Remaking the University

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A blog on higher education and related issues.Chris Newfieldhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01078395415386100872noreply@blogger.comBlogger812125
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UC Berkeley Chancellor Says New Normal Is Here to Stay, Will Restructure Campus

Mér, 10/02/2016 - 21:30

The UC Berkeley community received this email this morning. You can find coverage at Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

From: Nicholas Dirks ChancellorDate: Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 8:13 AMSubject: Launch of campus strategic planning and analysis processTo: calmessages_communication@lists.berkeley.edu

Dear Colleagues,
Today, we announce a strategic planning process designed to ensure our excellence in the face of continuing financial challenges.   This process is comprehensive, encompassing academic and administrative realignment, investment in our fundraising and revenue-generating activities, and the reexamination of all our discretionary expenditures, including athletics and capital costs.
Whether in California, Wisconsin, Michigan, or elsewhere, public research universities have been challenged not only by dwindling state support but also by shifting public opinion and momentous social and economic change.  Even without financial challenges, the pursuit of our goals would require that we continually assess the well being of our institution, while simultaneously holding true to our core values.
Now, for a variety of reasons, both internal and external, we face a substantial and growing structural deficit, one that we cannot long sustain. Because this deficit does not reflect a short-term dip in funding, but a “new normal” era of reduced state support, responding to this deficit requires that we take a long-term view. We must focus not only on the immediate challenge, but also on the deeper task of enhancing our institution’s long-term sustainability and self-reliance. This is a moment not just to stabilize our finances, but also to consider our future as a leading institution of higher education. The guide for this effort has to be our core mission: to enhance the educational experience we provide to students while maintaining our commitment to access; to increase the support we provide for ground-breaking research and scholarship; and to align our public outreach with 21st century societal needs.
Accordingly, we are embarking on a comprehensive strategic planning process, the aim of which is to reimagine the fundamental structures and processes of our university. We need to evaluate how best to structure the university so as to maintain, above all, our excellence as an institution. To be sure, ahead of us lie difficult decisions and hard work, but we are fortunate to be taking this on early enough that we have the resources and time necessary to be thoughtful and strategic.
In this effort, we are committed to broad engagement with campus constituencies. Since last June, the senior academic and administrative leadership has been in discussion with the Academic Senate and the deans, the trustees of the UC Berkeley Foundation, our new Board of Visitors, and the Office of the President (which is ready to provide significant financial assistance). Now, as we transition from analysis to comprehensive planning, we want to be sure that Berkeley’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni are well informed. Even as some of the investments we make will be greeted enthusiastically, we also know that some of the changes we will undergo will be painful. Throughout the process, however, it is crucial that everyone work together to ensure both that we make the right decisions and that we make them in the right ways.
Every aspect of Berkeley’s operations and organizational structure will be under consideration.  Our decision-making, however, will be strategic.  We are identifying areas in which new investments will both produce additional resources and enhance our strength; and we are identifying other areas in which the expenditure of resources may be less critical to our overall excellence and core mission.  Some important campus-level initiatives, such as the Berkeley Global Campus and the Undergraduate Initiative, will be entirely supported by philanthropy and external partnerships (aside from small amounts of seed funding).
While our short-term measures – some of which were outlined in our recent budget call letter – are relatively straightforward, our longer-term initiatives will be more complex. These include:
  • Evaluating our workforce in relationship to our changing needs and resources. This will also entail a new mechanism for the monitoring and control of staffing levels – mirroring the discipline we have long applied to hiring of faculty. We will also review our senior administrative functions, including central units, to reduce redundancy and create new forms of collaboration. We will complete the assessment and analysis of Berkeley’s workforce and its future needs by the end of the current academic year.
  • Improving support for our teaching and research while also redesigning many of our work processes in order to achieve greater efficiency. For example, to better support our faculty’s ability to compete for research grants, we have begun an end-to-end review that includes research support activities in academic units, the Sponsored Projects Office, Campus Shared Services (CSS), and Contracts and Grants Accounting.  The shortcomings in CSS, which we have already begun to address, will continue to be evaluated; we will make all necessary changes.
  • Making new investments to expand our fundraising capacity along with other new areas for external support. In order to achieve the best results in this domain, we are also designing a campus-wide approach to philanthropy – one that will increase our endowment, expand our fundraising abilities, improve donor relations and reach out more effectively to supporters. 
  • Achieving additional revenues through our “brand,” land, and other assets.  This initiative will ensure that we are earning maximum revenues from licensing and other financial agreements, while protecting our image and being true to our values.  It will also explore ways in which the wise use of our real estate and other assets can both yield revenues and help to address the ever-pressing housing needs of our faculty, staff, and students.
  • Working with the Academic Senate leadership and the deans of the schools, colleges, and Letters & Sciences divisions on the redesign of some of our academic structures. Realignment will ensure that we are excellent in all we choose to do, in our research and in our educational mission.  In some instances, this means strengthening units as is; in others, it means narrowing the focus to specific areas of excellence; and in some instances it means combining and rearranging to capture intellectual synergies and to ensure sufficient scale academically, administratively, and financially.  Even if our financial situation were better, these changes make academic sense, ensuring that all our units have a scale, and sufficient support, to mount the strongest programs. This initiative will involve extensive consultation, consideration, and testing.
  • Expanding online offerings and enrollments in University Extension, as well as professional and other master’s programs that earn revenue. In addition, over the course of the next few years, financial support for our admitted doctoral students will be improved, while some enrollments will be reduced and brought into alignment with those at peer universities in order to better support the quality of these programs.
  • Re-examining the gap between Intercollegiate Athletics’ revenue and expenses, which has widened in recent years.  To reverse this, we are pursuing major opportunities to increase revenues and donor support for scholarships, while looking at ways to reduce administrative costs and other team expenses.

Leadership and Engagement
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (EVCP) Claude Steele is leading this effort, with Vice Provost for Strategic Academic and Facilities Planning Andrew Szeri and Associate Vice Chancellor-Chief Financial Officer Rosemarie Rae serving as the implementation leads.
EVCP Steele has overseen the design and establishment of a structure that will provide for engagement and consultation with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as effective leadership of and coordination between the various initiatives. An Advisory Council, to be co-led by Academic Senate Chair Ben Hermalin and Andrew Szeri will provide guidance and input. Final decisions will rest with the Chancellor and a body convened for this express purpose. To support the design and implementation of the individual initiatives, we are also establishing an Office of Strategic Initiatives, which will provide analytical support and coordination to the working teams and leaders of the various initiatives.
We realize that many of you will want to know more, and have many good ideas to offer for our consideration. In the months ahead, we will be engaging with faculty, staff and students in order to share more detailed information, answer questions and solicit suggestions.You will also hear more from the leadership of your school, college, or administrative unit as work on the initiatives broadens and deepens across the campus. We have already briefed and will continue to engage with the leadership of both the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly, as well as Chancellor’s Staff Advisory Committee and the Berkeley Staff Assembly, to ensure that staff and student perspectives, ideas and concerns are well represented and incorporated throughout the planning and implementation process.
The phased implementation of changes and new policies will commence in summer 2016. While we will take some steps quickly, others, such as any significant academic and administrative realignment, will take longer.  To learn more and read regular updates, please visit osi.berkeley.edu.
The Future of Public Higher Education
This endeavor must not be interpreted as an abandonment of our commitment to a public mission nor to our efforts to advocate for increased public funding for higher education.  We are fighting to maintain our excellence against those who might equate “public” with mediocrity, against those who have lost faith in the need for higher education to serve as an engine of social mobility, and against those who no longer believe that university-based inquiry and research have the power to shape our society and economy for the better.  What we are engaged in here is a fundamental defense of the concept of the public university, a concept that we must reinvent in order to preserve.
Berkeley draws strength from its faculty, staff, and students that are second to none – doing excellent and innovative work in research, teaching, and public service.  We rely on a tradition of shared governance with the faculty that will be the basis for the decisions we make and the changes we implement in the months and years ahead.  Even now, we plan to do what we have always done at Berkeley: lead the way, and continue to serve as a beacon for the state, the nation, and the world. 
Fiat Lux.Nicholas Dirks
Chancellor
Categorías: Universidade

UCSB Faculty Association Statement in Opposition to New Pension Tier

Xov, 04/02/2016 - 17:46
The following is a letter sent to Colleagues by the UCSB Faculty Association calling for opposition to the proposed new pension tier.









Dear Colleagues:
We are gratified by the strong response at the Town Hall of the faculty, resisting the unsound pension that UC is proposing to offer new hires starting July 1. Over 1,000 faculty have signed the petition opposing the new tier proposals. We are resending this message to give you an opportunity to join your colleagues by signing the petition if you have not done so. The deadline for making known your opinions regarding these changes is February 16.
Allow us to share with you our reasons for objecting to the current proposal:
1) We share the task force chair's bleak account of the "negative effects of the PEPRA cap on retention and timely retirement" (A guide to reviewing the recommendations of the Retirement Options Task Force, p. 7). In other words, the future of the institution is at stake.
2) We take issue with the fact that while the acceptance of the PEPRA cap is presented as UC's side of the deal with the governor and the legislature, the latter's part of the deal has not been fulfilled:
a) UCRP has NOT been acknowledged as a permanent state obligation;
b) the State's promise "of $436 M for the UCRP over the next three years" to help finance the Unfunded Accrued Actuarial Liability (p.4 of the Task Force report) is a misrepresentation. As Michael Meranze has underlined, the Legislature actually has "not engaged in any multi-year promise". In addition, of the $10.7B or 12B UAAL (numbers depending on market-value or actuarial-value), the hypothetical sum of $436 is only a very small percentage, not accomplishing much. In sum, we object to completing our side of a (bad) deal, when there is no actual commitment on the other side.
3) We take issue with the top-down way this complex issue has been handled. The Task Force had to begin from a declared reality that no one in the UC system other than President Napolitano had a hand in ratifying. This is not shared governance. In addition, the fact that the recommendations of the Task Force, whatever their merit, can be taken or left by President Napolitano further erodes whatever good faith and intellectual effort went into these proposals.
4) We are not convinced by the Task Force's arguments that introducing a Defined Contribution option is fiscally advantageous. No credible empirical evidence exists in the report or in recent economic history to support the assertion. Moreover, the proposed options, in their concern for portability, favor short-term employees over long-term employees, further undermining faculty loyalty to the institution or a commitment to public service.
5) We object to the ramifications of adding a new tier to retirement benefits that creates financial divides between those hired before 2016 and those hired thereafter. Even more, we see these changes as part of a broader national trend to eviscerate tenure and full-time employment. Having to acknowledge such systematic differentials to new hires reduces not only our ability to recruit young faculty but also our pride in doing so as well as our willingness to encourage our students to become university professors.
For more information on this issue, please visit our website at ucsbfa.org.

We urge you to sign the petition to express your opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan.
UCOP has also set up a comment link where you can provide your feedback on the task force recommendations. We urge you to express your concerns about the plan there. If you do, please also send a copy of your comments to us at newtier@cucfa.org.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
The Board of the Santa Barbara Faculty Association
Julie Carlson
Jorge Castillo
Nelson Lichtenstein
Constance Penley
Erika Rappaport
Elisabeth Weber
Robert Williams
Categorías: Universidade

UCOP Ordered Spyware Installed on UC Data Networks (Updated 31 Jan; Updated 3 Feb)

Sáb, 30/01/2016 - 21:12

The San Francisco Chronicle has coverage of an issue that has been circulating on faculty email networks at UC Berkeley for a few days.  The piece, "Cal professors fear UC bosses will snoop on them," is behind a paywall. The first sentence reads, "UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system."   UC's Chief Operating Officer says "that UC policy “forbids the university from using such data for nonsecurity purposes.”  UC Berkeley's Senate chair replies, "What has upset a lot of the faculty was that the surveillance was put in place without consulting the faculty. In fact, the people installing the system were under strict instructions not to reveal it was taking place."  On the blog's Facebook page, we've had some debate about how new this capability is, with some faculty from various universities saying they've always assumed their university email could be monitored at any time, and others saying this is a new level of intrusion.

Here are two communications from UC Berkeley faculty, one about how faculty there came to know about the program, and the other a timeline of events.


EMAIL 1: January 28, 2016:

In recent weeks The Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology (JCCIT) has learned that UCOP installed hardware on the campus network designed to monitor and possibly record all network traffic coming or going to the campus.

