Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SAVE "Appeal to Suspend "APBEARS" At Berkeley


TO: EVC George Breslauer

CC: Vice Provost Sheldon Zedeck, Associate Vice Provost Angelica Stacy, Associate Vice Chancellor Shelton Waggener, Dean Andrew Szeri; campus offices

FROM: The SAVE Coordinating Committee

Evidence and testimony from across campus document that APBears was “rolled out” in a condition unfit for the use of staff and faculty. Moreover, it is potentially damaging to faculty who are now preparing dossiers for promotion review (see below). It is widely understood that some administrators in charge of this system knew about its deficiencies but suppressed this knowledge and refused to correct problems so as not to miss their “rollout” deadline. If they have not apprised you of this situation, we do so now and ask that you investigate it. Academic Senate Chair Fiona Doyle has already written to VP Zedeck and the chair of the Senate Budget Committee about this problem; VP Zedeck has responded to Deans and Chairs, but his response addresses only one of the system’s problems (the CSIR data).

We believe that faculty should be able to use an accurate and well-designed online academic personnel system. APBears, as it now runs, is not that system. We therefore ask the following:

1. Suspend APBears immediately and re-implement it only when a taskforce of campus department faculty and staff has reviewed its functionality and seen that the necessary and advisable changes to it have been made. Until then faculty should be permitted to use the present bio-bib case system.

2. Make certain that any new iteration of APBears contains clear statements about which data are supplied by external (non-faculty) sources, whether their errors can or cannot be amended, which information is supplied by faculty, and that faculty are responsible only for the information that they supply.

Here is a partial list of what is wrong with APBears:
1. It is full of procedural errors, glitches, and technical problems that are time-consuming to fix or work around. Some of these could be fixed with diligent review of a committee of faculty from all levels and across campus departments. We ask you to convene this group.
2. The data supplied by the Administration on teaching and mentoring are unacceptably inaccurate. One professor found that she was credited with only 25% of her teaching; another 400%. The requests for detailed data on student mentoring and employment are unnecessary and burdensome; faculty are not the HR office. The first problem cannot be fixed because it involves CSIR data; the second problem can be fixed by switching from a pull-down to a narrative system and eliminating several informational field requests.
3. Faculty are prohibited from correcting many kinds of errors in the system, and some apparently cannot be corrected by anyone. Despite these errors, faculty are being required to sign a statement that they have read and approved all information in their files, even though they cannot see some of it. Faculty should not be coerced to sign a document that they cannot fully review. This situation is indefensible and probably legally actionable. It could be partly fixed by prominent statements on the website that acknowledge clearly and fully that the accuracy of CSIR data is in doubt, note that data uploaded to the system at the time of its roll-out cannot be corrected, and that clarify that faculty are responsible only for the accuracy of statements that they upload to the system. This does not solve the problem of the proportion of CSIR data that is incorrect or unanalyzed, but it may improve the future accuracy of entered data.
4. Current estimates are that this system typically takes 20-40 hours longer to prepare than the traditional case procedure, and this does not include the “one-time” uploading of personnel data and historical material. This could be remedied by eliminating requests for some data, removing the pull-down menus, and allowing greater use of narratives uploaded by the faculty (see 6, 7).
5. Our faculty are incredibly diverse in the products of their research, the modes of their teaching, and the scope of their professional activities. The “pull-down” menus are time-consuming and do not encompass accurate descriptions or alternatives. These should be eliminated and a greater narrative freedom built in; otherwise faculty may as well just append accurate bio-bib statements and ignore the data fields.
6. There is no way to rank the importance of many activities; hence, a talk to a Cub Scout troop is featured as prominently as election to a national academy. Chairing a panel could mean a lot of work or none at all; there is no role for “convener” or “organizer.” The roles of authors in publications are also not adequately assessed. This could be fixed with greater narrative freedom and the abolition of pull-down menus.
7. The extent and kind of data being gathered represent an unreasonable burden on the faculty. Many of these data have to be entered in three different ways, which is redundant and time-consuming. Many categories do not accurately or adequately assess work done on a project or activity, and represent a “one size fits all” approach to professional activity and achievement. The redundancy and unnecessary fields should be eliminated.
8. It has not been thought out or clarified to the faculty how external referees will access case information in this online system of mixed and risked confidentiality. Currently the old “hard-copy” approach is being used. Why, then, the new system?
9. Department staff are spending an undue amount of time learning this system and trying to interpret it and fix its problems for faculty, at a time when they can least afford to do so, given additional job burdens related to staff cutbacks.

These problems are not simply a matter of system “growing pains” or “first time only” problems that are finding speedy remedy. They appear to be intrinsic and endemic. This system was put into place and mandated before it was ready. The entire faculty and staff should not have to be the guinea pigs for this. Let’s not repeat the errors of the BFS system.

We estimate conservatively that the extra time this system imposes upon the faculty will cost the campus well over $300,000 in faculty time this year alone. We cannot begin to estimate the loss of staff time. The argument that there will be time saved down the road is not sufficient justification for implementing a system (and APBears is by no means the only one) that has not been adequately reviewed, tested, and corrected before implementation by its principal users. Nearly every IT system on campus winds up making the faculty spend time entering data and negotiating systems that are not effectively designed to help research and teaching, but to make the jobs of administrators easier. In the end, however, this does not happen, because the systems – whether BFS, RES, or APBears -- are so flawed that both administrative and faculty time are engulfed by trying to negotiate or work around them.

We agree that an online system ultimately could be easier for the faculty to use. We recognize that this is considered the case on some other campuses. However, given the structural problems of the APBears system, it is clear that this system is not ready to be used or implemented. It could be, but only with further study and correction. Thank you for your consideration of this unwieldy and burdensome campus crisis.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Berkeley Forum on On-Line Learning Pilot

UC Cyber Campus: The future we want?
A Public Forum with Dean Christopher Edley
October 12, 2010
Morgan Hall 101, UC Berkeley

What is the future of online education at the University of California?

On July 14, the UC Regents approved a pilot program to test the viability of online education with the aim of offering a UC bachelor’s degree that could be earned entirely online. This ambitious proposal looks to increase both access and revenue to the UC by marketing the “UC brand” online to students around the world – “from Sheboygan to Shanghai.” Given the many controversies surrounding for-profit universities that already offer online degrees, this pilot program and the future of a UC “Cyber Campus” has raised eyebrows amongst concerned faculty, students, and alumni.

Berkeley Law Dean Chris Edley and architect of the cyber campus proposal will participate in a public forum on October 12th in 101 Morgan Hall at 5pm. Acting as respondents will be Wendy Brown (Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science), Charlotte McIvor (Graduate Student in Performance Studies), and Dr. Michelle Douskey (Chemistry).

Considering that the entire UC community has much at stake in the future of online education at the UC, the majority of the public forum will be dedicated to taking questions from the audience. We welcome you and your questions.

Sponsored by: UAW Local 2865, the Graduate Assembly, ASUC, AFT Local 1474, the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, SAVE

For more information on the future of online education at the UC, please see the following:

“The Online Learning Pilot Project: Technological Evolution for a World-Leading Public University,” presentation delivered by Christopher Edley and Daniel Greenstein to the UC Board of Regents, July 14, 2010

UC regents endorse test of online instruction,” SF Chronicle, July 15, 2010

On UC's Risky Venture Into Online Education: Mortarboards without the bricks,” SF Chronicle,  July 18, 2010

“UC online degree proposal rattles academics,” SF Chronicle, July 12, 2010

“UC Must put Emphasis on Education, not on Brand,” Op-Ed from UC Faculty

“An Online UC Degree: A Panacea or a Mirage?” Op-Ed by Berkeley Faculty

“Online learning matches UC's mission” by Christopher Edley, SF Chronicle (July 14, 2010)

Berkeley Faculty Association Report on Cyber Campus Proposal (5/12/10)

Berkeley Faculty Association Repot on the Gould Commission

“California Dreamer,” from Inside Higher Ed, August 3, 2010

“Graduate Student Statement to UC Regents Regarding On-Line Education,” delivered to the UC Regents, May 19, 2010

“The University of California invests $53 million in two diploma mills owned by a regent,” Berkeley Daily Planet, June 22, 2010

“UC Cyber-Campus?” Forum with Michael Krasny Radio Interview with Dean Christopher Edley and Professor Christopher Kutz

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Principles for Evaluating Operational Excellence (SAVE)

Principles for Evaluating "Operational Excellence" at UC Berkeley, Fall 2010

Proposals for major reorganization and staff reductions will be coming soon under the campus Operational Excellence, now under way.  All of us need to follow the process closely and make our views heard.  In order that we may speak with a clearer voice and not a cacophony of particular objections, we need a set of basic principles to judge what will happen – especially about how NOT to go about implementing reforms.

