Remaking the University

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A blog on higher education and related issues.Chris Newfieldhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01078395415386100872noreply@blogger.comBlogger832125
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North Carolina Republicans Take Aim at State's Historically Black and Native American Colleges

Lun, 23/05/2016 - 15:24
Although overshadowed by North Carolina's recent HB2 (forbidding transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their choice), the state's Republican majority has proposed a bill that could seriously undermine the colleges and universities that have traditionally served North Carolina's minority population.  Despite its proclaimed aim to address the problem of student debt, SB873 likely will exacerbate the state's inadequate funding of Higher Education in general (a reduction of over 23% in State funding between 2008-2015) and potentially devastate the finances of four institutions that historically focus on African-American and Native American students. It would also encourage them to increase the number of their out of state students and overturn decisions made by students about projects they wish to support with their fees.

Although notable for its explicit emphasis on institutions that serve primarily minority populations within the state, the North Carolina proposals are simply the latest in a series of legislative interventions into the decision making of public universities.  These interventions combine a reduction of state funding with increasing micro-management in the name of the interests of students.  As with recent cuts in Wisconsin and Illinois, North Carolina's Republican legislative majority has assumed a populist mantle while pursuing policies that would have their greatest negative effects on those colleges and universities that have the fewest resources and that serve the poor and people of color.

SB873 has several key elements:

First, the law institutes a regime that would ensure that tuition prices and student fees are held constant for students who complete their program in 8 semesters (10 for those in 5 year program), and for a time to be determined for transfer students.  There is no provision about tuition raises for each entering class nor any indication of increased state funding, so one likely result is that institutions will expect those who enter later to subsidize those who have entered earlier.

Second, it would simultaneously force a cut in student fees, starting in 2018. Strikingly, the law requires that student fees be cut between 10 and 25% below 2016 fee levels.  Apparently this would all but prevent the construction of a new student union at NC Central in Durham--a campus and location known for its traditions of political activism, especially around civil rights.  It may be a coincidence.  I'll leave that to you.

These first two elements--in the context of North Carolina's reduced funding for higher education--threaten to further undermine the overall quality of the state's higher education system. On the question of fees, which are often voted on by students, it represents the legislature's continuing intrusion into university life and their undermining of the University System's autonomy.  On both questions it remains unclear how Margaret Spellings, recently appointed as President of the University System, will react.

But the real heart of the Bill is in the sections dealing with the colleges and universities that have traditionally served North Carolina's minority populations.

1) SB873 lowers the tuition per semester for 5 institutions to $500 per semester. 4 of these institutions have made it their mission to serve historically under-represented groups (the fifth, Western Carolina University, has not had the same mission).  To give an example of the effect, one of the institutions (Winston-Salem State University) currently charges $1619 per semester.  So the law would reduce tuition revenue by over 2/3.  Although the prime author of the bill has indicated that the legislature might raise funding to compensate, there is no such clause in the bill or anything on the horizon. The University's Faculty Assembly estimates that this clause of the bill will cost the four minority institutions roughly 60 Million dollars annually.

2) At the same time as the bill would cut tuition revenue from residents, it also encourages the 5 institutions to increase their reliance on non-resident students. Currently, there is an 18% cap on non-resident student populations.  The Bill urges the campuses to reconsider this cap and to consider seeking more out of state students if it would "increase the number, academic strength, and diversity of student applications at those institutions." (3)  The likely result, as the Faculty Assembly notes, would be "non-minority students displacing minority students in the admissions applications pool." (4)

3) The Bill also encourages the University System to consider changing the names of these institutions.  This suggestion is a real puzzler unless the purpose is to ensure that people no longer connect these universities with their historic missions.

4) The Bill does include new funds for merit scholarships to help a small number of students to attend either North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and North Carolina Central University (40 in-state and 10 out of state students at each institution).  These are the State's other two HBCUs and they are currently on a stronger footing. By providing some increased incentive to attend NCA&T and NCCU while cutting tuition at Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Winston-Salem State University it appears that the State intends either to push the latter four institutions from their tradition mission of access or into financial insolvency.

Jelani Cobb has suggested that North Carolina's efforts to control access to public bathrooms is a haunting return to the late 1950s and early 1960s battles over civil rights--including the conflict between federal and state authority, and the declaration of state's rights and God's morality against a minority seeking equal access to public facilities.  SB873 is more than an echo.  After all, passed it threatens to undercut access to higher education for North Carolina's minority population while prompting targeted institutions to shift their demographics to out of state students or to students with less connection to the Universities' traditional missions.  Although done in the name of populism, it is a reactionary populism.

If North Carolina's legislators are really concerned with ensuring access at low prices to all of the state's students then they should fund the freeze, as Nicholas Fleisher has argued regarding similar developments in Wisconsin.  Otherwise their professed concern for students is simply empty rhetoric.

You can find the proposed law HERE

Analysis by the University's Faculty Assembly is HERE




Categorías: Universidade

The Costs of the Katehi Affair

Dom, 01/05/2016 - 18:32
The simplest political question posed by the ongoing Katehi crisis is, "Can state government trust the University of California to clean its own house?"  The non-firing of Linda Katehi says, "No."  It's hard to imagine a better targeted confirmation of UC's reputation in Sacramento for poor management. If we didn't have the Katehi Affair, Jerry Brown would have had to invent it.

Yes she deserves due process, yes women chancellors deserve it as much as male chancellors do, and yes the campus view should be decisive rather than UCOP's.  But UC's bureaucracy should have prevented the chancellor's "mistakes" before they happened, or an internal investigation should have caught them before the Sacramento Bee did, or President Napolitano should have completed her investigation before she tried to fire Chancellor Katehi, or she should have succeeded in firing her on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence she already had.  None of these things happened.

Dense corporate controls entangle every regular UC employee on a daily basis. It takes dozens of person-hours in a half-dozen offices to set up a post-doc contract.  A researcher can wait 6 months--at least I once did--to get final approval on an outside vendor contract when there is a wrinkle, like a specialized foreign researcher who doesn't carry liability insurance.  The Katehi affair tells the public that senior managers live by different rules. It says the same thing to UC employees.  
This fragmenting of the university polity goes deep.  It's an effective short-term managerial technique, since it divides and demobilizes.  It does enormous long-term damage.  We can't measure that with existing metrics.

One type of damage appeared in CHE coverage of faculty views, where the faculty seemed not just divided but individually ambivalent and unclear.  The title of the piece could have been, "What's Going On?" The interviewees were not working from an explicit standard of management behavior that they felt they should enforce.  Contrast these views with the UC Davis students whom Amy Goodman interviewed and aired on Friday.  Seniors Parisa Esfahani and Kyla Burke (pictured above) produced precise, detailed explanations of the conduct they were protesting. They tied that to their big picture policy issue, "the normalization of the privatization of the university," which they said was subordinating education to money making.  They offered an integrated analysis of the range of Katehi "mistakes" as symptoms of a worldview that they did not accept.  The sense of belonging to the university, and the right / obligation to establish principles to which its leadership would be held to account, has come from the undergraduates.
I thought Linda Katehi should have resigned after the pepper-spray incident in 2011. I thought this not because it "happened on her watch," but because she was unable or unwilling to fix it afterwards. The officer in question, John Pike, earned global fame for the casual contempt with which he doused seated protesters with pepperspray, marking them as outside of the universitas, outside of society. Chancellor Katehi didn't rush to the students' defense, and/or condemn the act (even with the using "pending a full investigation"), and/or discipline wrongdoers in a direct and forthright way. Her eventual reaction became her trademark: slow, calculated, and unsatisfying.  This helped spread the damage through the system, as UCOP hired celebrity chief Bill Bratton's then-firm Kroll Security, with its own conflicts, to investigate UC overall.  She seemed not to take hold of the real issue--obvious police misconduct leading to the violation of the civil rights of the protesters, and of their human dignity. "These are our students, or our neighbors. And this is a university," she did not say.   She did not convene the university as a community with the permanent, historic obligation to understand itself.  My gut feeling was that she presided over "UC Davis" without connection to it.  I was struck by her walk through the silent crowd of students, at night, surrounded by bodyguards, unable or unwilling to speak, as though enfolded in a martyrdom of her own making.
I won't rehearse her current errors--they have received much attention, including Angus Johnston's definitive anatomy of the inane Internet scrubbling contract.  But I will note that her board service was not like that of the other chancellors.  She accepted positions at institutions that are directly opposed to UC interests. King Abdulaziz University games rankings with cash payments to prominent researchers for quasi-no-show jobs in exchange for sharing their citation credit, in order to leapfrog universities that have built reputations over decades. Wiley thrives by overcharging universities and their students for their own research results. DeVry prospers more when UC's public funding is less.  Such board payments are not invitations to internal critique--these institutions get abundant external critiques for free--but to use public servant stature to legitimate for-profits. Chancellor Katehi has shown serial poor judgment, and to me all the incidents flow from the same failure to understand how people think and feel when involved in public service.  She's not a bad person. She just doesn't get it. 
My diffuse but fundamental concern is the general aura or ethos that Linda Katehi has helped sustain. It's not so much the petty self-dealing, culminating in putting her reputation ahead of that of the entire university's, as it is the short selling of what a university is.  The university should stand for justice, enlightenment, and the continuous reconciliation of our private interests with the general welfare.  It should constantly trace great teaching and research back to open communication.  It should benefit student finances rather than hurting them. It should be a public good in the existential sense, where, for starters, regular citizens feel like the university is on their side.  It should model democracy, starting with managers possessed of generosity toward the role of student protesters in having prompted the investigations, and of enough epistemological humility to learn from critics.
This is the university I want. I'm convinced the wider public wants it too.  We have already learned what happens when we don't deliver it.

Categorías: Universidade

President Napolitano Places Chancellor Katehi on Administrative Leave (WITH AN ADDITIONAL UPDATE)

Xov, 28/04/2016 - 06:05
President Napolitano has placed UC Davis Chancellor Katehi on "investigatory administrative leave." This action follows weeks of debate about the Chancellor's decision to serve on various corporate advisory boards and reports that UC Davis had hired media consultants to "scrub" the internet of reports on the UC Davis Police Department's infamous use of pepper spray on non-violent student protesters in 2011.

Here is some of the news coverage.

From the Sacramento Beehttp://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article74181532.html

From the Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-chancellor-20160427-story.html

From Fox40.comhttp://fox40.com/2016/04/27/uc-davis-chancellor-linda-katehi-placed-on-investigatory-administrative-leave/

From Davis Enterprisehttp://www.davisenterprise.com/?p=647883&preview_id=647883

We will add information to this post as it becomes available.

UPDATES:

President Napolitano's letter to Chancellor Katehi: http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article74371162.ece/BINARY/UC%20President%20Janet%20Napolitano%20letter%20to%20UC%20Davis%20Chancellor%20Linda%20Katehi

From Inside Higher Educationhttps://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/28/uc-davis-chancellor-placed-leave-over-employment-daughter-law-and-son

From The Chronicle of Higher Educationhttp://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/uc-davis-chancellor-is-placed-on-leave/110781

From the New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/29/us/uc-davis-chancellor-accused-of-violations-is-removed-from-post.html?hpw&rref=education&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

UPDATE ON CHRONOLOGY:

From the Sacramento Beehttp://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article74801327.html





Categorías: Universidade

President Napolitano Places Chancellor Katehi on Administrative Leave (WITH UPDATES)

Xov, 28/04/2016 - 06:05
President Napolitano has placed UC Davis Chancellor Katehi on "investigatory administrative leave." This action follows weeks of debate about the Chancellor's decision to serve on various corporate advisory boards and reports that UC Davis had hired media consultants to "scrub" the internet of reports on the UC Davis Police Department's infamous use of pepper spray on non-violent student protesters in 2011.

Here is some of the news coverage.

From the Sacramento Beehttp://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article74181532.html

From the Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-chancellor-20160427-story.html

From Fox40.comhttp://fox40.com/2016/04/27/uc-davis-chancellor-linda-katehi-placed-on-investigatory-administrative-leave/

From Davis Enterprisehttp://www.davisenterprise.com/?p=647883&preview_id=647883

We will add information to this post as it becomes available.

UPDATES:

President Napolitano's letter to Chancellor Katehi: http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article74371162.ece/BINARY/UC%20President%20Janet%20Napolitano%20letter%20to%20UC%20Davis%20Chancellor%20Linda%20Katehi

From Inside Higher Educationhttps://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/28/uc-davis-chancellor-placed-leave-over-employment-daughter-law-and-son

From The Chronicle of Higher Educationhttp://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/uc-davis-chancellor-is-placed-on-leave/110781

From the New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/29/us/uc-davis-chancellor-accused-of-violations-is-removed-from-post.html?hpw&rref=education&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0 






Categorías: Universidade

President Napolitano Places Chancellor Katehi on Administrative Leave

Xov, 28/04/2016 - 06:05
President Napolitano has placed UC Davis Chancellor Katehi on "investigatory administrative leave." This action follows weeks of debate about the Chancellor's decision to serve on various corporate advisory boards and reports that UC Davis had hired media consultants to "scrub" the internet of reports on the UC Davis Police Department's infamous use of pepper spray on non-violent student protesters in 2011.

Here is some of the news coverage.

From the Sacramento Beehttp://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article74181532.html

From the Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-chancellor-20160427-story.html

From Fox40.comhttp://fox40.com/2016/04/27/uc-davis-chancellor-linda-katehi-placed-on-investigatory-administrative-leave/

From Davis Enterprisehttp://www.davisenterprise.com/?p=647883&preview_id=647883

We will add information to this post as it becomes available.


Categorías: Universidade

UC Davis Letter to UC President Napolitano: Curb Gender Bias by Publishing Policies

Mér, 27/04/2016 - 15:46
by Linda F. Bisson, Former Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate, 2006-2008; 2011-2012
Rachael E. Goodhue, Chair Elect, Davis Division of the Academic Senate 2016-2018


Dear President Napolitano:

We want to express grave concern over a pattern of negativism in the press and social media regarding women Chancellors and senior administrative leaders. 

There are strong parallels between the singularly intensive criticism of our Chancellor Linda Katehi and that previously of Chancellors Fox (UCSD) and Denton (UCSC), and of UC Vice President Greenwood. Yet, the activities that are being criticized clearly fall within the standards of UCwide practice.  This pattern is exemplified by a 2006 LA Times article that criticized compensation practices for senior UC executives: those singled out for criticism for “extravagant pay practices, perks and privilege for top executives” are all women. 

The intensity of the criticism at the time ended in tragedy for Chancellor Denton. Chancellor Fox’s term was equally framed as fraught with turmoil, turmoil apparently not experienced by her male colleagues who were facing identical issues due to budget cuts and lack of diversity and inclusion. In an article in the San Diego Union Tribune written on Chancellor Fox’s decision to step down, she is described in terms steeped in implicit gender bias, including the quote ascribed to former President Richard C. Atkinson:  “She handled that as well as she could have handled it” – not as well as anyone could have handled it or as well as it could have been handled.