This secret monitoring is on-going.

UCOP would like these facts to remain secret.  However, the  tenured faculty on the JCCIT are in agreement that continued silence on our part would make us complicit in what we view as a serious violation of shared governance and a serious threat to the academic freedoms that the Berkeley campus has long cherished.

Some salient facts:

- The UCOP had this hardware installed last summer.

- They did so over the objections of our campus IT and security experts.

- For many months UCOP required that our  IT staff keep these facts secret from faculty and others on  the Berkeley campus.

- The intrusive hardware is not under the control of local IT staff--it sends data on network activity to UCOP and to the vendor.  Of what these data consists we do not know.

- The intrusive device is capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the  Berkeley campus, and has enough local storage to save over 30 days of  *all* this data ("full packet capture").  This can be presumed to include your email, all the websites you visit, all the  data you  receive from off campus or data you  send off campus.

- UCOP defends their actions by relying on secret legal determinations and painting lurid pictures of "advanced persistent threat actors" from which we must be kept safe.  They further promise not to invade our privacy unnecessarily, while the same time implementing systems designed to do exactly that.

- It is very far from clear that UCOP has a better plan or better qualified IT security people or infrastructure than does the Berkeley campus, and they've shut these qualified people out of the picture.


EMAIL 2: January 29, 2016

According to other members of the Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology (JCCIT):

A network security breach was discovered at the UCLA Medical Center around June 2015.

UCOP began monitoring of campus in networks around August 2015.

ONLY AFTER this monitoring, on August 27, 2015, did UCOP issue a new cybersecurity policy online under the heading of "Coordinated Monitoring Threat Response." The policy describes how UCOP would initiate "Coordinated Monitoring" of campus networks even though it is believed that such monitoring was already underway prior to the announcement of the new policy.


On Dec. 7, 2015, several UC Berkeley faculty heard that UCOP had hired an outside vendor to operate network monitoring equipment at all campuses beginning as early as August 2015. The process was apparently shrouded in secrecy and staff were instructed not to talk about it because of "attorney-client privilege" although it remains unclear how attorney-client privilege applies in this situation.  Extensive monitoring and storage of inbound and outbound Internet traffic at UC Berkeley was being performed, including storage and possible transmission to the outside vendor of packet headers with URLs and email metadata (to-from fields). The Berkeley campus IT staff does not collect this type of information because it violates UC Berkeley IT Privacy policy.

On Dec. 18, 2015, those UC Berkeley faculty sent a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano requesting more information and asking that the monitoring cease.

On Dec. 21, 2015, UC Vice President and CIO Tom Andiola met with most of the faculty who signed the Dec. 18, 2015 letter and Berkeley Assoc. Vice Chancellor and CIO Larry Conrad, and Berkeley Academic Senate chair Ben Hermalin.  Tom confirmed that monitoring equipment was installed at the Berkeley campus by an outside vendor and that it would be removed promptly and publicly disclosed by UCOP.

On Jan. 12, 2016, The Berkeley Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology (JCCIT) met with Larry Conrad and others.  The committee was informed that contrary to the Dec. 21, 2015 statements, UCOP had decided to continue the outside monitoring and not disclose any aspects of it to students or faculty.  The Senior faculty members of JCCIT met privately after the meeting and deliberated carefully about options, concluding it was their duty to come forward. To protect staff, administrators, and non-tenured faculty, it was decided an open letter should come from a group of tenured faculty, stating that "We are UC Berkeley faculty who have reason to believe that extensive monitoring and storage of inbound and outbound Internet traffic at UC Berkeley is being performed by an outside vendor at the request of the UC Office of the President, with no disclosure to UC Berkeley faculty or students...." A draft open letter "To Whom It May Concern" was circulated to all senior faculty who signed the Dec. 18, 2015 letter, stating our intentions to forward this to the New York Times.  Eleven senior faculty signed it.

On Jan. 15, 2016, the letter was sent to the New York Times and reached reporter Steve Lohr. Senior campus administrators in the Chancellor's office and UCOP were also sent copies.

On Jan. 19, 2016, UCOP Exec. VP and COO Rachael Nava sent a letter to those who signed the Jan. 15, 2016 letter.  The original version was marked "CONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISTRIBUTE" and invoked "Attorney-Client privilege". After several recipients responded to her via email questioning who is the client and why her letter must be kept secret, a revised version of the letter was sent the next day removing that language, stating: "All: Please accept my apologies with regard to the confusion on the attorney client privilege language on the letter.  It was a clerical error and was not intentional. Please find a revised version of the letter with the language removed." The letter admits that extensive monitoring is being performed by an outside vendor but does not provide a rationale for continuing this monitoring six months after it was initiated nor for the ongoing lack of disclosure from UCOP to students and faculty.


UPDATE: the Nava letter of 1/19/16:

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT - CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

1111 Franklin Street, 12th Floor

Oakland, California 94607



January 19, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to follow up on earlier discussions about cybersecurity matters across the UC system and to share to the fullest extent possible the principles and considerations that guide the University’s efforts to respond to cyber attacks.

First, I want to thank you for sharing your concerns that we maintain the privacy protections enshrined in University policy even as we significantly strengthen our cybersecurity posture. As explained below, I do not believe these imperatives conflict, in fact, they reinforce one another in crucial ways. I would like to share some key principles and practices that help ensure that privacy protections are consistently upheld in the context of network security activities, some observations about the serious cyber attack we experienced at UCLA, and information about increasingly challenging attacks that are rising at academic institutions across the country.

As you know, on July 17, 2015, UCLA publicly announced that it had suffered a serious cyber attack. The attack appears consistent with the work of an Advanced Persistent Threat actor, or APT. An APT generally emanates from an organized, highly skilled group or groups of attackers that orchestrate sustained, well-planned attacks on high value targets. Today, much effort in the cybersecurity industry is focused on APT attacks because they are difficult to detect and highly destructive. While there is no evidence that cyber attackers actually accessed or acquired any individual’s personal or medical information at UCLA, the University decided to notify stakeholders. UCLA notified 4.5 million patients about the cyber attack. Within days, several lawsuits were filed against the Regents alleging various violations of State law, all 17 of which are now pending.

The UCLA attack, while exceptional in some respects, is part of an increasing trend of cyber attacks against research universities and health care systems. Institutions of higher education are increasingly targets of APT attacks because academic research networks hold valuable data and are generally more open. Indeed, the mission of our University is to promote knowledge sharing and research collaboration, which involves responsibly sharing data. A recent report from Verizon described educational institutions as experiencing “near-pervasive infections across the majority of underlying organizations,” and observed that educational institutions have, on average, more than twice the number of malware attacks than the financial and retail sectors combined.

APTs seek to illicitly harvest credentials across academic networks and then use those credentials, and the trust relationships among systems, to move laterally to other nodes in a given network. There are techniques to address such attacks, but I share these points to underscore the seriousness of the threat posed by APT attackers and the fact that, for cybersecurity purposes, a risk to what appears to be an isolated system at only one location may in some circumstances create risk across locations or units.
In recognition of these realities, President Napolitano has initiated a series of system-wide actions to strengthen the University’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to such attacks. I believe these efforts are consistent with the reasonable expectations of the University community -our students, faculty, staff, patients, research sponsors, and academic partners- that we undertake serious efforts to protect sensitive data from malicious attacks. I also believe these actions are fundamental to realizing the University’s commitment to privacy. The following actions were taken:

  • A leading cybersecurity firm was engaged to assist the University in responding to the cyber attack, in part by analyzing network activity at all UC locations to detect and respond to any APT activity
  • Every location submitted a 120-day cybersecurity action plan to harden systems and improve administrative and physical safeguards
  • A Cyber-Risk Governance Committee (CRGC) was established, with representation from across the system, including the Academic Senate, to oversee and guide system-wide strategies and plans related to cybersecurity. The CRGC has met several times already and is identifying key ways to strengthen our security posture while honoring the University’s commitment to academic freedom, privacy, and responsible fiscal stewardship
  • A system-wide incident escalation protocol was developed to ensure that the appropriate governing authorities are informed in a timely way of major incidents, and
  • Mandatory cybersecurity training was rolled out to all UC employees by October 1, 2015.


Several faculty members have requested detailed, technical information about the UCLA attack and the specific security measures taken in its immediate aftermath. I understand that some are concerned that such measures may have exceeded the University’s policies governing privacy. I believe such actions were well within the operational authority of the University and in alignment with policy. It is regrettable that as long as the UCLA incident remains the subject of pending legal matters, I cannot publicly share additional information that might correct some of these misimpressions. As a policy matter, however, I wish to address the privacy and governance concerns that arise in the context of data security, without any express or implied reference to the UCLA attack.

With respect to privacy, the letter and structure of the University’s Electronic Communications Policy (ECP) reflect the principle that privacy perishes in the absence of security. While the ECP establishes an expectation of privacy in an individual’s electronic communications transmitted using University systems, it tempers this expectation with the recognition that privacy requires a reasonable level of security to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. For this reason, the ECP expressly permits routine analysis of network activity “for the purpose of ensuring reliability and security of University electronic communications resources and services.” (ECP, IV.C.2.b.) It expressly permits analysis of “network traffic” to “confirm malicious or unauthorized activity that may harm the campus network or devices connected to the network.” (ECP, V.B.) Significantly, “consent is not required for these routine monitoring practices.” (Emphasis added.) In short, the ECP reflects that, in some circumstances, the protection of privacy actually requires limited examination of electronic communications. (ECP, Attachment 1, V.A (noting that failure to prevent unauthorized access itself undermines privacy and confidentiality).) This is consistent with fair information practice principles and the University’s duties under laws and regulations that require the use of physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to secure sensitive information.

The University takes great care to ensure that its practices reflect the balance outlined in the ECP. I would like to illustrate significant measures that we undertake to honor privacy rights in responding to a cybersecurity threat.
Even in time-sensitive circumstances, privacy impacts are typically evaluated before undertaking a coordinated network security effort. Appropriate privacy protection measures are embedded into the underlying scope of work both at the planning and execution stages of a network security effort. Such analysis typically includes an evaluation of the specific technical and analytic techniques to be used and whether they are consistent with the ECP. It also often means defining an appropriately limited scope for network analysis activity, focusing such analysis on known signatures for APT activity and related indicators of compromise. For vendors, the ECP requires scope discipline to be enforced by contract. (See ECP, IV.A (requiring vendors to be contractually bound to honor University policy).)

Layered review is another privacy-enhancing measure used in appropriate circumstances.1 Layered review requires security alerts to be resolved in tiers, with each tier representing a limit on the type and amount of data to be reviewed. A layered review starts at the lowest tier, using automated review and basic metadata to resolve the security alert at that level. In circumstances where a security threat cannot be resolved at a lower tier or with automated means alone, the human-readable content of an underlying communication may be reviewed. The ECP limits such inspection to the “least perusal” necessary to resolve the concern. (ECP, IV.C.2.b & V.B.) To inspect content beyond what can be examined through “least perusal,” the ECP requires user consent or access without consent under a campus’s procedures, which typically involves a decision from the campus’s senior management.

I understand that some faculty members may be concerned about storage and use of data collected through network security analysis, including questions about data being used by the University for other, unrelated purposes. The ECP forbids the University from using such data for non-security purposes, (ECP, II.E.2, IV.A, & IV.C.2.b (prohibiting University employees from seeking out, using, or disclosing personal data observed in the course of performing university network security duties)), and violators are subject to discipline.2 With respect to storage, much data collected through network analysis may already be stored elsewhere within the University’s network ecosystem (or even with third party cloud or other providers), independent of any network analysis activity. Data collected or aggregated specifically for network security purposes is only stored for a limited time, segregated in a highly secure system, and forensically obliterated thereafter. In some circumstances, a preservation of certain data related to litigation may be required by law, which may result in a longer storage period for a limited amount of network analysis data subject to such a mandate. With respect to third party requests for such data, the University has a long history of defending against improperly intrusive requests, including requests under the Public Records Act.3

Governance is also a critical aspect of this discussion. Ensuring that all stakeholders are fully enrolled in developing the University’s cybersecurity policies going forward is essential. As you know, the President has launched a coordinated system-wide initiative to ensure that responsible UC authorities are appropriately informed about risks, that locations act in a consistent and coordinated way across the entire institution, and that the University can sustain action to manage cyber-risk. A number of structures have been put in place to elevate the importance of cybersecurity within University governance, some of which I described above but elaborate here for emphasis:


  • The President asked the Chancellors to each appoint a single executive to lead efforts to review and improve cybersecurity at their location. These positions are the Cyber-Risk Responsible Executives (CREs), and each position reports directly to the Chancellor or location chief officer.
  • A single escalation protocol has been implemented across the UC system to facilitate appropriate notification and handling of cybersecurity incidents. The protocol is intended to drive consistent analysis and response to cybersecurity incidents. It is being piloted and will be reviewed for effectiveness by the CRGC after six months.
  • In addition to establishing the CRGC described above, the President has appointed a Cyber-Risk Advisory Board, composed of six internal and external expert advisors, to support the CRGC and provide information and advice about emerging issues and best practices in cybersecurity, and to help develop aggressive and effective approaches to managing cyber-risk, consistent with UC’s teaching, research, and public service mission.
  • Finally, a Cyber Coordination Center is being launched to help coordinate a variety of activities across the locations.