First, on the positive side:

§  The key findings of the Bain & Co. evaluation appear to be sound: UC Berkeley has too many layers of management and too horizontal an organizational chart, as well as an overly scattered procurement system and inadequate IT infrastructure.

§  Fixing these problems can benefit the campus by reducing costs, making work conditions better, and improving administrative accountability and responsiveness. 

§  The formation of seven joint administrative-faculty-staff committees to tackle different facets of campus management (IT, student services, purchasing, energy, etc.) is a good approach to identify problems and develop solutions.

§ There is wide agreement that simple cost cutting is not the same as operational efficiency and better management.  Furthermore, it is clear that previous rounds of budget cuts and staff layoffs made under duress have jeopardized the basic teaching and research functions of the university.

Nonetheless, OpEx will not work if certain organizational realities are ignored:

•Rushing out proposals for reorganization without adequate time for reflection is counterproductive.  The current rollout timetable smacks of haste.

•Students and more staff are supposed to be added to the OpEx committees, but if this action is delayed, will they have an impact on decisions already being made?

•Reforms should not be generalized without "beta-testing".  Frontline staff and faculty need to be involved  in providing feedback during trial periods.

•Twenty-seven campus unit heads are supposed to implement the reform proposals coming down from the OpEx committees, but there are no guidelines on how they should involve faculty and staff in designing and implementing reforms within large units. There has to be cooperation, flexibility and feedback all the way down.

•There is a danger of 'one size fits all' proposals imposed without adequate consideration of differences in size, function, and needs of departments and other subunits.  Some need more specialists, others more generalists; some can share services with other units, some cannot.  Centralization is not always more efficient. 

•There must be meaningful transition planning to help staff and faculty deal with cutbacks, reorganization and layoffs.  When people and functions 'disappear' from units without clear directives about where to go for services, work slows down, users and clients become frustrated, and staff become demoralized from overwork.

•There has to be a willingness by top administrators to abandon reform proposals if the rollout, testing and feedback proves that they are poorly designed and flawed.  Accordingly, critical feedback must not be treated as hostile and to be silenced.

•The OpEx committees should remain in place to review ongoing implementation of their proposals and to respond where reforms are not working as hoped.  They, too, need an open channel for feedback from faculty, staff and students.

Furthermore, OpEx will not work if the administration does not reform itself:

•A common administrative view that faculty and staff are part of the problem, "change averse", is wrong and demeaning.  Indeed, if top management had been doing a better job, problems identified by Bain & Co. would not have grown so large.

•Faculty and staff need to be involved in a meaningful way in the assessments and proposed cuts.  Staff associations and union members need to be included and listened to, especially front-line people who see the effects of changes on daily work. 

•The administration, the OpEx committees, and the 27 large unit directors need to make their evaluations, proposals and actions as transparent as possible, and should maintain constant communication and open dialogue with lower units and the rest of the campus.

•In a top-heavy administrative system, cuts must come at the top as well as the bottom (the latter always bear the brunt).  Administrators and their jobs need to be scrutinized as closely as the rest of us and to be subject to removal, as well.

•The top-heavy salary scale that has grown up in recent years must be rethought, for reasons of campus morale as much as budget savings.  Poor morale has significant effects on productivity, efficiency and loyalty.

•The university is not a corporation, either in its motives or its organizational structure; hence, bright ideas from management theory in the private sector often do not fit the university and its parts.

SAVE the University  & the Berkeley Faculty Association
October 1, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Addresses for Letter Writing Campaign about SUNY-Albany French Closure

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us in protesting the termination of French, Italian, Russian, Classics, and Theater at SUNY--Albany by writing to the following administrators by both standard mail and e-mail. Please forward this messae to all interested colleagues as well.

George Philip, President:
Catherine Herman, Vice-President:
Susan Phillips, Provost:
Edelgard Wulfert, Dean of Arts & Sciences:

For paper mail:

Office of the President / Vice-President / Provost
University Administration Building
State University of New York
State University of New York
Albany, NY 12222


Office of the Dean
Arts & Sciences Building
1400 Washington Avenue
State Unversity of New York
Albany,  NY 12222

Open Letter for a Shadow University (October, 2010)

Open Letter for a Shadow University

As instructors, staff members and librarians in the University of California system, we are watching with dismay as access to the university is being further restricted for working class, minority and in-state students, and as once-meaningful structures for shared governance are being dismantled.  Since 2000, undergraduate student fees have more than tripled.  In the past year, the average family income for incoming students rose sharply, and enrollment rates for black, filipina/o, and latina/o students remained disproportionately low.  Too many Californians are being priced out of higher education, a public good that should be accessible to all.

UC President Mark Yudof has said that tuition increases, staff layoffs and pension reductions are necessary in order to balance the university's budget, and he blames the state government for defunding public higher education.  Yet the UC Regents have not made public the university's budget.  According to professor emeritus Charles Schwartz, there is reason to believe that the cost of instruction is significantly lower than the President has acknowledged, and that ballooning upper administrative salaries, pensions and waste are responsible for much of the budget shortfall.

Furthermore, President Yudof has refused to support Assembly Bill 656, which would better fund higher education by taxing the extraction of oil in California.  This bill is facing opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, whose Board of Directors counts Mark Yudof and UC Regent Russell Gould as active members. A number of other regents, including Richard Blum, Sherry Lansing and Paul Wachter, have benefited financially from risky investments made with the UC pension fund.

We are facing a severe crisis of governance.  The University of California is being mismanaged by individuals who have demonstrated a tepid commitment to public education, and whose tenure in power has been tainted by conflicts of interest and the irresponsible squandering of public funds.

Those of us who work, study and teach in the University of California system are not only being let down by our President and Board of Regents, we are also being shut out of any role in the governance of the University.  However, we need not stand aside and watch as public higher education is eviscerated.  We have the power to open our classrooms and libraries to students who have been barred from enrolling at the University of California, and we are capable of collectively governing our university in such a way as to maintain its public mission.

Last year we organized and carried out a number of actions and projects that began to realize these aims. Throughout the Fall of 2009 students remained inside libraries across campus after their scheduled closing times to challenge the shortening of library hours. These direct actions, which involved collaborations between students, staff and faculty, were partially successful in re-opening the libraries.  Similar collaborations took place in the Spring when students were facing possible suspension for protest actions against fee increases and staff layoffs.  As the administration began prosecuting student protesters, union locals, professors and student groups called for the suspension of the Student Conduct Code rather than student protesters.
Over the last year, the administration has increasingly imposed and enforced regulations dictating how buildings and open spaces on campus can be used by members of the community, while those of us who work and study on campus have opposed such regulations and have affirmed that campus spaces are sites for critical debate, education, and protest.
Unfortunately though, hikes in tuition and fees have made it impossible for many Californians to attend our public university and to participate in the critical discussions taking place on campus. Additionally, students who have protested these tuition hikes face possible suspension. The administration is shutting the university's doors to the students it is charged with serving.
We, the undersigned are committed to providing instruction and student services to un-enrolled students and to students unable to afford rising fees. As instructors we see our classrooms as public spaces, are committed to maintaining their public character, and intend to work against disciplinary, financial, and admissions policies that bar students from accessing the university.  We see the opening of our classrooms as the first stage in a larger project to democratize and reclaim as a public good the University of California.
If you would like to sign this letter, please send an email with your name and departmental affiliation to

Letter on Closure of French Department at SUNY-Albany

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today the seven members of the French faculty at SUNY--Albany (all tenured) were informed that by presidential decision, ostensibly for budgetary reasons, the French program has been "deactivated" at all levels (BA, MA, PhD), as have BA programs in Russian and Italian. The only foreign language program unaffected is Spanish. The primary criterion used in making the decision was undergrad majors-to-faculty ratio. We were told that tenured faculty in French, Russian, and Italian will be kept on long enough for our students to finish their degrees--meaning three years at the outside. Senoir faculty are being encouraged to take early retirement. The rest of us are being urged to "pursue our careers elsewhere," as our Provost put it.

Needless to say, the decision is personally devastating to those of us affected, but it is also symptomatic of the ongoing devaluation of foreign-language and other humanities program in universities across the United States. I'm writing to ask for your help in spreading the word about this decision as widely as possible and in generating as much negative media publicity as possible against SUNY--Albany and the SUNY system in its entirety.

