Beyond UC: Jerry Brown Gets to Work

Governor-elect Jerry Brown doesn’t officially take office until January 3rd, but with a 25.4 billion dollar deficit, he can’t afford to wait.  Brown is organizing a budget forum for Sacramento next week and is expected to invite all legislators.  The forum is likely to be held on Wednesday and likely to be one of three budget forums.  Another forum will presumably be with education leaders in Los Angeles and another forum, a discussion of health and human services, will possibly occur in the Bay area.


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2 responses to “Beyond UC: Jerry Brown Gets to Work

  1. Cal. alumni terribly mistrust Chancellor. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.
    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation.
    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

  2. just read a quote from you in the Chron that we wanted to ask about,
    you said
    “It’s for students who know what they want coming into college,” Cheng said, “and aren’t going to change their minds halfway through.”
    — our question is : do you realize how much student advisors and depts try to force students to stay within their major once they declare, or if they are transfer students- no matter if they just declared and have little time on campus-they can’t do it.
    If online allows students more latitude in changing their major and the opportunity for more exposure to different options that would be a very good thing– so it should not just be for honors students.

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