Women in leadership positions are often the victims of intense implicit bias and, as a consequence, of the phenomenon of “single storyism” - the reduction of their actions to a simple narrative that appeals to the biases of a broad section of society, in this case implicit gender bias and women being incompetent for their position. Whatever they say or do in response is twisted to fit the “single story.”  We think the LA Times article listed above illustrates perfectly the problem of the single story experienced by senior women administrators at UC.  If the LA Times story were rewritten today, Chancellor Katehi’s name is likely the only one that would be added to the list.

All of UC is richer because of the participation of women and underrepresented groups at all levels. We know you and your leadership team share this belief. We are concerned that UCOP does not recognize that senior administrators who are identified with an underrepresented identity vital to our diversity are subject to vilification in the press simply because of that identity.  We are also concerned, as recent press regarding our Chancellor Katehi demonstrates, that Chancellors and other senior administrators are not well-equipped to deal with single storyism, nor is there the recognition that others, such as UCOP, must step in to address the criticism as well.

The absence of factual information on UC policies and practices with respect to external compensation for all senior administrators has led to speculative and negative public debate regarding a single senior woman, when the practice of external involvement is widespread. We would like to request clear articulation from UCOP of both the formal policies and the informal practices as they pertain to executive compensation (e.g., have senior managers been encouraged to participate in activities outside UC). We note that legislators are calling for the same review. UCOP's understanding of the broader issues involved is essential to informing these external discussions. The need for UCOP to take action is urgent.
 
We thank you for considering this request.
 
c:  André Knoesen, Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
     Dan Hare, Chair, Academic Senate
     Linda Katehi, Chancellor, UCD
Categorías: Universidade

Two Faculty Letters to UC President & Chancellors on AAA / BDS Controversy

Lun, 25/04/2016 - 17:56
We post two faculty responses to the letter that the University of California's president--in the company of all ten campus chancellors--sent to the American Anthropological Association to express their "concern about the Association's proposed resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions." The AAA membership vote on the resolution opened on April 15th. Materials on the Association debate can be found at AAA Resources Regarding Engagement with Israel/Palestine.

Letter 1, from Professor Fogu to Chancellor Yang, has been endorsed by the UCSB Faculty Association.

LETTER 1To: Chancellor Henry Yang
From: Claudio Fogu, Dept. of French & Italian, UC Santa Barbara


I am writing to express my concern for your signing—along with the nine other UC Chancellors—a letter drafted by UC President Janet Napolitano, dated April 19, 2016, urging members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) not to ratify a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions. I am fully aware of the fact that along with many other universities, the University of California, in the person of its president (Policy 1300), has already expressed its opposition to “academic boycotts” in the past, and has the right to do so. I question, however, both the inclusion of chancellors in signing this letter, the lack of any consultation with UC faculty about its content and/or the wisdom of sending it, and, most importantly, the timing of it.

If Policy 1300 does give our President the right “to speak for the University,” this right comes to her from the Board of Regents, and it presumably refers to all matters of administrative and public representation of the University as an institution. On the other hand, the University of California also has a long-standing tradition and commitment to shared governance, especially when it comes to questions impacting academic matters. The two principles are clearly at odds with each other and it is therefore a delicate matter of interpretation and political acumen for a President to decide when it is appropriate to speak on behalf of the University. The fact that President Napolitano asked all ten chancellors to sign her letter indicates to my mind that she was not certain of having the authority to send that letter and therefore sought to buttress her right by involving the chancellors. At a time in which shared governance has been eroded for several years in the system, it is particularly disturbing to witness this instrumental use of authority and lack of consultation with UC Senates and faculty on matters of great concern to the faculty.

I am not referring to the actual merits of the academic boycott under consideration by members of the AAA, but to the very serious interference with the voting of a resolution by members of a scholarly association who are employed or may be employed by our university. It is one thing to speak for or against resolutions taken by scholarly associations in favor of the academic boycott of Israeli universities, as it was the case with the American Studies Association in 2013. The protest came after the vote had taken place, and, whether one agrees with it or not, it did not interfere with the actual voting procedures. To send a letter that explicitly claims that “the University of California believes that an academic boycott is an inappropriate response to a foreign policy issue and one that threatens academic freedom and sets a damaging precedent for academia,” and therefore “urge(s) Association members to consider the boycott’s potentially harmful impacts and oppose this resolution,” is not only misrepresentative of the percentage of UC-system scholars who support the boycott, but also a far cry from the right to public critique and from the defense of academic freedom invoked in the letter. For an institution that hires the members of an association to urge them to vote one way or another is at best interference, and at worse intimidation.

With all due respect I hope you will consider consulting at least with the head of the Academic Senate next time you are invited by UCOP to sign a letter on behalf of UCSB.

LETTER 2To: President Janet Napolitano and Chancellors Dirks, Katehi, Gillman, Block, Leland, Wilcox, Khosla, Hawgood, Yang and Blumenthal
From: Mark LeVine, Dept. of History, UC Irvine


I am writing to express my strong concern and anger at your April 19, 2016 letter to the American Anthropological Association regarding the ongoing vote of the organization's membership on whether to endorse the Academic Boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Let me begin by pointing out that when the ten chancellors of the UC system and its President can't even remember the correct name of the organization they are writing to criticize—you called the AAA, one of the oldest and most prominent learned societies in the United States, the “American Association of Anthropologists”--it does not auger well for the accuracy and cogency of the arguments that follow. Sadly, this fear was confirmed by the contents of the letter. As has already been expressed by colleagues at UC Berkeley after former Chancellor Birgeneau and EVC and provost Robert Breslauer attempted to interfere in the AAA vote late last year, it is “unacceptable that [senior UC Administrators] would lend their voices to the organized intimidation of critics of Israeli state policy, and we particularly worry about the effect of such intimidation on our junior and more vulnerable colleagues.”

Far from being the private opinion of academics concerned about the potential actions of colleagues, you are speaking directly and officially for the University when you declare that “the University of California believes that an academic boycott is an inappropriate response to a foreign policy issue and one that threatens academic freedom and sets a damaging precedent for academia.” Before even offering a critique of your arguments I find myself compelled to point out that while you have come together to take a highly public, united stand against a boycott of academic institutions complicit in a five-decades long occupation, you have shown nothing close to this level of attention or unified voice to condemn the very real violations of academic freedoms associated with the ongoing systematic sexual harassment (and worse) suffered by women at UC, dozens of new cases of which have come forward in the period between the Regents' much condemned attempt to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism in its March 23 policy statement and your present letter. I would like to know, How can you justify the amount of time and energy spent coordinating this letter when no similar collective letter from all of you has been issued surrounding the clear and ongoing dangers faced by women at UC, not to mention the harassment experienced by various minority communities on campuses across the University? (In fact, such collective letters on issues not directly related to the University are an unusual occurrence.)

Turning to the letter, I would like to ask, by what right and upon what evidence can you, without a vote of the Academic Senate, make an explicit declaration of what the “University of California believes”? As far as I can tell, whenever members of the UC community have expressed their collective opinions on the issues of academic boycotts or BDS more broadly, large percentages of those participating in such discussions have endorsed them, as evidenced by the votes of the Associated Students of UC (ASUC), the system-wide student Senate, as well as several campus AS Senates, in support of divestment resolutions. Moreover, the publicly available evidence clearly shows that substantially more UC professors are on record either endorsing BDS or at least refusing to label it as anti-Semitic then are their colleagues offering the criticisms outlined in your letter. This was most recently made clear by the overwhelming opposition to the Regent's universally condemned attempt to classify anti-Zionism (and particularly BDS) as a form of anti-Semitism. Nowhere does your letter mention the diversity of opinion at UC on the issue you are making such a definitive pronouncement.

While as individuals you have every right to speak your views on BDS or any issue, you clearly do not have an imprimatur to speak on this issue on behalf of the UC community on the issue of BDS, never mind adopt a position that is clearly at odds with the majority of its publicly expressed opinions. Your letter can only be understood as reflecting a troubling disregard both for shared governance and for academic freedom and honesty as well. By using your power as the senior leadership of UC to declare an official policy that is in opposition to the expressed opinions of a significant share of the UC community without any discussion of the issue by Academic Senate, you are potentially causing significant harm to members of our community. This is especially true of students, staff and junior or non-Senate faculty who might feel intimidated by your declaration of official policy into silencing their constitutionally protected opinions.

Your letter is also extremely troubling because it seriously distorts the nature and meaning of the BDS call under discussion by the AAA and other professional organizations and, as important, utterly ignores the disastrous situation faced by Palestinians during half a century of Israeli occupation. Beginning with the latter, as the newly released State Department annual report on human rights once again makes clear in its second paragraph (and which is supported by the regular reports of every major global, Israeli and Palestinian human rights monitoring organization there is), Israel systematically denies Palestinians the right to education and more broadly “discriminates against Palestinian [citizens] in almost every aspect of society,” while engaging in “unlawful killings, use of excessive force, and torture” against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. And these actions are merely an addition to the mundane brutality and crimes associated with the massive ongoing settlement enterprise whose perpetuation and intensification is the Occupation's acknowledged goal.

Indeed, your description of the Israeli occupation as merely a “foreign policy issue,” as if it was a trade dispute between WTO members, betrays a particularly shocking ignorance and disregard—I do not know which is worse—of the brutal realities of the Occupation. How, may I ask, can you write a letter expressing such concern over a well-established protest strategy with a long and proven history while saying nothing about the world's longest occupation and all the very real harm it does? I would like to invite all of you to come to the Occupied Territories and experience life as a Palestinian, particularly a student or professor routinely and systematically denied the right to pursue her or his education, research or teaching, and then explain to the UC community how this debate is merely over a “foreign policy issue.”

Turning to Paragraph 2, you argue that “free expression, robust discourse, and the vigorous debate over ideas and principles are essential to the mission of academic institutions worldwide.... These freedoms enable universities to advance knowledge and to transmit it effectively to its students and to the public. The University of California has a strong tradition of free speech and the free exchange of ideas, and it is our responsibility to defend academic freedom and our scholars’ ability to choose their research and colleagues. Limits to the open exchange of knowledge and ideas between our universities stand in direct opposition to our values and goals.”

This argument is riddled with empirical flaws and inaccuracies that are quite frankly inexcusable coming from senior academics in your positions of administrative power and public prominence.. To begin with, as all the debates over BDS in professional associations such as the AHA, ASA, MESA and now AAA make clear, in no way does the call for an academic boycott entail restrictions on free expression, robust discourse or vigorous debate. In fact, just the opposite is true. The very act of bringing BDS before our professional organizations has stimulated unprecedented debate around the Occupation and the larger conflict.

Moreover, in no way does the BDS call advocate restrictions on “our scholars' ability to choose their research and colleagues” (to speak for myself, I continue to do research, write and otherwise collaborate with many Israeli scholars). What it does do is suspend institutional cooperation and collaboration with Israeli institutions that are in any manner complicit in the Occupation, which sadly most Israeli universities clearly are. Yes, this policy demands a sacrifice by scholars, both Israelis and their colleagues; but this is a small price to pay to highlight the incredible suffering endured by Palestinians because of the Occupation, including the large-scale destruction of the Palestinian education system during the half century of occupation, systematic thefts of funds and equipment, and prevention of Palestinians from even leaving the Occupied Territories, never mind establishing anything close to the level of collaboration with foreign colleagues and universities that Israel enjoys (please check your records and report to us how much UC has spent collaborating with Palestinian compared with Israeli higher education institutions and scholars).

What's more, the present policies of uncritical collaboration itself exacts a very high price, on Palestinian education, about which you have nothing to say. Indeed, these realities have led upwards of two dozen Israeli anthropologists to support the BDS call. Did you consult with them or their colleagues in other disciplines in Israel who support BDS to understand the varieties of opinion within Israeli academia on this issue before making your pronouncement? Isn't that what scholars are supposed to do? Should you, as the most senior scholars at UC, be setting an example in this regard?

Even more troubling, you do not mention in your letter that UC is one of the top 5 institutions receiving “BSF” (US-Israeli Bi-National Science Foundation) grants, with campuses engaged in multiple projects with Israeli universities involving significant research funds. My own campus, Irvine, established the “UC Irvine/Israeli Scholar Exchange Endowment for Engineering Science Program,” whose $2 million endowment supports collaborations with Israeli universities, such as Tel Aviv University and The Technion, which are deeply and publicly implicated in the machinery of the Occupation. A 2014 MOU between Governor Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the legislative resolutions supporting it, have further “unfettered collaboration between Israeli and California Universities.” Unfettered for Israelis, yes. Impossible even to dream of for Palestinians, however, as they have no comparable collaboration, and very often are illegally prevented from leaving the Occupied Territories by Israel when they do. I do not recall the last time the President or chancellors have spoken with one voice about these issue. Do Palestinian students and academics not matter in any meaningful way?

Finally, in your third paragraph you argue that “an academic boycott goes against the spirit of the University of California, which has consistently championed open discourse and encouraged collaboration with scholars and peers from international institutions of higher education.” This too is highly inaccurate. The University of California has never made an official pronouncement condemning or even calling attention to the systematic violations of Palestinian rights to education (never mind all the other even more basic violations they are subject to). How is engaging in long-term collaborations worth untold millions of dollars with a country engaged in an illegal occupation while remaining utterly silent about its actions against the occupied population in any way equatable to a “championing of open discourse and collaboration” in a fair and balanced manner? Of course, it is not.

You conclude you letter by “urg[ing] Association [of American Anthropologists] members to consider the boycott’s potentially harmful impacts and oppose this resolution.” Again, you make no mention of the harsh conditions faced by Palestinians as part of their daily existence attempting to participate in their education system. No discussion or even recognition of the incredibly “harmful impact” that clearly exists because of Israel's actions, and nothing that suggests you are in any way interested in offering a balanced view that actually takes into consideration the very real and substantial issues that the call for a boycott is intended to raise. Let's be clear: the merits of the BDS strategies certainly warrant discussion and debate. But this letter engages in neither; choosing instead to make what are essentially partisan political pronouncements based on assumptions that do not bear even the slightest scrutiny.