There is much background to add about how this decision was reached and implemented, too much for me to explain fully here. Suffice it to say that the disappearance of French, Italian, and Russian has resulted from an almost complete lack of leadership at the Albany campus and in the SUNY system. Our president, a former state pension fund manager, holds an MBA as his highest degree, has never held a college or university teaching position, and has never engaged in any kind of scholarship.

More disturbing still, due process was not followed in the decision-making process. The affected programs were not consulted or given the opportunity to propose money-saving reforms. Our Dean and Provost simply hand-selected an advisory committee to rubber stamp the president's decision. The legalities of the situation remain to be discussed with our union, UUP, but in the
meantime I welcome any advice you may have.

Brett Bowles
Associate Professor of French Studies
French Graduate Program Director
State University of New York, Albany

October 7th Teaching Materials

Michael O'Hare's (UCB) welcome letter to his students this Fall: 

"Budget curriculum" composed by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at UCSC,

Position paper on "Restoring California Higher Education by the Council of University of California Faculty Associations:  
SAVE/BFA's Principles for Evaluating Operational Excellence

Dick Walker's article on the economic and political crisis of California:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

UCI Announcement on Suspension/Probation of Muslim Students Union (September 3, 2010)

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Decision Regarding MSU Appeal
From:    "Rameen Talesh, Office of the Dean of Students" 
Date:    Fri, September 3, 2010 6:00 pm
To:      All Campus Employees, Campus Faculty, Campus Staff:;

The Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UC Irvine received notice this week of the  outcome of the appeals process following disciplinary measures imposed last spring resulting from the group's disruption of a campus speaker and other violations of the campus code of conduct.

The MSU had appealed the decision, recommended after an in-depth adjudication process undertaken by the Office of Student Affairs that found that the group's actions surrounding the February 8, 2010 speech on campus by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had violated campus code of conduct policies.

After an additional two-month process that included meetings with officers of the MSU as well as the careful review of new evidence, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Manuel Gomez affirmed that the MSU violated the campus code of conduct, and imposed the following sanctions:

The organization is suspended through December 31, 2010 and must complete a collective 100 hours of community service at which time they can request reinstatement. Following this, the organization will be placed on probation for two years.  The organization's leaders will  meet monthly with the Director of Student Conduct for one year. This process has been exhaustive and detailed. The sanctions described above reflect the need for appropriate discipline following the violations of campus policy, while recognizing the role of the University in educating students in and outside of the classroom.

The sanctions described herein apply to the organization as a whole, and do not address disciplinary processes for individuals in this incident. Under federal law the University is prohibited from releasing information on individual student disciplinary matters.

"This has been a difficult decision," said Gomez.  "But in the end, this process demonstrates the University of California Irvine's commitment to values, principles and tolerance.  Although this has been a challenging experience for all involved, I am confident that we will continue to move forward as a stronger, more respectful university community."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toronto East Asian Studies Faculty on UT Reorganization of Language and Literature Departments

Dear Colleagues,

In regard to the information about the Department of East Asian Studies sent earlier, members of the department would like to pass on more information about the amalgamation from our perspective, including how it is likely to affect us and our students, as well as Asian Studies in general at the U of T.

We hope that, in addition to signing the petition and joining our Facebook group (linked to in earlier messages and below), you might consider writing a letter of support for the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Such letters are likely to have the strongest affect.

The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science has, without any consultation with faculty, announced the formation of a new School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto comprising the former departments of East Asian Studies, Italian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Spanish and Portuguese and the Centre for Comparative Literature. Most of these departments will be moved en masse (with the exception of the Centre which will be "disestablished" entirely), but the dean has singled out East Asian Studies for dispersal: nine of our fifteen professors will be spread amongst the departments of History, Philosophy, Religion and Anthropology, while the remaining six will, along with the Chinese, Japanese and Korean language programmes, be reassigned to a new (non-departmental) unit of East Asian Studies within the School of Languages and Literatures by fall 2011. It is entirely unclear how the dean imagines these six remaining professors will be able to teach our nearly 1000 undergraduate majors and minors, nor how our graduate programme, which is fundamentally interdisciplinary in nature, can continue to operate. It is clear that in addition to removing the interdisciplinary elements of the department, the dean has no intention of strengthening the reduced East Asian unit to operate as a full language and literature programme. It may be noted that the university's Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations has a similar interdisciplinary approach to the Department of East Asian Studies (although with far fewer majors) but has been left intact rather than being dissolved into the new School of Languages and Literatures.

We have multiple concerns regarding the effects of the dean's decision on both students and faculty in East Asian Studies at this university. Our primary concerns can be summarized as follows:

1. The dean does not seem to appreciate that our department, which has made many hires in recent years, has a strong and growing reputation in the field of East Asian Studies around the world. We believe that in light of our strengths, our department should be a valued part of the University of Toronto rather than be singled out for dissolution.

2. The dean declares that the dispersal of our faculty will "strengthen" the profile of the study of East Asia at the University of Toronto, but it is far more likely that the result will be the marginalization of small numbers of East Asian Studies faculty within various disciplinary departments and the inability of those few faculty remaining in the new East Asian Studies unit to lobby for the East Asian language programmes within a large school of mainly European languages.

3. This dissolution of the East Asian Studies department is taking place precisely as East Asia is assuming central importance in the economic and political worlds. It should be a source of embarrassment to the university's administration that the University of Toronto, uniquely amongst research universities in North America, is dissolving its East Asian programme at a time when knowledge of East Asia is ever more vital.

4. The vast majority of our undergraduate students are not primarily interested in studying only language and literature, but rather wish to acquire strong language skills along with a broad-based and interdisciplinary knowledge of East Asia, including its history, society and culture. Thus the dispersal of East Asian Studies faculty over multiple academic units will greatly hamper our ability to meet student needs.

5. At the research level too, recent trends are to move away from a language and literature framework and towards the interdisciplinary study of East Asia. Six of our professors and three of our four language lecturers have been hired in the past five years and were attracted to the University of Toronto, often turning down competing offers, precisely because of our progressive interdisciplinary emphasis. We are a young, forward-looking department and are very uncomfortable with the forced reconfiguration of our intellectual home.

In short, our faculty are resolutely opposed to this decision and feel very strongly that the best interests of students and faculty alike would be served by the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto remaining an autonomous and interdisciplinary academic unit, as it is at present. We would be very grateful for expressions of support of our position from our colleagues in the field of East Asian Studies as we protest the dean's decision on the future of our department. If you feel inclined to support us, please send letters on institutional letterhead to:

Dean Meric Gertler
University of Toronto
Faculty of Arts & Science
100 St. George Street
Toronto, ON CANADA M5S 3G3

and to our department chair:

Professor Tom Keirstead
East Asian Studies
130 St. George St., Room 14087
Toronto ON CANADA M5S 3H1

Please visit the following website for updates regarding this issue.

There are also a petition that you might be interested in signing and
a Facebook group that you might consider joining at the following

We would deeply appreciate your support and would be happy to reciprocate if you suddenly find yourself facing such an unwelcome fate.

Yours truly,

The Faculty of the Department of East Asian Studies
University of Toronto

Monday, July 19, 2010

Notes on the July Regents Meeting (Committee on Educational Policy)

By Sara Smith

UC Regents Meeting: Committee on Educational Policy, 7/14/2010, 9:35 a.m., UCSF-Mission Bay Campus

I. BOARS Report:

The Chair of this committee, Sylvia Hurtado, is a professor of Education at UCLA. She’s been on the committee for the past six years and is stepping down. The BOARS commmiteee recently issued “Comprehensive Review in Freshman Admissions at the University of California, 2003-2009.” According to the committee, the report “is a thorough and valuable review of admissions practices on all of the campuses and it offers a number of recommendations for refining campuses processes to the meet the guidelines for Comprehensive Review.” Below are some of the notes I took during Sylvia Hurtado’s presentation.

• More underrepresented minorities have become UC eligible. Relative admit rate for African Americans remained substantially below admit rate for other minorities.

• Davis and Santa Barbara have managed to attract high proportion of underrepresented minorities.

• UCSD: least amount of growth in terms of recruiting underrepresented minorities.

• Disparate impact ratios, 2009-2010: group with highest admit rate: African Americans fall below group with highest admit rate. 71% for African Americans, 100 percent for Asian, 90 percent for Chicano/Latino, 97% of white.

