Commission on the Future, Aug. 31 Liveblog

10:30AM – so it’s true, I arrived late to the party today, so I wasn’t able to liveblog from the beginning.  However, the highlights of what’s happened so far:

  • the commission has unanimously agreed to send the “Time to Degree improvement” recommendation to move ahead.  you can check out all the meeting materials and recommendatino language here:
  • We’re currently on the recommendation on reaffirming the Master Plan enrollment goals for the UC – namely, that we make eligible the top 1/8 of all high school graduates, we keep the upper-division/lower-division student ratio to 60:40 (so more students are in third year and fourth year, than first and second year), and we keep the transfer:firstyear ratio to 1:2 (for every transfer student we take in, we have 2 first years – we are currently at 1:2.4)

10:40AM – We’ve now passed the recommendation reaffirming the master plan enrollment goals, which will push the UC to strengthen their transfer student numbers, while also strengthening the need to broaden the standard for accepting first-years, as long as we get state funding.  Now moving onto non-resident enrollment increases.

11:00AM – Went through the non-resident enrollment increase – it passed through the commission, although Jesse Bernal, myself, and Claudia Magna (the new UCSA President) did not vote for it.  There was a interesting amendment – non-rseident applicants have to be above the quality median of that campus’ studnet body.  so the standard for accepting applicants is higher than resident students.  The recommendation also suggests that non-resident students will not displace any california students – although it needs to still clearly define and explain displacement to the public.  The faculty also request that non-res enrollment revenue be used towards faculty resources and hiring to provide more spaces for the students.

11:30AM – CoTF zoomed through a financial aid reaffirmation recommendation – the Presidnet should propose a resolution to the Regetns that reaffirms UC commitment to students should face no financial barriers to higher education.  There are two big holes in current financial aid – Undocumented students and Middle-income students.  Undocumented students pay into fiancnail aid and currently get nothing, and middle income students get squeezed out by higher fees and out of the price range for financial aid.  Dean Edley mentions that he thinks this policy is not significantly different than what we do now, he abstains because he doesn’t like “apple pie” – which I’m going to interpret as “fluff”, because the resolution comes with no policy change.

11:40AM – Differential tuition is on the table right now – the commission recommendation recommends shooting it down and not bringing it up again.  it’s “disadvantages outweight the advantages”.  Faculty are adamant that this is a bad idea – they see this as something that privatizes the university.  Peter Taylor VP Finance notes that other public universities do this as well.  Faculty suggests that the reason we’re the best public university is because we don’t do it.  Dean Edley would like to move the issue to campus-by-campus planning, and put a heavy “central tax” on the revenue gained by tuition increases, and he sees this as more flexible, and will prevent unreasonable tutition increases.  Faculty come back and clearly restate that we once did this for law schools – and now our law schools all have private-level tuition.

12:00PM – The Private Support recommendation is really about 2 things 1) to get more money for private support from fundraising and alumni and 2) making that money more flexible.  Currently endowments are usually sought out by the campuses, and these are directed over a particular number of years and towards a specific purpose – it’s harder to tap this money in a crisis.  They want to move away from endowments, which might last for a very very long time and put out money via interest – and move towards donations that might not put out money for as long, but will be able to tap that money now.

Moving towards graduate education recommendation – they want to up the number of graduate enrollments (via fellowships, TAs, and other fianncial aid packages) from 22% of the student body to 26% of the student body.  This a crucial part of the UC – Chair Gould notes that this is important to the UC but also depends on our state funding, and Dean Edley notes that we need to do this with detail, on each campus, in a system-wide perspective there is a danger that we boost 3 or 4 campuses, but let other campuses go.  On a campus-by-campus level there is a critical focus that we boost campuses equally.

12:45PM – Two really non-controversial recommendatinos – multicampus research projects, research projects that stretch beyond one campus and one discipline.  good stuff – interdisplinary research is cool, working in multiple campuses is great.  The other reocmmendation is to push for a Pell PLUS program – where the federal government gives out some kind of financial incentive to institutions that have a certain percentage of Pell Grant students, and graduate them at a high level.  This would direct federal funding to the UC, and push private institutinos to really think about the levels of Pell Grant students in their institutions.  The last one was research advocacy recommendation, which was also not incredibly controversial, simply that we should advocate to the governments that UC Research is useful and important to fund…which it is…and so UC is going to do it.


One response to “Commission on the Future, Aug. 31 Liveblog

  1. If UC is going to look for more private support UC Berkeley Chancellor will have to make better decisions on spending $3,000,000 on consultants when the work can be accomolished internally by the ethical world class faculty and staff.
    When public officials, like Chancellor Birgeneau, spends millions of $ of taxpayer money, they must behave like professionals, leaving no doubt decisions are based on merit rather than self-interest.
    Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudof. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, & new knowledge”.
    Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world – lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
    The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
    There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
    Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.
    Let there be light!

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