With specific reference to faculty governance, the President has reinforced with senior management the need for ongoing dialogue with our faculty and Senate leadership. The Senate has a robust presence at the CRGC, and I believe the CRGC is the best forum to develop mechanisms and policies for further ensuring that Senate leadership is fully engaged in policy development and briefed in a timely way regarding ongoing security matters and practices.
I also welcome a discussion about how to harmonize broader cybersecurity efforts with existing, campus-specific information governance guidelines. Some campus-level guidelines, established as part of system-wide information governance initiatives, limit the specific technologies and methods that may be used for network security activities, including some methods in ordinary use at other University locations and use of which may be necessary to comply with legal duties or to effectively evaluate a specific threat that may implicate multiple locations.

Given the difficult and shifting challenges worldwide in terms of cybersecurity, there is no monopoly on wisdom here. It is my intention to approach these issues with humility and openness, believing that our efforts will only be enriched by an exchange of ideas and viewpoints. I welcome your engagement on these issues and look forward to a deeper, joint effort to protect the privacy of our users and the security of the University’s systems.

Sincerely,
Rachael Nava
Executive Vice President -
Chief Operating Officer

cc: Academic Senate Vice Chair Jim Chalfant

Vice President Tom Andriola

Deputy General Counsel Rachel Nosowsky

Associate Chancellor, Nils Gilman

UCB Professor of Business and Economics, Ben Hermalin
______________________________________________
1 A layered review is not actually required by the ECP and may not be appropriate in all cases, but it illustrates the types of measures used to rigorously observe privacy principles.
2 The ECP creates a specific exception for circumstances where an employee incidentally observes obvious illegal activity in the course of performing routine network security activities. (ECP, IV.C.2.b (defining exception for disclosure of incidentally viewed evidence of illegal conduct or improper governmental activity).)
3 Public Records Act requesters may seek far more intrusive access to the content of faculty or staff records than what the ECP permits for network security monitoring. The limits on the University’s own access to electronic communications under the ECP do not apply to Public Records Act requests.


2 February Updates

Suhauna Hussain. “A Web of Cyber Controversy: UC Monitoring of Campus Network Traffic Sparks Outrage among Faculty.” The Daily Californian, February 2, 2016.

Steve Lohr,  “At Berkeley, a New Digital Privacy Protest.” The New York Times, February 1, 2016

Statement from UC Berkeley CIO, 2 February:

We believe that the existing UC Berkeley policy that has been in place for a number of years strikes a privacy-security policy balance, is robust and reflects this University's best traditions and values. It is the result of a collaborative campus effort that included both staff and faculty, and like them the Berkeley administration believes that all IT policies and procedures, whether system-wide or local, should be transparent and accountable.

Larry Conrad
Chief Information Officer
UC Berkeley


3 February UPDATES:

  • The UCSB Faculty Association requested clarification on the surveillance program from Santa Barbara Divisional Senate Chair

Dear Kum Kum,
We write because we are deeply disturbed by the recent report that UCOP has installed surveillance software “capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system”
(http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Cal-professors-fear-UC-bosses-will-snoop-on-them-6794646.php?t=1c3d144ee43ba53be4&cmpid=twitter-premium%20via%20@sfchronicle).   While we are aware that officials at UCOP have sent a letter explaining the context and rationale for installing this software, we do not find that the letter addresses adequately the potential threat that taking such measures poses to academic freedom and shared governance.   As the Board of the UCSB Faculty Association, we request that you ask Chancellor Yang for an immediate and full accounting of all electronic surveillance capabilities now in existence and/or in operation at UCSB, and that you make that information available to all members of the UCSB Academic Senate.
With thanks,
Julie Carlson
Jorge Luis Castillo
Nelson Lichtenstein
Constance Penley
Erika Rappaport
Elisabeth Weber
Robert Williams
  • UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang sent a modified version of COO Nava's 1/19 memo, which you can read here.
  • The UC Academic Senate Committee on Academic Computing and Communications has issued a statement we've posted here.  Although the object to the end-run around shared governance in the name of urgent security matters, they give a pass to the surveillance itself--see the final 2 bullet points in particular.
Categorías: Universidade

UCOP Ordered Spyware Installed on UC Data Networks (Updated 1/31 6 pm PT)

Sáb, 30/01/2016 - 21:12
The San Francisco Chronicle has coverage of an issue that has been circulating on faculty email networks at UC Berkeley for a few days.  The piece, "Cal professors fear UC bosses will snoop on them," is behind a paywall. The first sentence reads, "UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system."   UC's Chief Operating Officer says "that UC policy “forbids the university from using such data for nonsecurity purposes.”  UC Berkeley's Senate chair replies, "What has upset a lot of the faculty was that the surveillance was put in place without consulting the faculty. In fact, the people installing the system were under strict instructions not to reveal it was taking place."  On the blog's Facebook page, we've had some debate about how new this capability is, with some faculty from various universities saying they've always assumed their university email could be monitored at any time, and others saying this is a new level of intrusion.

Here are two communications from UC Berkeley faculty, one about how faculty there came to know about the program, and the other a timeline of events.  

EMAIL 1: January 28, 2016:

•   A leading cybersecurity firm was engaged to assist the University in responding to the cyber attack, in part by analyzing network activity at all UC locations to detect and respond to any APT activity•   Every location submitted a 120-day cybersecurity action plan to harden systems and improve administrative and physical safeguards•   A Cyber-Risk Governance Committee (CRGC) was established, with representation from across the system, including the Academic Senate, to oversee and guide system-wide strategies and plans related to cybersecurity. The CRGC has met several times already and is identifying key ways to strengthen our security posture while honoring the University’s commitment to academic freedom, privacy, and responsible fiscal stewardship•   A system-wide incident escalation protocol was developed to ensure that the appropriate governing authorities are informed in a timely way of major incidents, and•   Mandatory cybersecurity training was rolled out to all UC employees by October 1, 2015.
Several faculty members have requested detailed, technical information about the UCLA attack and the specific security measures taken in its immediate aftermath. I understand that some are concerned that such measures may have exceeded the University’s policies governing privacy. I believe such actions were well within the operational authority of the University and in alignment with policy. It is regrettable that as long as the UCLA incident remains the subject of pending legal matters, I cannot publicly share additional information that might correct some of these misimpressions. As a policy matter, however, I wish to address the privacy and governance concerns that arise in the context of data security, without any express or implied reference to the UCLA attack.
With respect to privacy, the letter and structure of the University’s Electronic Communications Policy (ECP) reflect the principle that privacy perishes in the absence of security. While the ECP establishes an expectation of privacy in an individual’s electronic communications transmitted using University systems, it tempers this expectation with the recognition that privacy requires a reasonable level of security to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. For this reason, the ECP expressly permits routine analysis of network activity “for the purpose of ensuring reliability and security of University electronic communications resources and services.” (ECP, IV.C.2.b.) It expressly permits analysis of “network traffic” to “confirm malicious or unauthorized activity that may harm the campus network or devices connected to the network.” (ECP, V.B.) Significantly, “consent is not required for these routine monitoring practices.” (Emphasis added.) In short, the ECP reflects that, in some circumstances, the protection of privacy actually requires limited examination of electronic communications. (ECP, Attachment 1, V.A (noting that failure to prevent unauthorized access itself undermines privacy and confidentiality).) This is consistent with fair information practice principles and the University’s duties under laws and regulations that require the use of physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to secure sensitive information.
The University takes great care to ensure that its practices reflect the balance outlined in the ECP. I would like to illustrate significant measures that we undertake to honor privacy rights in responding to a cybersecurity threat.Even in time-sensitive circumstances, privacy impacts are typically evaluated before undertaking a coordinated network security effort. Appropriate privacy protection measures are embedded into the underlying scope of work both at the planning and execution stages of a network security effort. Such analysis typically includes an evaluation of the specific technical and analytic techniques to be used and whether they are consistent with the ECP. It also often means defining an appropriately limited scope for network analysis activity, focusing such analysis on known signatures for APT activity and related indicators of compromise. For vendors, the ECP requires scope discipline to be enforced by contract. (See ECP, IV.A (requiring vendors to be contractually bound to honor University policy).)
Layered review is another privacy-enhancing measure used in appropriate circumstances.1 Layered review requires security alerts to be resolved in tiers, with each tier representing a limit on the type and amount of data to be reviewed. A layered review starts at the lowest tier, using automated review and basic metadata to resolve the security alert at that level. In circumstances where a security threat cannot be resolved at a lower tier or with automated means alone, the human-readable content of an underlying communication may be reviewed. The ECP limits such inspection to the “least perusal” necessary to resolve the concern. (ECP, IV.C.2.b & V.B.) To inspect content beyond what can be examined through “least perusal,” the ECP requires user consent or access without consent under a campus’s procedures, which typically involves a decision from the campus’s senior management.
I understand that some faculty members may be concerned about storage and use of data collected through network security analysis, including questions about data being used by the University for other, unrelated purposes. The ECP forbids the University from using such data for non-security purposes, (ECP, II.E.2, IV.A, & IV.C.2.b (prohibiting University employees from seeking out, using, or disclosing personal data observed in the course of performing university network security duties)), and violators are subject to discipline.2 With respect to storage, much data collected through network analysis may already be stored elsewhere within the University’s network ecosystem (or even with third party cloud or other providers), independent of any network analysis activity. Data collected or aggregated specifically for network security purposes is only stored for a limited time, segregated in a highly secure system, and forensically obliterated thereafter. In some circumstances, a preservation of certain data related to litigation may be required by law, which may result in a longer storage period for a limited amount of network analysis data subject to such a mandate. With respect to third party requests for such data, the University has a long history of defending against improperly intrusive requests, including requests under the Public Records Act.3
Governance is also a critical aspect of this discussion. Ensuring that all stakeholders are fully enrolled in developing the University’s cybersecurity policies going forward is essential. As you know, the President has launched a coordinated system-wide initiative to ensure that responsible UC authorities are appropriately informed about risks, that locations act in a consistent and coordinated way across the entire institution, and that the University can sustain action to manage cyber-risk. A number of structures have been put in place to elevate the importance of cybersecurity within University governance, some of which I described above but elaborate here for emphasis:
•   The President asked the Chancellors to each appoint a single executive to lead efforts to review and improve cybersecurity at their location. These positions are the Cyber-Risk Responsible Executives (CREs), and each position reports directly to the Chancellor or location chief officer.•   A single escalation protocol has been implemented across the UC system to facilitate appropriate notification and handling of cybersecurity incidents. The protocol is intended to drive consistent analysis and response to cybersecurity incidents. It is being piloted and will be reviewed for effectiveness by the CRGC after six months.•   In addition to establishing the CRGC described above, the President has appointed a Cyber-Risk Advisory Board, composed of six internal and external expert advisors, to support the CRGC and provide information and advice about emerging issues and best practices in cybersecurity, and to help develop aggressive and effective approaches to managing cyber-risk, consistent with UC’s teaching, research, and public service mission.•   Finally, a Cyber Coordination Center is being launched to help coordinate a variety of activities across the locations.With specific reference to faculty governance, the President has reinforced with senior management the need for ongoing dialogue with our faculty and Senate leadership. The Senate has a robust presence at the CRGC, and I believe the CRGC is the best forum to develop mechanisms and policies for further ensuring that Senate leadership is fully engaged in policy development and briefed in a timely way regarding ongoing security matters and practices.I also welcome a discussion about how to harmonize broader cybersecurity efforts with existing, campus-specific information governance guidelines. Some campus-level guidelines, established as part of system-wide information governance initiatives, limit the specific technologies and methods that may be used for network security activities, including some methods in ordinary use at other University locations and use of which may be necessary to comply with legal duties or to effectively evaluate a specific threat that may implicate multiple locations.
Given the difficult and shifting challenges worldwide in terms of cybersecurity, there is no monopoly on wisdom here. It is my intention to approach these issues with humility and openness, believing that our efforts will only be enriched by an exchange of ideas and viewpoints. I welcome your engagement on these issues and look forward to a deeper, joint effort to protect the privacy of our users and the security of the University’s systems.
Sincerely,Rachael Nava
Executive Vice President -
Chief Operating Officer
cc: Academic Senate Vice Chair Jim Chalfant
Vice President Tom Andriola
Deputy General Counsel Rachel Nosowsky
Associate Chancellor, Nils Gilman
UCB Professor of Business and Economics, Ben Hermalin______________________________________________1 A layered review is not actually required by the ECP and may not be appropriate in all cases, but it illustrates the types of measures used to rigorously observe privacy principles.2 The ECP creates a specific exception for circumstances where an employee incidentally observes obvious illegal activity in the course of performing routine network security activities. (ECP, IV.C.2.b (defining exception for disclosure of incidentally viewed evidence of illegal conduct or improper governmental activity).)