• There are 12 recommendations:

o (note: I typed out some of the recommendations, but couldn’t get them all. You can find all the of the recommendations on pgs. 48-49 of the report).

o 1. Campuses should implement individualized review of all applicants to ensure that the boundary between admission and denial is not defined by criteria that are too narrow.

o 2. Additional resources should be provided to admissions offices to train and retain external readers and experienced staff, to handle the increased volume of applications, and implement outreach.

o 3. Revision of the comprehensive review guidelines. More specificity in use of standardized test scores and academic criteria in the context of factors that impact performance (e.g. access to honors courses, college-going culture of the school).

o 4. Revision of the guidelines to reflect changes for 2012.

o 5. New principles to further guide selection.
 Weighing academic accomplishments and personal achievements comparably to identify students who strive for excellence in many areas; giving priority to ELC students; evaluating standardized tests and academic indices in the context of other factors; taking steps to ensure the quality and integrity of the review process.

o 6. UC should document and report outstanding personal accomplishments of admitted students to reflect many areas of excellence at the University.

o 7. Now that electronic data about high schools can be shared more widely, campuses should make more use of info about achievements in the high school context in decision-making

o 8. BOARS will consider wider use of ratings and scores that capture many dimensions of talents among all applicants, as well as a common scoring method.

o This report details a disturbing persistence of low African American admit rates across UC campuses, which now is affecting the educational climate. The University should invest in a new strategic outreach campaign to increase the identification, recruitment, and academic preparation of underrepresented students with the help of distinguished alumni, local communities, and schools. In addition, campuses should develop admission policies that place value on the importance of diversity to enhancing the learning environment as they prepare students to enter a diverse workforce. Finally, we recommend the formation of a new study group to collaborate with BOARS to assess the situation in California high schools and determine how UC can use its expertise to diminish the academic achievement gap and disparities due to opportunity for African Americans and other under-represented groups.

II. Undergraduate online instruction project

• Panel: Dean Christopher Edley; Daniel Greenstein, Vice Provost; Doquyen Tran Taylor, Analyst.

• Dean Edley did all of the talking. Below are most of the points he made during his presentation, as well as some of the Question and Answer period afterward. You’ll note that much of the language he uses has a social justice ring to it – he talks about preserving quality education, delivering on the Master Plan, increasing access (but not affordability), “democratizing excellence,” UC online education “serving California,” etc. But he also emphasizes the use of Grad Student Instructors, without being specific about the extent to which GSIs would be used, numerous times. He also underscores that developing a completely online UC Degree would be less costly than building more campuses or expanding current campuses to keep up with demand for a UC education. At the end the Regents, for the most part, expressed very enthusiastic support for the online pilot program, emphasizing how the UC should take “leadership” on the issue and this represents the “future,” and told the” nervous” faculty to take leadership as well. They also emphasized that the Academic Senate would have a full review process.

o UC credits – the same academic standards, course approval process, use of UC faculty and GSIs

o Fully online, as opposed to online educational tools added to face-to-face education. Advantage of online education is that it’s anytime, anywhere and asynchronous. Most important that it’s “high touch.” This is not the technology in which you stick a couple of camcorders in back of classroom, record it, and put up on web, beyond that, high production values. Wrapping multimedia presentation on the web with a set of experiences between the student and the faculty, the student and faculty, the student and the GSI, and among the students, some of which can be held in real time… desktop video conferencing for instance.

o Education and curriculum working group of UCOF has never met in person. All video conferencing.

o There are opportunities for chatrooms and discussion boards in which the professor could specify discussion topic, give students window of 48 hours to make comments, to respond to comments, have that participation graded by GSIs, opportunities for self assessment and on and on.

o Use all of the strengths of social networking software, all of the tools our students year by year are increasingly familiar with.

o We’re already doing a lot of fully online instruction at the UC. Slide: in 2009/10: UC Extensions offered 1250 fully online courses, 78 bearing UC credit on a campus; enrolled 55,229 students in online courses, 4,887 of them in UC credit bearing courses.

o Carrying credit for transferring purposes. Treated like courses at community colleges.

o “We are in this business already. There’s a lot of experience to be leveraged as we think about what kind of future we want.”

o SETTING: figures prepared by Nathan Brostom and his staff. A decade from now the budget gap will have grown to 4.7 billion dollars on an annual basis… 4.7 billion dollar budget gap comes along with a 46,000 student enrollment gap relative to goals of the master plan.

o Imperatives: preserve quality, expand access, durable business model.

o ‘elite’ access? “We want excellence, not exclusivity. But budget crunch plus the bricks and mortar model threaten excellence while increasing exclusivity.

o Social justice considerations: chief among them is the question of access, of how well we perform in our role as an opportunity business, as an engine of opportunity… we have a bricks and mortar model for doing that, and we are excellent at it. The question is for the future how can we be excellent, in terms of finances, the demographic pressure to serve more students, the technology developments that create competition for the current model?

o Delivering on Master Plan – figure out how to serve more people and provide more diversity.

o “We can’t treat the excellence of the UC that we protect and we polish, whoever can get in it, boy are they lucky.”

o If all we do in the years ahead is take that little jewel box and put it on a higher.. shelf we’re betraying our mission.

o If we’re just making it less accessible, excellent but exclusive. “To me that’s a noxious form of elitism.”

o The reason to bother with commitment to fully online classes, first and foremost is about DEMOCRATIZING EXCELLENCE, maintaining excellence. Chief one is, if we can provide sufficient quality, then can we make our product, this great privilege available more broadly.

• Purpose of pilot program is to shed light on six basic questions

• Excellence? Can we deliver an equally valuable form of excellence?

• Pilot: focus on 25-40 highest demand, lower division courses, mostly gen ed courses, courses that have impaction problems.. If we do the best we can… will it be good enough to ‘double down on this investment.’ To make it an increasingly critical part of what we do to serve California in the future.

• We’re not alone re: online ed. At undergrad level the only people offering degrees are in the private sector: phoenix, capella, Kaplan, etc.

• There are NO SELECTIVE undergraduate fully online degree opportunities. The question is, when will those opportunities be available?

• The goal of enrollment at Merced is 11,000 student FTE. If we try to address 45,000 student enrollment gap for the next decade by creating another Merced, the traditional bricks and mortar investment would be 1.8 billion… investment in infrastructure. By comparison the cost of ginning up the apparatus to serve 25,000 students through today’s existing online strategies would be 25 million dollars… for a relatively small additional investment, we would be able to create something quite substantial considering student demand. (note: don’t depend on these numbers; I could’ve made a mistake. He skipped ahead rather fast here. The basic message to take away is that Edley emphasized how much more costly it would be to build more ‘bricks and mortar’ campuses, and that online education is MUCH cheaper).

• In a bricks and mortar campus, you have the ongoing cost of doing business, the prospect of more red ink. If you create an online strategy once you’ve created it, instead of costs, you have continuing stream of revenue. Our model suggests at 25,000 students, you’d be talking about 180 million of net revenues after all expenses, but not including financial aid.

• The base line: campus based incremental evolution [re: use of online educational tools] is going to continue… That’s not what we’re talking about. What we want to add is this pilot program that will specifically be designed and evaluated about our future strategy. Online degrees are not on the table today or in the immediate future. Some of us talk about online degrees because it’s important to have some idea of where you might want to go.

• It’s easier to raise money if you point toward a complete picture rather than point to where we’re going 6 mos. from now.

• All of these decisions are the domain of the ACADEMIC SENATE. They are the guarantor of academic quality.

• This distinguishes what the UC does from what peer institutions have done, somewhat unhappily.

• The UC Commission on the future will have some recs for you in this space, you have them listed there. They include endorsement of pilot project, and encouragement of evolutionary developments on campus.

• But we should move on the online project expeditiously. Let’s not make this a five year exercise.

• Let me close with four quick thoughts. There’s a role with UCOP but not about what’s happening at campuses naturally…

• In any cases, we’re not talking about building bureaucracy in Oakland. All of the work is done on the campuses by faculty and by the administrators.

• The second point is that I don’t think we can wait to do this. A lot of things have to fall into place to be as great in 10 years as we are today.

• As important, if we’re as great as we keep saying we are, we should really be leaders in this area.

• As a research university, we have opportunity not just to mimic what others are doing, but take leadership…

• Finally, virtues of failure: I prefer to be overly ambitious and fall short. That’s one of the reasons I talk about where this might evolve, rather than what the easy next two steps are.

• Given pressure facing the University, we have to be willing to be somewhat ambitious. We need to face risk of failing. That doesn’t mean you’re being reckless.

• “thank you (si, se puede)” on last slide.

