Davis Faculty Association

Archive for April, 1998

DFA Board Elections

by Myrna Hays

According to DFA bylaws, it will soon be time to conduct elections for new Board members for 1998-99.

Current board members whose terms are due to expire in September are Sidney Gospe, Bill Lasley, Mark Matthews, and Lenora Timm.

Board members who will continue in 1998-99 are Jonathan Sandoval, Charles Nash, Ben McCoy, Yvette Flores-Ortiz, Floyd Feeney, Maria Colombi, and Don Abbott.

To submit your name or that of one of your colleagues for the nominating committee or to serve on the board, please contact Myrna Hays at 756-6413 or by email at dfamhays@wheel.dcn.davis.us

Continued strong leadership is essential to a strong Davis Faculty Association.

New FA Lobbyist–Jim Bruner

by Myrna Hays

We are pleased to announce the selection of Jim Bruner as our new FA lobbyist. He replaces Ralph Ochoa, who has been appointed as a Regent and therefore no longer represents us because of conflict of interest.

As Director of Governmental Affairs for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, James W. Bruner, Jr. has 25 years of experience with the state legislature and numerous administrations. His practice focuses on governmental regulatory issues, primarily those relating to finance, tax and corporate securities broker-dealer and investment companies.

Prior to joining Orrick in 1984, Jim served for ten years as Executive Director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, where he gained national prominence for elevating concern for Lake Tahoe to a level of national commitment. He is an active supporter of the UC Davis Lake Tahoe Research Station, which recently hosted President Clinton and Vice President Gore.

A fourth generation Californian, Jim holds a B.S. in Forestry and Conservation and a  M.S. in Wildland Resource Science from UCB and currently serves on the UCB Foundation Executive Committee. He is active in the campaign to renovate the historic Edwards Stadium on the Cal campus for a new international track and field and soccer venue. He resides in Davis, California,  where his daughter attends high school; his son is a student at UCB. He has worked on numerous projects for UC in recent years.

A conversation with Bryan Miller, Chair of the Davis Academic Senate

by Jonathan Sandoval

At a February meeting the DFA Executive Board had an opportunity to hold a candid and open discussion with Academic Senate Chair Bryan Miller. We were concerned that recent events on campus and systemwide required closer communication between the DFA and Academic Senate leadership, if the DFA is to be effective in lobbying for faculty and University issues in Sacramento.

Shared Governance Issues: We began by asking Chair Miller if shared governance was working on the Davis campus.

Miller  responded that if we compare UCD to other campuses in the system,  UCD faculty ‘s relationship with the Administration is among the best of  all the nine  campuses.  The Senate is consulted more often than at other campuses, and this has been true historically.  Recently faculty have had an opportunity to have input at the beginning of discussions on issues rather than simply being asked to react to developed proposals. We now  have Senate committee chairs who sit at the table when decisions are made to allocate FTEs, for example. The administration seems to welcome faculty perspectives.  It is clear that Senate members can ask questions that administrators are uncomfortable asking. Sometimes, however, the Senate does simply get plans for reaction and comment; usually these are due to tight time constraints where the normal consultative process would take too long.  For example, the plan to put $6M of the state support into funding enrollment for computer sciences was given to the Senate with only a short lead time to respond because the Davis administration was given less than a month to formulate a plan.   Most importantly, chairs of  Senate committees (e.g. CAP, CAPBR,  CEP, CoC, Grad. Council)  as well as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate all  meet monthly with Bob Grey and members from the Provost’s Office.

The DFA Board observed that the fact this campus enjoys a good relationship between the Administration and the faculty could be due to the particular individuals. If it is the people rather than procedure, is there a danger of the campus being vulnerable to a change in the personnel involved and should things be more formally spelled out?

Miller observed that there was criticism regarding the lack of a formal mechanism for settling the semester conversion issue. But he did not feel a need for a paper trail, especially when things are going well. Currently there are three panels within the Universitywide Senate examining issues of shared governance. He personally did not feel that more formal guidelines are needed. Such guidelines can create inordinate delays. The Senate is slow because it is a deliberative body, but  that is not all bad since sometimes the initial reaction is not the best one.

Task Forces: The DFA Board asked about the effectiveness of the use of Task Forces to assist in decision making.

Miller replied that the Senate has expressed its discomfort at the use of the externally-created Task Force.  He has asked for and received Senate representation even when other faculty are present on the committee; he considers this a minimum condition. A good example is Network 21 with  two Senate representatives from CAPBR. It seems reasonable to have a system in which Senate representatives from appropriate committees be included on Task Forces; then the  Administration can add other faculty with special expertise on issues  as needed. This system recognizes that the ultimate body for decision making on some issues is the Senate.