3 Public Records Act requesters may seek far more intrusive access to the content of faculty or staff records than what the ECP permits for network security monitoring. The limits on the University’s own access to electronic communications under the ECP do not apply to Public Records Act requests.


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Categorías: Universidade

UCOP Ordered Spyware Installed on UC Data Networks

Sáb, 30/01/2016 - 21:12
The San Francisco Chronicle has coverage of an issue that has been circulating on faculty email networks at UC Berkeley for a few days.  The piece, "Cal professors fear UC bosses will snoop on them," is behind a paywall. The first sentence reads, "UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system."   UC's Chief Operating Officer says "that UC policy “forbids the university from using such data for nonsecurity purposes.”  UC Berkeley's Senate chair replies, "What has upset a lot of the faculty was that the surveillance was put in place without consulting the faculty. In fact, the people installing the system were under strict instructions not to reveal it was taking place."  On the blog's Facebook page, we've had some debate about how new this capability is, with some faculty from various universities saying they've always assumed their university email could be monitored at any time, and others saying this is a new level of intrusion.

Here are two communications from UC Berkeley faculty, one about how faculty there came to know about the program, and the other a timeline of events.  

EMAIL 1: January 28, 2016:

Categorías: Universidade

UC Faculty Associations Oppose Proposed Changes to UC Pension Plan

Mér, 20/01/2016 - 22:32
This is the statement released today by the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). A link to their petition can be found below.

The University of California is currently considering introducing a new pension plan for its employees hired after 2016.  These proposed changes will dramatically reduce pension benefits for most new faculty. The Academic Senate will be reviewing the proposals over the next few weeks. Your opportunity to provide input to the Senate lasts just a couple weeks. For some purposes, it will be most effective to provide input this week. Contact information is at the end of this document.

This ill-conceived and ill-advised plan, which was negotiated behind closed doors by President Napolitano and Governor Brown without any engagement with the Academic Senate, the Regents, the Legislature, or the larger university community, will do serious damage to the quality of the University of California.

While the details are highly technical the implications are not:

1) This is a serious cut in benefits to faculty and many other professional staff, such as staff scientists and nurses, hired after July 2016.  (See pages 44, 45 and 84 of the task force report.)

2) UC faculty are already much more poorly compensated than faculty at UC's peer institutions despite the fact that the cost of living in most parts of California is very high. This plan will make it much harder to attract faculty and other professionals and keep them here.

3) This plan does not do anything to make the existing pension system healthier and could actually decrease the rate at which the unfunded liability is retired. (See page 57 of the task force report.)

We agree with the assessment of Academic Senate leaders J. Daniel Hare and James A. Chalfant's analysis, who concluded:

"If salaries don't increase to compensate for these reduced benefits, then UC will have to settle for a lower-quality of faculty who did not receive better offers elsewhere. Many UC faculty members were hired in spite of more lucrative salary offers elsewhere, just as many have either declined outside offers or declined to pursue them. It may have been true at one time that benefits made up for our uncompetitive salaries. The 2014 Total Remuneration Study showed that no longer to be the case. While salaries and benefits continue to lag, and we are contemplating making the lag even greater with the new-tier options, it is important to note that most of the non-pecuniary attributes of UC employment also are declining."

As Academic Senate Chair Dan Hare stated in his remarks to the Regents in September:

"Any reduction in either salary or benefits surely will have consequences for the ability of UC to build and retain a future faculty that is as distinguished as the current faculty. As recommendations are brought forward in early 2016, I encourage the Regents to carefully consider not only the budgetary cost of future retirement options, but also their impact on how faculty members behave in terms of recruitment and retention. If we are not careful, small budgetary savings will risk far greater costs to the University, our students, and the citizens of California."

We urge you to sign our petition to express your opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan. We will forward the names of those that sign to local campus faculty welfare committees so they are aware of local concern about this issue.

UCOP has also set up a comment link where you can provide your feedback on the task force recommendations. We urge you to express your concerns about the plan there and please also send a copy of your comments to us at newtier@cucfa.org.
Categorías: Universidade

Pensions, Politics, and the Failures of Leadership

Dom, 17/01/2016 - 22:32
The Task Force charged with making a silk purse from the sow's war of President Napolitano's pension agreement with Governor Brown issued its report on Friday.  To no one's surprise, the Task Force indicated that the task was impossible; given the limits the Task Force faced most faculty and many staff (especially in the health sciences) hired from July 1, 2016 will face dramatically reduced retirement benefits compared to current employees.  This situation results from two interrelated factors: the actual budget deal that President Napolitano accepted and the desire on the part of Vice-President Brostrom that there be savings produced by the new 2016 tier.  In exchange for a relatively small (about 5% of UCRP's unfunded liability) short-term State contribution to UCRP, UCOP has agreed to reduce the compensation for generations of employees to come.

In this post I am going to do several things:  first, describe the contexts within which the Task Force was presented with its impossible task; second, provide a broad indication of the Task Force Majority's recommendations; and third, describe the process to come with some suggestions and comments on the situation facing faculty and unrepresented staff (as is often the case represented staff may have more control over their situation since they are entitled to collectively bargain on these matters).

THE CONTEXT

You will recall that following UCOP's Fall 2014 proposal for a 5% tuition increase, UC and the Governor's office established the so-called "Committee of Two" to examine the cost structure at the University and secretly negotiated a budget agreement.  (For the Senate's Committee on Planning and Budget's critique of this process see here).  Despite the hullabaloo that accompanied those high level discussions it was clear from the start that the Governor was only interested in cost controls and that the likelihood that the University would gain in substantial ways was quite low.  In the end those expectations were met.  Although UC received a promise from Governor Brown that he would extend his planned base budget increases for an additional 2 years he succeeded both in locking UC in an ongoing under-funding and also in increasing the demands on the University.  In addition, the threat of tuition increases alienated the Legislature and, at least indirectly, led to UC having to agree to expand resident undergraduate enrollment without sufficient funding to pay for the increased costs.  We have commented on the weaknesses of that deal before (here, and here).  But as part of that deal President Napolitano accepted a permanent reduction in pension benefits for future employees in exchange for the Governor's promise of a temporary State contribution to UCRP.s unfunded liability of $436M over three years.

Under the terms of President Napolitano's agreement with the Governor, UC is committed to reducing the cap on the amount of income that can count in calculating an employee's pension benefits in UCRP.  UCRP as you know is a Defined Benefit Plan.  As a result an employee is promised an annual payment after retirement based on a calculation that takes into account an employee's three highest salary years, years of service, and age at retirement.  For employees hired before July 1, 2016,  earnings up to the Federal Cap (now about $265,000) could be counted.  For those hired on July 1, 2016 or later the University is proposing to shift to the PEPRA State Cap (now at $117,020 and tied to inflation). It is important to recognize that these numbers are limits NOT on retirement benefits (which are lower) but on the amount of earnings which can be used to calculate retirement benefits.  Starting with those hired on July 1, 2016 earnings above the PEPRA cap will simply not be included in the calculation.  The Task Force estimates that these new rules will affect roughly 25% of employees hired on or after July 1, 2016 (13-14).  These individuals tend to be concentrated in the Ladder Faculty, the Health Sciences, and Management (13) Because of the large number of represented nurses. about 40% of these individuals will have the ability to engage in bargaining over these terms.

The Task Force was charged with figuring out how to change the retirement system.

THE PROPOSAL

The basic parameters of the proposal can be sketched quickly (and you can find them at pages 5-7 of the Report).

The Task Force is proposing that new employees be given two options:

1) The first (Plan A) is hybrid plan.  In it an employee would participate in the Defined Benefit Plan offered by UCRP (with benefits calculated on income up to the PEPRA cap) with a Supplemental Defined Contribution Plan (with University contributions) on income between the PEPRA cap and the Federal Cap.  Employees who choose Plan A would continue to vest after 5 years (as is the case now) and would continue to contribute the same amount annually to their pension as do employees hired before July 1, 2016. Once in Plan A you would be committed to Plan A.  Plan A is proposed as the default choice.  It is important to note that the Defined Benefit portion of this proposal would operate under the conditions imposed on the 2013 Tier--who already had a later retirement age than earlier hires.

2) The Second (Plan B) is a Defined Contribution Plan with both the employee and the University contributing up to the Federal Cap.  Again, the amount that the employee would contribute would be the same as Plan A.  Employees who chose Plan B at hiring would be allowed to switch to Plan A after 5 years of employment (this would be a one-time opportunity).

A Defined Contribution Plan, as you know, promises a certain amount of annual contributions to a pension fund but no obligations as to payouts after retirement. The risk in the latter type of plan is borne by the individual (just as s/he accrues greater portability and the benefit of any investment brilliance).  A DC plan can be better for shorter term employees.  But the employee bears the risk of either poor investment performance or longevity risk.  It is not exactly clear why the Task Force chose to include a DC plan (it was not required by the Budget Act).

The actual details of the proposal are considerably more complex and depend on a variety of options concerning the actual amount of contributions (by the University) to the different plans, the expected annual growth of the value of the DC plans, the costs to the University of choosing between different contribution levels, the age of hires and the distribution of choices between plans, etc.  These questions mean that the actual effects of these two plans are still in flux as both the Task Force Report and Senate Leaders Dan Hare and Jim Chalfant make clear.  So university employees are being asked to respond to a concept without precise numbers on which to make that decision.

But despite the complexities it is clear that the retirement benefits for affected future employees will be dramatically reduced. (for a quick way to see this effect see 84)

MOVING FORWARD

The Academic Senate (and I assume staff associations) have until February 15th to formulate responses to the Task Force Report.  The Senate, in turn is asking for comments and responses by February 5th.  I want to underline these dates because they show quite clearly the closed-off nature of the process.  Despite the claims by both UCOP and the Task Force about consultation, faculty and staff at large have less than a month to respond to a proposal that will significantly change the compensation for future employees with an unknown effect on the University as whole.  Given this situation I would argue that the Senate and other faculty and staff organizations proceed on two tracks.

The first, involves a series of technical considerations but is politically the easiest to do.  This option would be to insist that wherever the Task Force provides alternatives in the amount of the University's contributions to retirement income that President Napolitano and the Regents choose the most generous alternative.  In addition, the proposed opportunity to switch from Plan B to Plan A should not be set at 5 years but later to allow for faculty to make the decision after their cases for tenure have been resolved.  The guide provided by Chair Hare and Vice-Chair Chalfant is the best place to start for evaluating these different questions.  But this avenue is the conventional one.