Question and Answer:

Yudof: we’re committed to raising the money externally. We don’t have the money internally. … I think it’s worth an experiment. I have a feeling some people are afraid it might succeed. We’re going to go to our own faculty with an internal competition and they will come forward… regular senate processes and approval will be there, and hopefully we’ll develop a list of courses, and we’ll see what develops. I think it’s a very conservative approach to this, operating internally in this way, seeking outside funding... its’ that coalition of the willing. I’m very enthusiastic about it. In particular, I think dean Edley has thought about it rather hard. This is not a heavy hand…. I support it and I hope you will as well.

REGENT Blum: I’d like to congratulate Chris and all those who have worked on this project. …supportive. “we can’t keep teaching the way they did 200 years ago. Knowing people even in remote countries who have gotten a good education this way, it doesn’t work everywhere, but it certainly can work in a lot of places… fully supportive going forward.”

REGENT Varner: some thought about blending this, some requirement of some actually campus experience. If we do something like that.. this is something we should pursue.. may be a way to blend that.

DEAN Edley’s response: excellent points. Obviously we’re talking about a situation quite far down the road, if this moved to be at scale. Let me just make one comment. That would have significant attractions from an educational standpoint. On the other hand, you’d also be giving up some things. Students would get some campus action, but on the other hand, to the extent that this new population to which we’re trying to provide access would face difficulties because they couldn’t do part time, it would be harder to do part time, they would have substantially greater cost for on campus program.. qualified students who prefer to stay in their communities rather than travel to santa cruz because they’re phobic about banana slugs. Joke.

REGENT GOULD: I want to second what Yudof said. It is not the answer, it’s just one of the things we need. “fundamentally it comes down to leadership.” “UC should be in a leadership position.” I want to encourage the board to move forward, to pursue outside funding, we’ll learn more, and we’ll be back.

REGENT LANSING: I enthusiastically endorse this for many reasons… Nobody has been able to “lead in the way we have the opportunity to lead.” “I hear a certain nervousness” from faculty. The thing that makes me comfortable is that this is a pilot program. We’re not saying it works for every subject. .. we’re saying to faculty YOU make sure.. “all the quality rests with the faculty.” “This is something we need to do right away.”

Another REGENT: confident that “faculty will reign you in when they feel it’s appropriate.”

REGENT Marcus: “I’m very concerned about this. I think it’s very faddish. It could be everything wants to talk about, we need to approach this like any other research project. We have to do a research project like you would if you were given a grant, .. what will be OMMITTED if you use this methodology… you may receive only a portion of the total experience. When it comes to a vote we should have facts, not opinions, on this experience.”

EDLEY’s response: agrees that it’s important to use research and ev. Joint senate-administration advisory committee to design evaluation component of this, so we know we’re asking the right questions. Second point is that history will tell us if this is a fad. “This is where I think the future is leading.” “The last thing I want to say when you talk about missing parts of the experience. That’s a really critical point. Yeah, there won’t be beer bashes. There will be other stuff, like you can stay home with your kid. There’s a tradeoff. There are other things that we consider part of core learning, and we have to investigate whether or not those things that produce quality.. try to understand carefully what that means,… investigate whether or not we can improve on it. If the quality that we want is to be able to talk to the grad student instructor. Can we do that online? Absolutely. You can probably do more of it, more often, any time, any place. Understand what professor said? Can you get that online? Probably, you can hit replay. It’s going to be different. So the question of if the experience will be the same.”

REGENT REISS: supportive, confident that because dean edley is heading this up quality of online education will be ensured.

FACULTY REP Powell: The academic council of the senate blessed the pilot project several months ago subject to raising funds from private sector. We’re very much in agreement about the experience of the blended learning. All through this academic year vice provost Greenstein at identifying successful efforts at grassroots so we don’t have bad experience that other institutions have had with this.

EDLEY: (video you can watch about online education). Faculty as “guide on the side,” not “sage on the stage.”

REGENT Eddie Island: saying to Faculty: “lead this effort, stay engaged, embrace it, it’s the kind of change that will come to be seen in the future as a critical tipping point.”

III. Other misc. items discussed during this session.

• UCSB Chancellor gave a presentation about developments on that campus, and then a regents spent some time complementing the chancellor.

• There’s a new student regent.

• Victor Sanchez, head of UCSA, gave his last speech to the regents. Emphasized his support for AB540 (financial aid for undocumented students); expressed concern and skepticism about online education project; expressed support for “holistic” approach to admissions (relying on personal statements and other indicators aside from test scores and GPAs); said something brief about UCOF (didn’t write this down).

• Fall admissions: diversity slight up across the board at the UC, though only VERY slight for African Americans and American Indians. Freshman enrollment of Latino students up as well.

o Higher proportion of out-of-student and nonresident students, more transfer students, and more low-income students. Chancellor Birgeneau at UC Berkeley said that higher fees have led to more financial aid, which has directly resulted in higher enrollment of low-income students.

o No discussion of retention rates, little discussion of how to improve.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Notes on the June 14th UCOF Meeting

By Suzanne Guerlac

Gould opened the meeting stating the CA government is listening, that there will be a substantial increase in funding, although still not enough. He emphasized the need in the CA for more skilled workers and how UC can support the innovation-based economy of the state. He stated that recommendations from the Commission would be sent to the Board of Regents within the next couple of months. He specifically cited the 3 year degree proposal, more on-line courses, self supporting post baccalaureate degrees, and best practices in administrative areas: we’ll change how the university “ does business.”

President Yudof: thanked the working groups for their contributions and stated that their work has now come to a close, promised that the Commission will stay in touch with the group members, cc-ing them on reports etc. and they are welcome to “communicate with us.” He stated that the first round of recommendations was “ exactly that,” a first round, and that the Commission wanted to look at a broad range of ideas “ in time to review how to move forward.” He stressed the value of “sustainability” in relation to UC finances, indicating that, for example, furloughs were “not sustainable.” The Commission is seeking long-range sustainable plans. When working through the proposals the governance process would have to be taken into account, curricular reform, in particular, “would have to be addressed by the Faculty Senate.” He then stated that the next steps would involve “ an orderly process for gaining assent” in accordance with CUFCA, the unions, etc.

Henry Powell: stressed that the Commission was at a “ turning point in the process,” shifting from a listening role to one of “active deliberations.” He stated that the Academic Senate had produced 300 pages of commentary on the working group recommendations, which had been synthesized into a 13-page summary. He stressed that the members of the AS had been divided in their response. The full report has been posted on the Senate website. The AS will consider the new recommendations at a later meeting. He stressed that in response to fiscal challenge, the work of the Commission would affect the University for years into the future, that for the last 20 years or so the university has been accommodating more students for less money and operating at a considerable level of efficiency but that class sizes have been growing, there have been losses in TAs, staff, phones in offices, etc. How can we continue to do more with less and keep the reputation and quality of the University? He stated that the AS asks that the Commission evaluate measures in relation to the core values of the University, stressing that quality is of paramount importance. He emphasized that time is required for deliberation, and that the academic calendar needs to be taken into account so that faculty can respond to new recommendations.

Public Comment period:
A number of students raised the question of protecting financial aid for undocumented students. Charles Schwartz called into question the basic assumptions of the Commission, judging their efforts to be in bad faith. I asked what would be the timing and procedures for faculty review of the new recs.

There was a brief discussion of the undocumented student issue. Someone asked why the two working group recs that concerned undocumented students were not on the agenda.

Yudof answered that 1) it is out of his hands, a matter of complex legal issues, 2) he picked recs that had most financial impact. AB540 was important but had no financial impact. “Financial problems are the heart of the Commission’s work.” Simmons interjected that the AC had supported the position of the students, i.e. of providing aid to undocumented students.

Financial report by Nathan Bostrum. To provide “context” for discussion of recs – the deficit in the coming decades. There will be a gap between revenue and expenses of 4.7 billion over the next ten years. Even if costs were brought down (by changes in pension and health, by not fixing the salary gap re both faculty and staff, by delaying various “quality initiatives”), there would still be a 700 million gap that could be reduced if the state would respect its obligations concerning pensions. The gap is larger if enrollments increase. Bostrum cited the Obama administration’s goal of adding a million new degree holders, adding 50,000 more students in the next decade (while the need exists to add over 100,000 new students). This would amount to two new campuses of the size of Irvine or San Diego. Indicated the goal to increase the number of graduate students (either the absolute number or the percentage). 1/3 of students receive Pell grants. Stressed commitment to financial aid and that for many (53%?) the fee increases were covered by financial aid.

Art Pulaski (Secretary Treasurer of the California Labor Federation): the fee increases been very tough for working class kids. Total cost is higher than the charts indicate. As things stand tuition for one child costs 20% of family income at 120,000 combined income.

Gould: lack of dependability of the state, CA deficit, there’s still the 700 million gap, we need to look at our own “ business enterprise” and ask “ are we doing business right, maintaining quality, being more efficient?”