President Napolitano, you have stated that “UC is the gold standard. Together, we must ensure that this standard is upheld.” This letter violates the spirit and letter of this pledge, as it is ethically and empirically flawed, engaging in a misleading attack on a specific strategy of non-violent resistance that has a long history of successful deployment by oppressed peoples around the world (including African Americans), misrepresenting the opinions of the UC community, of the AAA, and ignoring the large-scale injustices suffered by the people on whose behalf the BDS movement is acting. All of this done on UC letterhead acting in your official capacities as the leadership of the University. I urge you publicly to withdraw your ill-conceived attempt to interfere in the democratic deliberations of a learned society and consider how the leadership of UC can better reflect, or at least not interfere with, the diverse opinions of our community, while using the immense power of the University to help advocate both for those suffering and fighting against injustice and oppression, not just in Israel/Palestine, but globally.
Categorías: Universidade

UC's United Front for Saving the Public Univer . . . Oh

Sáb, 23/04/2016 - 21:56
I only skimmed the content of the decree because my eyes were drawn to the mighty list of signatures, at left, that took up half the page.  Had I ever before seen the UC president and all ten campus chancellors joining their signatures to support a cause? I racked my brain for this kind of Senate memory of the 2000s. It came up empty.  All eleven signatures.  UC united! It's the UC United Front.

My mind began to wander. I thought of the audiences at the lectures I've given at universities this year.  They seemed generally to agree that the current public university system is broken, and that the fixes I propose should be developed. But they usually don't think that we--faculty, staff, and students--can do anything to implement them.  One reason is that only senior managers speak for the university to the political, donor, trustee, and executive classes. At UC, it's the president alone.  So what can the rank-and-file educators actually do?

Here was an answer: UC's Eleven! Perhaps they came together to speak out on the Big Four features of the broken paradigm we can't get past.  Still gazing at the signature list, I mused:

  1. Perhaps they grew tired of the "cost disease" fixation that obscures quality issues with false expectations for cost reduction. Maybe they read the UCSB memo saying "curb your enthusiasm" about teaching the surge, and realized that without further ado the Committee of Two deal would hinder instructional progress. So they wrote to demand 21st century quality for all UC undergraduates--and in solidarity with CSU and the CCCs.  Their short letter might calculate the increased cost of individualized instruction for all, and quantify state increments that would get us there without increasing tuition and student debt.  The Eleven call for Active Learning for All!
  2. Or maybe they were noting that UC had put all its eggs in the STEM basket, although at least half of its degrees are awarded in the arts, humanities and social sciences (SASH), and although all global problems have sociocultural as well as technological dimensions. Perhaps The Eleven were writing to call for new cross-disciplinary hybrids, and for campus funding rebalances to build the first adequate SASH research infrastructure.  UC's Eleven call for funding for Quant-Qual Syntheses for Global Problem Solving!
  3. At the same time, universities have oversold the commercialization of STEM research. Perhaps The Eleven had become concerned that federal agencies, state legislatures, and their own campuses were slighting the great basic STEM research that had no future revenue potential. Perhaps they saw a connection leading from the long-term businessing of science to the stagnation of federal funding, to their own ever-growing internal subsidies (10.2.3), and to the regular voter's doubts about whether universities are on her side.  So the Eleven were calling for Multiple Technology Pathways, in conjunction with Full Costing of Research by all extramural sponsors!
  4. Possibly UC's Eleven were worried that the state still didn't get that only the full reset of public funding would enable the required educational quality without high student debt.  The state Master Plan had created free public universities when the state was 90 percent white.  Universities started raising tuition around the time that more students of color were arriving.  They then really jacked up tuition during the state cuts when Gov. Pete Wilson was whipping up anti-immigration sentiment and getting the UC Regents to eliminate affirmative action. No doubt this was a coincidence, but The Eleven could be putting all that behind us. They were calling for a Full Funding Reset to serve Post-Anglo California!
Well, I thought, maybe any one of these calls is too much to ask of a three-paragraph diktat.  Perhaps they would be pledging new vigilance in rooting out sexual misconduct on campus, or agreeing to address administrative bloat, or reigning in non-resident enrollments, or capping executive compensation, or expressing commitment to employee and student privacy in electronic communications, or declining ever to serve on boards of companies that directly compete with (while being parasitic on) the University of California. 
Or perhaps they would be supporting Jerry Kang, UCLA's Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, who has defended the right of "members of our Bruin community" to express support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) without being individually named "as a murderer or terrorist." The Eleven might have been endorsing VC Kang when he wrote, "the recent Statement of Principles Against Intolerance adopted by the UC Regents encourage quick and forceful response (Principles i and j)" to attempts to harass or intimidate someone or some group on the basis of "religious and cultural identity" or "political commitments."   
I ended my reverie and re-read the actual letter.  In reality, UC's president and all ten campus chancellors had come together to instruct a professional association that voting in favor of BDS is incompatible with academic freedom.  (The American Anthropological Association's Resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions is here.) The eleven senior managers spoke in the name of the University of California ("The University of California believes that an academic boycott is an inappropriate response to a foreign policy issue . . ."; "An academic boycott goes against the spirit of the University of California.)  As far as I can tell, the authors consulted with no one, may have breached the "Consultation with Faculty" requirement of Regents Policy 1500, and decreed the right answer in an ongoing national debate in which one side sees BDS as defending academic freedom, not abridging it.

On top of the letter's improprieties, what a waste of the UC Eleven.
Categorías: Universidade

NTT Faculty Go on Strike at University of Illinois

Mar, 19/04/2016 - 17:36

After approximately eighteenth months of unsuccessful negotiation, the Non-Tenure Faculty Association at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has gone on a two day strike. Since 2014 the Union has been seeking a formalized system of multi-year contracts, guarantees of academic freedom protection, improved grievance proceedings, access to promotion and reappointment, and increased compensation. These goals are similar to those recently negotiated by NTT faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As of this point the University has not agreed to most of these demands. As of this morning hundreds of strikers and their supporters were on picket lines at the campus.

As part of a press release announcing the strike, Union leaders explained their decision to engage in a work stoppage this way:

“This is a fight to force the administration to recognize the valuable work that non-tenure-track faculty have done at the University of Illinois for decades–work that needs to be supported through a union contract,” stated Union President Shawn Gilmore, a lecturer in the English Department.

Dennis Dullea, a senior instructor in English, and Vice-President of NTFC Local #6546, added, “Currently most of our members exist on temporary, nine-month contracts. Many of us have been ‘temporary’ faculty for over twenty years! It’s time to prioritize our students’ learning experience. Multi-year contracts mean faculty are able to focus on teaching and preparing their courses rather than on wondering if they will have a job in the fall. These contracts will bring stability to the faculty, to our students, and to the campus community at large.”

After more than eighteen months of attempting to resolve these issues at the bargaining table, the union has decided that a strike is necessary. “Our door is always open,” said lead negotiator Kay Emmert, “but after twenty-nine negotiating sessions, with little to show for our efforts, our members are telling the administration: Enough is enough!”

“We have continually tried to negotiate a contract that would support our work as educators,” said Christina De Angelo, instructor in Spanish and Portuguese and chair of the NTFC Strike Committee. “Having a fair evaluation system in our contract would allow us to expand our teaching strengths to make sure that all of our students receive the quality education they deserve. We say ‘Education First,’ and the administration’s only response is ‘No’. Their constant refusal to act on these important issues has forced us to take these steps and to demonstrate how serious we are about improving campus life at UIUC.”

You can get more information on the strike at the Union's website.
Categorías: Universidade

Stop Pushing the Crisis Around: Setting Goals at UC Berkeley and UCSB

Ven, 15/04/2016 - 22:17
Is there a post-crisis recovery for UC and its university kin?  So far, not so much.  At this blog, we've been forced to chronicle permanent austerity.  The long-term problem was confirmed this week by a Public Policy Institute of California report that reviews the public funding cuts of the past several decades at all three segments of higher education in the state.  (If you are just tuning in, Hank Reichman has a helpful overview of the PPIC and State Auditor reports, and of editorials decrying the long-term state disinvestment.)  There's no news in the PPIC report for our readers, and the Senate "Futures Report" on the UC budget identified the same trends ten years ago.  But it's good to know the cuts word is now spread around.

So the question is, what are Sacramento or Oakland or local campus administrations going to do about it this time?   How about some focused goals for rebuilding?  Could we set some goals?  For example, could we say, "no students sitting on the steps in any lecture hall anywhere at UC by Fall 2018?" This is the first step towards where UC needs to go.

To end bottlenecks and then get to the real upgrades, we're going to need to end our current UC spin cycle.  The cycle is Problem--Kludge--Drift--Crisis--Pushdown.   Push the crisis down to the lower levels.  And repeat.  The cycle isn't addressed but is enabled by the marketing and public relations crusades to which UC has become so prone (e.g., Prof. Reichman and Bob Samuels on the recently-revealed UC Davis effort to scrub the pepperspray incident from Internet search results.)   Some of our problem is money. Some of it is how we bury our problems as fast as we can.

Step 1 is to face the fact that we can't just keep postponing the repair jobs.  Our time is up.  We have been watching the cram down of publics to a lower functional level for a couple of decades, and have long watched the cuts widening the gap between them and their private university cousins.   Chronic underfunding has seriously damaged the public research university core, which is Instruction and Research.  As the same problems stay unsolved year after year, the public on whom we count to fund the rebuilding decreasingly believes in the quality of the former, and has been blinded to the costs of the latter. Polls show that large majorities of the public want strong public universities (80% in the March PPIC poll, page 21).  But they are not convinced that public university quality has been maintained, or that research is a major cost in which state taxpayers must share.

I see declining faith in UC quality in occasional media reports and in the comments of UC students, particularly those who have friends or family at comparable private colleges. I see it in low take rates of UC admits.  Systemwide data show that all non-flagship campuses need to admit five students for every one that actually comes.  We often focus on the gigantic and growing number of UC applicants or on the proportion of UC applicants who end up on some UC campus (43.5%).  But if we look at each campus as a distinct university, we might wonder at the low percentage who think that specific UC campus is the best educational choice for them.  The non-flagship UC may be serving as the world's biggest safety school for the top 1/8th of high school graduates.

In addition to public skepticism, universities face powerful commercial and political forces that want to unbundle them into training pathways that can be separately monetized.  This would mean dumping the infrastructure that integrates the curriculum--and that supports research.  This week's ritual Chronicle of Higher Education query, "should universities exist?" appears as an interview with the economist Tyler Cowen, who ponders whether universities are different from anything else and why professors aren't more like bloggers.  In reality, the answers to such questions aren't that tough. Universities do integrative instruction across disciplines and methods like nothing else. They conduct indispensable, money-losing research like no other institution is willing to do.  With teaching, public universities need to show Active Learning + Individual Feedback --> Cognitive Gain.  I'm being simplistic, but you get the direction.  And yet our publicity hides the problem rather than inspiring progress.

Step 2 is to anchor every single institutional change in a clear positive goal.  We have an unfortunate wealth of examples of not doing this.  Nearly eight years after the financial crisis hit, Berkeley's chancellor described a structural deficit that would force permanent restructuring on top of the continuous search for savings of the past decade (see Section 4).  This week, he announced that 500 jobs would be eliminated, totaling about 6% of the campus workforce. Faculty, who are excepted from these reductions, attended a forum in which bad news was stirred but no gains were imagined. One gain from "realignment" would be to move staff from the managerial peripherals back to the educational core. But unless there's a goal to do this, kludging and drifting will mean more pushing of cuts down to students and faculty and frontline staff.

This history can be seen in Charles Schwartz's recent update of UC costs, based on new detail from UC's Corporate Personnel System  He found that even after 2008, the main growth areas are "Senior Professionals" and "M10-Managers," particularly in functions that appear to be controlled by the higher administration ("Institutional Support").   (Individual campus charts are here;  Prof. Reichman discusses the Auditor's different claim that aggregate administrative costs were flat between 2006 and 2012.)  Drift and pushdown place the cuts in frontline Instruction and Research, and spare the upper-middle categories that have grown the most.  I'd love to be proven wrong, but so far realignment is destined to offer more of the same.

All change must include the upgrade, though this isn't easy to do.  Another example comes in the form of a UCSB memo issued by the Executive Vice Chancellor and divisional Senate chair and bearing the subject line, "Planning for Increased Enrollment, 2016-17" (Attachment 1).  It noted the additional resident students President Napolitano had agreed to accept (5000 systemwide next year via a 15% increase in UC-wide admissions, and a possible 5000 in the two years following).  It said that UCSB needed to find an additional 2700 seats per quarter starting this fall, and asked faculty to be more flexible than ever in accepting non-prime time assignments for their courses.

So far so good. I'd already gotten a registrar notice about their failure to place 50 courses by the third draft of the fall schedule.  I'd heard about a plan to give incoming students better pass times so they wouldn't be shut out of lower-division courses by juniors and seniors.  These are examples of important operational problems that need solving.  But I was optimistic: since I've been teaching large lectures on the swing shift for years, I assumed the registrar could find the classrooms and offer enough sections--especially if the deans granted our full TA budget requests, which they had not done last year.  And it's always good for faculty to learn more about the back-office issues faced by staff.

But by the time I read the memo, I'd received a dozen irritated reactions to this memo from faculty across campus.  Most referenced this paragraph:
Departments should consider such strategies as offering multiple iterations of impacted courses, deploying lecturers and graduate student instructors strategically to cover the maximum number of needed courses and sections, and experimenting with innovative formats for lectures and sections. There may be opportunities (consistent with Academic Senate policies and contractual obligations governing workload) to organize instruction in alternative formats, including the further integration of on-line components. In select cases, when appropriate and within policy, student peer review and the judicious use of some advanced undergraduate instructors might supplement instruction by faculty and graduate student instructors. It also may be possible to recall some emeriti to teach high-impact courses.This was an alarming list of the "innovations" of the miserable year of 2009, in which most departments were forced to teach lectures without sections, to convert essays into multiple-choice exams, eliminate senior seminars from their requirements, cut smaller courses even if they were intellectually central, and so on. These were mostly abandoned as soon as we could afford to do so, since faculty felt they lowered quality and students gave them bad reviews.  As for online teaching, hybrid courses --mixtures of online and face-to-face--can be very good, but versions that raise quality don't save money at all.  (Read online pioneer Candace Thille on the subject, or my analysis of the costs of the Georgia Tech-Udacity online masters program.)   Colleagues from all disciplines were especially annoyed at the idea of peer-grading for undergraduates.  Peer-to-peer learning is of course central to the seminar format and is quite valuable, but only in the context of faculty-structured courses that include expert review of student work.  From the student perspective, if going to UCSB grading will mean your paper is reviewed by the student sitting next to you, you might as well start UCSB Co-Op College in Isla Vista and get your student-graded higher learning for free.

Why such a dismal message?  Was the enrollment "surge" going to wash us away?  I decided to check. UCSB has just under 11% of UC's resident undergraduate total (using pulldown menus), which puts its share of the New 5000 at about 550 new students.  UCSB's Long Range Development Plan already called for adding 5000 students on a 2010 base of 20,000 over 15 years (page A-4; UCSB already had 22,218 headcount students in 2010). Adding 5000 students over 15 years means adding an average of 333 students in every year. So the "surge" means the campus will bring 220 additional students beyond what its LRDP had been planning for anyway. Or maybe we were taking 675 students, based on the 2700 seats, which would be an additional 340 students beyond our LDRP.