The second and more significant option is to reject the proposal.  I think that the Task Force did the best that they could under the circumstances.  And I recognize that trade-offs often need to be made. But the funding gained under this agreement is not worth the damages done to compensation nor the potential damage done to the University as whole.  The Senate should oppose this deal even if it means returning the initial payment of $96M.  There are a variety of reasons for this:

1) As I indicated above there is no question that acceptance of this deal will reduce retirement benefits for a significant portion of future employees.  Nor is there any reason to think that the University has any real program to make these losses up in other ways.  Indeed, as the Report indicates, the University does not have an accurate idea of total compensation and competitiveness (the last report having been done in 2009).  (64-65)

2) What does the University get in return in financial terms?  Not much.  As I indicated above, the three year state contribution addresses only a very small amount of the unfunded liability. And according to the calculations of the Task Force, establishment of the New Tier under present conditions will speed up the elimination of the unfunded liability minimally if at all.  In fact, under certain scenarios the elimination of the unfunded liability might be faster under the 2013 Tier (with borrowing) than under most of the 2016 options.  (57)  Nor does there seem to be much savings in yearly terms.  And these savings are placed far down the road as individuals hired under the 2016 come to replace the 2013 Tier in retirement.

3) The pension deal and the Task Force proposal mark a crossroads for President Napolitano and also for shared governance within the University.  It is conceivable that the President did not realize the extent to which the pension deal would reduce benefits.  But faced with the Task Force report it is clear that the reduction would be significant and that the financial benefits are limited.  If there is significant opposition to this proposal President Napolitano would have the option of concluding that the deal was a mistake.  If there is significant opposition President Napolitano would also have the option of demonstrating an openness to shared governance on policy rather than just on implementation of policy already decided by senior managers.  It is possible, of course, that UCOP has calculated that given overall market conditions they are willing to weaken recruitment and retention of top faculty and staff (that certainly is the implication of the Governor's position).  But at least we would be clearer on that.

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

1) If the University wants to consider revamping the retirement system it should, at the least, demand that the State acknowledge its own obligation to funding of UCRP and restart contributions on an ongoing basis.  Much is made of UC's "pension holiday" and it clearly went on too long.  But it is important to remember that there has been a State "pension holiday" from funding UCRP as well (as it funds other public employee retirement systems).  Renewed ongoing funding would enable UC to eliminate the loss in retirement income or total compensation on the one hand and to reinvest in core functions on the other.

I recognize that this is a politically challenging route.  Taking this route would not be without its dangers in terms of relationships with the governor and the legislature or in terms of motivating those who are opposed to all pensions (especially public ones) But the Governor is at best disingenuous on this issue.  If you look at his 2016 budget proposal, he includes UCRP as part of the debts and obligations under Prop 2 when he wants to indicate how much debt the State has.  (3)   But as a matter of policy he refuses to acknowledge that UCRP is a permanent state obligation.  Moreover, even the short-term funding is only a gubernatorial promise at this point.   The Task Force, to be honest, was less than forthright in this regard when they open their report with the statement that "As part of the 2015/2016 Budget agreement between the University, the Governor, and the Legislature, the State will provide a total of $436 million for the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) over the next three years." (4)  The Legislature has not engaged in any multi-year promise.

2) If nothing else, the Report of the Task Force is another indication that UCOP's tuition gambit and subsequent "Committee of Two" process was unsuccessful.  Although I commend President Napolitano for actually advocating for increased State funding (something her predecessor was particularly poor at doing) the Tuition strategy seems to have backfired.  The Legislature was alienated, the budget deal that resulted showed little if any improvement from what the Governor had indicated previously, UC has now agreed to take large numbers of additional students without adequate funding, and the pension deal was a mistake.  Moreover the secrecy of the process not only sidelined effective shared governance but, as with the proposal on the governance of the health sciences, precluded an effective mobilization of debate and ideas about the best ways for the University to move forward.  As with so much of the debate over higher education today, efficiency and speed is held in higher regard than thoughtfully considering the long-term implications of policy and practice or aiming to improve the quality in higher education (as opposed to simply lowering spending). Rushing to produce a bad idea just means you produce a bad idea more quickly.

For your convenience:

The Task Force Report can be found HERE.

The Guide to the Report produced by Chair Hare and Vice-Chair Chalfant can be found HERE.



Categorías: Universidade

Top Trends for 2016 Higher Ed: Earth-Two Edition

Xov, 14/01/2016 - 21:16
Since Flash Comics writers discovered the existence of Earth-Two in 1961, readers have been tracking unexpected divergences between the paired planets that exist in parallel dimensions.  The Earths have generated divergent histories with more or less the same people. This makes it easy to study the effects of variable reactions to structural forces like culture, law, and economic policy, since backward leaders and our unfortunate "human nature" reign on both worlds-- as on the other Earths DC Comics has discovered since.

There's one other thing:  Earth-One is considered a Silver Age and Earth-Two a Golden Age planet.  The terms derived initially from the age of comics in which their lead superheros evolved, but came to be applied to the quality of the planets themselves.  Life is better on Earth-Two: less impoverished, less tyrannical, less hypermasculine in leadership styles, and less inclined towards multiple gun deaths.  Some believe that the lower, Silver Age status of our Earth-One results from its lower cultural intelligence.  This inclines it to manage social relations with fixed procedures and peer communications with programming.

How do the Earths compare on major university trends?

1. Both Earths experienced our old friend permausterity that we've discussed before.  In 2015, a small uptick in state appropriations left outlays nearly 20 percent below their pre-recession levels (summary page 8). Meanwhile, the historic backfill for state cuts, student tuition hikes, became politically untenable, as UC President Janet Napolitano found out when she couldn't get even a piece of her 5% a year for 5 years through Sacramento. A second solution, ed-tech, was to step into the breach with massive savings through technological efficiency at the same level of quality.  That fix failed completely, though many politicians continued to flog it.

The upshot for 2016 is that real funds for the educational core will stay flat or fall as a share of overall expenditures, even as the student share of public college expenditures has grown from 1/2 to nearly 2/3rds of the total.  So Earth-One's 2016 default will be sagging public college quality as these institutions and their less-privileged students fall further behind the instructional and research trends set by the wealthy private universities, which in 2015 were richer and more exclusive than ever.

Stratification between public and private will be echoed by more of the same within public systems. The public flagships will stay afloat while the more vulnerable campuses drift into whatever shallows will keep most decks above water. Nick Fleisher and Richard Grusin discussed cuts at the important Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, which educates a large urban population while dealing with unjustified reductions.  These diverging fates were intensified by a tradition of gross inequality in per-student funding across state systems: Sara Goldrick-Rab and Tammy Kolbe discussed the lopsided figures for the University of Wisconsin system.

E1 academic leaders no longer dream of fixing a problem that endangers the core purpose of public colleges, which is equal education.  E1 citizens didn't vote for the deterioration of quality of campuses serving the poorer and more remote parts of states while their tax dollars support the flagships that serve the most non-resident students, but that is what they are going to get. They face a renewed elitism of public college education, right when universal quality is more necessary than ever.

Humans are no less foolish on Earth-Two. But E2 has better communication from grassroots to the executive tiers, where for cultural reasons they care more about how C-suite decisions affect life in the trenches.  Thus E2 Napolitano started 2016 by telling her staff:
Stop bringing me these nickel solutions.  Stuff like UCOP Venture Capital may be good PR, but will generate a drop in the bucket if we're lucky. You realize it's not 1995 anymore?   Non-resident tuition is a band-aid--anyone can do the math.  I know UC students who couldn't get detailed paper feedback from the faculty we're not hiring even if we passed out handguns at every campus gate.  I don't want to see another Jerry budget with just 4% for us again. I need a 16% state funding increase each year for five years, starting now.  Tell Jerry "tuition is frozen forever" if he rebuilds state funding levels.  Make a list of exactly how all of the new money will go to the educational core--I mean 100%.  First explain what the hell UC "educational quality" is.  Call some actual UC instructors why don't you?  Tell Jerry we won't spend one new dime on executive comp.  We're going to announce a two-year freeze on executive hiring.  And please, start de-gunking the ridiculous bureaucratic processes around here.  Re-engineer something rather than just make campuses comply with more standardization.  And call those guys that say we can get 2001 low-tuition and good funding for another 30 bucks a year or whatever it is. Figure out how we can support it!No Earth-One president would talk like that.  And yet it follows from two Earth-Two cultural practices: (1) open, reciprocal communication between execs and the least powerful of their institutional cultures--undergraduate education, disciplines without extramural income, low-income students; (2) the refusal to sacrifice weaker units for the sake of the strong.  E2 senior managers move from educational needs to  budget requests rather than the other way around, with the goal of quality for the whole.

2. Massive student protests against racism.  In 2015, both Earths saw large anti-racist protests sandwiched between, on the one hand, ongoing police killings of unarmed Black people followed by the non-indictments of key shooters, and on the other, the Supreme Court's triple-jeopardy reconsideration of affirmative action in the Fisher case (triple because the 2013 Fisher decision was already a retread of the 1990s Hopwood cases that were decided by Bollinger in 2003). Racism on campus (Missouri, Yale, Ithaca College, etc.) showed itself to rise from campuses failing to shelter students from the wider social regression.  E1 and E2 political leaders had tolerated or encouraged a boom in economic inequality and tolerated or encouraged the resegregation of the American school system. Meanwhile, the US college system also became Separate and Unequal: most new white students went to more selective, wealthier colleges while most new students of color went to less selective and poorer mass institutions.  Colleges continued the minoritization of students of color even as they formed pluralities or majorities of student bodies, and did not explain and demand strong race-conscious policies. They outsourced racial politics and social integration to their offices of student affairs, and on Earth-One and Earth-Two alike, didn't generally make students of color feel like they were first-class citizens on their own campuses.  Faced with intensive protests, E1 senior managers offered to listen better while rethinking some specific instances of their tradition of concealing their complicity with larger racist forces (like the presidency of Woodrow Wilson).   Structural changes stayed off the table. 

Meanwhile, on Earth-Two, a staffer in the University of Missouri Office of the President read a content analysis of anti-racist student demands across the country.  She saw that the most frequent were for more faculty of color, more student diversity, more courses on race, ethnicity, and sexuality theory, more institutional support for students of color, more diversity training, and better mechanisms for reporting, sanctioning, and preventing hate crimes.  Wow, the staffer thought, these are the demands of the 1980s! Why didn't we met these years ago?