The discussion would focus on recommendations that address fiscal issues and revenue stream: indirect cost recovery, post-baccalaureate degrees, advocacy, multi-year fee schedule and administrative best practices, including the Academic Council recs that call for operating at a size we can afford, and enrollment issues such as enhancing transfer path, upgrading ASSIST [the electronic site that gives students info re transfer credits at various UC institutions] and on-line credit bearing courses.

Item #1 (presented by Mary Croughan): Indirect cost recovery – the most significant rec in terms of revenue, presented by Funding Strategies and Research Working Groups.

There are about $3.5 billion/yr in grants and a shortfall of 720 million in overhead expenses.
Need for increased transparency re recovered funds. Presently a 4% “tax” to OP which gets commingled with other funds; recommends a 3% tax and 100% of recovered funds going back to campuses.
Believes $300 million is a “conservative estimate” of what can be recovered.

Powell: concerned about impact on junior faculty and competitiveness for grants if too much cost recovery is demanded.

Henry Yang (UCI Chancellor): Each campus should set a rate. Discussions in AAU about this [he is currently president of AAU]..

Croughan: There should be a “dedicated negotiating team” – centralize this a hire consultants – to help individual campuses in indirect cost recovery.
Bostrum: this is “most valuable money” for us because we can spend it on anything. We should advocate nationally w/ Sec. of Education.

Simmons: If we insist on too much recovery the amount will be taken out of the grant, so no big revenue. Academic Council against a ban on accepting grants that do not cover these costs. Need joint effort among UC campuses.

Croughan: faculty seeking grants must state how these costs would be covered; a central fund to assist in this could be set up.

Edley: Document needs to be explicit about the point Dan [Simmons] made; there is a bias toward the sciences. Encouragement needed to protect humanities. Janet Broughton supported this rec.

Gould: a national effort is needed; the state not providing this as it used to do.

Yudof: form a management team and find out, a negotiating team, need more oomph behind this. Move it forward: “ more aggressive pursuit of recoveryof indirect costs,”

Pulaski: need transparency concerning where these funds would go.

Gould: agreed.

Item #2, presented by Keith Williams: self-supporting post BA degrees. Two parts to this: 1) a self-supporting program initiative 2) on-line component.
Currently UCLA and UCI have entirely on line professional degrees. Ex: business degrees. Potential for revenue in relation to targeted audiences.

Problem concerning timely approval of courses. Should put in place a mechanism to speed up approval.

Edley: there is a danger of over regulating from the center, which would choke imagination and entrepreneurial energies on individual campuses. There is revenue potential here as well as educational value. Delays and overregulation are very problematic. This has been discussed for 18th months with no progress. Many of the concerns Keith mentions should be left to individual campuses.

Gould: re growth of private entrepreneurial institutions –UC is lagging on this, there’s a demand we are not meeting.

Edley: example of masters degree in “circuit design”; units should identify their own niches, every campus with its own business plan etc. The spirit of this rec is not a big apparatus in Oakland but to encourage campuses to push this creatively, in the spirit of reducing barriers, and further encouraging something we are already doing.

Powell: often when approval is slow it is because the proposal is badly done.

Simmons: Academic Council is against a central regulating mechanism. Concerning on-line on undergraduate level, Council is “ nervous and cautious”, endorses pilot program – yes, go get outside funding.

Gould: Regents ought to look at this – new initiative, enter into competitiveness.

Powell: there is already success in this area of professional schools, work with Extension; there is no research on what markets are out there, need market studies.

Gould: I concur.

Yudof: send information item to Regents re self-supporting graduate degrees (in July or September).

[short lunch break]

Item: Advocacy for the University.

Powell: it needs to be a “permanent war.” The importance of 4/27 when all constituencies appeared to come together.

Pulaski [union rep]: advocacy efforts should also be directed to the “public at large.”

Croughan: “public engagement”

Gould: “Let’s move this along”
Pulaski: to include unions within the “ all constituencies” effort it would be necessary to address some of the union and staff issues.

Item #2 Administrative Efficiencies (streamlining administrative operations, already discussed at May Regents meeting), presented by Peter Taylor.
Necessary to add investment for system-wide capabilities. Taylor stressed the importance of reducing administrative costs at the department level – the bulk of the costs exist at this level. Need to “rework the way our business processes work.” Specific emphasis on procurement issues.

Yudof: This has been discussed with Regents, needs to be routed through OP in order to get this done, need for a more “totalitarian regime” on this. Need to earn trust because the track record is not very good, services have been centralized and then not worked very well.

Edley: trust issue also pertains to how funds that are saved would be used: how will savings be accounted?

Gould: “good question, Chris.” Chancellors should “harvest” savings on campuses.

Pulaski: there is also the issue of high end compensation for a growing number of high-end administrators; executive compensation should be included in any evaluation of administrative costs.

Bostrum: this is always being evaluated.

Gould: importance of transparency on all compensation. Need for a centralized payroll system.

Yudof: a final report will be drafted.

Item #2: presented by Peter Taylor: multi=year fee schedule for the sake of predictability of students and families and to enable long term budget planning. This was an item suggested both by the Funding Strategies Group and the Access and Affordability group.

Initially this was discussed only as a tool to enable multi-year planning; it is now used for professional programs.

Yudof: fee increases are a response to state budgets produced and varying annually. If there is a guaranteed multi-year fee schedule the university assumes risk.

Jessie Bernal(Student Regent) – it would extend Blue and Gold type protection to middle class families.

[Speaker?] Objection to the proposal: it would institutionalize fee increases.

Simmons: Academic Council (see p. 105) favors providing accurate information
But does not support the rec because of legal risk to UC and because it would force more increases with each new cohort of students producing different cohorts. The state does not provide multi-year budget plan.

Gould: it is an issue of commitment. The Regents had concerns re Compact agreed to by the state and then not respected. The rec puts UC at risk in relation to irresponsible decision-making coming from Sacramento. There are two issues embedded in this rec: 1) the fee schedule 2) the shift from “fees” to “tuition” – support for the latter, “not comfortable with the risk ” associated with the former.

Powell: AC agrees with change of name from “fees” to ”tuition”, it is consistent with other institutions, minimizes confusion and protects students seeking financial aid from funders who on provide “tuition.”

Monica Lozano : we still need a multi-year budgeting framework.

Yudof: I don’t sense enough support for the multi-year trajectory; the risk is unwise. Put this aside. “Our future does have fee increases”, this is not going to be reversed. “Its not free …hasn’t been for a long time.” Shift to “tuition” term – “I’m in favor of candor.”

Gould: move forward on tuition, hold on multi-year.

Next item: Academic Council recs.

Dan Simmons: AC recs not widely supported, passed by an 8 to 7 vote. The recommendations were controversial among faculty.
Stresses the deficit re funding pension over next ten years. “This will not be the University as we know it for years to come.” Paramount value of quality of research and teaching faculty, UC “ not a degree mill.”
Issues: 1) maintenance of quality faculty: competitive remuneration necessary for the survival of the prestige of UC degree. 2) UC must operative at a size that is affordable.
Replacing ladder faculty with instructors diminishes quality. Need to maintain excellence in fewer areas and pay a smaller faculty competitively. 3) UC should forego new building projects; we “can’t continue to grow as usual.”

Lozano: praises AC for willingness to shrink (keep quality by shrinking).

Edley: What do you mean by “ downsizing”? At what level are you proposing this (i.e. at program level, campus level, etc). Capital projects come from non-fungible resources.
Trade-offs should be made at campus level.

Simmons: let faculty shrink by attrition.

Yudof: reservations about this. Faculty is already being downsized by hiring freeze.
Downsizing students ” would worry me.” Worried about access. So how to downsize if you want to maintain teaching load, size of grad programs, student-faculty ratios, etc.

Powell: quality cannot be replaced. The issues of buildings needs close attention – even if funds are not fungible there are maintenance and operating costs – “ what you have built
threatens what you are.” Need for transparency about building programs.

Simmons: re: reduction of enrollment - we have become so dependent on tuition that reducing students becomes a revenue loser. Re quality: the other things are fixable but if we lose the prestige of UC, we can’t fix this. Problem re diversity: downsizing faculty would mean less progress toward diversity among faculty.

Lozano: downsizing means cutting programs without high enrollments, eliminating duplications, etc. we “can’t afford all the specialized undergrad programs.”

Simmons: yes, like seven different kinds of chemistry majors on one campus. A smaller faculty would be more efficient.

