a convergence of interests among politicians who don't want to say taxes are good, university leaders who don't want to offend politicians or sponsors, and a public that has been trained to want more for less.

This is a quiet tragedy of major proportions. The broad prosperity and social advancement of post-World War II America depended on superb public universities. They created and spread wealth and justice by combining top quality with mass access, bringing advanced skills to a wider and more diverse majority of the population than ever before. Are we now going to let that kind of quality gradually retreat to the Ivy League-style private institutions that teach at most 5 percent of all college students? If we do, the country will lose most of the broad social gains it has made over the past 60 years.

Avoiding this decline will require new levels of honesty about the real costs of leading-edge higher education and new financial models that start from truth in budgeting. There is no alternative to educational leaders telling the simple truth to their counterparts in politics and business: Public cuts in financial support have hurt public universities, their students, and their research. Those cuts now must be reversed and investment in higher education renewed.

Christopher Newfield is a professor of English at the University of California at Santa Barbara and author of Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard University Press, 2008).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

UCLA Grads on Art LIbrary Closure

Art History Graduate Students Association
Department of Art History
University of California, Los Angeles
100 Dodd Hall
PO Box 951417
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1417
August 15, 2009

Gary E. Strong
University Librarian
University of California, Los Angeles
11334 Charles E. Young Research Library
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1517

Dear Mr. Strong:

On behalf of all the graduate students in the Department of Art History at UCLA, we are writing to express our concerns and objections regarding the proposed plan to close the Arts Library. We are aware that the California State Legislature came to an agreement last month that will result n the UC system suffering a twenty percent loss of our state funding. As a result, the UCLA library system is being forced to reduce its budget by nearly two million dollars for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. As we understand it, our library system has announced a number of drastic changes and reductions. Most alarmingly, it has come to our attention that UCLA has begun to examine the “service and collection issues” associated with the decision to permanently close the Arts Library. We are outraged at this decision.

We are aware that these deep budget cuts are not the result of a decision taken lightly but are part of a larger trend. Due to California’s fiscal crisis, the UC system has announced that, among other changes, it is raising student fees by nine percent, reducing enrollment, and making drastic cutbacks in nearly all areas of the ten UC campuses. These cuts will inevitably result in a massive reduction in services and resources across the board. While we understand that in the face of this dire economic situation certain losses must be sustained, we also believe that UCLA can and ought to devise more creative solutions to scale back resources rather than making sweeping cuts that will eliminate them entirely.

There are seven degree-granting departments that turn to the Arts Library as their primary research resource: Architecture and Urban Design, Art, Design and Media Arts, Ethnomusicology, Music, World Arts and Cultures, and the department of Art History in the Humanities Division. The Arts Library is an integral part of the prestige of these programs. The Art Department, for example, is consistently ranked in the top five in the nation, and the Art History Department is consistently ranked in the top ten. No other school, program, or university of comparable caliber has been stripped of its fundamental resources in a similar manner despite equally severe budget cuts. Furthermore, UCLA is home to three internationally acclaimed arts institutions: the Hammer Museum, the Fowler Museum, and UCLA Live, a major performing arts program. These institutions also rely on the Arts Library for reference and research. Closure of the library would therefore not only impact the UCLA community, but the broader community of Los Angeles as a center for art and culture. We urge you to be aware that this loss would not be a small sacrifice but a move that would send a clear message across both the campus and country that UCLA does not value the arts or humanities. If UCLA wants to continue attracting world-class scholars, garnering prestige as one of the finest and most prominent universities in the country with Arts and Humanities programs that are competitive with many Ivy League schools, as well as continue to support a series of celebrated performing arts programs, then the retention of our vital resources is crucial.

The importance of a dedicated Arts Library cannot be underestimated: the need for such an institution stems from the special nature of costly exhibitions catalogues, artists books that are often oversized or fragile, reference journals that are often out of print, and materials that are not available online. To move the contents of the library to a difficult to access storage facility would defeat the original purpose of the Arts Library as an archive of images, a visual resource for research unlike any other at UCLA. Furthermore, we would like to underscore the necessity of retaining dedicated Arts Librarians who not only understand the special care required for artists books and related materials, but are also responsible for acquiring new books and materials and filling in the gaps in UCLA’s collection. A librarian with less specialized training cannot effectively accomplish these basic duties.

The Arts Library and similar resources are at the core of academic life at UCLA. Each year, hundreds of undergraduate students enroll in arts and humanities courses where they enhance their general education and research skills by learning to engage with the print and visual resources available to them in the reserves and stacks. Graduate students and faculty alike rely heavily on the library for teaching materials and their own research. Aside from the obvious negative impact closure will have on those of us who make use of the Arts Library daily, it will also inevitably make it difficult to provide the exceptional undergraduate education that is the current standard at UCLA. Similarly, it will impede the production of the stellar research for which UCLA is renowned worldwide. Reduction of resources will be difficult, but elimination would be devastating.

