Liveblog: Commission on the Future!

Sorry for the hiatus everybody – finals week and graduations at UC Irvine have held me up! But we’re back now, in a big way – Commission on the Future is back on the air, we’re reviewing a number of the old recommendations, and we have 10 new ones. Also – Academic Senate gives its comments on the old recommendations, Faculty make a recommendation proposal, and the Council of Vice Chancellors does the same!

Take a look at the recommendations reviewed today, then 10 new ones from UCOP, Faculty comments, Faculty new proposals, and the Vice Chancellor proposals.

The 10 new proposals and recommendation, a sample

1) Start more strict and stronger reviews of academic programs and departments. They talk about eliminating programs that don’t meet “state need and student demand”, don’t meet quality requirements, etc.etc. They also talk about merging programs across campus, other program consolidation.

4) Convert all the UC campuses to a system-wide semester calendar.

6) Accelerate and broaden the pilot program on online instruction. It’s a online instruction program that would take 65 core undergrad courses, move them online, to test out the efficiencies and quality of online instruction

8) Increase faculty salaries from additional non-state resources where possible.

11:30AM – UC Santa Cruz students Claudia , Tiffany, Reymundo, Glaser are here advocating for institutional aid for AB540 students, it’s one of the Commission on the Future recommendations – but is not on the agenda to speak today. So we won’t be addressing it outside of public comment.

12pm – Mary Croughan, former academic senate chair is now talking about one of the proposals of research strategies – indirect cost recovery on research. Currently, the UC gives out waviers to the state of CA when they give a research grant to us…this means they don’t have to pay for our overhead costs for the research that we do for them. On the national level, grants are often called “gifts”, so they also don’t have to pay our overhead costs as well. The proposal has us eliminate these waviers and force governments to pay for our overhead funding for research.

Faculty have spoken out about this – they don’t want a straight ban on all research grants that don’t give any ICR funding. They think it’s unrealistic, and it would hurt the grants that junior faculty and grad students benefit from, which are not as rich. Regent Lazano also asked about the confidence in which we’re investing 300m in this financial model to get more ICR – we should get 800m more back though from ICR investment. Dean Edley also mentions that this kind of funding and propoals are often biased towards the hard sciences – not so much the humanities or social sciences. One of the co-authors of the proposals though, were a Humanities Dean -> and so this should cover and consider well the need to support the humanities and social sciences.

12:45PM – we’re moving on in the Commission to self-supporting degrees – targeted towards specific audiences, like business professionals looking for executive MBAs. These degrees have tuitions that pay for themselves, serve a need in the state, and could generate revenue. The thing about these courses that they want them to be online, so it’s a mixture of online instruction and Extension courses.

Dean Edley argues that overregulation regarding this is a bad idea, it hinders degrees from getting passed in time and in a timely way. There has been an issue in the past where these online extension degrees have taken a very long time to pass – he wants to keep the system out of it, and keep that decision on whether the degree should exist or not on the campus.

1:13pM – So…in short – two recommendations have been moved from teh CoTF and sent to the Regents meeting either as an action item or an informational item. The first one is indirect Cost recovery, the second is self-supporting degrees for post-baccalaureate. so – two recommendations have been moved forward off the commission to execution/Regents meeting.

2:00pm – we’re now up to the fiscal strategies workgroup. The first item is the multi-year grassroots advocacy and education campaign for public funding for the UC. Yay, everyone loves it, and people want to make sure consitutents were involved. Art Pulaski, of AFL-CIO and California Labor Federation notes that to engage his constituents and people – workers and labor – there are some serious issues that need to be addressed first between UCOP and the workers. Second item – conslidating and standardizing all the campus systems together => if everyone uses the same HR or IT system, or all buys their stuff together, then we save a lot of money as a system. Estimates are 500m dollars over something like 10 years. Huh. President Yudof talks about also building trust the campuses to buy into this, because we’ve tried this before and it’s gone very badly.

2:10PM – the Commission on the Future is now talking about multi-year tuition framework. Otherwise saying, they would chart out the tuition increases for the next four years, along with the budget. So tuition increases would be predictable, but they would also be kind of permanent. The Access and Affordability workgroup has a cohort-based fee system, where each class of students would pay a different level of fees, the Fiscal Strategies wants a multi-year “budget framework” – where it doesn’t directly talk about fee increases, but instead charts out a budget for the entire UC for the next four years…and then integrate whatever possible fee increase into there. This would change from year to year, based on state funding.

2:30pm – a lot of interesting thoughts about the multi-year fee increases

Bernal: Predictability is best. Predictability from a cohort-based fees would greatly help middle-income students.

Victor Sanchez: Students are against fee increases, this makes fee increases somewhat permanent – which is incredibly difficult to work with.

Faculty: we are against this – predictable fee increases puts way too much risk on the university for the state government not to pull through.

Workgroup: Predictable increases make it much easier for us to enter a negotiation and conversation with the state for the long term.

2:37PM – The commission on the future moves forward with the idea of calling educational fees “tuition” – but HOLDS on the idea of implementing a multiyear fee increase plan. Maybe goes ahead with a multiyear budget planning concept.

2:45pm: academic senate puts forward their recommendation – controversial! It prioritizes moving the quality of faculty, and quality of faculty compensation. They suggest taking all possible steps to increase UC revenue. They also agree to shrink the size of the university, downsizing. This is difficult because he’s also talking about having less faculty at competitive benefits rather then having more faculty. They also want downsizing to go from attrition, where you just wouldn’t replace any faculty who retired.

3:30 – Faculty just agreed to convene a meeting of their members to provide a plan that can improve the transfer function of the UC. It’s meant as a response to the possible legislation that would sync the transfer classes and transfer function between the CCC and CSU, and would like the UC to join, probably.  ASSIST website was also mentioned as a serious point – 2 or 3 million needed to improve the website,  but the website is crucial to improving the transfer function across the state.  There was no marked movement on that.


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