It is pointed out that cutting small programs would only provide small revenue. This is very problematic, needs to be looked at for Regents to understand it.

Powell: these recs are a “tactical adjustment to current fiscal crisis” which he sees as a “short term crisis.”

Zaremburg: against moratorium on building projects because it is cheaper to build now and we put people back to work.

Gould: [responding to Powell’s comment]: we need to “start from the premise that this is not a bump in the road.” [to AC]: continue on with your work.

Next item: supporting transfer functions. Upgrade ASSIST: requires costs but these would be shared among three segments [CCs. Cal State and UC]. Need to sort our transferable courses (UC and Cal State), create a set of transferable courses for each major to make the process more efficient.

Gould: there is a bill in the legislature for a transfer degree – an AA – guaranteed admission, with AA to CSU. There is a need to prepare CC students for upper division courses or for direct entry into the work force.

Edley: we can create a”transfer culture” but our capacity for admissions [at UC [remains the same.

Blumenthal (UCSC Chancellor): problem is our campuses have different requirements for majors. Need to establish a level of uniformity in terms of major preparation. Need to bring faculty together in disciplines to set up uniform major requirements.

Yudof: legislature will pass the bill; how to consider a core curriculum that is uniform.
Who is this addressed to?

Blumenthal: to the Academic Senate. It needs to convene departments cross the system to establish uniformity. SB 1440 – 18 units dedicated to major would be accepted by CSU. No mention of UC. Need for course identification numbers for lower division prerequisites.

Yudof: we’ll draft up something for the report.

Gould: re ASSIST: we don’t have any money, it’s a band-aid. Look again at ASSIST when other program for collaboration across campuses is in place. Need to move on this for Legislature. Regents: we are too slow on this.

Simmons: we are already successfully transferring almost beyond our capacity.

Gould: that’s your case to prove. The people and legislature are on top of this issue.

Powell: they need to fund the CC’s. UC is “not a conveyer belt devised by the Legislature to produce degrees.”

Next item: production of post B.A. degrees.

Keith Williams (Co-chair of Ed and Curr working Group] introduces the subject of on-line education stating that there are reservations concerning quality, costs, infrastructure, impact on faculty workload, etc. but affirms faculty support for pilot program.

Lozano: what is the status of the pilot?

Edley: 1. Fundraising goal is 5-8 million.
2. 16 RFP have been drafted to go out once funding is received offering grants to devise courses.
3. There is an advisory committee, Gene Lucas and Larry [Pitts?] co –chairs plus representatives of the Academic Senate.
4. There is a technical advisory group that includes UC experts and “Silicon Valley types” to “ensure we’re at the frontier of software platforms.”
5. Have asked Extension to prepare an on-line presentation as a recruiting tool for faculty in RFP process; it will be ready in July,
6. Gene Lucas is head of a committee that is focused on evaluation framework re pilot: what would success look like? Working on a definition of quality for on-line.

Pulanski: re “success” - it is not just a question of a “knowledge set” for a course but of the liberal arts setting of an education.

Edley: “we absolutely agree.” We are seeking “comparison with on campus experience.” We already have a number of fully on-line courses and many more in which it is a component or enhancement. Several hundred [I assume system-wide] fully on-line given by Extension not for credit – they are making money – many are authored by/delivered by UC faculty. There are Extension courses offered for credit (9-14 at Berkeley) in summer – fully on-line courses.

The pilot is creating courses for currently enrolled students. If successful, would add populations not enrolled – goal is access and revenue.

MY: We’ll work a draft on this.

Powell: support hybrid form, blended experiences.

Williams: strong need for interaction in person. Not to replace a whole degree, perhaps 1/8 or ¼ degree, the rest would have to be resident.

Yudof: we’re out of time. We’ll send along an information item to the Regents who are quite interested in this.

Next meeting: Aug. 12 or Aug 31 will take up 3 yr pathways and additional recs

Friday, June 18, 2010

Student Victory in Puerto Rico

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Breakthrough Accord Promises End to Student Strike in Puerto Rico

University of Puerto Rico students who have maintained a two-month strike declared a historic victory yesterday.

An accord brokered by a court-appointed mediator between the university's Board of Regents and the student's National Negotiating Committee (NNC), an unprecedented body representing all of the 11 campuses of the UPR system, was signed by both parties.

The accord grants the central demands of the students represented by the NNC: the continuation of tuition waivers for meritorious students, the cancelation of a planned special fee that would have raised the cost of study by 50 percent, the rejection of initiatives to privatize the university and a commitment not to enact summary sanctions against strike participants.

The UPR student strike, one of the largest and longest in recent US and Puerto Rican history, has been marked by continuous threats of the use of police force to dislodge striking students from the encampments set up at university gates across the island since April. The strike quickly spread to the entire university system, which is comprised of 11 campuses and 64,000 students.

Violent police operations have been carried out at the main campus of the UPR system in Río Piedras and in other campuses in the past two months.

The accord signed yesterday remains to be approved by a general assembly of the UPR students, tentatively planned for next Monday. Observers predict it will be easily ratified, giving way to the voluntary opening of the university on the part of the striking students and the recommencement of classes to finish the three weeks remaining to end the spring semester.

NNC student representative Alberto Rodriguez said that the accord "confirms the right to a quality public higher education accessible to all, which has been the historical patrimony of the University of Puerto Rico."

The severity and length of the conflict between students and the university administration takes place in the context of a widely unpopular austerity plan the current government has undertaken in the island nation of more than four million. Last October, the government implemented Law 7 to lay off more than 20,000 public workers.

This measure also diverted funds historically available to the University of Puerto Rico, the premier institution of higher learning on the island, causing an unprecedented fiscal crisis in the university.

The student strike has garnered the attention and support of the broad public in Puerto Rico for the past two months. Moreover, it has been at the top of the national media coverage agenda during this period.

Professors, parents and the general public have widely supported the students and blamed the University administration and the current right-wing government of intransigence in the process of negotiations. The participation of all the campuses of the university system and the creation of a national negotiating committee are unprecedented in a society which has experienced prolonged student strikes in 1948, 1970, 1981 and 1992 at the main Río Piedras campus, which have exercised an enduring impact on the culture of the nation.


Christopher Powers
(787) 643-2750

Jocelyn Géliga Vargas
(787) 217-1578

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Ghost of UC Future

by Catherine M. Cole

On June 11, UCOP made public a set of "expanded recommendations" to the UC Commission on the Future which is to meet on Monday, June 14. The cornerstone of these eleventh-hour additions seems to be items number 6 and 7 of the expanded recommendations which propose an "expedited Pilot Project" for lower division online education:

"Eventually, there will be online credit-bearing courses and B.A. degrees in the so-called quality sector. (emphasis added) That much seems certain. The questions are: Who will develop and deploy the first successful model, when will they do it, and can it be at a scale sufficient to make a meaningful difference in access to higher education. The Commission's proposed answers are: UC should be first, as soon as possible,and our ambitions should err on the side of boldness.

"We must plan assuming an indefinite period of serious financial pressures. Moreover, with or without revisions to the Master Plan, there will be growing political, economic and social demands for undergraduate spaces. Access to excellence is already too limited, and the future will be worse absent a combination of transformation and innovation - in both how we deliver on our mission and how we fund it."

You, like me, might be wondering what exactly is the "quality sector"? Sector of what? And what sectors besides "quality" are there? I am going to venture a guess that what is being discussed here is the educational industry which includes the rapidly growing market for online, for-profit higher education, aka "degree mills." I don't know what the sectors other than "quality" are called. For the time being, let's imagine two sectors: "quality" and "dreck."

Here are some disparate facts. Do we dare connect the dots?

--Federal aid to for-profit colleges jumped to from $4.6 billion in 2000 to $26.5 billion last year according to the Education Department.

--For-profit colleges can receive up to 90 percent of their revenue from federal grants and loans.

--According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the proportion of students who borrowed at public two-year institutions and private, nonprofit four-year institutions stayed about the same between 2003-2008 (between 49.5%-53%), and at public four-year colleges grew slightly. However, "at for-profit institutions, 91.6 percent of students borrowed in 2007-8, up from 79.5 percent in 2003-4."

--Students attending for-profit schools are defaulting on their federal loans at a higher rate than those at traditional schools, according to the Dept. of Education. From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

"Students at for-profit colleges receive 19 percent of federal student aid, which includes Stafford and Perkins Loans as well as Pell Grants for low-income students. During the 2007-8 academic year, students at more than 2,000 proprietary colleges received more than $16-billion in loans, grants, and campus-based federal aid.