We are also concerned with the manner in which this decision is being carried out: there has been a total lack of communication between the UCLA library system and the students, faculty and staff who will be most directly impacted. It is unconscionable that the input and opinions of those that the library is supposed to serve have not been solicited at all. We believe that the impact of this decision will be lasting: undergraduates and graduate alike will be less likely to come to or to remain at a university where their teaching and research is not only undervalued,
but severely impeded. Elimination of this branch of the UCLA library system is an unacceptable affront to all.

We recognize that at this stage it is not clear whether or not the library will be eliminated completely, or whether the facility will be closed and the materials absorbed by YRL and its librarians, or whether the books will be buried in a more difficult to reach and nearly impossible to browse location such as SRLF.

Regardless of where they end up, we would like to point out that moving the entire contents of the library would be incredibly costly, particularly as YRL and SRLF are unequipped to deal with the special needs of these materials. We are concerned that closure will not in the long run accomplish its stated purpose of saving money; at the very least it seems a huge loss with debatable gain.

Furthermore, it is a drastic decision that may soon prove to be incredibly short sighted as the financial crisis may be, as many hope and believe, beginning to make a turn for the better.
As we all know, when public universities such as the University of California are under strain, the once robust emphasis on rigorous academics declines, enrollment falls, the university becomes less accessible to the public, fewer students graduate, and jobs are lost within the university community, the State of California, and the U.S. as a whole. While UCLA expands in some directions—for example, the proposed renovation of Pauley Pavilion to the tune of nearly two hundred million dollars, with a significant portion of that money coming directly from increased student fees—it contracts in others. Clearly this is an unfair situation, one that threatens the integrity of academics at UCLA. In light of these impending changes, it is our belief that the UCLA library system needs to assert its commitment to academic excellence and a diversity of intellectual pursuits even more strongly. To fail to do so would be an unacceptable addition to the long list of impending changes that will negatively affect us all.

We believe that in the face of both a differential allocation and money across the campus and the permanent elimination of certain resources, we must continually insist at all levels and at all times on the importance of maintaining the high caliber of academics that are the backbone of the UC system. When academics are not prioritized, the public university fails to meets its promise to provide a wellrounded education to students, is unable to offer a diversity of resources to faculty, staff, and the broader community. Closure of the Arts Library is exactly the kind of decision that dramatically undermines the most basic tenets of a public university: open access to information and a commitment to the belief that facilitating rigorous and diverse academic pursuits is not a luxury but a fundamental necessity.

Given the negative impact it is certain to inflict across various sectors of the UCLA community and beyond, we the Art History Graduate Student Association emphatically urge you to reconsider the proposed decision to close the Arts Library.

Art History Graduate Students Association
UCLA Department of Art History

cc: Dell Upton, Chair of the Department of Art History
Russell Ferguson, Chair of the Department of Art
Chancellor Gene Block
Executive Vice-Chancellor, Scott Waugh
Vice-Chancellor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan
Timothy Stowell, Dean of Humanities
Christopher Waterman, Dean of the School of Arts and Architecture
Barbara Drucker, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
Shane Butler, Faculty Chair of the Senate Library Committee
Robert Gore, Art Librarian
Linda Warren, Art Librarian

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Toby Miller: Furlough Time (Campus Review, 8/17/2009)

The increasingly casualised California university system makes Toby Miller wonder whether unionisation has a future.

When I was a child, the Dutch-derived word furlough referred to soldiers in Hollywood movies who were away from the front, enjoying some shore leave. It's come to mean something quite different now across the US economy, including higher education, and including the University of California's massive and renowned system. It's how employers decide to diminish costs without firing people.

Let's make this personal for a moment. Starting in September, for at least 18 months my salary will be reduced by approximately 10 per cent. Rather than becoming a permanent cut - at least for now - the reduction will be "achieved" (I love these Orwellian terms) through compulsory furloughs.

Some of these will be campus-wide. The place will just shut down completely. Some furloughs will be more local, as we'll probably decide to shut down our department while others are open and vice versa.

There's a debate on about simply cancelling days of instruction, in order to bring home to students that teaching must be as affected as administration and research. This is no guarantee that we'll avoid lay-offs. So far, tenure and tenure-track positions are deemed safe, but staff jobs are not immune. Faculty are basically not in unions, while most non-managerial staff have collective bargaining. The last-in, first-out rules may hit them hard.

The 10 per cent cut I'm getting is a higher percentage than the one required of junior people. They will also be protected from increased teaching loads, which will fall on senior faculty such as myself.

Wherever possible, 2009 job offers have been rescinded, casual and fractional faculty have been "separated" (another fabulous example of doublespeak), and qualified students have been turned away. To try to avoid these across-the-board decisions, 23 department heads at UC San Diego proposed that the UCs at Santa Cruz, Merced, and Riverside (where I work) be shut down or downgraded. Thanks for the solidarity, chaps.
The story is similar across the country, from private to public universities. Some states are not in as bad a situation as California, which under Arnold Schwarzenegger's misrule as governor has gone from the fifth-largest economy in the world to the eighth-biggest. Perhaps the strength of the Californian economy will be renewed, but for now things look very grim. And of course, the desire of universities and their funders to run a system that privileges researchers who make things that can be sold, or train professionals who are in high demand, will only be renewed and strengthened by these changes.

