Archive for October, 2003
Most of you probably have seen news releases stating that UC may need to make drastic cuts in order to cope with continuing state budget shortfalls. The issue of importance to faculty is that among the proposed options that the UC Regents are considering is the suggestion of reducing staff and faculty salaries; cutting back the number of faculty members; and increasing the teaching load.
Charlie Schwartz, a retired faculty member from UCBerkeley who has been outspoken on various issues, published a report (available on his web page http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/Part_6.html) in which he proposed increasing teaching loads. He spoke at the public comment period of the September Regents’ meeting, again espousing these ideas. At the meeting, it was stressed strongly that all of these are merely options to consider; no action is to be taken until the November Regents’ meeting or later. Nonetheless, the ideas are available to be considered by legislators and the general public.
I have also learned that the UCOP has prepared a report on this subject. See http://www.ucop.edu/planning/taskforcedescribingandreporting.pdf
The September 20 Sacramento Bee editorial comments on the list of proposed cutbacks by saying “asking professors to teach more courses [is] (a good idea).” We know that in the past, legislators have failed to understand how teaching loads are set and what they mean in terms of actual work performed by faculty. Bills were introduced to mandate teaching loads and studies were conducted re. how much time faculty work. CUCFA fought these bills and they did not pass. But, in this budget crisis environment, legislators might well see this area as one to focus upon. And despite Hershman’s expression at the meeting of strong support for faculty salaries and defense of the current teaching load as well as his vow to work closely with the Academic Senate during the budget process, I wanted to alert you to these issues so that you can determine what, if any, role the Faculty Association should play in the months to come.
With the election of Governor Schwartzenegger and the resulting turnover of staff in the Capitol, it will be even more critical for us to engage in re-educating legislators, the Governor, and critical staff members on these issues. Let us know your thoughts.