"Four years into repayment, 23.3 percent of students at those colleges were defaulting on their federal loans-a higher rate than students at either public colleges, where 9.5 percent were defaulting, or private ones, where 6.5 percent were in default."

--The Department of Education is seeking to protect taxpayers from loan defaults and to stop students from taking on debt for degrees that don't pay off with higher incomes. New rules from the DOE were supposed to have gone into effect next week, but....

--As of June 11, 2010 (Friday), the Obama administration is delaying the release of a new loan rule. This rule would disqualify the major providers of for-profit education from being able to accept student loans. In response to news of this delay, stock values rallied.

--For-profit colleges say they are key to President Obama meeting his goal of having the world's highest number of college graduates by 2020.

----Blum Capital (of UC Regent Richard Blum) has significant fiscal holdings in the for-profit universities ITT Educational Services Inc. and Career Education Corp who benefit from Obama's delay.

--In 2009 the University of California Board of Regents, of which Blum is a member, voted to increase student registration fees (roughly the Univ. of California equivalent of tuition) by 32%. Shortly thereafter, Blum Capital Partners purchased additional stock in ITT Tech, a for-profit educational institution. Some contend that these events suggest a conflict of interest on Blum's part.

--The UC Commission on the Future meets on June 14 to discuss, among other ideas, several recommendations that were suddenly submitted on Friday outside of the committee review process. Online education is one of the biggest elements targeted for big, bold new initiatives. This would supposedly put those of us in the so called "quality sector" (UC) into a growing market that seems otherwise dominated by the "dreck sector" (University of Phoenix).

--Walmart's recent initiative for online, for-profit education is partnering with a company called "American Public Education." No, American Public Education isn't the federal model of funding for high quality public universities pitched to the Obama administration by the UC Berkeley administration last Fall. American Public Education is rather a fairly dowdy and unknown for-profit university that offers online training to the military. The company has now become the darling of Walmart. Yes, the "American Public University" moniker would seem to be treading on the "brand" identity of the not-for-profit and genuinely public higher education offered by institutions like UC. (Such confusion of identity is, by the way, typical of those 419 email scams from Nigeria that often come from the widow of some vaguely recognizable African leader who needs to deposit several million dollars in your bank account, if only you could send your personal financial details...)

--Of the Walmart/American Public University partnership, Jolene L. Knapp, executive director for the Society for College and University Planning, said this week: "Many in the traditional higher education world will decry this partnership".... "But many, many changes are coming to postsecondary education. This is just one."

--If I were an investor in for-profit, low quality, online universities, my interests would be served by:

a) Having the cost of attending a public university rise so that many who formerly could attend are priced out and need to seek alternate means of accreditation. (check--accomplished with 32% fee increase last year at the UC)

b) Having the lines dividing the "quality sector" from the "dreck sector" become very confused and blurred. (Check. If the new recommendations introduced by UCOP to the Commission of the Future on Monday are accepted, this second objective will be served--not just with online education, but also with expanded, fast-tracked new professional degrees; freezing the growth of the traditional, face-to-face high quality education we have been known for to date; shorter time-to-degree; greater utilization of extension classes, etc.)

c) Having online education be embraced and legitimized by traditional institutions in the "quality sector" of higher education so that the Obama administration keeps the federal loan dollars flowing. (Check. Get the Commission on the Future of the UC to embrace online education, and legitimation will be enhanced.)

For more on for-profit education and its use of online teaching, shady funding schemes, and substandard educational standards, see this Frontline special "College, Inc" which aired in early May 2010. As the website says, "Even in lean times, the $400 billion business of higher education is booming. Nowhere is this more true than in one of the fastest-growing -- and most controversial -- sectors of the industry: for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the Internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars."

Remember the mantra coming from UCOP on this: "Our ambitions should err on the side of boldness." These are not words we have otherwise heard for a while now at the University of California.

So, friends, this is the Ghost of Christmas...I mean, er...UC Future. You may recall from Dickens, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was the most fearsome ghost of all.

But other ways of viewing this future are possible. Some are arguing that if the UC embraces online education, this will be the "Phoenix"-like resuscitation (if you'll forgive the pun) of the dreams and values expressed in Kerr's Master Plan for Higher Education.

The proselytizers of UC online education certainly do foreground social justice issues. UCB Dean Christopher Edley says that online education and a cybercampus will serve the poor and underprivileged who will have access to UC's excellence without having to leave their homes. Such students would be physically located far from faculty and fellow students. Yet such "social justice" framings of educational access for the poor and underprivileged should give us pause. History has taught us that a separate education is rarely an equal one.

It may be that online education is the way of the future, and we must either get on board of be left behind with no money. But here are two worthy questions: If all members of the Board of Regents and top UC administrators were forced to divest themselves of any financial holdings in for-profit universities, a) would the UC still be exploring online classes?, and b) if so, would we be pursuing this new "delivery model" in the same way?

Gradaute Student Statement to UC Regents Regarding On-Line Education

The following statement was presented to the UC Regents by graduate students at the May 19th UC Regents meeting at UCSF. Nine graduate students from UC Berkeley attended the meeting dressed as “GSI Joes” in army attire adorned with military patches that read “Dean Edley = Class(room) Enemy.” The action was a response to Dean Christopher Edley’s recent proposal for transforming UC Berkeley into a “Cyber Campus” where “squadrons of GSIs” will serve on the “frontline of online contact” with undergraduates. Dean Edley's Cyber Campus proposal is here, and coverage of the action is here.

We are here today as members of UAW 2865, the union for Academic Student Employees at the UC. The University of California perceives its graduate students as a cheap labor force that will follow orders without question. Recently, in a proposal for transforming UC Berkeley into a “Cyber Campus,” Christopher Edley, the Dean of Boalt Law School and Chair of the Gould Commission’s Education and Curriculum Working Group, called for “squadrons of GSI’s” to serve on the “frontlines” of a new UC Berkeley. This myopic vision of higher education conceives of the UC as more of a brand than the public institution called for in the 1960 Master Plan. We find Dean Edley’s “Cyber Campus” to be just the beginning of a frightening trajectory that will undoubtedly end in the complete implosion of public higher education in the embattled state of California. Dean Edley’s proposal and many of the recommendations currently under consideration by the University Commission on the Future are just select examples of how the UC is sacrificing undergraduate education in order to maximize profits.

As graduate students who are on the front lines of educating undergraduates, we see everyday what is happening to the quality of instruction at the UC. We are horrified by the UC Regents’ vision of the future, one that is based on business models that do not consider quality of education or student and worker experience. This is a future in which we refuse to live, work, and teach. If the future of the UC is one where graduate students are continued to be treated as a casual labor pool we guarantee it will be one that is missing the top notch graduate students on which administrators have come to rely.

One of the unfulfilled promises of the UC system is that it should be at the forefront of progressive change that California desperately needs. Instead, it is at the forefront of privatization, a high fee-high loan model that will drive low income students into debt or shut them out completely. Instead of negotiating fairly with the labor unions, the UC has repeatedly thwarted good faith bargaining. Instead of striving to be competitive in attracting graduate students to the UC, our universities expect us to work for less and receive lesser benefits because we chose to study at a public institution. Meanwhile just the opposite argument is used to attract people to high level management positions: we have to pay them exorbitant salaries and perks or they will go elsewhere. Instead of insuring childcare for the lowest income students at UC Berkeley, our registration fees subsidize football tickets for students. A crisis of priorities, indeed.

The Regents increased our fees without increasing the quality of our experience here at UC; in fact, Dean Edley's plan will destroy the quality of undergraduate education in the process of redefining what teaching means for graduate students. We did not come to graduate school to be in squadrons, nor did we come here to be virtual instructors on the frontline of dismantling quality public education in California.

But the military rhetoric Dean Edley uses is perhaps apt in this case. A moment of crisis is a time when profound change can happen, a new path taken; there are parallels here and lessons that we should have learned but have not. In the moment of crisis generated by 9-11, the president of the United States was able to sell the country on an illegal, unilateral and murderous war, a war that our country is still waging after nearly a decade. And to what end? To generate profits for a select few while hundreds of thousands suffer and die. The budget crisis has been used in the same way here at UC. You, the UC Regents, have accelerated your plans to dramatically restructure the UC in a way that represents the outright rejection of the logic of public education. Your vision of the UC could not be clearer: it is a corporation that sells education, one that lives and dies by its ability to reduce costs of production. You are well on your way to destroying the UC's public function as a collective investment in the future of all Californians, replacing it instead with the market function of providing a luxury good to those who can afford it. This will be your legacy. We did not come to the UC to fight, but we will fight you every step of the way, and that legacy will be ours.