I have no idea whether Australia will confront similar assaults on research schools like ours. Its odd arrangement, whereby constitutional and fiscal responsibility for public universities is split, makes for a different form of life from ours. The same goes for the respective prominence and power of academic unions. In the US, faculty in private schools do not have the constitutional right to collective bargaining because they are deemed to be "managerial employees" (come on down, Mr Orwell, and claim your prize one more time). The situation in public universities varies. So we're largely without a union in the University of California, though graduate students have one. Some states have unions that cover everyone.

In the long term, I foresee a massive casualisation of labour as precarious jobs take over from good ones. The philosopher Antonio Negri refers to the flexible workers of the new economy as a cognitariat because they have high levels of educational attainment.
This new proletariat is not defined in terms of manufacturing or opposition to ruling-class power and ideology. Indeed, it is formed from those whose immediate forebears, with similar or less cultural capital, were the salariat, and lived their lives confident of guaranteed health care and retirement income. The cognitariat lacks both the organisation of the traditional working class and the political entrée of the old middle class.
The freeway professors who drive across the southern half of California to teach at any number of our 70 universities fit the bill. Their laboir has long gone unacknowledged as a crucial part of the system sustaining fancy researchers with tenure. Now their numbers will swell from being a majority of teachers to being the invisible norm. One can only imagine what would happen if they became fully organised industrially and functioned as a unit in place of being atomised selves. For now, they are the first to be jettisoned, as tenured faculty are asked to teach more for less pay. But very soon, they will be back in front of the class while we swan around complaining about our workloads and salaries.
Professor Toby Miller is chair of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Toby Miller
Skype: tobymiller58
Media & Cultural Studies
INTS 3136
900 Univ. Ave
Riverside, CA 92521


New Book: The Contemporary Hollywood Reader

Television & New Media
Social Identities


Sluggish Support for Public Universities Threatens US Pre-eminence in Higher Ed (Chronicle, 8/17)

Sluggish Support for Public Universities Threatens U.S. Pre-eminence in Higher Education, Report Says

By Karin Fischer

Shaky state financial support for public research universities threatens American higher education's global standing, says a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that examines trends in scientific publications.

Since the 1980s, the growth of scientific research, as measured by scholarly papers and citations, in Europe and East Asia has outpaced that of American universities, in part because countries in those regions have dedicated significant resources to higher education. The American share of world scientific citations, for example, dropped from 52 percent in 1992 to 42 percent in 2003.

But James D. Adams, a professor of economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, points to another culprit.

In the paper, "Is the U.S. Losing Its Preeminence in Higher Education?," Mr. Adams documents a slowdown in scientific publications by American researchers in the 1990s, following a long period of significant growth, with the total number of papers falling from 139,168 in 1995 to 138,472 in 1999. (The total has since increased to 159,972 in 2005.)

While the growth of papers from researchers at private universities decelerated during that time, Mr. Adams writes, "it virtually stops in public universities."

Why? Although Mr. Adams notes that federal research support expands at a faster rate at public universities, that growth is counteracted by sluggish increases in state appropriations for higher education.

Mr. Adams examined data for 110 public and private U.S. institutions, which account for 80 percent of all academic research spending. The data, which was collected from 1982 to 1999, includes information on publications, citations, tuition, endowment revenue, and state financial support.

During that time, Mr. Adams found, tuition revenue at private universities grew 124 percent. By contrast, the cumulative growth in tuition revenue plus state appropriations at public universities increased by just 46 percent.

None of the other variables he studied, such as long-term investments in research and numbers of graduate research assistants, accounted for the differences in the growth of scientific papers and citations between public and private institutions, he said.

The trends in state financial support have indirect effects on research, Mr. Adams said. For example, total compensation for faculty members at private colleges rises about 1 percent a year faster than for their public-university counterparts. That could provide an incentive for top scientists to move to private universities, he said.

Although his data is retrospective, Mr. Adams said he is concerned about the pressures now facing most public research universities, given the glum budget forecasts in most states.

The slowdown of investment in a critical sector of American higher education could have a persistent effect on U.S. pre-eminence globally, especially as other countries continue to invest in universities and research. Indeed, several members of Congress have asked the National Academies to carry out a study of the status of the American research university, motivated, in part, by awareness that it is no longer possible to take for granted the dominant position of American universities in the world.

But the growth in industrialized countries means that the United States is likely to continue to see a decline in its share of scientific-research output, even if changes are made to public-university financing, Mr. Adams said.

Still, "the point isn't what they're doing. The point is what we are doing," Mr. Adams said in an interview. "It's a threat that's an internal threat."

The paper, which is part of a forthcoming volume on American universities in a global higher-education market, is available to subscribers or for purchase on the bureau's Web site.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Robert Samuels (UC-AFT): How Do You Solve a Problem Like the UC?

How Do You Solve a Problem like The UC?

Right now UC-AFT are working on two central issues. On the one hand, we have been showing that the UC does not have a short-term budget crisis, since the university has so much unrestricted funds, and it continues to compensate some people at very high levels. We are also pushing for a state legislative hearing because the UC continues to deny in public that it can move money around, and the UC administrators claim that they have no unrestricted funds except state funds. This structure means that only instruction and staff can be cut, but everything else continues to grow.