Future Policy Decisions: The DFA Board next asked about future polices with respect to distance learning and on-line education. For example, at UCLA faculty were required to put their course materials on the Web. If this were to be a prototype for an issue on the Davis campus, what lessons have been learned from the semester conversion discussion and decision process?

Miller acknowledged that the Senate is having difficulty figuring out how to deal with the California Virtual University proposal to have more academic material placed on-line. Vice Provost Carol Tomlinson-Keasey  claims that it is a restricted catalog of courses for continuing education, but there is a lot of money earmarked for development of courses, more than would be necessary for continuing education. There will be a push to include undergraduate work in the CVU.  With respect to placing course materials on the web, there are issues of both copyright and academic freedom.  Placing course materials ranging from the syllabus to lab manuals and old examinations should be up to the instructor.  Perhaps mechanisms might be set up to restrict access to course material  to students enrolled in the course.

Digital Library Issues: We also inquired about the digital library issues. Money is being provided for the digital library at the same time that  subscriptions to journals are being canceled, with no system in place to protect needed hard-copy collections on a systemwide basis.

Miller pointed out that a significant percent of the job description and budget of Richard Lucier, the newly-hired systemwide librarian in charge of the UC Digital Library, is devoted to oversight of the digital library and interlibrary loan programs. The first pilot project for the digital library is in science and technology and it was agreed not to cancel subscriptions for a particular group (see the report  from the Senate Library Committee).

Legislated Admission Criteria: The DFA Board reported that we are watching a bill in the Legislature that would require UC to admit the top 12.5% of each California high school’s graduating class.  We understand that there is also discussion of making it  4% instead of the 12.5%.  We asked, “What role does the faculty have in this policy discussion?”

Chair Miller indicated that President Atkinson is sympathetic with the 4% figure, and that BOARS  ( the systemwide Academic Senate’s Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools) is dealing with this issue. Larry Hershman, who is now Vice President in charge of the Budget, wants a definition of admission standards and is pushing BOARS to develop clear language. CPEC reported that UC draws from the pool of 20% of high school graduates who are potentially eligible but only selects 11.4% as fully eligible. (The Master Plan calls for UC to admit the top 12.5%).  The CSU says that we are now taking some of the students who would otherwise go to them.  Meanwhile, the Legislature is not acknowledging support for UC’s over-enrollment (UC is currently under-funded by 3200 students).

In closing, the DFA Board thanked Bryan for joining us and reiterated that the DFA sees itself as supporting the Senate and serving as the lobbying arm of the Senate. We then asked for his advice.  He replied that he would recommend that we carefully monitor the development of the CVU and the issues surrounding the planning for the tenth campus.  We were all pleased to have re-opened this line of communication between the DFA and Senate leadership.

Cyber-higher-ed

by Charles P. Nash

For a variety of reasons—political, economic, demographic and intellectual—educational technology is impacting higher education at an accelerating rate.  In this short article, about all  that can be accomplished is a  momentary snapshot of things that might  interest/impact the UC faculty. We invite further discussion at  our Forum  on April 16.

It is not news to you that on a proportional basis, state funding for  higher education has been decreasing nationwide nor   that in the next decade student demand in California is projected to  increase substantially.  Given the difficulty in getting our Legislators  even to permit the electorate to consider an educational facilities bond  issue, let alone pass one, it could be very tempting to offer more and  more education via cyberspace rather than build the physical facilities that otherwise would be required to accommodate our needs.

The Western Governors University, a move in exactly this direction, is said to be just about ready for test-firing.  WGU has been spawned by a  consortium of 16 states and the Territory of Guam—everything west of the  Rockies omitting California, along with North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma  and Texas.

It plans to open on April 1, with about 125 courses listed in its on-line catalog.  It will begin by offering AA degrees in general studies and in  electronic manufacturing technologies.  The first students will likely pay fees to the institutions that are providing the actual coursework, at costs ranging from $75-$400 per course.  The issues WGU face are ones that would seem to apply to all such off-campus ventures: curriculum,  assessment of student performance, advising/mentoring, and perhaps most importantly, accreditation.  A very good article discussing WGU appeared  in the Winter, 1998 issue of “Crosstalk,”  published by the Higher Education  Policy Institute.  It concludes with the observation that “What ever happens, WGU has advanced the discussion about non-traditional forms of higher education by ten years.” (To learn more about the WGU you could contact the  HEPI by e-mail at center@highereducation.org and ask for a copy of the  Winter, 1998 “Crosstalk.”)