In early 2016, she tracked down E2 Mizzou's substitute president and spoke as follows:
Look, our protesters are the children of the students who denounced the lack of faculty of color back in 1985.  Most of higher ed has spent the last thirty years screwing around.   University managers look like racist tools because they can't do much better than the right-wingers that run Congress and the Supreme Court.   Here is part of the speech I suggest you let me write: "I support racial equality of outcome, not just of opportunity.  The fact that society maintains racial disparity in everything--income, wealth, health, longevity, education, you name it--doesn't mean universities need to.  So as of today, my administration stands for equality of racial outcomes.  Now we need to figure out how to get that at Mizzou Earth-Two.  You've heard of the flipped classroom?  Mizzou will start with the flipped administration.  We'll put students in charge of designing the grievance processes and curricula that they prefer. Student affairs staffers and faculty will act as a support structure for advice and counsel.  Then students, faculty, staff, and senior managers will hold a series of quiet meetings and loud town halls--what do you all call them? General Assemblies?--in which we'll hash out the results democratically.  STudents won't decide on their own, but they will lead the process.  Another thing we're going to do.  My colleague, the new head of the Columbia flagship campus, will work with the Missouri system as a whole to equalize funding across this great system. We have a plan for a leveling up over a five year period.  Our goal is to fund the campuses with higher percentages of students of color at the same per-student level as the largely white flagship campus.  We need equitable funding for equitable racial outcomes, and Missouri is going to lead what I am sure is going to become a national trend."  
3. Admin's Autocracy Crisis: The newly-installed head of the University of Iowa, Bruce Harreld, drew new attention to himself by saying that professors who failed to prepare lessons should be shot. On Earth-One, faculty awareness of domineering Boards and weakened Senates had been growing throughout 2015. One piece called it Veblen's Nightmare.   In E1 Iowa, the main response was a librarian's eloquent repudiation of President Harreld's comments, which broke with the taboos of a faculty deference culture that had been helping administrators ignore or override faculty expertise even in core faculty arenas.   In an email to E1 Harreld, Lisa B. Gardinier explained,
There are many schools of pedagogy and, being a university, there are several, if not many, good ways to plan lessons, classes, and curriculum, and our academic freedom extends to teaching in the way we see fit to the content on which we are trusted to be experts, preferably with adequate support and opportunities for the development and improvement of our teaching skills throughout our career. Poor planning is an unfortunate waste of both the instructor’s and the students’ time and research but is not a capital or corporal offense, leading me to the second part of your comment. For a university president to use the term “should be shot” so flippantly, and just a week after the most recent highly publicized mass shooting and in a tense atmosphere of racist law enforcement violence, is horrifying and unacceptable. For someone who claims to sideline his vision to that of the university community, to casually suggest potentially lethal punishment as consequences for failure to comply with a narrow perception of the correct way to fulfill one of our duties, is irresponsible and unprofessional. You may not have been kicked out since your appointment, but not for lack of trying, and nor is anyone is advocating for bodily harm to come of you or anyone complicit in your hire.Earth-One greets Lisa Gardinier's open critique as an act of individual courage and candor.  Earth-Two, being more culturally evolved, sees it as an act of public witness in an institutional context, pointing toward collaborative emulation with a goal of social health.  Others take up the challenge of frankness, writing E2 Harreld with non-anonymous appraisals of his performance and its effect on their feelings about their institution and their work.  The E2 Academic Senate encourages public statements as expressions of an ethic of general participation in self-goverance.  Over a few weeks, as open exchange becomes the rule rather than the exception, flaming and trolling all but disappear, as their function of nuking the enemy becomes less attractive psychologically.  The same goes for retaliation and shunning, twin norming procedures whose coercive and negative effects become deceasingly acceptable as more people survive and even thrive on commentary.  Iowa becomes a model of open governance by generalized peer-review.  It becomes an experiment in combining stable and regularized structures with an ethics of disclosure.  Once someone names this the operative community, and E2 President Harreld enthusiastically joins in, the chair of the E2 Iowa Board of Regents responds.
When we hired Bruce, we were following the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) script that said we needed to take ownership of the university away from faculty, staff, and students.  We felt entitled to brush off the AAUP's rejection of our procedures, and rule through negative stereotypes of various university subgroups.  Now my earlier dismissal of faculty critiques as "embracing the status quo of the past" seems kind of dumb.  Since I'm too old to change, I'm announcing my resignation from the Board, so I can find a sphere where my kind of unilateral top-down decisionmaking still makes sense. Universities need every single person's full intelligence or they don't work.  I wish Iowa all the best.These three examples from DC Comics archives show Earth-Two does better not by having special Jedi foresight and discipline but by having open institutional cultures.  Their universities are less managerial and more democratic, less autocratic and more proceduralist, less algorithmic and more widely informed.  Luckily, Earth-One can learn from the more advanced cultures of Earth-Two.

A belated and hopeful Happy New Year, whichever planet you're from.
Categorías: Universidade

Follow Austerity Road: The Governor's Higher Education Budget

Sáb, 09/01/2016 - 19:49
Governor Brown has issued his proposed 2016-2017 budget.  Shorn of its rhetorical invocation of technocratic answers, the Governor's Higher Education budget simply locks in the continuing underfunding of CSU and UC (I won't offer an analysis of the community college budget in this post).  When I first read the budget, I was tempted to think that Governor Brown was now governing openly as an Eisenhower Republican.  But Eisenhower actually helped expand higher education for the country. He did not diminish it.

UC

The Governor's proposal fundamentally restates the agreement reached in secret negotiations with UCOP under the auspices of the so-called Committee of Two.  There is the $125M general fund increase that the Governor had intended as part of his "sustainability" plan (about 4% of this year's base funding) and the one-time $171M contribution to the UCRP unfunded retirement obligation. (18) The proposed budget continues the supplemental $25M appropriation to pay part of the costs of  the additional 5000 California resident undergraduate students that UC has agreed to admit by next academic year.  This appropriation is about half of what the State appropriated for enrollment expansion during the Schwarzenegger administration.  There is no sign that the Governor is willing to fund the additional resident students that President Napolitano has indicated she would like to admit above next year's 5000..  As per the agreement there will be no increase in resident tuition  in 2016-2017.  The base General Fund allocation is $3,260,544,000.  This number does not include the one-time UCRP payment.

The Governor's office, of course, would like to spin these appropriations as indications of a serious refunding of the University.  But in reality what Brown has done--and what UCOP has accepted--is the permanent under-funding of UC.  The Governor's proposal will finally restore general fund appropriations to approximately the level of 2007-2008.  But the resident student population is considerably larger.  The 2007-2008 budget assumed a total (undergraduate, graduate, and health science) resident student population of 198,455. (4)  The 2016-2017 budget assumes a resident population of 216,897. (10)    Allowing for inflation and the agreed-upon (inadequate) marginal cost of increased enrollment, that leaves the state's appropriation to the base UC budget over half a billion dollars below 2007-2008.  Of course, this estimate does not include the explosive rise in Cal Grant funding tied to the rise in tuition and the increasing total costs of attendance--each an indication of the extent to which the State continues to shift the burden of higher education costs onto students and their families.  On the other hand, it does not include include the additional costs for UC Merced or the other mandated increases which would likely outweigh the growth in Cal Grants..

CSU

The proposal for CSU is similar in its implications.  The Governor proposes $125.4M in base increase, $15M in funding available through changes in the Middle-Class Scholarship Fund, and $7.9M for leasing properties coming to a General Fund increase of $148.3M.  In addition there will be a $35M one time appropriation for deferred maintenance (49).   All told, the Governor is proposing a $3,157,805,000 General Fund appropriation for CSU in 2016-2017. Again, for comparison sake, CSU's enacted General Fund Appropriation in 2007-2008 was $2,976,300,000.  So Governor Brown is proposing that CSU receive approximately $200M more from the general fund, not corrected for inflation, or enrollment increases.  The 2007-2008 budget presumed that CSU would enroll a total of 342,553 resident students. (4)  Governor Brown is projecting a resident student population 374,174 (these are FTE not actual individuals).  In inflation terms this leaves CSU several hundred million dollars behind.  And that does not account for the additional 30,000 FTE students.

The Governor has a somewhat different model for CSU, compared to UC, as his CSU widget theory of higher education focuses more on 4 year graduation rates.  Once again, the Governor is fixated on technology and fails to see that if he expects CSU to dramatically increase these rates he will need to do more than simply hector CSU while providing minor incremental increases in funding.  Instead, the State will need to commit to providing the funds needed to expand faculty and staff in order to improve graduation rates and the teaching resources available to the system's educators.

I'll add another word about the way the Governor continues to vest his higher education hopes in technocratic solutions. The most obvious of these continues to be his insistence that problems can be solved through online education.  But just as striking is his office's insistence that the problems facing higher education in the 21st century can be solved by accelerating throughput of students into the workforce.  I found nothing in the Governor's discussion of higher education that indicated any awareness that as they face a complex world of  local and international challenges, students might need to develop more knowledge, not less, by acquiring more complex skills and interdisciplinary knowledge structures, which is likely to take more time, not less.  The pressure he puts on UC and CSU is to cut costs, not to improve quality.  Now I agree that shortening time to degree is important; but the way to do that is to provide adequate funding to enable students to focus on their studies.  When all you want to use is a hammer, everything looks like a nail--even human beings.

The state does have money to start improving higher education again, rather than just chiding and squeezing it.  As the California Budget and Policy Center has pointed out, the Governor's obsession with the State's Rainy Day Fund has led him to refuse to spend $2 billion that could be appropriated. The Governor is reasonably afraid of a recession in the next few years.  But as his budget acknowledges, the recovery has hardly been shared equally (10) and as I have indicated above his proposals do more than resist new commitments--they continue to lock in recession-era losses.  This Governor's budget makes clear, as we enter the twilight of his political career, that he will be remembered for failing to promote a politics of hope rather than succumbing to the politics of fear that has governed the state since Howard Jarvis embarrassed him in the late 1970s.


Categorías: Universidade

This Week At The Regents (II): The Medical Centers and University Governance

Mér, 18/11/2015 - 16:54
As I mentioned in my post on the Budget, the Regents will be considering a proposal to alter the governing structure of the medical centers.  This proposal is a somewhat improved version of an earlier, and admittedly worse, plan that was presented at the Regents September Meeting.  The effects of these plans will be to give the Executive Vice-President--Health greater authority, to increase the ability of the medical centers to influence the Regents more directly, and to grant greater autonomy to the health care system more generally.  In both its substance and its creation it points to serious problems in UC's internal governance.

First as to substance.  The proposal will expand both the size and the authority of the Regent's Committee on Health Services.  It would be continue to have six Regental members but would now include the Executive Vice President--Health, two Chancellors from campuses with medical centers, four outside "experts" effectively chosen by the Executive Vice-President--Health, and one faculty member from a medical center to represent the Academic Senate.  These eight new individuals would be non-voting members.  The Committee would have increased autonomy regarding transactions up to certain limits (5) including those relating to compensation. (1)  The Committee's opinion would be required on capital projects that could affect the Health System. (4)

Now as I said, this proposal is an improved version of a proposal first floated at the September Regents Meeting.  In that earlier proposal, the Executive Vice-President--Health and the two Chancellors would have been voting members.  In addition, they would have been granted "primary responsibility" for UC Health capital projects.  (5).  This set up raised the possibility, given the size of the committee and quorum rules, that the Executive Vice President--Health and the two Chancellors might establish a committee policy because only two Regents were in attendance.  Nor was there any proposal for faculty input.  In the end, Regents at the September meeting did voice skepticism about these proposals and the Academic Senate strongly opposed the plan.  The result is the modified version we have now.

Still, there is no reason to throw laurels.  For one thing, one point stressed by the Academic Senate and not addressed in the revisions is the all but complete disregard for either the teaching or the research components of the UC Medical Centers which are, after all, university medical centers.  This plan pushes those concerns aside for an emphasis on the business of health care.  But unless one can include in strategic planning the teaching and research elements of the UC Medical Centers it is unclear what the medical centers are doing as part of the University.  Medical faculty I have spoken with are deeply uncomfortable with this aspect of the new plan.

There is one perhaps even deeper issue here.  The proposed changes are based in a Rand Study begun in the middle of March 2015, completed in June 2015 and based on review of some of the analytical literature, interviews with UC and UC Health Care Administrators as well as some administrators from other academic medical centers and publicly accessible UC documents.  (2-3) The study's authors acknowledge that due to "the short timeline of the effort, a detailed analysis of the AMCs’ finances and operations was beyond the scope of this project." (3) The heart of the report is really about the problems of communication and lines of authority within UC Health Care.  Yet on the basis of a rushed report that was unable to do a detailed analysis of how the system actually worked and raised all sorts of internal issues, UCOP is proposing to increase the authority and autonomy of the medical centers.  I can understand why the medical center administrators would want greater authority and autonomy but is this any way to make policy? What about the impact on the campuses and the University as a whole?

The end result, then, is that thanks to push back from some Regents and the Senate a poorly constructed and rushed policy has been replaced by a modestly improved proposal.  But the proposal is still based on the shaky foundations of the Rand research and the claims of the Medical Center administrators.  Once again, the Senate has been put into a position of trying to improve a policy proposal that should not have been made in the first place.   Instead, the serious issues that face the Medical Centers in the new world of the ACA should have been carefully studied--studied by the many faculty experts on health care that are at UC.  Unfortunately, like too many other issues in the recent past, UCOP did not identify a problem and engage with the faculty in a shared search for possible solutions.  Instead it presented a proposal and left the Faculty to smooth out the edges.  The Senate remains on the defensive and well thought-out solutions remain over the horizon.


Categorías: Universidade

This Week at the Regents: The Budget

Mar, 17/11/2015 - 00:00
This week's Regents meeting's Agenda is chock full of important items.  In particular, UCOP is presenting the 2016-2017 budget proposal along with a three-year "sustainability" plan, a proposal to improve the finances of UCRP through internal borrowing, and a proposal to centralize the management of the Health Care system. Unfortunately, the lessons from this week's Regents' agenda is that despite UCOP's efforts to tout its agreement with Governor Brown, last year's tuition gambit has done little to change the fundamentally underfunded situation of the University.  Nor is there any indication that either the Regents or UCOP are prepared to break from long-standing patterns of strategy in order to begin to ensure a UC focused on its educational mission and on increasing the quality of its offerings.