The other problem is long-term, and it is our pension plan and investments. Just the investment losses alone will require major changes in our pay and the UC finances. UC-AFT still does not understand why everyone is talking about the $812 million cut by the state, while the UC lost $23 billion during the same period. For some reason, the faculty continue to buy President Yudof’s strategy to blame everything on the state and to ignore the incredible mismanagement by the UC of its own finances.

Our recent salary research is aimed at showing where the money goes, and how this artificial division between the profit-making sectors and the public sectors of the UC budget allows for the rich to get richer, while students, low-paid workers, and undergraduate instruction suffers. We need a new model of revenue sharing, and if we do not clarify how money is spent in the system, we will go down a very bad road. We also need to grow, and not shrink the university, because we need so much money to feed the pension system.

Bob Samuels, UC-AFT

Marc Bousquet Interview with Bob Samuels (Chronicle, 8/15/2009)

August 15, 2009, 12:00 AM ET
Terminating California
By Marc Bousquet


Bob Samuels is the president of UC-AFT, the union representing nontenurable faculty at University of California campuses across the state. Like thousands of others, he recently received a layoff notice in the wake of the chancellor's assumption of 'emergency powers' (the academic equivalent of martial law).

On his blog recently, Bob explained how 3500 U.C. "fat cats" earning over $200,000 are living large while students are being turned away and the teaching faculty--most earning less than bartenders--are being terminated and involuntarily furloughed. Learn more at Remaking the University and the California Faculty Association.

For me the most eye-popping statistic that you've been tracking is the soaring compensation in the upper echelons at the University of California--what you call the "$200,000 club." In the past three years, this group has grown by 50% and collects more than 11% of the salary budget for the whole university system.

Couldn't UC address its financial issues by adjusting the salaries and/or selective terminations among this group alone?

Almost all of the people making over 240,0000 are medical faculty, law and business faculty, coaches, and senior administrators, and many will have only a small part of their salaries reduced in the UC furlough plan. The unions are calling for a 25% reduction of these positions. As we say, the UC needs to chop from the top.

By contrast, the lowest paid workers, including many of the faculty you represent, have endured austerity for decades, haven't they?

Many faculty and staff have received no pay increases during this period; their labor subsidizes the raises of the highest paid employees.

You've called this a "fake" fiscal crisis. What do you mean by that?

UC has an operating budget of $20 billion and investments of over $50 billion; this was also a record year for external grants. They need to just move money around or share the profits of the revenue-generating sectors.

The new UC chancellor Mark Yudof has been green-lighted for the university equivalent of martial law-- "emergency powers." What is he doing with those powers?

He is imposing the furlough plan and allowing the fiscal emergency to trigger the layoff clause in union contracts. Who knows what else he can and will do. It is martial law.

Is this restructuring really necessary, or just desirable from management's point of view?

There is a long-term problem on the horizon, which has to do with the pension losses of at least $16 billion, and the UC will need to require high pension contributions from the university and the employees, but this means they need more workers and students, and they have to stop giving people outrageous salaries that turn into incredible pensions. Many executives are given special pension supplements, which will cost dearly in the future.

What has to change is funding undergraduate instruction out of temporary funds, while everything else is funded out of permanent funds. In the current system, when there is a decline in state funding, they have to gut undergraduate education.

How will the administration's actions affect California students?

In order to show they need more state money, the President has said that cuts have to be made visible on the campuses. This means larger classes, the elimination of many courses, fewer services, the suspension of requirements, higher fees (tuition), more student debt, the slosing of entire programs, online instruction, and it will take students longer to graduate because they will be unable to get the required courses they need. Also, many will lose their financial aid if they do not graduate on time.

This doesn't sound smart even from a sales and marketing point of view--how will the restructuring affect the reputation of the UC system and its ability to attract international and out of state students?

Right now, the UC attracts so many students, that it feels it can do almost anything and still be highly selective. UCLA has been the most applied to school in the nation for the last several years. It only accepts 5% from out of state, but it might move to increase this number since out of state students pay about four times as much for tuition.

How are the UC and CSU unions responding?

CSU really does have a budget crisis, and they have one union for tenured, non-tenured faculty and staff. They are being forced to accept furloughs for everyone and massive layoffs for the non-tenured. UC has many different sources of revenue, and the tenured faculty are not unionized. So the faculty and staff will get a furlough/salary reduction, and the UC has to bargain with the unions, but the UC is refusing to meet with the unions or answer their questions. There is major union busting activity going on, they have hired the top union busting law firm, and they are blaming layoffs on the failure of the unions to accept the furlough plan.

What lessons does the California situation offer to public university systems in the rest of the country?

Faculty have lost control of their own institutions, which are now run by administrators with no interest in education. Faculty have to fight to regain control, and scale down the administrative bloat. There also has to be a plan to defend undergraduate instruction and share revenue across sectors. Students also have to get involved and demand a quality education or they will be neglected. If all of the workers and faculty were unionized, they could create a united front, but now they are being pitted against each other. Tenured faculty have also bought into the free agent system, where they negotiate their salaries through private deals circumventing the peer review process, and this has to stop.