How hard would this be? I looked at the enrollment increases of previous years.  I have folded in non-resident students since they didn't increase as dramatically at UCSB as at other UC campuses.

Figure 1: Annual Changes in Undergraduate Enrollment, UCSB, 2008-2015

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Total Ugrad 18892 19796 19186 18620 18977 19362 20238 20607 Year On Year 904 -610 -566 357 385 876 369
In 2009, UCSB added 900 students in one year.  In the two-year period 2009-2011, it lost nearly 1200 undergraduates, which created some infrastructure headroom.  After 2011, the campus has added at somewhere between 350 and 400 undergraduates per year, and nearly 900 in 2013-14.  This is a bit above the growth rate planned in the LRDP. The Napolitano 550 (or 675) for UCSB is 150-350 beyond recent average increases, and less than the campus handled the year before last.  It is also in the neighborhood of the 300 Nonresident International students the campus enrolled in each of the last two years.

In other words, we could see the surge as getting us two years of LRDP growth in the space of one. We could focus on translating it into a quality upgrade.  The memo noted the Santa Barbara campus's popularity with applicants.  More students won't overwhelm us. They won't burden us.  All our campuses do need to fix big things: senior managers need to keep president Napolitano from making bad deals and pushing the costs down.  They need to get full costs for new students and not the current $5000.  But in the process, UC needs to keep focused among other things on how desperately it needs to be raising the quality of learning. It needs to be building its popular base by giving UC students the education they way they want when we actually ask them-- the ability to get into the courses, and later, individualized advising, sequenced, coherent majors, coordinated distribution requirements, and exposure to research.

So the problems are obvious, but we can only fix them with the continuous creation of full-scale rebuilding goals. The subject line should be, "Planning for Better Instruction and Research, 2016-17."  It should note, wow we're in such a healthy sector of endless demand: let's do some new fun things with the surge.
Categorías: Universidade

The Management Model Driving Wisconsin's #FakeTenure Saga (Updated April 8th)

Ven, 08/04/2016 - 03:54
Somewhere Michael Lewis tells the story about what the boss of a trading floor--perhaps John Meriwether--would do when a trader hung on too long to a losing position, hoping that it would turn around. He would approach the trader from behind, and whisper his version of the old Dusty Springfield song--"wishing, and hoping, and thinking, and praying."   Which meant, dump it, eat your loss, try something else, right the hell now. (Left: Wisconsin System Board of Regents Vice-President J.R. Behling.)

This would be good advice for governing boards of universities, who are doubling and tripling down on a losing strategy, which is to elbow their faculty experts further out of educational decision making.  Exhibit A is Wisconsin's #faketenure story that continued today with a Board of Regents Education Committee vote on UW-Madison layoff policy (materials starting at page 160).   They voted the changes through, and the full board is slated to do the same thing tomorrow.  The changes move faculty expertise over educational impacts to the fringes of program decisions.

Sustaining the spirit of the thing, the UW Regents had backed the system president Ray Cross's decision to refuse to allow chancellors to deliver their reports on the effect of state budget cuts on their campuses--wishing and hoping they haven't permanently damaged the university system they are legally obligated to protect, and making sure they don't publicly hear otherwise. (Nico Savidge reported that President Cross was concerned about the effect of a "two-hour drumbeat" of impacts of cuts that was too "repetitive.")

Last month, the UW Regents voted in favor of tenure dilution for the overall system; today's vote applies only to the Madison campus. You may remember that Wisconsin had tenure written into its state statutes, and then Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the state legislature deleted it. They also weakened shared governance and cut the university's budget by around 8 percent.  At first, senior officials in the UW system said this was okay because they would just move the previous tenure procedures from state statute to university code.

When the university task force proposals were unveiled, the UW AAUP demonstrated that they were not equivalent to established tenure.  One key issue was that under the new proposals, tenured faculty could be fired on grounds of program discontinuation, rather than on grounds of financial exigency that affected the whole institution.  Could the business school dean now decide to fire the public health faculty because it could make more money giving those lines to the unit on financial engineering? Could the provost decide that the English department could fill seats more efficiently by cutting 18th Century Studies and laying off their tenured professors?  Faculty analysts thought so.  For example, in February Nick Fleisher walked through some helpful detail about how this would work. But throughout the process, UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank, system president Ray Cross, and other senior managers assured faculty that nothing meaningful would change.

Then something meaningful happened last month. The Wisconsin Board of Regents met and ratified weakened tenure protections over the protests of the faculty senate.  A key passage of the new university rules reads as follows (page 31):
The maintenance of tenure-track and tenured faculty, and of essential instructional and supporting services, remains the highest priority of the university. To promote and maintain high-quality programs, the institutions of the UW System may over time develop new programs and discontinue existing programs. Accordingly, and notwithstanding RPD 20-23 (Regent Policy Document on Faculty Tenure), a tenured faculty member, or a probationary faculty member prior to the end of his or her appointment, may be laid off in the event that educational considerations relating to a program require program discontinuance.The plain meaning of this text is that if administrators decide to end a program, they can fire tenured faculty by invoking "educational considerations" and not just financial ones. These are, as the next paragraph explains:
related in part to regular program review, and reflect a long-range judgment that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by program discontinuance.  This includes the reallocation of resources to other programs with higher priority based on educational considerations.  Such long-range judgments generally will involve the analysis of financial resources and the needs of the program and any related college or school.In the new Wisconsin system, educational factors are mixed together with financial ones. This means that programs will not now be evaluated intellectually and then structured so they don't lose too much money (though high-value research programs in STEM always do).   This means they can be reviewed for their return on investment, and higher expected profitability in financial engineering can trump higher intellectual value and other non-market and social benefits in public health. (I discuss the ROI version of educational review in "The Humanities as Service Departments.")

But who would calculate ROI and the public-value tradeoffs?  Under what collaborative process? Faculty have believed since before the 1915 founding of the AAUP that educational considerations form their unique expertise, and that they would decide what is studied and taught.  At the March UW Regents meeting, Regent Tony Evers attempted to codify this faculty authority, as Colleen Flaherty described in her excellent blow-by-blow.
Evers proposed that the policy be amended to specify that a designated faculty committee review programs being considered for closure based on purely educational concerns, alongside any other committee considering them based on financial and/or educational concerns. “This focuses our efforts on educational considerations being our primary consideration,” Evers said. “Not all of it, but primary.” The amendment, adapted from a request by faculty representatives from across the university system, echoed an earlier statement to the regents by Geoffrey Peterson, chair of political science at the university system’s Eau Claire campus: that faculty concerns about the proposed policies could be summed up by saying that “economic factors cannot and should not take precedence over academic considerations and academic freedom when making programmatic decisions.”A majority of regents rejected the forming of an autonomous faculty judgment of a proposed closure's educational value, with the motion failing 11 to 5.

Regent Evers made a second attempt to maintain the precedence of educational considerations and, by extension, faculty authority in the firing of tenured professors.  He proposed language saying,
long-range [programmatic] judgments will involve primarily educational considerations and secondarily the analysis of financial resources and the needs or the program and any related college or school. Fiscal considerations must be preceded by educational considerations. Criteria for determining whether a program should be eliminated ought to place greatest emphasis on the quality of the program involved. Such assessment should take into account the quality of the faculty, the value and the particular character of the program and the performance of its students.This amendment also lost 11 to 5.

Regent Evers took a third swing, proposing "that the layoff policy should be changed to say that administrators will pursue' every alternative to faculty layoffs in the event of a program closure, instead of 'consider.'  He picked up a few extra votes with this one, but still lost in an 8 to 8 tie.

The regental majority thus swatted down three different and increasingly diminished versions of faculty control of educational considerations. Ms. Flaherty reported,
James M. M. Hartwick, professor of curriculum and instruction and Faculty Senate chair at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, said via email that he was “shocked and appalled that the board would not adopt a single amendment that all the elected faculty representatives and all the faculty members on the [task force] requested.” It wasn't only faculty who were surprised.
Regent Jose F. Vasquez said he wouldn’t vote for any of the amendments because he wasn’t convinced the policy under which the university system has been operating for decades needed fixing -- even in light of the changes to state law. He said he didn’t believe that chancellors need more help running their universities, or that faculty members were so “entrenched” that they couldn’t make rational decisions about program viability on their own. “They understand that two things are the lifeline of higher education: quality and students,” Vasquez said. “And students come because they find the quality and affordability, and I am convinced that both [faculty and administrators] understand that very clearly. I don’t think chancellors are looking around saying, ‘I can’t deliver that,’ and I don’t think faculty are looking around saying, ‘Damn quality, damn the students, I’m here to do my research, and if I happen to have only one student so be it.’” Regents Vasquez and Evers are the two regents who come from inside the education sector, with direct professional expertise.  They were voted down.

Why? A key reason is that president Ray Cross sided with the regental majority against faculty control of "educational considerations." Other senior managers may have done so less publicly. A deeper reason is the majority board belief that strategic managers simply must have the power to fire employees.  Many
regents said it would be unwise to move financial concerns down the priority list, and compared closing programs to a business investing its resources in its most profitable products. “Welcome to the 21st century,” Regent Margaret Farrow said, arguing that Evers’s amendment could undo what the task force tried to achieve.More like "welcome to the 20th century."  Even more pointedly,
John Robert Behling, board vice president and chair of the tenure policy task force, objected to Evers’s proposal, . . . saying that the creation of another committee would diminish the “flexibility, flexibility, flexibility” campus chancellors need to make decisions in light of the $250 million cut to higher education in the current state budget. Regent Behling should be saying, "quality, quality, quality," to keep himself and other Wisconsin leaders from steadily slashing the infrastructure that would allow the state to regain its lost leadership status.  Instead, he and the board majority went with the capacity to override tenure.   Some large portion of Wisconsin leadership has spent years obsessing about UW tenure as a main roadblock to economic greatness.  No evidence has ever been presented for this--no calculation of how expensive sociology professors are impeding the growth of contract manufacturing.  It's a political goal and a cultural belief--in much of U.S. business culture, the power to fire people makes everything fixable. "Flexibility" started out in the 1970s as a desperation move as US industry lost its postwar lead over Germany, Japan, and other rebuilt industrial powers. In the 1980s, management theorists like Tom Peters and Rosabeth Moss Kanter showed that mass layoffs destroyed company value rather than created it, but short-term executive rewards ran against them, and mass layoffs became a routine practice and sure-fire way of doping the stock price.  "Flexibility" has nothing to do with improving education.   It's imposition has already damaged education, and its practice will continue to.

So what is the point?

The point is to implement an authority structure that can control public universities under permanent austerity and in the absence of a growing and rising middle-class.  Culture wars are good for discrediting particular sources of sociocultural knowledge like ethnic studies, feminist studies, or Middle Eastern Studies.  Budget cuts are good for taking the whole public university sector down a few notches.  But to reengineer a static enterprise, after decades in which their boards failed to maintain the state revenues on which the system was built, public university governors need the audit and assessment practices that Europeans have long called New Public Management (NPM).

To extract from a gigantic literature, NPM inserts financial considerations into everything, in the form of quantitative indicators and targets.  It does not acknowledge goals that cannot be measured, though this is an obvious problem for public goods, since their value is not internalizable by the institution that creates them. NPM is preoccupied with "grading and ranking" (Shore and Wright 2015, cited below), the better to optimize outputs by moving resources from lower-ranked operations to higher-ranked ones.  NPM assesses management quality by its ability to optimize to its own determinations of efficiency: the goal is internal self-validation, not the fit between the management system and organization behaviors, outcomes, or goals.  NPM implicitly works towards a Pareto distribution (80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes), meaning that 80 or even 90 percent of your people make nearly no difference to the organization's overall value.  Mass quality in higher ed is of little interest, and the same goes for the democratization of intelligence.   Designated "top faculty" must be given the resources that, under #realtenure, were distributed widely across the campus.

The effects of this system has been abundantly studied, and I offer one critical list of effects from two leading analysts of NPM, Cris Shore and Susan Wright, to be found in "Audit Culture Revisited: Rankings, Ratings, and the Reassembling of Society," in Current Anthropology (June 2015). NPM systems lead, they wrote, to:

1. Loss of organizational trust (O’Neill 2002; Power 1994);2. Elaborate and wasteful gaming strategies (House of Commons 2004; Shore and Wright 2000; Wright 2009);3. A culture of compliance and large compliance costs, including the appointment of new specialists preoccupied with creating positive (mis)representations of performance (Miller 2001);4. Defensive strategies and blamism that stifle innovation and focus on short-term objectives over long-term needs (Hood 2002);5. Deprofessionalization, a disconnect between motivation and incentives, lower employee morale, and increased stress and anxiety (Bovbjerg 2011; Brenneis, Shore, and Wright 2005; Wright 2014); 6. “Tunnel vision” and performing to the measure, with a focus solely on what is counted, to the exclusion of anything else (Townley and Doyle 2007);7. And the undermining of welfare and educational activities that cannot be easily measured (King and Moutsou 2010).

Recognize any of these?  If not now, then soon.

I personally believe that the historical tide is running against NPM.  It is grossly inefficient, among many other things.  Tenure had kept it at bay by protecting faculty from retaliation.  Weakening tenure strengthens our U.S. version of NPM, now coming to Wisconsin campuses near you--and in other states, as I'll discuss in future posts.   Faculty, staff, students, and administrators, whose jobs are also being ruined by this type of managerialism, now need to confront US-NPM if public universities are to move forward again.

***

UPDATE April 8th: Today the chancellor of UW-Madison, Rebecca Blank, issued a statement about the new tenure rules. She stresses the unlikelihood of program closures that would result in the firing of tenured faculty and gave examples of closures that led to reassignment without job loss.  She also claims that while the state legislature insisted
that tenured faculty could be laid off for reasons including “program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection.” . . . In March, the Board approved a broad System-wide policy relating to tenure and the layoff of tenured faculty members.  That policy allowed layoffs to be considered only in cases of financial emergency or program discontinuance due to educational considerations.  To state this clearly: The Regents chose not to allow layoffs of tenured faculty in the case of program changes or modifications.This would mean that Madison's new tenure rules would prevent one of my examples of a sub-departmental firing (ending 18th century studies in an English department).  I don't think it would prevent the other example (closing public health as a program or department in a business school).  I also think the definition of "program" in Section 10.01A could be used by different chancellor for surgical terminations--"a related cluster of credit-bearing courses that constitute a coherent body of study within a discipline or set of related disciplines" (page 4).  This appears to be exactly the executive power that Regents Farrow and Behling wanted to create.