THE PLAN ITSELF

UCOP's proposed budget is a work up of the deal that President Napolitano and Governor Brown negotiated by sidelining both the Legislature and the Academic Senate.   Chris and I have already commented on the deal itself so let me simply point to some of the more important elements.  The proposed Budget for 2016-2017 assumes another 4% increase in base funding, $96 million in one-time funding in exchange for changes in UC's retirement system, $25 million for enrolling an additional 5000 California residents, $25 million for deferred maintenance, and an additional $68.7 million in new Non-Resident Tuition (NRT) revenue.  It continues to make the annual promises about the fantastic savings that UCOP is gaining through various technological and management initiatives. In all, UCOP reports a total 2015-16 revenue of $28.3 billion of which core funds constitute $7.3 billion.  In 2016-2017 they are budgeting for an increased core revenue of $481.3 million.

Along with the proposed budget UCOP is submitting what it calls a three year "Financial Stability Plan."  The plan restates the Brown-Napolitano deal that calls for continued 4% annual base budget increases through 2018-2019 and fulfillment of the Governor's promise of $436 million over 3 years (although the Legislature has only promised the first $96 million) in exchange for reducing retirement benefits substantially for future employees.  It includes the proposed $25 million that the Legislature has offered for an additional 5,000 California resident students in 2016-17, and offers to enroll an additional 2500 more in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 (hopefully in exchange for additional funding). It increases the NRT by 8%, the student services fee 5% annually, and proposes tuition increases tied to inflation beginning in 2017-2018.

A first point, which Chris has made many times, is that the 4% increases, while better than the extreme cuts of the late Schwarzenegger and early Brown administrations, are too small to overcome the longer-term under-funding of the University that goes back 15 years.  To make matters worse, both the Budget and the Financial Stability Plan each bake in increasing burdens on campuses and their students, faculty, and staff.  The $25 million promised for the upcoming year's 5000 additional resident students is approximately half of what both UC and the LAO agree is the marginal cost of an additional student (8). The new underfunded students will force campuses to shift funds from other efforts to pay for these costs (costs that will draw on core funds).

In order to help pay for these students, UC campuses will continue to increase the number of non-resident students, although they say at a slower pace (due to political pressures), so that there will be an additional 1200 non-resident students next year and the latter will be paying an 8% tuition increase.  UCOP apparently believes that the State will continue to pay $25 million each year to help support the initial 5000.  This seems a reasonable assumption in the short term, though it is a long-term problem if it is not included in an expanded base allocation.   If the additional 5000 are also inadequately funded, UC will have added 10,000 resident students over 3 years without providing campuses with the resources needed to properly educate and support these students.

UCOP insists that they are determined to lower the faculty-student ratio throughout the system.  But does anyone really foresee an increase in faculty numbers that could do that even as student numbers jump--6200 new students in 2016-2017 plus at least an additional 2500 additional residents in each of the following two years?  For those campuses with significant NRT, at least some of those funds will need to go to supporting the new enrollments.  For the other half of the UC system without significant NRT,  those enrollments likely will eat up a chunk of the monies they will receive from rebenching and the additional 4% in base state funding.  This plan may be sustainable in the sense that the campuses and students will still be here at its conclusion.  But it doesn't suggest that UCOP's stated commitments to increasing quality and improving campus facilities can be met.

The Budget and Sustainability plan together lock in continued under-funding, increased burdens on campuses, faculty, and students, and further erosion of shared governance at UC.  At its best it is predicated on a set of promises from Governor Brown.  I needn't remind people how well previous compacts with Governor's have held up over time.

THE FUTURE FOR THE FACULTY

A second aspect of the Budget, one of special importance to both faculty and staff, is the proposed reorganization of the retirement system.  In her negotiations with the Governor, President Napolitano agreed to create a new tier for those hired on or after July 1, 2016.  These employees would have a pensionable salary limit (i.e. the amount of annual salary that can be considered in calculating the size of a person's pension) based on the state's PEPRA limits rather than the previous, and much higher social security cap.  In return, the Legislature agreed to release $96 million once these changes have been made, and the Governor has promised additional funds up to the $436 million I mentioned above.  The Legislature has made no commitment to the last two years of the Governor's promise. (For good accounting of these developments there are various posts on this site and by Dan Mitchell on the UCLA Faculty Association Blog).

I have no doubt that there was, and is, political pressure on this from Sacramento.  But to get some sense of the extent of UCOP's concessions on this score it might be helpful to turn to another item on the Regents Agenda--a proposal to borrow money over the next three years from the University's Short Term Investment Pool (STIP) to help pay down the legally defined unfunded liability of UCRP. (As Bob Samuels pointed out long ago, this legal liability is based on the requirement that UCRP has enough money on hand to pay out pensions if everyone retired immediately).  This short term funding is something that the Senate has been pushing for several years, though campuses, perhaps especially those with medical centers, have been resistant.

In very basic terms, the proposal will allow the University to borrow from its own funds to help pay into UCRP, thereby helping to keep the University's annual contribution to UCRP at a steady state and to shorten the time until the unfunded liability has been paid.  Strikingly, UCOP is proposing to borrow $1,463,400,000--or put another way nearly three times the amount of money that the Governor is promising in exchange for a dramatic reduction in the worth of UC benefits.  As UCOP continues to emphasize, perhaps in the hopes of muting opposition, this new plan will not affect anyone employed before July 1, 2016.  But it will affect new generations of UC employees and lead to a significant reduction in overall compensation.  Although theoretically some of this loss could be made up in salary and other forms of compensation,  those forms of compensation do not have the same tax benefits as do pensions. More importantly, they increase retirement risk.  Nor is it clear why anyone should think that state funding for salaries will increase in the future at a rate that will cover the lost compensation value for future employees.

There is presently a Task Force charged with determining what the new pension tier will look like and with coming up with strategies to minimize the reduction in benefits to future employees (since it is unlikely that they can be eliminated).  The Task Force is expected to present its conclusions to President Napolitano next month and there will be a limited period for comment early next year.  But as Dan Mitchell has repeatedly pointed out (e.g., here, here, and here), the proposal for STIP funding includes a statement that "New employees will have the opportunity to choose a fully defined contribution plan as a retirement option, as an alternative to the PEPRA-capped defined benefit plan." (3)  This statement is included despite the fact that even the University's own FAQ on the question insist that no decision has been made as to whether to have a purely defined Defined Contribution Plan (h/t Michael Buroway).

So we have a cut in retirement benefits negotiated outside of the regular shared governance plan, a special Task Force, set up by the President to determine the shape of those cuts, official information on the Task Force site saying that no decision has been made about a defined contribution plan, and an item on the Regents Agenda suggesting that that decision has been made even though the Task Force has not finished its discussions.  This situation exists despite the fact that several years ago, after extensive study, the University recognized that a Defined Contribution Plan was less able to serve either the needs of individuals or the needs of the institution as a whole.  Nor does the amended language of the Budget Bill (section 85) require the University to start a Defined Contribution Plan. This decision by UCOP to overturn the carefully established retirement consensus builds upon other indications that UCOP is perfectly happy to sideline shared governance when it is convenient for them.

THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED

There is one other item, or rather the absence of one other item, in the Budget proposal that is significant.  In its Budget Summary (pg. 29) UCOP notes a series of accountability measures required by the State. Interestingly, I could find no mention in the documents (please let me know if I missed it) of another set of legal obligations that are important for the budget.  Those are from section 84 that requires the University to provide much more detailed transparency about its administrative structure--especially concerning the Managers and Senior Professionals Group (MSP) and to rethink its proclaimed market comparisons for the Senior Management Group.  I mention this not because I want to demonize the people in either group but because it is difficult to see how a truly sustainable future can be created for the University that does not seriously rethink its administrative structure, starting with a better understanding of the relation between administration and the educational core.

If UC truly wishes to create a sustainable future for itself, it will need to create a more decentralized administrative structure, one more attuned to the actual teaching, learning, and research that goes on in the everyday life of the institution.   That sort of transformation might have resulted from the UCOF process a few years ago--but it didn't.  It is clear that it will not emerge from UCOP.  But it is needed more than ever.
Categorías: Universidade

The Weak vs. the Wrong, and An Emerging Alternative for Faculty Governance

Xov, 05/11/2015 - 17:55
We're many years now into the New Normal for public universities.  We've known for a while that this means permanent budgetary austerity.  We get regular quantifications of the continuing funding problem. Another one, from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, calculates that appropriations fell 20 percent per full-time student from 2008-13, and 26 percent for public research universities.   

Michael and I have had to use this space to make a couple of further points.  One is that the New Normal directly damages faculty and student welfare.  You can see more material on this in a talk that Michael and I gave at UC Berkeley last fall. It tied budgetary austerity to the the decline in faculty welfare--and to weakening faculty governance, which I'll be discussing here.

The other point we've argued  is that senior public university managers and boards have accepted New Normal austerity in practice.  This year, after much stormy drama in Oakland and Sacramento, and a declaration of victory from President Janet Napolitano, UC's state budget increments remained a quarter of UCOP's previously-stated need (see Alternative C in the chart).  

In addition, the past couple of years have clarified the kind of executive governance that the New Normal assumes.  An early example was the June 2012 Board firing-rehiring of the president of the University of Virginia.  Since then, the heads of university systems and/or flagship campuses in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Iowa and North Carolina have attracted national attention because they do not bridge the professional-managerial divide but represent the managerial side.   The managerial side has a theory of governance I'll outline, because both faculty and students need to figure out a better response to it.
Theory
The theory rests on venerable autocratic practice in private universities, many founded by wealthy magnates who assumed they would be governed like their corporations.  Top-down presidentialism and governing board sovereignty were also adopted by 19th century public universities. They have been reinforced by a movement led by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which was originally co-founded by Lynne Cheney. ACTA's theory of governance is that the brand and the agenda of a university must be owned by its board of trustees, who are the most--really the only--responsible agents in academia.  

During the summer that the University of Illinois was rescinding Steven Salaita's job, ACTA issued a report called Governance for a New Era.  Its premise was that the unprecedented criticism directed at the country's higher ed system required much firmer leadership from the top.  
Trustees should take a more active role in reviewing and benchmarking the work of faculty and administrators and monitoring outcomes. Too many have seen their role narrowly defined as boosters, cheerleaders, and donors. They should ask the questions that need to be asked and exercise due diligence. They must not be intermittent or passive fiduciaries of a billion dollar industry critical to the preparation of America’s next leaders.Shared governance—which demands an inclusive decision-making process—cannot and must not be an excuse for board inaction at a time when America’s pre-eminent role in higher education is threatened.ACTA claims that only trustees see the big picture.  "That is why trustees must have the last word when it comes to guarding the central values of American higher education--academic excellence and academic freedom."  Faculty may opine about their own freedoms, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison Senate recently did in writing restored tenure rights. But the scope of these freedoms, in ACTA theory, should be at the sole discretion of executive boards.   
In the ACTA new-era governance model, UIUC's then-Chancellor Phyllis Wise was not violating shared governance by firing Prof. Salaita, but fulfilling it.  A hundred years ago, the autocratic executive was already Veblen's nightmare, and autocracy's statutory bases largely remain in place.  (See the UC Regents' Standing Order 100 for presidential powers, which cover most management powers that there are, including control of a faculty member's ability to communicate with a regent).  Specific instances of board authority have been contested, as in the 2014 Kansas twitter controversy that Michael analyzed in the LARB, and in the Salaita lawsuit that was largely validated in its first court test.  But the theory of board power is not being challenged as such.
As they go about their business of maintaining the university's brand, boards are asked to remember that universities are failing (this was a core thesis of the Spellings Report), that faculty as the traditional core are responsible for those failures, and that faculty will therefore accuse boards of damaging academics in order to deflect blame.   That's what faculty always say when their interests aren't being put first, ACTA teaches, so faculty complaints can (and must) be ignored.  Thus it was a kind of badge of honor for the Iowa board to defy the faculty view that semi-retired businessman Bruce Harreld was unqualified to lead the University of Iowa.  The key ACTA innovation is teaching trustees to claim professional authority in serving as the sole voice of their university, which must also be able to override faculty in speaking in the name of students.  (Hence Chancellor Wise's claim to be protecting them in de-hiring Prof. Salaita). 