Wasserstrom on the "Three-Tier System"

Taking the Measure of the UC System: Equal Campuses or Three Tiers?
By Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

Mr. Wasserstrom is a professor of history at the University of California at Irvine. He is author, most recently, of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).

As indicated by my recent contribution to the Chronicle of Higher Education (“U. of California Cuts: A Faculty Member’s Dispatch from the Front Lines,” July 29), I like to think of the institution I belong to as a constellation of excellent campuses, which are interdependent, together make a whole that is more than a sum of their parts, and which have a lot in common with one another. UCSF stands apart from the nine general campuses, since it is just a medical school. And obviously the other schools have their distinctive aspects. Berkeley and UCLA have been in operation the longest, have bigger endowments, and have more departments that show up in top ten lists, for example, while UC Merced is still just in its start-up phase. Nevertheless, as I see it, the similarities between them are more significant than the differences. A totally different vision of the system, however, is put forward in a pair of recent letters, signed by over twenty UC San Diego department chairs, in one case, and a group of UCLA sociologists, in the other. This commentary is a response to those letters, which insist that the system’s 9 main campuses fall neatly into three sets: a triumverate of “flagships” (Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD), a trio of middle tier schools (Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara), and a bottom stratum (Santa Cruz, Riverside, Merced).

Why should anyone not teaching in the UC system care about these letters? Well, two issues they raise may have only limited interest beyond California’s borders. These concern resources (the letters claim that the pain associated with the current drastic reductions in state funding should not be distributed evenly, for the “flagships” deserve to be protected from the most severe cuts) and morale (the letters make distressing reading to those of us affiliated with other campuses). But there is an aspect of the letters that has relevance for historians and scholars in some closely related fields who teach in other parts of the country or in California but not at UC campuses, especially when they are read in conjunction with other texts that have grown out of the budget crisis. This is because of a worrisome tendency in these texts for the achievements in disciplines such as ours to drop out of the picture.

For example, both the UCSD letter and some related newspaper articles have referred to the number of Nobel Prize winners on a campus as a self-evident indication of its stature. The presence of faculty who attract big grants has been mentioned periodically as a key marker of the caliber of a campus. And in defending his decision to offer a newly hired Chancellor a much larger salary than her predecessor had received, despite the tough budgetary times, Mark Yudof, President of the UC system, pointed out that the candidate had many patents to her name.

There is surely a place for all of these criteria in assessments of individual people and how research universities stack up, but if they are the only ones brought into view then what scholars in all humanities and most social science disciplines do outside of the classroom will remain below the radar. It is not obvious what alternative metrics there are to turn to, especially if one lacks confidence in U.S. News and World Reports rankings, which can be useful in a very general way but often reflect the past more than the present caliber of a department. Below I’ll offer up five criteria that seem worth taking into account, each with relevance for fields left out in the cold by the Nobel Prize-Big Grants-Patents approach.

My account of these alternative criteria does, as readers will see, lend support to a vision of the UC system as characterized by a widespread distribution of excellence, at least where the eight established campuses are concerned (Merced is so new, it is not fair to judge it yet). I admit that I have an obvious stake in seeing the system in these terms, since not only do I teach at an allegedly “second tier” campus (Irvine), but I have a B.A. from one that is supposedly a “third tier” one (Santa Cruz).

My sense of the system is not just based on my experiences with those two UC campuses, however, as I have studied or given talks at five other ones. I also co-edit a series with University of California Press, an academic publisher that benefits (as our series has) from advice that comes from a faculty editorial board whose members are drawn from all UC branches, not just two or three (and some of the best comments on works in our series have come from board members based at schools that are not accorded “flagship” status by the letters alluded to above).

One final prefatory comment is in order: I spent a year as a visiting associate professor of history at UCSD. And my memory of my time on the La Jolla campus is that of working at a very fine institution—but not being on a campus that seemed in a totally different league from Irvine or Santa Cruz (one of the three parts of the UC system that, according to the UCSD letter, might even need to be closed down completely in the future, in order to protect the viability of the flagships). It was thus particularly surprising to me to see that the chair of the UCSD History department, the unit of the La Jolla campus I know best, was one of those who signed that school’s “just three flagships” letter.

Here are the five alternative criteria I have in mind, followed by some brief comments on how different UC campuses fare according to them:

Where the Presidents Are:

One sign of distinction for a faculty member is election to head a major scholarly organization. The UC system does well on this score, partly but by no means only because of what happens at Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD. Consider the Association for Asian Studies (the world’s leading scholarly organization of its kind). Relatively recent AAS presidents have included a Berkeley historian of Japan, a UCLA Koreanist, and a Davis China specialist. And the slate of two finalists for the position of AAS vice-president (who would become president automatically a year later) includes a UCSC faculty member.

If this Santa Cruz faculty member wins, moreover, while this would be a novel thing for the campus where the AAS is concerned, she would not be the first head of a major professional organization to hail from this allegedly “bottom tier” UC campus. At one point, for instance, its faculty included the presidents of both the American Anthropological Association and the American Ethnological Society.