Chancellor Blank also offers one of the clearer administrative statements of the value of tenure that I've seen:

Tenure provides freedom to pursue a research agenda that might be bolder, take longer to come to fruition, or that might generate controversy.  I can personally testify that I did my best work after receiving tenure. Tenure allowed me to take on a few bigger and riskier research projects, which took longer to complete but resulted in papers whose findings contributed something more fundamental to the field.Quite true. I would add that tenure would be stronger if faculty defend the ethic of due process for all employees, and the value of job security for everyone's creativity.   This will be obvious to all of us in that future time when we stop trying to inspire effectiveness by burdening each other with threats.
Categorías: Universidade

The Management Model Driving Wisconsin's #FakeTenure Saga

Ven, 08/04/2016 - 03:54
Somewhere Michael Lewis tells the story about what the boss of a trading floor--perhaps John Meriwether--would do when a trader hung on too long to a losing position, hoping that it would turn around. He would approach the trader from behind, and whisper his version of the old Dusty Springfield song--"wishing, and hoping, and thinking, and praying."   Which meant, dump it, eat your loss, try something else, right the hell now. (Left: Wisconsin System Board of Regents Vice-President J.R. Behling.)

This would be good advice for governing boards of universities, who are doubling and tripling down on a losing strategy, which is to elbow their faculty experts further out of educational decision making.  Exhibit A is Wisconsin's #faketenure story that continued today with a Board of Regents Education Committee vote on UW-Madison layoff policy (materials starting at page 160).   They voted the changes through, and the full board is slated to do the same thing tomorrow.  The changes move faculty expertise over educational impacts to the fringes of program decisions.

Sustaining the spirit of the thing, the UW Regents had backed the system president Ray Cross's decision to refuse to allow chancellors to deliver their reports on the effect of state budget cuts on their campuses--wishing and hoping they haven't permanently damaged the university system they are legally obligated to protect, and making sure they don't publicly hear otherwise. (Nico Savidge reported that President Cross was concerned about the effect of a "two-hour drumbeat" of impacts of cuts that was too "repetitive.")

Last month, the UW Regents voted in favor of tenure dilution for the overall system; today's vote applies only to the Madison campus. You may remember that Wisconsin had tenure written into its state statutes, and then Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the state legislature deleted it. They also weakened shared governance and cut the university's budget by around 8 percent.  At first, senior officials in the UW system said this was okay because they would just move the previous tenure procedures from state statute to university code.

When the university task force proposals were unveiled, the UW AAUP demonstrated that they were not equivalent to established tenure.  One key issue was that under the new proposals, tenured faculty could be fired on grounds of program discontinuation, rather than on grounds of financial exigency that affected the whole institution.  Could the business school dean now decide to fire the public health faculty because it could make more money giving those lines to the unit on financial engineering? Could the provost decide that the English department could fill seats more efficiently by cutting 18th Century Studies and laying off their tenured professors?  Faculty analysts thought so.  For example, in February Nick Fleisher walked through some helpful detail about how this would work. But throughout the process, UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank, system president Ray Cross, and other senior managers assured faculty that nothing meaningful would change.

Then something meaningful happened last month. The Wisconsin Board of Regents met and ratified weakened tenure protections over the protests of the faculty senate.  A key passage of the new university rules reads as follows (page 31):
The maintenance of tenure-track and tenured faculty, and of essential instructional and supporting services, remains the highest priority of the university. To promote and maintain high-quality programs, the institutions of the UW System may over time develop new programs and discontinue existing programs. Accordingly, and notwithstanding RPD 20-23 (Regent Policy Document on Faculty Tenure), a tenured faculty member, or a probationary faculty member prior to the end of his or her appointment, may be laid off in the event that educational considerations relating to a program require program discontinuance.The plain meaning of this text is that if administrators decide to end a program, they can fire tenured faculty by invoking "educational considerations" and not just financial ones. These are, as the next paragraph explains:
related in part to regular program review, and reflect a long-range judgment that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by program discontinuance.  This includes the reallocation of resources to other programs with higher priority based on educational considerations.  Such long-range judgments generally will involve the analysis of financial resources and the needs of the program and any related college or school.In the new Wisconsin system, educational factors are mixed together with financial ones. This means that programs will not now be evaluated intellectually and then structured so they don't lose too much money (though high-value research programs in STEM always do).   This means they can be reviewed for their return on investment, and higher expected profitability in financial engineering can trump higher intellectual value and other non-market and social benefits in public health. (I discuss the ROI version of educational review in "The Humanities as Service Departments.")

But who would calculate ROI and the public-value tradeoffs?  Under what collaborative process? Faculty have believed since before the 1915 founding of the AAUP that educational considerations form their unique expertise, and that they would decide what is studied and taught.  At the March UW Regents meeting, Regent Tony Evers attempted to codify this faculty authority, as Colleen Flaherty described in her excellent blow-by-blow.
Evers proposed that the policy be amended to specify that a designated faculty committee review programs being considered for closure based on purely educational concerns, alongside any other committee considering them based on financial and/or educational concerns. “This focuses our efforts on educational considerations being our primary consideration,” Evers said. “Not all of it, but primary.” The amendment, adapted from a request by faculty representatives from across the university system, echoed an earlier statement to the regents by Geoffrey Peterson, chair of political science at the university system’s Eau Claire campus: that faculty concerns about the proposed policies could be summed up by saying that “economic factors cannot and should not take precedence over academic considerations and academic freedom when making programmatic decisions.”A majority of regents rejected the forming of an autonomous faculty judgment of a proposed closure's educational value, with the motion failing 11 to 5.

Regent Evers made a second attempt to maintain the precedence of educational considerations and, by extension, faculty authority in the firing of tenured professors.  He proposed language saying,
long-range [programmatic] judgments will involve primarily educational considerations and secondarily the analysis of financial resources and the needs or the program and any related college or school. Fiscal considerations must be preceded by educational considerations. Criteria for determining whether a program should be eliminated ought to place greatest emphasis on the quality of the program involved. Such assessment should take into account the quality of the faculty, the value and the particular character of the program and the performance of its students.This amendment also lost 11 to 5.

Regent Evers took a third swing, proposing "that the layoff policy should be changed to say that administrators will pursue' every alternative to faculty layoffs in the event of a program closure, instead of 'consider.'  He picked up a few extra votes with this one, but still lost in an 8 to 8 tie.

The regental majority thus swatted down three different and increasingly diminished versions of faculty control of educational considerations. Ms. Flaherty reported,
James M. M. Hartwick, professor of curriculum and instruction and Faculty Senate chair at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, said via email that he was “shocked and appalled that the board would not adopt a single amendment that all the elected faculty representatives and all the faculty members on the [task force] requested.” It wasn't only faculty who were surprised.
Regent Jose F. Vasquez said he wouldn’t vote for any of the amendments because he wasn’t convinced the policy under which the university system has been operating for decades needed fixing -- even in light of the changes to state law. He said he didn’t believe that chancellors need more help running their universities, or that faculty members were so “entrenched” that they couldn’t make rational decisions about program viability on their own. “They understand that two things are the lifeline of higher education: quality and students,” Vasquez said. “And students come because they find the quality and affordability, and I am convinced that both [faculty and administrators] understand that very clearly. I don’t think chancellors are looking around saying, ‘I can’t deliver that,’ and I don’t think faculty are looking around saying, ‘Damn quality, damn the students, I’m here to do my research, and if I happen to have only one student so be it.’” Regents Vasquez and Evers are the two regents who come from inside the education sector, with direct professional expertise.  They were voted down.

Why? A key reason is that president Ray Cross sided with the regental majority against faculty control of "educational considerations." Other senior managers may have done so less publicly. A deeper reason is the majority board belief that strategic managers simply must have the power to fire employees.  Many
regents said it would be unwise to move financial concerns down the priority list, and compared closing programs to a business investing its resources in its most profitable products. “Welcome to the 21st century,” Regent Margaret Farrow said, arguing that Evers’s amendment could undo what the task force tried to achieve.More like "welcome to the 20th century."  Even more pointedly,
John Robert Behling, board vice president and chair of the tenure policy task force, objected to Evers’s proposal, . . . saying that the creation of another committee would diminish the “flexibility, flexibility, flexibility” campus chancellors need to make decisions in light of the $250 million cut to higher education in the current state budget. Regent Behling should be saying, "quality, quality, quality," to keep himself and other Wisconsin leaders from steadily slashing the infrastructure that would allow the state to regain its lost leadership status.  Instead, he and the board majority went with the capacity to override tenure.   Some large portion of Wisconsin leadership has spent years obsessing about UW tenure as a main roadblock to economic greatness.  No evidence has ever been presented for this--no calculation of how expensive sociology professors are impeding the growth of contract manufacturing.  It's a political goal and a cultural belief--in much of U.S. business culture, the power to fire people makes everything fixable. "Flexibility" started out in the 1970s as a desperation move as US industry lost its postwar lead over Germany, Japan, and other rebuilt industrial powers. In the 1980s, management theorists like Tom Peters and Rosabeth Moss Kanter showed that mass layoffs destroyed company value rather than created it, but short-term executive rewards ran against them, and mass layoffs became a routine practice and sure-fire way of doping the stock price.  "Flexibility" has nothing to do with improving education.   It's imposition has already damaged education, and its practice will continue to.

So what is the point?

The point is to implement an authority structure that can control public universities under permanent austerity and in the absence of a growing and rising middle-class.  Culture wars are good for discrediting particular sources of sociocultural knowledge like ethnic studies, feminist studies, or Middle Eastern Studies.  Budget cuts are good for taking the whole public university sector down a few notches.  But to reengineer a static enterprise, after decades in which their boards failed to maintain the state revenues on which the system was built, public university governors need the audit and assessment practices that Europeans have long called New Public Management (NPM).

To extract from a gigantic literature, NPM inserts financial considerations into everything, in the form of quantitative indicators and targets.  It does not acknowledge goals that cannot be measured, though this is an obvious problem for public goods, since their value is not internalizable by the institution that creates them. NPM is preoccupied with "grading and ranking" (Shore and Wright 2015, cited below), the better to optimize outputs by moving resources from lower-ranked operations to higher-ranked ones.  NPM assesses management quality by its ability to optimize to its own determinations of efficiency: the goal is internal self-validation, not the fit between the management system and organization behaviors, outcomes, or goals.  NPM implicitly works towards a Pareto distribution (80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes), meaning that 80 or even 90 percent of your people make nearly no difference to the organization's overall value.  Mass quality in higher ed is of little interest, and the same goes for the democratization of intelligence.   Designated "top faculty" must be given the resources that, under #realtenure, were distributed widely across the campus.

The effects of this system has been abundantly studied, and I offer one critical list of effects from two leading analysts of NPM, Cris Shore and Susan Wright, to be found in "Audit Culture Revisited: Rankings, Ratings, and the Reassembling of Society," in Current Anthropology (June 2015). NPM systems lead, they wrote, to:

1. Loss of organizational trust (O’Neill 2002; Power 1994);2. Elaborate and wasteful gaming strategies (House of Commons 2004; Shore and Wright 2000; Wright 2009);3. A culture of compliance and large compliance costs, including the appointment of new specialists preoccupied with creating positive (mis)representations of performance (Miller 2001);4. Defensive strategies and blamism that stifle innovation and focus on short-term objectives over long-term needs (Hood 2002);5. Deprofessionalization, a disconnect between motivation and incentives, lower employee morale, and increased stress and anxiety (Bovbjerg 2011; Brenneis, Shore, and Wright 2005; Wright 2014); 6. “Tunnel vision” and performing to the measure, with a focus solely on what is counted, to the exclusion of anything else (Townley and Doyle 2007);7. And the undermining of welfare and educational activities that cannot be easily measured (King and Moutsou 2010).

Recognize any of these?  If not now, then soon.

I personally believe that the historical tide is running against NPM.  It is grossly inefficient, among many other things.  Tenure had kept it at bay by protecting faculty from retaliation.  Weakening tenure strengthens our U.S. version of NPM, now coming to Wisconsin campuses near you--and in other states, as I'll discuss in future posts.   Faculty, staff, students, and administrators, whose jobs are also being ruined by this type of managerialism, now need to confront US-NPM if public universities are to move forward again.
Categorías: Universidade

Judith Butler's Statement on UC Regents Proposed Principles Against Intolerance

Mér, 23/03/2016 - 20:14
Most of this text was read at the UC Regents Public Comment session this morning in San Francisco.  Following public comment, the regents rejected the original text of the "Principles Against Intolerance" to which this statement refers. The new preamble text reads, "Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California" (the underlined phrase is the modification). The new language was suggested by the Academic Senate Universitywide Committee on Academic Freedom (UCAF); its recommendation to modify "other forms of discrimination" to "other forms of unlawful discrimination" seems not to have been taken up.

Statement by Judith Butler, Maxine Elliott Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

We would like to congratulate the Regents for trying to develop principles that can guide us as we identify and oppose intolerance and bigotry on the UC campuses.  Any document that seeks to elucidate those principles, however, should be as comprehensive as possible, identifying and opposing all forms of discrimination.  This document goes part of the way in doing that, but by foregrounding anti-Semitism, it backgrounds other forms of discrimination, including those suffered by racial minorities and Arab and Muslim students who too often encounter prejudice on campuses.  We oppose anti-Semitism of all kinds, just as we oppose all forms of racism and discrimination.   The problem at the center of this document is that anti-Zionism is conflated with anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism names a political viewpoint that individuals have a right to express under the First Amendment and to debate according to the principles of academic freedom; indeed, the topic is at the center of many public debates on and off campus.  Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, is a despicable form of discrimination, and it has no place on college campuses, and must be clearly opposed as we would oppose any and all forms of racism and discrimination.  The university is a place where contested views can be articulated and understood, and where we stand a chance of gaining an informed understanding of conflicts at the center of public debate.  If the Regents accept the language of the preamble that names anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, they agree to the censorship of particular viewpoints, and that is viewpoint discrimination; further, they undermine the role of the university as a place where free and open inquiry can take place on matters of common public concern, even when those matters are contentious.

If accepted, the language of the preamble becomes the official position of the University of California, and provides a rationale for anyone to decide that a particular criticism of the Israeli state or its policies constitutes anti-Semitism.  If this language is accepted, what would be the implications for instructors who wish to include the work of Edward Said, the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, or the early reflections of Martin Buber or Hans Cohen, all of whom might be deemed anti-Zionist in contemporary terms?  Would students who seek rights for Palestine be banned from organizing on campus?  Would scholarship deemed critical of Zionism be dismissed as discriminatory writing, undermining chances of tenure and promotion and destroying hallowed principles of academic freedom?