Governor Wilson chose not to have this state participate in the WGU, and instead, issued an executive order in April of 1997 establishing the  California Virtual University.  At the moment, the CVU exists as a Web site (www.california.edu) which lists the online offerings of every accredited college and university in the state.  UC lists more than 350 extension  courses offered by the 9 campuses, but no “traditional” courses from any of the campuses.  In contrast, CSU and the Community Colleges list  hundreds of them.  The Governor’s 1998-99 UC budget proposal contains  a $1M item for the development of courses for the CVU.  It also provides  $4M for instructional technology, $32M for instructional computing, and  $3M to begin the creation of the California Digital Library.

A status report on the tenth campus, UC Merced, described it as  “a residential campus model, which will be the hub of the teaching, research, and public service activities and the home of faculty, students, and staff. This hub will, however, have the potential to provide educational programming throughout the Valley through a judicious combination of technologically-assisted instruction and on-site learning.” There are rumblings that a California Research Network plan is to lay fiber optic cable connecting the UC campuses, Cal Tech, and Stanford.

In the Fall quarter of 1997 the College of Letters and Science at UCLA began to implement its Instructional Enhancement Initiative.  At a cost  of $2.4M funded by course materials fees for College courses of either $2.50/unit in the humanities and social sciences or $3.50/unit in the  life and physical sciences, this initiative when fully developed will support UCLA’s  undergraduates with: (a) a web site for every  undergraduate course in the College; (b) communications links for every web site leading to Virtual Office Hours or other devices to supplement face-to-face contact between students and instructors; and (c) improved computer labs.

Last fall, instructors were required at a minimum to post on the UCLA  Web site the catalog description for their courses, the time and place  of lectures, and the course syllabus or outline.  Many instructors went well beyond these minimum requirements, posting their reading assignments, lecture notes, old exams, etc.  This information is  readily available to anyone with an Internet connection, and a fair number   of UCLA’s faculty are receiving queries about the intimate  details of their courses from all over the world.

A realization that absent sophisticated safeguards anything posted on  the web is up for grabs and gratis, is beginning to generate concern  about the intellectual property rights that individuals might have vis-a-vis material promulgated in this manner.  As we understand it, attempts to resolve copyright issues have been tabled or delayed at UC because they are both complex and controversial.  In the past,  copyright–the ownership of the expression of one’s ideas–has always  been understood to reside with the individual faculty member, not the  university.  The university does, however, own the patent rights to  patentable discoveries made using university facilities and/or resources,  with any resulting revenues being shared between the institution and the  creator(s) according to published policies.

With cyberinstruction, there is real money to be made out there—but by whom?  Duke University offers an $85,000 MBA program (the Fuqua School  of Business’s Global MBA) comprising 15 required on-line courses, a 2-3  week residency in Europe, South America or Asia, and one semester’s  residence in Durham, NC. The University of Phoenix offers a $20,000 MBA  program with no residency requirement at all.

Closer to home, UCLA Extension has a 32-page contractual agreement with  The Home Education Network (THEN) which makes THEN the owner of all right, title and interest, including without limitation the copyright, in and to all recordings of UNEX classes produced by or for THEN.

To the after-the-fact dismay of many of them, UCLA’s UNEX instructors  are required to grant UNEX the sole, exclusive and irrevocable right  under copyright and otherwise to make, produce and copyright (by any  means whatever, present or future) recordings of all UNEX classes taught  by said instructors, including those transmitted by live simulcast or  other electronic means.  They are also required to grant UNEX the unlimited right to vary, alter, modify, add to or delete from, and  rearrange the content of the resulting recordings.

The Agreement also states that: “The parties contemplate that the relationship with THEN may extend to other University of California campuses.  THEN agrees that the participation of other…campuses as well as other academic units in this project will be coordinated by UNEX….An appropriate share of the revenues otherwise payable to UNEX for any UC courses shall be distributed proportionately to the participating University of California Campus or other academic unit of UCLA.”

Finally, many of our readers are generally aware of the agreement currently  being negotiated between the CSU system and four corporations—GTE, Fujita,  Hughes Electronics and Microsoft—that would lead to the formation of a for-profit corporation to create and administer the technology  infrastructure for the entire 23-campus CSU system for a 10 year period.   This was once on a fast-track, due for consideration by the CSU  governing board in January, but expressions of concern from many quarters  has led to its postponement until May at the earliest.

In the latest version we have seen, the agreement stipulates that in  return for $300M up-front money, the corporation would have the exclusive  right to supply hardware, software and networking products to students,  faculty, staff and alumni of all the campuses in the system.  The projected  revenues are $3.8 billion over the lifetime of the agreement, with projected profits of $241M to be shared among the private and public sector partners.   We plan to track this proposal from CSU as closely as we can because our  two systems often serve as models for the conduct of public higher education  throughout the nation.

We welcome any questions or comments you might have.

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