UCI does not figure in the AAS presidency story, but then, again, neither does UCSD. And Irvine does do well if one focuses on a very select group of UC faculty members: those who have been presidents of two different associations. Among historians in this small set, one who comes to mind is UCLA’s Joyce Appleby, a past president of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and also of the American Historical Association, but another is UCI’s Vicki Ruiz, a past president of the American Studies Association and the OAH).

Where the Flagship Journals Are:

I used to teach at Indiana University, where pride was taken in the presence on campus of both the American Historical Review (AHR) and the Journal of American History (JAH), and I now edit the Journal of Asian Studies, so I am doubtless prone to put more emphasis than some on periodicals as markers of prestige. Still, it does seem logical to think that “flagship” campuses should be where “flagship journals” tend to end up. Here, again, there are Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD examples to point to, but also a broader UC phenomenon to note. At least one supposedly “non-flagship” campus, Irvine, for example, seems to be more than pulling its weight just now. Not only is it home to the JAS, the most highly regarded publication of the AAS, but also to the American Anthropologist, which is among the world’s leading publications in that discipline and is currently edited by UCI’s Tom Boellstorf, and the Law and Society Review, which is currently edited by UCI’s Carroll Seron.

Where the Prominent Writers Are:

There are established writers known for the elegance and power of their prose at various UC campuses, but the group at the allegedly bottom tier Riverside is surely among the strongest. Mike Davis, who writes for the London Review of Books and is widely considered one of the most gifted stylists writing about the past, is there. So, too, is Susan Straight (whose works of fiction have won many honors, including a California book award), prize-winning poet Christopher Buckley, and Perry Link (a contributor to the New York Review of Books who is known for his elegant translations of Chinese works of fiction and reportage).

4) Where the Up-and-Coming Writers Are:

When Pankaj Mishra, the London-based novelist and prize-winning essayist, came to Irvine as a visitor last spring, we asked him if there was a faculty member from a neighboring UC campus he wanted us to invite to join him on stage for a public discussion of literary trends. He responded not by suggesting someone from UCLA or UCSD (though he easily could have, given that both schools have excellent authors), but by requesting that we ask Laila Lalami, a young writer originally from Morocco, to come to our campus from UCR. Her first book was enthusiastically reviewed in many venues, including the New York Times (“poetic”), the Washington Post (“beautiful and bracing”), and Secret Son, and the New York Review of Books (Mishra wrote a glowing review of it for them). And her new book (a novel published the day before she came to Irvine) is now earning high praise.

There are many up-and-coming writers at Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD, of course, but Lalami’s presence at Riverside suggests that this is yet another criterion where the alleged “flagship” definitely do not have a monopoly on excellence nor even necessarily stand clearly apart from the pack. Mishra’s time at Irvine provided additional evidence of this. For while various UC campuses have faculty who write for high profile venues such as the Times Literary Supplement (London) and, I doubt that many of them have graduate students who do this. And yet, while Mishra was on campus, two graduate students he met were TLS contributor Kate Merkel-Hess (who was just finishing up her doctorate in the History Department) and contributor Robert Anasi (who recently began working toward a doctorate in Literary Journalism within the Irvine English Department).

5) Where the Academic Prizes Go:

Berkeley, UCLA and UCSD historians often win awards, but the list of UC faculty members who have won, for example, the Bancroft Prize (one of the discipline’s top honors) is not just a three-campus tale. Past winners include not only historians from the supposed “flagship” schools but also Alan Taylor of Davis and UCSB’s Pekka Hamalainen.

The distribution of UC winners of the John K. Fairbank award (the top honor that the American Historical Association gives for books on East Asian History) is similarly broad, for faculty from UCLA, Berkeley, and three other campuses have won it, the most recent being Susan Mann of Davis. Mentioning two prize winners in particular, moreover, allows me to return to give a specific example of why I do not feel that I am now teaching at a campus that is a clear step below the one where I spent a year as a visiting associate professor. When I taught at La Jolla, I felt honored to be filling in for Joseph Esherick, who had been awarded the Fairbank Prize for his superb study of the Boxer Uprising. But I am no less honored that since coming to UCI I have had as a colleague Kenneth Pomeranz—the only person at any UC campus, indeed anywhere in the world, who has won the Fairbank prize twice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

UCB Prof Christine Rosen on Studying Budgets and Subsidies

I'd like to know more specifics about the issue of higher subsidies for professional schools as well. Haas has negotiated with the university for permission to move toward a market based, external funding model. As a result some of our faculty positions, for example, are now, as I understand it, entirely non-state funded. The external funding comes from the "market based" tuitions we charge students in our MBA and executive education programs, and from endowments.

Can the subsidies be analyzed for us and broken down by professional school as well as by departments within the professional schools and within L&S? My guess is that these subsidies vary considerably in scale even within L&S. Chris Newfield says as much in his second post:

"Thus a med school may get $50,000 per student FTE (a figure mentioned by UC's then-budget director in 2005), and a law school may get $35,000 per student FTE. One case I studied in detail had a humanities division's departments averaging closer to $5000 per student FTE and social sciences still lower than that. In that case, science departments were closer to the humanities, and engineering in between hum and the professional schools. The professional school amounts vary quite a bit, but I have never seen a systematic comparison."