 [Let us remember that Zionism and anti-Zionism have been part of Jewish life for more than a century, that debates about Zionism have broken up many a Jewish dinner table and constituted a matter of ongoing dispute within the Jewish community. Jewish internationalists, communists, and those who favor binational or federated forms of government for Israel and Palestine, and many orthodox Jews have openly opposed some version of Zionism – do we no longer count that as part of Jewish history?  Even the respected Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, sponsors debates for and against Zionism. What grounds, then, do we have for censoring such debates on the UC campus?  Our mission at the university is to consider all points of view and make informed decisions and grounded judgments on the basis of what we hear and read. We do not censor viewpoints from the start. That leaves us ignorant and ill-equipped to interpret our complex world.   Rather than produce an instrument for censorship and limit the activities of students, staff, and faculty, ban meetings and debates, and demean scholarship that represents a range of views about Palestine and Israel, we should instead be safeguarding this most important task of the university as one of the few places where conflictual issues such as these can be articulated, debated, and understood over time.  Let us not betray this most important public task of the university.]

We respectfully submit that the Regents accept our proposal to amend the document before you, deleting those sentences referring to anti-Zionism and replacing the first reference with the following formulation: "Anti-Semitism, all forms of racism, and other forms of unlawful discrimination have no place at the University of California."  These strong and inclusive principles would claim wide consensus and would give us balanced and fair guidance rather than sacrificing basic rights of political expression and academic freedom.

  Additional remark:
  If we think that we solve the problem by distinguishing forms of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, then we are left with the question of who identifies such a position, and what are their operative definitions?  These terms are vague and overbroad and run the risk of suppressing speech and violating principles of academic freedom. We have principles that oppose anti-Semitism on the same grounds as we would oppose all forms of discrimination. There already exists University policy and state and federal law, developed over many years that provide an effective framework for resolving these issues. If we start to associate anti-Semitism with specific political positions, then perhaps we should include forms of anti-Semitism that are associated with, say, the Republican Party, Christian evangelicals, right wing Catholicism, various forms of nationalism and fundamentalism, versions of anti-capitalism as well as versions of anti-communism.  The list would be long, so why stay focused on anti-Zionism, a position that now includes a number of Jews, such as those represented by Jewish Voice for Peace, who seek to affirm principles of justice and equality over and against a state structure engaged in discrimination and dispossession. Indeed, it is probably important to note that some groups that favor Zionism, including some forms of Christian Zionism, seek to separate Jews from Christians as a way of purifying the population – a clearly anti-Semitic action.  So it is not only arbitrary to associate anti-Semitism with a political position called anti-Zionism, it misrepresents the meanings of anti-Zionism as a political set of views. And it ignores the various places where anti-Semitism actually exists.   The abuse of the allegation of anti-Semitism deprives it of its power and meaning. It ought not to be exploited for political purposes.

  Finally, let us remember that in August 2013, the Department of Education's (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) closed three investigations against three University of California schools, at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Irvine, which falsely alleged that Palestinian rights activism created an anti-Semitic climate. The complaints underlying the investigation claimed that student protests and academic programing in support of Palestinian rights and critical of Israel "created a hostile environment for Jewish students."  There was no evidence to support this claim, and the Department of Education rightly dismissed the charges.  As with the current proposal, there is no sound empirical evidence to support the claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
Categorías: Universidade

The Regents Make a Muddle of Academic Freedom

Mar, 22/03/2016 - 17:17
This Wednesday the Regents Committee on Educational Policy will be taking up the Final Report of the Regents Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance which includes both a contextual statement and a proposal of new principles against intolerance.  You may recall that the Regents considered an earlier version of these principles at their September meeting.  That version--which was vague in its subject and contradictory on academic freedom--was rejected by the Regents. Unfortunately, at least part of that rejection was due to the claim of some--including Regent Blum--that the principles were not strong enough because they didn't specifically address questions of antisemitism.
Having reconsidered the issue, the Regents' committee have now made things worse. Should the Regents as a whole approve the proposed report and principles, they threaten to undermine both academic freedom and freedom of speech in the University.

The problem, as noted by numerous commentators (see here, here, here, here), including the Systemwide Academic Senate (here) and the Council of UC Faculty Associations (here), is that the Report and Principles are unnecessary if the target really is antisemitism (there are numerous rules and codes that establish its unacceptability, see here and here for only two of many) . But  if the target is anti-Zionism then the Regents are moving into prohibiting speech that is protected under the First Amendment and that is a legitimate topic of academic and public discourse.  Reading both the Report and the Principles, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is the issue of anti-Zionism that is the key.

The problem is made clear in the second paragraph of the Report, which states: "Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California." (2)  But anti-Zionism, whatever your perspective on it, is a political position and as a result is protected political and academic speech.  The Report attempts to avoid this problem by reporting that "members of the UC community have come forward with concerns that anti-Semitic stereotypes and tropes of Jewish people appear coded as political discourse about Israel and its policies." (5)  Now personally, I have no doubt that some anti-Zionism around the world is rooted in antisemitism.  But there is a huge leap from that possibility to the claim that therefore all anti-Zionism is either antisemitism or needs to be treated as such.  But it is precisely that leap that the Report makes.

Moreover, the report itself is riddled with contradictions.   The Report acknowledges that there are that there are numerous current examples besides antisemitism of what the Working Group considers examples of intolerance and discrimination.  It also insists the that "These Principles transcend specific examples of intolerance and, following directly from the University’s mission, provide a consistent basis for responding to intolerant speech and acts." (7) But they proceed to dignify only one (antisemitism) with acknowledgment in the Principles.  They declare that "Freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry are paramount in a public research university and form the bedrock on which our mission of discovery is founded." (8) But they then call on University officials to uphold the Principles Against Intolerance (with the background assumption equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism) "to the full extent permissible under law" (10) which I suppose means as far as the courts will allow them.  But how can you both preserve freedom of expression and academic freedom (which would acknowledge the right to debate the legitimacy of any state) with the assumption that anti-Zionism is antisemitism (which I think we all can agree should be opposed)?

As Eugene Volokh (no opponent of Israel) put it in his own discussion:

Whether the Jewish people should have an independent state in Israel is a perfectly legitimate question to discuss — just as it’s perfectly legitimate to discuss whether Basques, Kurds, Taiwanese, Tibetans, Northern Cypriots, Flemish Belgians, Walloon Belgians, Faroese, Northern Italians, Kosovars, Abkhazians, South Ossetians, Transnistrians, Chechens, Catalonians, Eastern Ukranians and so on should have a right to have independent states.
Sometimes the answer might be “yes.” Sometimes it might be “no.” Sometimes the answer might be “it depends.” But there’s no uncontroversial principle on which these questions can be decided. They have to be constantly up for inquiry and debate, especially in places that are set up for inquiry and debate: universities. Whether Israel is entitled to exist as an independent Jewish state is just as fitting a subject for discussion as whether Kosovo or Northern Cyprus or Kurdistan or Tawain or Tibet or a Basque nation should exist as an independent state for those ethnic groups.
Paradoxically, what the proponents of this particular measure seem to be doing is what they are accusing critics of Israel of doing: establishing one standard for discussions of Israel and one for discussions of the rest of the world.

What makes this initiative even more unfortunate is its larger world context.  The Regents recognize that the University of California operates in a wider world and many of the campuses have been making efforts to engage more directly with international issues and challenges.  Clearly the struggles in the Middle East are one of those challenges, and it is right for the University community to engage on debate on the politics and economics of the region.  But there is another possible context the Regents might consider:  we exist in a moment when states like India and Turkey are threatening and imprisoning academics who the governments believe are critical of the self-image of the nation.  Of course, the UC Regents are not threatening to jail anyone.  But at a point when states around the world are threatening academic freedom in the name of either state policy or religious or national pride, why do the Regents want to line up on the side of the restrictions?

Antisemitic actions (painting a swastika, voting against someone because they are Jewish, etc), like all other forms of religious, ethnic, and racial discrimination, are abhorrent and in violation of a wide range of laws and university rules. Where incidents occur these laws and rules should be upheld in duly constituted proceedings.  University officials are well within their rights to oppose them.  But to redefine academic and political debate over state legitimacy as an act of discrimination is to undermine both the first amendment and academic freedom. It muddles the issue of antisemitism as well.

The Regents need to affirm the distinction between political debate and discrimination by rejecting the proposed Final Report of the Regents Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance.


Categorías: Universidade

The Decline and Fall of Shared Governance at UC

Mér, 16/03/2016 - 18:12
President Napolitano's formal proposal for a new pension tier has been posted in the Agenda for next week's Regents' Meeting.  I do not have time today to offer a detailed reading of it (although Chris and I hope to have something up soon). But on first glance it does differ in some significant ways from the majority positions of the Retirement Options Task Force that President Napolitano had appointed last fall. The pension options for faculty (especially faculty who are hired at a salary below the PEPRA cap) appear to be better than the ROTF proposed while the pension options for staff are worse than the ROTF proposed.  One thing that hasn't changed is that retirement benefits for the proposed 2016 Tier will be worse than for the 2013 Tier, let alone the 1976 Tier that includes all pre-2013 employees.

If I can't offer a full reading of the proposal it is possible to respond to another issue raised by the President's announcement: the significance of the announcement and the process it concluded for the state of shared governance at UC.   And on this score the implications are clear and unacceptable. The entire pension reduction process has been marked by a fundamental disregard for the institutions of shared governance.  It builds upon and is a culmination of series of actions begun under the previous administration that has eroded both the principles and practices of shared governance.  The result is not only a narrowing of perspective on decision making but the managerial disconnect that I discussed recently.

REVISITING THE PENSION PROCESS

As you know the pension plan emerged from the so-called committee of two process consisting of President Napolitano, Governor Brown, and selected members of their staff.  The Senate's Committee on Planning and Budget was effectively excluded from the committee until it was completed.  Having agreed to pension changes without consultation and without a clear sense of what the effects might be, President Napolitano established the Retirement Options Task Force last summer, to be chaired by her Executive Vice President Rachael Nava. The Task Force fulfilled its charge under a vow of silence and then sent their report in the middle of December.  At that point, President delayed release of the report for a month which insured that the Senate had only 30 days to analyze the proposal and provide comments from around the system.

Put bluntly, the process was set up in a way that there will be no meaningful shared reflection on President Napolitano's decision with the Governor to reduce pension benefits (and therefore compensation) for future employees of UC.  As I have pointed out in an earlier post, the President's office has agreed to sacrifice the compensation possibilities of all future employees in exchange for a small portion of UCRP's present unfunded liability.  UCOP chose to do this without genuine consultation with the Senate or the Unions (who at least have the right to negotiate this process), despite the fact that a wide-ranging discussion of this issue had taken place only a few years earlier, and without even gaining a commitment from the State to assume responsibility for pension costs moving forward.  Indeed, as Chris has noted, this agreement to lower the long-term compensation structures for faculty and staff was part of a budget deal that gained little in terms of the ongoing fiscal needs of the University.

Despite the acute time constraints, a variety of Senate committees put together reports, pointing out a wide range of problems with the proposal and revealing that the imposition of the pension agreement would not only clearly reduce employee pensions but also potentially raise costs on campuses. This is because campuses would need to offer higher salaries and other compensation to make up for the loss of the benefits of UC's traditional retirement system. Among other unanticipated unwelcome outcomes was the further fragmentation of the faculty and staff and the increase of burdens onto campuses.

Although the President's final proposal does address some of the many, many problems raised by various constituencies, her announcement reinforces the extent to which UCOP now marginalizes the practices of shared governance at the University.  Her statement does not acknowledge the strong objections, of the Assembly of the Systemwide Academic Senate, minimizes the very serious and extensive analyses offered by the Academic Senate as an unnamed part of the "input I received from faculty and staff," and places her personal interpretation of individual comments above institutional governance.  Unfortunately, this attitude is not a one-off.  It builds on the exclusion of the Senate from the Budget discussions, the management overreach of the Medical Center centralization, and the President's rewriting of the UC policies on investment in the work of the University's scientists.  It extends the Yudof administration's disregard for Senate objections to the Salary Supplement Plan, not to mention the debacle of the University's Commission on the Future in which the sidelining of the Senate led to UCOP's overestimation of the benefits of online education and of other technological fixes, like UC Path, for alleged inefficiencies.

IMPLICATIONS

There are certainly arguments that can be made--in the pension arena as elsewhere--about appropriate changes in University organization.  But these discussions should take place in a meaningful and open way before decisions have been set in stone.  Even in the final proposal, UCOP doesn't seem committed to this sort of discussion.  In discussing those who suggested that the deal she struck with the governor was a poor one for the University, the executive summary asserted:

Some members of the University community argued that the PEPRA cap should be rejected altogether. This argument fails for compelling reasons. The PEPRA cap is only one part of a comprehensive agreement with the Governor that provides nearly $1 billion in new funding to the University, among other benefits. The Regents have already endorsed this agreement. To reject the PEPRA cap and undo the agreement would require the University to raise resident tuition by 28 percent over the next three years or somehow find other sources of equivalent funding. In today’s political and economic environment, such a result is highly unlikely and undesirable.
Let's unpack this statement.  Of this billion, $436M comes from the short-term contribution to pay down the UCRP unfunded liability (itself generated because of long-term poor management by the Regents).  Another $500M is the result of the Governor's four-year commitment to funding increases (about $125M a year) and a one-time $25M payment by the legislature in exchange for admitting 5000 additional resident students.  Even the $125M barely exceeds inflation--it does not restore the cuts from earlier years and had already been proposed by Governor Brown.  But critics, myself included, have pointed out that the $436M contribution is a one-time commitment in exchange for a permanent reduction and could have been handled more effectively through an extension of the STIP borrowing plan.  The additional claims about the $500M are somewhat misleading since the first two years of support had already been agreed to--what this agreement does is add two more years (so $250M).  And the $25M will cover half of the marginal costs on campuses for the introduction of the new students. If the President follows through on her plans to add another 5000 students that will simply increase UC's underfunding.

I make this point because it is important for the future to understand the limitations of this deal and what it means for the budgeting process--secretive throughout--that produced it.  The President insists that it is a good deal.  But even the Legislative Analyst (not a friend of the University) thinks that as a matter of state policy the state would be wise to pay down far more than this $436M.  If we are facing a permanent change in the pension shouldn't the University have insisted on a permanent commitment from the state to fulfill its responsibilities?  And are we to assume that if the president had not agreed to this agreement in the first place that the governor and the legislature would simply withdraw the existing funding agreement for the out years?  Of course we will never know.  But if we had an effective process of shared governance and considered reflection by the Senate we might not be facing these questions at all.

Categorías: Universidade

An Open Letter to Chancellor Timothy White

Lun, 14/03/2016 - 17:29
Following Chancellor White's February 29th visit to CSU East Bay, Hank Reichman, Emeritus Professor at CSUEB and First Vice President of the AAUP wrote an open letter to the Chancellor.  It appeared at the AAUP's ACADEME blog.  We are reposting it with Hank's permission--Michael Meranze

Chancellor White, it takes a lot of nerve for someone making over $430,000 a year, with a free mansion and a car allowance, to tell an audience of students and faculty, who earn perhaps a fifth or even a tenth of your income and who must pay to live in the most expensive housing market in America, that “we” need to live within our means. I’m quite certain, sir, that everyone in this audience would find it pretty simple to live within your means, but my question to you is, could you survive within the means the institution that you lead provides to us? I suspect not.