As though on cue (h/t Ragman), Regina M. Millner, President of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, writes in Trusteeship Magazine, "The important role of governing boards in setting the agenda cannot be overlooked or underestimated." Part of that role, Ms. Millner makes clear, is accepting fiscal austerity as a driver of positive change.  
In Wisconsin, deep cuts in general-fund support for the University of Wisconsin (UW) System have prompted us to reconsider how we can better align our resources to meet the needs and interests of the state and its people. It involves not just doing more with less, but fundamental changes to our planning, procedures, and programs.Ms. Millner isn't only not sorry about the politically-imposed cuts to the UW system.  She treats austerity as way to override planning, procedures, and programs that in normal times were controlled by academics.  Again, this direct intervention is, in ACTAworld, what boards are supposed to do.
Executive board rule obviously contradicts basic democratic political theory and the related understandings of political rights. Of course American corporations are not democracies, and over the course of a century and a half they have established a legal framework that supports the various forms of dictatorial or military-style command that we take for granted. "Workplace democracy" remains anathema and at-will firing remains a sign of the U.S.'s proudly anti-democratic workplace--proudly in the sense that our business culture equates suppressing democracy with suppressing inefficiency.  

And yet universities have historically injected the rights of professional expertise (though not of democratic citizenship) into command-and-control corporate management practice.  Universities have always represented a third mode of governance that is neither political democracy nor corporate despotism.  It is into this ambiguous zone of limited, ambiguous, academic self-governance--limited like the wi-fi signal that only covers your living room--that ACTA and subtler entities intervene, the better to assimilate university governance to the corporate model.  
Practice
The claim that university management is increasingly and deliberately unilateral would have been heretical to most faculty a few years ago.  Few executives and board members echo ACTA directly, and most top-down interventions seem driven by external crises. But recent events have shifted faculty perceptions.   

One example is the University of Wisconsin.  When Gov. Scott Walker and his legislative allies bundled budget cuts to the elimination of tenure from state statute, UW system president Ray Cross and Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank seemed to be caught between the pols and their faculty, in the classic bridge position. (For background, see Michael's overview or my IHE piece).  But over the months of negotiation, many faculty members began to feel that President Cross was trading stronger tenure away--and that perhaps Chancellor Blank was backing him against her own faculty.  Many concluded that senior managers' defenses of professorial status were fronting for expansions of their authority.

The issue blew up again two weeks ago, following the publication of an October 22 email from Chancellor Blank in which she stated that President Cross was not in fact backing the right of faculty to write new campus-based tenure protections.  The press coverage (local here and here and IHE here) and faculty analyses concluded that Board members and top officials were indeed going to impose weaker state standards on faculty rather than support faculty's professional claims.  Good faculty analyses include Prof. Nick Fleischer's "UW Tenure: the End" and Prof. Nancy Kendall's Open Letter to the UW Madison Faculty.   I'll come back to the Kendall letter below.

Another example comes from California, where the generally deferential UC Academic Senate objected this summer to President Janet Napolitano's disregard for Senate consultation.  On August 25, 2015, outgoing Senate chair Mary Gilly wrote to "highlight four notable instances from this past year in which we believe the Senate was insufficiently consulted on issues where its advice would have made a positive difference."   Two of these involved the Office of the President starting academic programs without running the plans by their academics.  The third was the "drastically lowered cap" in the defined benefit portion of the UC Retirement Plan, again imposed "without any Senate consultation." The fourth was UCOP conveying to the Regents a June 2015 Rand Health Report on UC Health System governance without any Senate comment.  

Chair Gilly concluded with the hope that non-consultation was not UCOP's preference but was thrust upon it by "difficult negotiations with the State government."  But her letter appears to have been prompted by a more severe comment from the University Committee on Planning and Budget (UCPB), in which the chair of that committee, L. Gary Leal, noted that "the November budget was actively withheld from UCPB until the day before it was presented to the Regents" (emphasis in original).  He listed a series of fundamental budget conditions, including the addition of 5000 students at a discounted general fund rate of $5000 per head, that were never discussed with the faculty.  "Even for the 3% salary increment," he adds, "where we (and other Senate committees) had very strong recommendations, the actions were quite different and the rationale was not explained or discussed either ahead of time or after the fact."

Replacing actual with merely formal shared governance isn't only a matter of bad organizational theory, for it has negative real effects. One has been UCOP's creation of a task force to change the UC Retirement Plan via the cap on eligible salary noted above and a new Defined Contribution plan (DCP), the latter in direct opposition to the recommendation of the last full review of the pension plan in 2010.  The lack of open discussion about the sources, motives, and goals of these changes has sown confusion and suspicion even among insiders to the process. One writes,
I have been asking UCOP for a copy of the agreement between UC and the governor [that supposedly requires the DCP], and no one can produce it.  No one can also say what its status is or how it relates to the state budget, but campuses are making decisions on 3-year degrees, transfer students, and online education on the deal that, as far as I can tell, no one has ever seen. I had to convince two members of the pension task force that the DCP alternative is not in the state budget.  So UC wanted it in the deal, it did not make it into the deal, and now UCOP is saying it is coming from the state or the governor.When a few people order major changes to an institution with 450,000 students and staff without consultation, deliberation, or even written documents, it's a textbook case of oligarchy.  We need to be able to use such words, even as ACTA and the broader management culture define oligarchy as progress.
Responses

The traditional Senate response is to invoke consultation protocols and declare their value.  Prof. Leal does this well, noting that "UCPB has, in the past, been an important source of knowledgeable advice to the University administration." Having been there for most of the 2000s, I can confirm that this is completely true: UCPB got key issues right well before UCOP did, particularly the secular trend of declining public funding and the urgent need to explain it to the public. In a cooperative spirit, Chair Gilly ended by writing, "we look forward to improving communication between UCOP and the Senate and on devising better methods for responding to timelines that are external to UC."

In reality, the problem is not that the Senate can't communicate or respond quickly.  Faculty members write grants, teach classes, and give speeches on strict deadlines that we continuously meet.  Communicating to deadline is a core faculty competence.  Admin denies this ability only as a pretext for withholding information and avoiding discussion.  The Senate's appeal to UCOP conscience underplays the extent to which non-consultation is a deliberate strategy.

A non-traditional faculty response appears in the letter by UW-Madison Professor Nancy Kendall that I mentioned earlier. She starts by noting that a group of faculty and staff were right when admin was wrong, particularly on the point "that Act 55 would not simply move existing tenure policy from state legislation into Board of Regents policy." 

She elaborates this later: Chancellor Blank "told us Act 55 wouldn't fundamentally change tenure or shared governance. She was wrong.  She told us that UW-Madison would be able to make its own tenure policy, unencumbered by the System policies foisted on other campuses.  She was wrong." These statements are important both for establishing the factual record and for modeling faculty treating executives as equals rather than superiors, as members of the same community.


Prof. Kendall goes on to call out attacks on skeptics that labeled them as too extreme for reasonable faculty to work with. These attacks "need to be acknowledged and addressed--through public apologies where warranted, and through acknowledgment from those of us who have benefited from their efforts to educate us."  
Having highlighted the administration's mistakes, its presumption to stand above the critical community, its efforts to ostracize critics, and the need to reverse that ostracization, Prof. Kendall proposes faculty unity across campuses and status:We are part of a system, but we have not acted as such, believing ourselves to be insulated by our “special” status as the state’s flagship university. This is elitist, it is morally shameful, and it is political suicide. None of us is more deserving of tenure than our colleagues at every other campus in this system. That is and must be the core of the tenure argument: every faculty member needs tenure in order to be able to teach, conduct research, and communicate our ideas freely, without political or administrative pressure. When some faculty lose tenure, the moral basis for arguing for tenure is undermined. Indeed, instead of throwing faculty at other campuses under the bus, or arguing that tenure is only important to help retain “star” faculty on our campus, we should be working with colleagues across the state to expand tenure protections to employees who currently conduct teaching and research on our campuses without these protections.Prof. Kendall is calling for faculty solidarity--the clear prerequisite to meaningful influence--by articulating the ethical value of the freedom to teach, learn, and govern. This forms the basis of an alternative, education-centered vision of what the university should be. 

I share Prof. Kendall's organizational ethics (I've also argued for expanded tenure in the IHE piece linked above).  The related practical point is that she also offers more effective organizational behavior.  The critical self-governance exemplified by the letter cures boardroom blindness by immersing senior managers in the actual life of the institution. It supports the "learning organization's" proverbial "cross functional teams." It increases creativity by sharing data and expanding deliberation.  It makes criticism an asset rather than an excuse for shunning people.  It sees freedom and democracy as intrinsic to higher learning.   

Nancy Kendall's open letter seems confrontational, and it is.  But is also a better management theory than the hard-ACTA of its reports or the soft-ACTA of everyday senior managers, both of which hold universities back. 
Photo:  John D. Rockefeller and William Rainey Harper (respectively on right-hand side) at the University of Chicago, 1901
Categorías: Universidade

Veblen's Nightmare

Mar, 27/10/2015 - 00:25
The Chronicle Review gave the title "Professorial Anger, Then and Now" to my essay on Thorstein Veblen's The Higher Learning in America, which has now been republished by Johns Hopkins University Press with a helpful historical introduction by Richard F. Teichgraeber III.  The piece is behind a paywall, so I'll say a few things out here.

Most things about academia angered Veblen on some level, like this very title about professorial anger which would have told him he was being relegated by Know Nothings to the status of entitled jerk.  It's true that what Veblen did was frosty, relentless, sarcastic critique, not blood and fire.

My piece outlines Veblen's four main arguments about why "the conduct of universities by business men" actually wrecked higher learning.  His point wasn't only that business folk engaged universities in competition for student market share that squandered resources, or that they twisted academic governance into oligarchy, though he did go into detail on these two.  He made additional points.  One was that business consciousness could not because of the game it played ever grasp or support academic research, like never.   He wasn't saying business people were dumb or evil. To the contrary, they were smart and cunning at a market game that Veblen insisted obeyed an essentially different logic than did unrestricted thought. To quote myself:
The business outlook was equally suspicious of originality. Chasing one another to provide the latest research in vogue, university administrators didn’t ask whether they had something original or special to offer. Their search for revenue led them to imitation, duplication, and the expensive enlargement of what Thomas Kuhn would later dub "normal science." They saw it, in Veblen’s analysis, as "‘bad business’ to offer a better grade of goods than the market demanded, particularly to customers who do not know the difference" — like the families of American undergraduates, who would believe almost anything in the hope of giving their children an edge. Veblen’s warning was that business opposition to scholarly standards of quality was not accidental or occasional, but intrinsic to business thought as such. Even administrators who started out as faculty members ceased thinking like professors and conformed to business logic.In the essay I cover other dimensions of business thinking that Veblen saw as natural disqualifications.

I was equally interested in Veblen's detailed explanations of what academic reason actually is.  He worked quite hard to conjure forth the fragility and ephemeral nature of thought as it feels its way forward in the darkness. New ideas and surprising answers don't resemble research proposals or business plans for they emerge like movements in a dream.  He had quite a bit to say about the need to protect and serve thinking that was sufficiently unmanaged to produce real discovery and understanding in an economy that was trying to absorb everything into itself.

Prof. Teichgraeber writes about three decades of the "professor's literature of protest" that informed Veblen's critiques.  There was a professor's movement!  It had a result!--the founding of the American Association of University Professors almost exactly a hundred years ago.  The philosopher John Dewey presided. The AAUP's major issues--faculty freely communicating with governing boards, sharing influence over administrative hiring, controlling faculty hiring and grievance, and co-governing finances--are still up for grabs today.  During the post-World War II growth boom, universities enjoyed a kind of détente between faculty and administration, since most conflicts could be solved with program expansion and taking turns until all the players had a similar number of cards.  The allocation machine stopped working right: tenure track lines were converted to contingent jobs, which are now 2/3 of the higher-ed teaching workforce. A majority temporary faculty would have been incomprehensible to Veblen--if sadly typical of business's idea of a good efficiency.  This contingent-majority is now experiencing the intensification of senior management intervention into funding, governance, and education itself (Virginia, California, Oregon, Illinois, Louisiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina   . .). The post-war détente has come to an end.

Ironically this means that Veblen has more to say than ever.  End runs or overturning of faculty governace is being justified by Veblen's Nightmare--the apparently entrenched belief that business expresses universal reason that by rights presides over all human processes, including the making of knowledge itself.

To Veblen's Nightmare we can  add  Veblen's Vision, in which the scholars-scientists, recognizing that real research must be self-legitimating, finally write their own funding rules for the higher learning, and implement them.
Categorías: Universidade