What are the criteria that are being used to allocate the subsidies?

Equally important, just what are we talking about when we throw around the notion of a dollar amount of subsidies per student in one school versus another? Per undergrad student in the department's (or school's) major? Per grad student? Per total number of students, grad or otherwise, enrolled in a department's classes? Since students take classes in departments outside their majors and graduate programs, I would be concerned about these statistics. At least I would want to know exactly what is being measured and compared.

There are many ways to analyze and compare subsidies. For example, we faculty are also subsidized by the state in various ways, other than through our state funded base salaries. How do the state funded components of faculty start up packages compare across the university? Again, we may very well find that they vary considerably between departments in A&S and in the professional schools, as well as between schools. We are also likely to find that the packages granted to faculty in the sciences and engineering (a professional school) dwarf those received by faculty in the humanities. This is no doubt due, at least in part, because they include labs, but likely also related to other factors. Again what are the criteria that the campus uses to allocate state (and non-state) funding? Are they fair? Are they rational according to some logic?

It sounds like we might be trying to open a can of worms by even thinking about looking into this. What can we learn about how UC and UCB take from one pot to give to another pot that is not going to appear to threaten those that get more, while infuriating those that don't get as much?

Yet if the $/student subsidies figures that Chris N. and Charlie S. are using are disguising or distorting the reality of student subsidies, it would be good to try to figure all this out, if only for transparency's sake.

In his piece on The Cost of Undergrad Education on his website, Charlie asks:

"The new question, not previously asked, is this: Is there some logical, moral or political limit to how high student fees (tuition) could be raised at a public research university? A fee level at 100% of the actual cost of their education seems to provide a most significant boundary. Beyond that point, undergraduate students (and their parents) are being forced to not only pay for everything they get, but must also subsidize the other functions - graduate education and faculty research - which undeniably provide broad benefits to the whole public, beyond the individual student. One could call this selective taxation, privatization, or any other name you wish; but such a forced subsidization is something that deserves serious debate as a matter of public policy."

In my view we need a great deal more information before we can answer these sorts of questions. We also need to think the issue of cross subsidies through more clearly. There are all sorts of cross subsidies taking place: between departments and schools, between undergrad and grad ed. At Haas tuition is funding faculty appointments. Students take courses in other schools and departments. Several of the so called Enviro-deans subsidized the Berkeley Institute for the Environment for several years out their discretionary funds. The cross subsidies are not just monetary - they also build the "Berkeley brand." The high reputation of our graduate schools helps attract the best undergrads. Grad and UG students, alike, benefiting from having the best faculty. Buildings and rec centers are built courtesy of the tax payers via money raised by state bonds. Berkeley's world class reputation is the product of all of our strengths. We are interdependent. Berkeley itself is greater than the sum of its parts because of the all resources, publically and privately funded, that exist here in our faculty, our undergraduate and graduate students, and our staff.


UCLA Prof Michael Meranze on privatization debate

Dear All,

Colleen and Mark wondered if I might be able to provide any information on discussions at UCLA or other southern campuses similar to the issues you have been considering about the "Michigan model" or the other concerns raised in the exchanges that followed David Hollinger's post and his exchange with Chris Newfield. My initial response is that I do not have a huge amount of information to offer. As far as I can tell, the discussions here at UCLA have tended to be more fragmented (as befits a more fragmented campus) and less concrete than yours. The last of our large town hall meetings occurred before the final version of Yudof's furlough policy was announced and at that point the discussion tended to be focused on that issue and, alas, revealing the many fault lines among faculty according to discipline, seniority, budgetary source, etc. We are, as well, one of the medical school campuses so our financial arrangements make Berkeley's look like the local bank in "It's a Wonderful Life." Whether there are similar discussions about changing UCLA's financial relation with the system as a whole going on within the administration or in Senate committees I cannot say for sure. But there were some discussion about out of state students in the Spring and I would be surprised if some discussion of that was not happening at least in the administration. The independent faculty discussions that I have seen have been more along the lines of trying to think of strategies to make more apparent the worth of the University to the State as a whole. Nor am I aware of any systematic discussion at either Riverside or San Diego (although that may just be my ignorance). I have heard that Irvine recently had a faculty meeting to start discussing issues and of course Santa Barbara has been deeply involved in both analysis and activism (some around Newfield's blog). But again not along the lines that your thread seems to have pursued. The one exception to all of this, of course, has been the proposals (put forth first by the Sociologists and San Diego and then elaborated in modified form by at least some other department chairs at San Diego and by the Sociologists at UCLA) to formalize a sort of tier-system within UC. I don't think that that has gone all that far.

On the other hand, in reading the exchange between David and Chris I was struck by two different things. The first was that to a large extent they talked past each other on some substantive issues. In some ways, this situation is understandable on the part of Chris since my sense is that he was asked to respond to fiscal and funding issues rather than to the implicit aspects of David's statement. David, in turn, did not really respond to the economic issues that Chris raised (apparently none of them were surprising) and focused more on Chris' tone. But even if we all agree that more research on the funding implications of at least some of the campuses moving in a new direction on out of state students, that doesn't--as others have pointed out--exhaust the implications for the University at large or even, in the long-term for Berkeley.