Of course, you are correct when you blame this situation largely on Sacramento’s quarter-century or more of disinvesting in higher education. Yes, our political leaders have failed the CSU (and the UC) miserably. But my question is, what are you doing about it?  I’m now retired, but I taught at CSUEB for over 25 years, won both the Outstanding Professor and Sue Schaefer Service Awards, served three separate terms as chair of the Academic Senate, 15 years on the Senate Executive Committee, 9 years on the system Academic Senate, and 9 years as a department chair, and never once did I witness a single trustee, Chancellor, or other top administrator forcefully demand from the state the level of funding actually required to fulfill the CSU’s responsibilities under the Master Plan. Instead, I’ve seen an ugly parade of woefully inadequate budget requests occasionally masquerading as bold initiatives, several failed “compacts” with multiple governors, and now today, from you, word of some sort of four-year starvation plan of which you seem inexplicably proud. No, rather than fighting for us, the alleged “leaders” of the CSU have regularly bombarded faculty, staff, and students with resigned exhortations to accept public disinvestment as a “new normal” and repulsively cynical calls from the wealthy to “live within our means,” even as you dishonestly claim to preserve “quality.”

Until you and the trustees actually begin to demand and fight for the funding necessary to run a proper university system of this size, don’t come to us with crocodile tears about the skinflints in the state capital.

And, given the low level of state funding you’ve managed to obtain, can we address how you’re spending that money? My question is, given that funding has decreased, how do you explain the continued growth in the numbers and salaries of top system managers? Since 2005, CSU expenditure on managers and supervisors rose by 48%, but expenditures on faculty by only 25%. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that when a CSU campus president or other top administrator departs from the university the replacement hire is just about always offered a salary no less than that earned by the person being replaced, and sometimes they are rewarded with near-instant raises far beyond any available to less privileged employees. [CSU East Bay] President Morishita, for instance, received a 10% raise just six months after he was hired, without a competitive search, I might add. In all my years here I never received a raise of such magnitude.

By contrast, when a faculty member departs, a full-time replacement is only hired when at least one or two others in the same department have left as well. And then, do you really think the new hire is offered a salary equivalent to or above that of the person being replaced? Of course not. New hires start at the bottom and work their way up. Only administrators get to start at the top and keep rising.

In short, Chancellor White, I it seems you just don’t get it. The CSU can readily afford the inordinately modest 5% salary increase your faculty seeks, even without dipping into your $2 billion in reserves that you conveniently failed to mention. As a retired professor I have no skin in this game, but I can promise you that I will still be there on the picket lines in April with my former colleagues and so will the national organization that I help lead, the American Association of University Professors. My final question to you is, where will you be?
Categorías: Universidade

President Napolitano Endorses ROTF: Fails to Respond to Senate and Union Analyses (UPDATED)

Ven, 11/03/2016 - 19:49
President's Proposal

March 11, 2016

MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to outline the proposal for the new retirement program I am bringing to The Regents later this month that includes new retirement benefits for future UC employees.

As a reminder, the new retirement benefits will apply only to UC employees hired on or after July 1, 2016. Current employees and retirees are unaffected by these changes as accrued pension benefits are protected by law and cannot be reduced or revoked.

Before getting into the specifics of my proposal, I want to share with you my thinking behind it.

The University of California is a very special institution. There are other fine universities, but there is no other university on the planet that contributes as much to the public, in as many ways as UC does. Arguably, no other single institution does as much for so many.

And at the heart of everything we do, and the excellence UC is renowned for, are our talented faculty and staff. Our people are what make UC great.

Maintaining excellence on such a massive scale is no small task. And it does not come cheaply.

Everything we do — from teaching students, to treating patients and training the next generation of doctors, to redefining the boundaries of what we know, to creating technologies that give rise to new industries, to helping to ensure the vitality of California’s agricultural resources, and everything in between, requires significant financial resources.

When I accepted the opportunity to lead UC two and a half years ago, it was clear to me that one of the most important goals of my presidency would be to maintain UC’s excellence while ensuring a solid financial foundation for UC’s future.

This core principle of protecting both UC’s excellence and its long-term financial health was the basis for last year’s multi-year funding agreement with the State, and is the primary driver of my retirement proposal.

The budget agreement with the Governor and the Legislature last year marked a significant milestone in support of this goal by creating an era of increased State funding and financial stability for the University. Importantly, the agreement reflects the State government’s recognition of the need to invest in UC.

Under this agreement, UC is receiving nearly $1 billion in new annual revenue and one-time funding over the next several years, which will help ensure the University’s long-term financial stability and provides critical funding for many UC priorities.

Among other things, this funding allows us to budget for regular pay increases for faculty and staff over the next several years, and make merit-based pay a more regular component of our systemwide salary programs.

The $1 billion includes $436 million in one-time funds to help pay down our unfunded pension liability, which is key to ensuring the long-term fiscal solvency of the UC pension plan.

To help secure the financial stability of UC and as part of the agreement, I am proposing to The Regents that they approve implementation of a new set of retirement benefits for future UC employees hired on or after July 1, 2016, that limits the pensionable salary for future UC employees, mirroring the cap on pensionable pay for state employees under the 2013 California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (the “PEPRA cap”).

Following completion of the budget agreement, which was approved by The Regents, I convened a systemwide task force to suggest options for the new retirement benefits for future employees, consistent with the PEPRA cap.

Task force members included faculty, staff, and representatives from the Academic Senate, the Staff Advisors to The Regents, the Council of UC Staff Assemblies, UC labor unions, and UC administrators.

The task force submitted its recommendations to me in December, and during January and February,

I invited members of the entire UC community to share with me their thoughts about those recommendations.

I want to thank the task force members for their good and thoughtful work, and also the hundreds of faculty and staff who shared their comments, concerns, and ideas with me.

Many of you expressed concern that a new set of retirement benefits could harm the University’s ability to attract and retain top-tier faculty. Improving overall employee compensation and the stability of the UC pension plan were also common concerns. Another concern many of you raised was the need for more retirement education and services to help employees prepare successfully for retirement.

For those of you who shared your views with me, I want you to know I paid close attention. My proposal addresses not only these concerns, but other priorities as well.

Building upon the work of task force, and after much discussion with numerous stakeholders and careful consideration of the input I received from faculty and staff, I will be bringing a package proposal to The Regents that will allow us to:

  • Ensure UC’s long-term financial stability, including keeping the UC pension plan strong and continuing to pay down our unfunded pension liability;
  • Within the fiscal constraints we face, maintain the caliber of UC personnel and the University’s excellence by offering attractive overall compensation, including retirement benefits, for new faculty and staff;
  • Focus on overall employee compensation by (1) allowing UC to budget for regular pay increases for faculty and staff, and (2) making merit-based pay a regular component of systemwide salary programs to reward employees based on their contributions to the University;
  • Preserve UC’s quality, which requires recruiting and retaining quality personnel, especially faculty, by devoting resources to help campuses attract and retain faculty and key staff, and improve the student experience; and
  • Offer enhanced retirement education and counseling services to all UC employees, as part of the University’s commitment to help employees be “retirement ready.”

Regarding the new retirement program specifically, I am proposing that future employees hired on or after July 1, 2016, be offered a choice between two options:

Option 1 – Pension + 401(k)-style supplemental benefit: The current UC pension benefit capped at the PEPRA salary limit (currently $117,020) plus a supplemental 401(k)-style benefit for eligible employee pay up to the Internal Revenue Service limit (currently $265,000).

Option 2 – New 401(k)-style benefit: A new stand-alone 401(k)-style plan with benefits-eligible employee pay up to the Internal Revenue Service limit (currently $265,000).

Since we compete in a global market for faculty, often against elite private institutions that can typically pay more than UC, maintaining a pension benefit along with a 401(k)-style supplement is important to attracting and retaining the caliber of personnel we need to maintain UC’s excellence.

At the same time, our workforce is highly diverse and people have different retirement needs and goals. A new stand-alone 401(k)-style retirement benefit allows us to offer an attractive retirement benefit to employees who work at UC for only a few years and value a portable retirement benefit they can take with them, and/or who prefer to personally manage their retirement savings.

You can find a chart that further summarizes the features of the two options online herePDF.

In short, I believe this proposal supports the University’s ongoing excellence and will significantly bolster the long-term financial stability of UC and its retirement program, while providing critical funding for other University priorities.

I again want to thank the task force members, and the many faculty and staff who shared their views with me. The input I received from the task force and the University community was invaluable in formulating this proposal.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano
President

The statement can be found posted at: http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/compensation-and-benefits/2016-retirement-benefits/presidents-proposal.html

UPDATE: More detail can be found at: http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/compensation-and-benefits/2016-retirement-benefits/faq.html
Categorías: Universidade

UCSB Faculty Association Open Forum on Academic Freedom Today, Wednesday

Mér, 09/03/2016 - 16:52
Today at 4 pm at UCSB's Loma Pelona Center, the American Association of University Professor's Hank Reichman will speak about national faculty governance issues in the context of academic freedom.  Prof. Reichman is a well-known expert on both subjects; he has also turned the Academe blog in a center of daily commentary about these issues.  More information on the event is at the UCSB FA's web site.  You can also find position papers there, including UCSB FA's recent critique of proposed UC pension reductions.
Categorías: Universidade

Managerial Disconnect

Lun, 07/03/2016 - 16:42
The scandal engulfing UC Davis Chancellor Katehi is only the latest sign of the disconnection between our managerial elite and the rest of the University. While students face increased tuition and debt, faculty and staff face a reduction in benefits, and the entire Berkeley campus faces the possibility of a reduction in academic range and quality, some managers operate in a bubble of their own, hobnobbing in Davos and being paid to sit on corporate boards.

The story surrounding Chancellor Katehi is fairly simple. It turns out that she accepted a position on the Board of the Devry Educational Group, a for-profit college under investigation by two federal agencies. Before that she had also served on the Board of John Wiley and Sons, a publisher of textbooks and academic journals from whom she received $420,000 in stocks and cash. Each of these positions posed potential conflicts of interest: advising companies doing business with UC, her primary employer; supporting a for-profit (and arguably sub-prime) competitor to UC; and assuming responsibility for a textbook company (and implicitly its profits) at a time when the University as a whole has been seeking to ensure lower textbook costs for students. To make matters worse, it appears that Chancellor Katehi accepted the position at Devry without getting the required approval from UCOP. She has now resigned from the DeVry Board.

The case of Chancellor Katehi is remarkable, of course, because her choices have raised obvious questions about conflict of interest. It is hard to imagine that neither she nor her staff could see that joining these Boards (especially DeVry) was unacceptable. If nothing else, one would think that they would recognize that even the appearance of these conflicts would damage the ability of UC to justify increased state funding. It certainly does not generate confidence in her effectively navigating the challenges facing higher education in general and UC in particular. Indeed the situation boggles the mind.

But it would be a mistake to focus too much on her singular case. She is not alone among Chancellors in serving on Boards (and receiving supplemental pay). Nor is she alone in assuming that it is productive for Chancellors to serve on corporate boards. It is this last assumption that lies at the heart of the problem. One aspect of so-called "new normal" (which is neither new nor normal) has been the growing separation of campus and universities managers from the vast majority of employees and the everyday life of their institutions. Determining the extent of "administrative bloat" is admittedly complicated (most of the additional positions are not high-level) but the growth of administrative structures have shifted funds from the core practices of the university--teaching and research. Moreover, the persistence of administrative growth speaks to the lack of transparency that campus administrations provide about the actual functions and effects of this growth. Whatever the justification, the end result is a senior administration cut off from campus and operating in an endless round of fundraising while caught in the echo-chamber of assumptions about the need for closer ties to business and their management models, which are in turn fueled by state funding cuts that rest in part on the belief in their inevitability.

One sign of this separation is Chancellor Katehi's retriggering of the perennial question of executive comp, but it is not the only one. Chris and I have pointed repeatedly to UCOP's consistent willingness to avoid the established mechanisms of shared governance in the University. (here, here, and here for recent discussions). The effect of withdrawing from public discussion is, paradoxically, a more deeply politicized process in which all the key decisions appear to be made by hand-picked participants in a closed system that wastes most of the collective intelligence of the institution. The campuses are not free of similar issues. Let me mention two:

1) The clearest example of the problem is the ongoing crisis at UC Berkeley. In the period after Chancellor Dirks' held his meeting with faculty and staff (which provided little if any clarity by all accounts) the public discussion of change has proceeded through rumor and fear. First were the rumors of the closing of the College of Chemistry with resulting protests, Then there was the closing and reopening of the major in public health, amid rumors surrounding the possibility of major cuts to the School of Public Health. Although it may be inevitable that there will be rumor and agitation at a time of crisis, what we might call "negotiation by anxiety and innuendo" is a sign of the lack of open and transparent discussion. Even the Chancellor's meeting with faculty and staff seemingly offered little to assure people of genuine, open, campus discussion of budget options based upon shared evidence and data made available to the campus as a whole.

2) A similar faux discussion recently took place at UC Riverside. There the issue concerned the constitution and extent of a new proposal for cluster hires. There is much to be said in favor of cluster hires (although they are no panacea and in some cases can simply be a way of forcing more labor onto faculty members). But for them to work they need to be initiated from the bottom and grow out of teaching and research initiatives. At Riverside the opposite was the case. The proposal was initiated from the top by a new administration and, to listen to the results of a survey of faculty experience, the process was unclear, inconsistent, and in the end open to serious distortion at the top. From Inside Higher Ed:

"The process was chaotic, disorganized and very opaque,” reads one narrative survey response, echoing dozens of others expressing similar criticisms. “Enormous amounts of the faculty’s time was wasted. … We’ve been given new instructions repeatedly, have had to redo job descriptions and must search for all the positions simultaneously, which will be very difficult. I doubt the outcome will be good.”
The new Provost Paul D'Anieri, on the other hand, speaking in the language of ownership often typical of senior management, insisted that UC Riverside is "very excited" about the clusters. In this context I suppose that the faculty who spoke out are not part of Riverside.

Each of these cases--Chancellor Katehi's concealed service to UC competitors, UCOP's unilateralism, Berkeley's concealed re-engineering, and Riverside's top down hiring--is a symptom of the general disconnect of senior administrators from the everyday life of the university community. Remarkably, their faith in the wisdom of that world survives the self-inflicted wounds that recur again and again through the disconnection between central administration and faculty and staff. In this the University mimics the world at large, where technocratic elites, anxiously mixing with the masters of capital and business, ignore the needs of the population while their societies and polities spiral ever downward.


Categorías: Universidade

The New Normal isn't Normal--It Erodes Democracy

Sáb, 27/02/2016 - 02:19
We've been told that public colleges and universities have entered a New Normal. It's supposed to be stable and sustainable. It gives colleges less--to make them learn to do more.   Happy scenes like commencement at San Francisco State, at left, are to carry on unimpeded, with lower costs but no loss of learning or research.

This week, this insidious narrative was again undone by several stories about San Francisco State, UC Berkeley, and their private cousin Stanford University.

1. Defunding Democracy
First, a rehearsal: The democratic vision of U.S. higher ed was that the burgeoning masses could get a degree that was cognitively the same as that of elites, even though they lacked the latter's social networks and private resources.  Twins separated at graduation, one going to Stanford, say, and one to UC Berkeley, with a sibling already enrolled at San Francisco State, would have student experiences that would differ in trappings but not essentials.  The great faculty and facilities at the two public universities would allow them to offer cognitive gain that was functionally similar to that received by the Stanford twin, who would have social but not intellectual advantages.  No one thought they were dooming public university students to second- or third-tier status in a secret caste system.

Of course four years of Stanford seminars, where the student:faculty ratio is now 4:1, had advantages that SF State's 50-student courses or Berkeley's 600-student lectures did not. But economists calculated that by 1980, public colleges spent 70 cents for every dollar spent by the privates (p 237). The assumption was that the gap would continue to close. As it did, artificial and unjust barriers of gender, race, religion would continue to erode as the wider society became more prosperous and more enlightened.

Instead, by the 1990s public colleges were spending only 53 cents on the private dollar.  The five public flagships that had been in the top 20 in US News & World Report's first ranking, in 1987, later all fell out of that bracket (p 237).  By 2013, public research universities were on average spending 45 cents on the private research university dollar.   Public masters universities like SF State were spending 21 cents.  Community colleges, the favored political cure to our national attainment ills, were spending 14 cents on the private research university dollar (all from Figure A2).  Meanwhile, UC Berkeley's Pell Grant rate--a proxy for low family income--is 35% while Stanford's is 15%. Since UC Berkeley enrolls over 27,000 undergrads to Stanford's 7000, UC Berkeley educates 9 times the number of low-income students each year.  It has much less money per poorer student to educate them.

We have been taught to call this efficiency.  It is grossly inefficient, socially speaking. It is also unjust.

2. A Tale of Two Universities
This week, Nike chairman Phil Knight announced that he was giving $450 million to found Stanford's Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, which would bring the best and brightest from around the world to study at Stanford so they could return to their home countries to address major problems there.  Press coverage likened them to the Rhodes Scholarships. Stanford will apparently contribute another $300 million, for a total endowment of $750 million.  The statements of the two principals, donor Phil Knight and Stanford president John Hennessy, made it clear that the goal is to create global leaders.  KQED's Forum interview with Mr. Hennessy features repeated claims that the program will not only offer the best academic training but will create the world's top leadership in every domain. The key word was leadership.  Hearing the elaborate plans for special treatment of a very small group of international students, I concluded the program is tightly focused on deluxe training for a worldwide super-elite.  They would preside over the broad democracy of intelligence rather than be part of it.

The micro scale of the student output is important.  Leaving aside the tarnished public image of university fundraising, increasingly defined as rich people giving huge, unnecessary donations to rich colleges, it looks as though the gift money goes to cover full cost of attendance for a total of 100 students for three years.   The program will have at most 300 students at a given time. A 5% annual return on the overall endowment will generate $125,000 per student per year.  This is not enormously more than what a private research university normally spends on each student ($90,000 in the Delta Cost figures linked above). And yet Knight-Hennessy has overnight become the #130 endowment in the country, about the size of Bucknell University's, itself a fairly posh school with 3,565 undergraduates. It is twice the endowment of that of the University of Wisconsin system.  In short, the Knight-Stanford gift is effective as micro-scale elite training but woefully inefficient as a mode of democratic higher education.  It just isn't part of that world.

This might seem unfair to the Knights, since they have given generously to Oregon's flagship public university, the University of Oregon.  But of the $1 billion the Knights had donated to charity prior to this gift (on an estimated net worth of $19 billion), $34.7 million went to public university campus academics (non-medical).  The figure rises to $76.4 million by counting their gift to UO's athlete tutoring center.)

Meanwhile, also this week, San Francisco State professor Joanne Barker revealed that the SF State central administration has proposed that the College of Ethnic Studies be cut by 13.8% next year. This would bring post-2008 cuts to 25% of COES's budget (in nominal dollars).  COES is the only college of ethnic studies in the United States and its founding and development are a matter of national legend.  Each year it teaches most of a Stanford (6000 enrollments) with a current-year budget of $3.6 million.  COES is required to do this, on a per-student budget, expressed as a share of 6/7ths of Stanford's instructional expenditures -- which I estimate from this financial report (p 54) and the Delta averages to be between $440 and $540 million--well, the fraction is too gruesome even for me.

In Prof. Barker's post, I was riveted by what few faculty discuss: the public college working conditions as they affect student learning. She noted that Cal State defines their basic teaching load to be 5 courses a term, which is similar to the load at a community college or high school. Faculty members then buy out courses with administration and research, generally one course per term for each activity.
The other three courses they teach, and they are expected to enroll 50 students each. The overwhelming majority of faculty in the CSU are not provided with teaching assistance. This means that faculty are expected to teach three courses and grade the work of 150 students per semester without aid.Ideally, a humanities or social science course would assign each student two papers in a semester and then offer detailed grading of the kind that allows students to see their full range of issues and address them.  But one professor can only grade 300 papers on top of the rest of their teaching, research, and administrative job by sacrificing the rest of their life.  The other solution is to cap the quality of feedback at a modest level, by replacing at least one paper with an exam and standardizing the exams as much as possible.  The normal workload sharply limits the intensity and detail available to an individual SF State student.  Politicians who like the "efficiency" of these low costs are not thinking about the cost to educational quality for non-elite students.

CSU faculty are also expected to do research.  These days, state college tenure-track faculty have research university doctorates and the intellectual lives and research ambitions to match.   SF State students are supposed to be exposed to the same up-to-date material as their siblings at research universities in order to avoid the educational class system we're discussing here.

Prof. Barker described the SF State/ Cal State system for research support:
The only viable support for faculty research—the foundational basis on which curriculum design, publications, and conference presentations are produced—has to come from a modicum of CSU and campus-based grants and one-term sabbaticals. These grants and awards are highly competitive. At SFSU and in the COES, faculty wanting time for the professional development of their research and writing or for travel expenses to vet their work at conferences and workshops generally must secure outside funding from equally competitive sources. The policy has been that faculty are “charged” $10-12,000 per course per term for course release. Meaning, effectively, that a faculty person who wants time off teaching for research and does not have a CSU or SFSU grant to do so must secure an outside grant or fellowship at a minimum of $30,000 for a term and $60,000 for the academic year. Since most national fellowships, such as the Ford Foundation, average $45,000/year, CSU and SFSU has created a situation that essentially disqualifies faculty from being able to apply for these awards unless they are willing to make up the difference out of pocket.Our colleagues in the CSU system already teach too much to do the expected research at scale, and apparently are also asked to supply from their own salary a subsidy that normally comes from "institutional funds."  These conditions demand their heroic efforts to maintain their research programs while single-handedly developing higher-order skills in 150 undergraduates at a time.  The simple reason is that the CSU system is not funded to support research, and the very limited funding they do allot to this will not go in any quantity to the arts, humanities, and qualitative social sciences.

This is the context in which the New Normal demands the public university be cut yet again.

3. Berkeley's Failed Formula
The other widening gap is between a university like Stanford and one like UC Berkeley.

The post-2008 cocktail of cuts and austerity has been very hard on UC Berkeley's budgets.  Officials followed the post-public formula to the letter: accept the public funding era is over and keep increasing fundraising and sponsored research.

They also renewed the fixation on inefficiency.  The Birgeneau administration hired outside consultants, and they generated a plan for administrative savings called Operation Excellence (OE), which had a number of component programs.  The idea was that the projected annual savings of $75 million would help the campus weather the latest round of major public funding cuts (from 2002 to 2012, UC Berkeley's state general fund appropriation went from nearly $500 million to under $300 million per year, a drop of 54% in real terms).

Some of OE's programs made a lot of sense, like simplified equipment sourcing.  Others would provide little or no return in exchange for degraded service, like the herding of departmental staff into a separate building off campus under Campus Shared Services.  The promises of savings were always overblown (see "Bain's Blow to Berkeley"), and the implementation seemed to be undermining the efficiency of distributed innovation rather than reinforcing it. Faculty were being separated from staff, and it appeared that different departments were going to get different speeds and quality of service depending on their ability to pay, United Airlines style.

But neither the staff segregation nor the new service inequalities have had budgetary benefits. The overall OE annual savings are about half of the projected $75 million.   Campus Shared Services has failed completely. Its annual savings are now expected to be zero--actually negative, since the campus has lost millions on this program so far.  Even if everything had gone according to plan, OE is a classic example of a "nickel solution"-- $75 million a year is 3.33% of the campus's $2.25 billion annual budget, and this benefit would never have fixed larger budgetary problems.

Some of these figures come from outgoing Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration John Wilton's 2013 budget commentaries, "Time is Not On Our Side" (Part 1 and Part 2).  The structural deficit was already well known to officials by then, and in fact had been a topic of discussion quite a bit earlier.  But the strategies that were part of the deficit's formation were still expected to fix it.

The half-way privatization model has been broken for a long time, and is now scaring everyone, even the Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times editorial boards.  They are right to be scared. Public flagships no longer have the resources to do teaching and research at the top level of quality--and for new social conditions-- that the state assumed for all its non-elite students.

I don't know which of the old ideas UC Berkeley officials thought would fix the structural problems. Perhaps they hoped that growth in non-resident tuition, coupled with a doubling in professional school fees (since 2005), plus a few big fundraising wins, some new industry partnerships, and more non-operating revenues, would get them to the other side of the Jerry Brown austerity era where they would see serious tuition increases again.

Perhaps they didn't think they could fix the structural problems.  John Wilton made this case very well.
While it is tempting to believe that reductions in our operating expenses are the key to long-term stability and sustainability, it is fairly easy to illustrate that it is not possible for costs to become consistent with current revenue projections if we are to maintain the current standards of access and excellence.

Since cost-cutting wouldn't actually work, and since, as Mr. Wilton had observed, Berkeley now competed for its three largest revenue streams (tuition, research, and philanthropy) against every other university in the country, Plan B would be, by default, a reduction in quality.

Plan A has of course always been restored public funding, which is the only way to pursue the democratization of intelligence.  But senior managers seem to have given up on that.

4. Berkeley's Faulty Forum
This is the context for Chancellor Dirks's "Announcement of Comprehensive Planning and Analysis Process."  Its most important move is to announce the structural deficit.   It also describes short- and long-term measures. They won't have much effect: they have all been in place for years, and their effects are already baked into the budgetary cake.

The sole exception is "realignment" of academic structures.  That will make a meaningful difference only if it involves (a) mass staff layoffs, perhaps in the company of (b) faculty layoffs, accomplished by shrinking some academic departments and closing others.   Staff groups have already been raising the alarm about this prospect, which was the lead-in to the Forum the campus's senior leaders held last week.

Chancellor Dirks et al. defined four major planning areas: athletics, fundraising, administrative initiatives, and academic realignment.   Faculty members from whom we've heard thought there was little news about the actual planning.  One wrote,

Well,(1) it would have been considerably shorter if four words had been proscribed:  "excellence," "strategic," "synergy," "realignment." (2) Provost Steele offered no substance except at the end, when he pretty much admitted that they plan to solve the problem of (a) increased enrollment; (b) shrinkage of graduate programs/increase in $ amount of each fellowship by.... increasing lecturers.  (3) on fundraising, they claim "the work shows that every dollar returns $7."  I have since asked someone in the relevant office for the numbers and have been told it doesn't have that information. In the Forum, they parried the fact that 99% of giving is restricted by claiming gifts have funded buildings, endowed chairs, etc., which is of course true but not to the point about covering operating costs.  The foundation and campus board get representatives on the advisory committee for the "Office of Strategic Initiatives."   (4) Sibley auditorium was FILLED, and faculty asked many good questions--about how much of our structural deficit is debt servicing (I think they said that's now at $100 million, and will grow soon to $150 million, but they're seeking debt relief from UCOP).  One asked, why not use cash to pay down principal, instead of trying to "generate revenue" by entirely "realigning" a university that is, academically speaking, working well.  Answer to this and to all:  "everything's on the table" (but really, we only have 3 years of savings, so we can't do what you're asking). (5) they're pretty much using the PhD job situation to justify their plans for expanding the # of money-generating Masters programs, both professional and academic.  Again, a lot of push-back against this:  one scholar saying that if Masters programs are to be good, they need faculty attention, which means less faculty attention to undergraduates.  Answer to this and other objections: not if it's managed well--look at U Chicago's MA program.  No acknowledgement of completely different scale and income of U Chicago. Dirks said "societal changes" warrant move to Masters anyway; no jobs, people don't want to spend 8 years of life in grad school, etc.
That writer also noted that Berkeley Faculty Association Co-Chair Michael Buroway made a statement that seemed to speak for many faculty, judging from the applause that greeted his questions: 
Over the last decade there have been a number of costly ventures – from the renovation of the stadium to the Lower Sproul Plaza development; from Operation Excellence and Campus Shared Services to the experiment in On-Line Education; from the Energy Biosciences Institute to CITRIS. Each project is rolled out with great fanfare as a lucrative investment to be recovered sometime in the future, whereas each one has proven to be a financial albatross. There seems to be systemic pattern of fiscal irrationality. But from where does it come? If I may answer my own question - a major part of the responsibility lies with the administration itself. The university appears to have been hijacked by what we might call spiralists – those who advance their careers by spiraling from one organization to the next. They stay for a few years, advancing their portfolio with a signature project that then launches them into a higher orbit and plunges the university into a downward spiral of accumulating debt. The latest case in point is the outgoing VC for Finance and Administration, John Wilton, who arrived five years ago to replace another spiralist, Nathan Brostrom. Like Brostrom, Wilton is now moving on, leaving behind a train wreck. Will Wilton’s replacement be yet another spiralist from the financial world?  Why don’t we replace him with one of our own great economists? If we are a recruiting ground for the chair of the Federal Reserve Board and for the Director of the National Economic Council, why not for the VC for Finance and Administration?  I’ve really only got one question: is the administration prepared to acknowledge its own contribution to our annual deficit and, if so, what does it propose to do about it?There were apparently no answers to these questions.  But the trend is clear. Without restored public funding, the New Normal means the permanent downgrading of all levels of public higher education, and the reversion of top-quality learning and research to small elites.  Unless we restore cut public funding, California will continue to pioneer educational post-democracy.
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