David writes unabashedly as a Berkeley proponent and that provides a welcome clarity to his arguments. I will take his word that he is used to fighting off Berkeley people who are too humble about their relation to the system (although I have to say as someone who got a Ph.D. at Berkeley and have since taught at 2 other campuses for 20 years I can't recall meeting very many of those). But David assumes that one's first loyalty should be to the campus as opposed to UC (again having experience on 3 campuses may affect the way I look at this). There may very well be an argument to be made for rethinking what different campuses do within the system (as David says this is already de facto the case: we have a medical school, you don't, we have a large medical center you don't etc, Santa Cruz was designed to be different--and still is, etc) but if the question is how should the UC change to best fulfill its goals as a public university I am not sure that that decision can, or at least should, be made except through a deliberation process that would include the faculty whose lives would be being redefined. And that could not simply be the faculty at Berkeley and UCLA. I say could not in the sense of should not--obviously it could be done solely by them. But that would be a matter of power not principle. It may be that a debate within the larger community would take too long or get slogged down. But that is the risk of democratic or intellectual debate.

I was surprised by all of this because David has been a most eloquent critic of the increasing ways that Universities have allowed themselves to be reshaped by the changing configuration of outside power and capital (that was after all the point of the essay that he linked us to). But here the suggestion is that the external environment cannot be changed or challenged and that we must acquiesce and reconfigure the University. This was doubly perplexing given David's original invocation of Lowell. If ever a poem called out for not accepting the limits of the realities provided by market and state it was Lowell's Present Crisis. Instead, Lowell's was a call for thinking and agitation to change the given environment. If as Lowell said, "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,-" I am not sure how having a few campuses try to rearrange the system in their own interests will change that.

Thanks for the invitation and I hope that you have success in coming up with strategies for the crisis.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Exchange between Newfield and Judith Innes on budget studies

1. I don't understand what you mean when you say the system subsidizes the professional schools. Are you saying that they get more money per capita than letters and science departments? Are these "subsidies" the same across all types of professional schools? Can someone explain?
Judy Innes

2. yes! General funds come from the state attached to student FTE (the amount has hovered around $10,000 per student FTE in recent years, but Mark Yudof cited $7700 or so in a recent talk). Once in UCOP and then on a particular campus, this state "workload" money doesn't follow the student into his or her primary departments of instruction. Part of it does, and another part goes elsewhere. Various control points on each campus (EVC, deans, etc.) from one year to the next according to all sorts of factors and variations known mostly to them. Thus a med school may get $50,000 per student FTE (a figure mentioned by UC's then-budget director in 2005), and a law school may get $35,000 per student FTE. One case I studied in detail had a humanities division's departments averaging closer to $5000 per student FTE and social sciences still lower than that. In that case, science departments were closer to the humanities, and engineering in between hum and the professional schools. The professional school amounts vary quite a bit, but I have never seen a systematic comparison.

"Subsidize" here means money generated in one place (by enrollments) being spent in another place. It's not inherently bad and to the contrary allows all sorts of great research and teaching to take place even in the absence of paying "customers" and a defined "market." Universities can and should pool resources and cross subsidize to cover special needs and opportunities. That's not always how it works, though, and it's hard to see who's going to win and lose - whether it's a department, school, or campus, without this kind of budgetary detail. Chris

3. Thank you this is helpful, but of course this explanation still leaves me a little mystified as you point out there is no systematic data. I would be surprised if my school (Environmental Design) were heavily subsidized in this way or Social Welfare for example. I hope we will have the data before proposing any blanket policies.

4. Judy, the head of your school would know your per student FTE budget total, and I assume would also know the fund sources (how much is state general fund, how much is fee money, etc.), S/he might not know how this compares to the budget of parallel units. This comparison might only be available at the next level - deans if they are departments, Provost or EVCs if schools, etc. There is no rule - and everyone says transparency is a good idea - but in my experience this information is generally withheld from the next level down, partly to avoid potential conflicts among departments - Chris Rosen's remarkable post lays this out very well.

But the other effect is that dept chairs and even deans may not understand the larger budget picture and thus can't participate intelligently in decisions about allocations. This is even more true of regular faculty members and staff. Even assuming that the EVC is fair to all discipines and that no one is taking advantage of inside information for their own unit's advantage, which of course any ambitious leader would be tempted to do, this lack of budgetary knowledge lowers the institutional's overall IQ. So for example, what would happen to Berkeley social science departments if UCB is able to raise tuition to, say $14,500 in 2010 (which would make up for most of its GF lost to the cuts via tutiion alone)? That depends on what that division's enrollments are, how much of its enrollment-based GF it has been traditionally allowed to keep, and what kind of new deal it would get under a new system. Unless these and similar facts are known or extrapolatable, it's hard to have a solid opinion and hard for an institution to make the best decision.

I think that at least division-level detail should be made available in a systematic way to whatever faculty- staff group undertakes an assessment. Chris