Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2006

Did you know that the DFA…

…Asked Vice-Provost Horwitz how the new diversity language included in merit and promotion actions would affect faculty. Her response: “I do not interpret the revised languages in APM 210/240/245A as altering the criteria for merit or promotion.”

…Investigated a complaint where a faculty member was asked to pay for a sabbatical replacement to cover his courses and where a medical faculty member was asked to cover clinical duties while on leave. These instances seem unusual; in our survey of our members, most faculty reported fair treatment in their leave requests.

…Expressed concern to Division Chair Simmons re proposed changes to APM 700, 710, 711 and 080. APM 700-10 would add the new concept of “presumptive” or “constructive” resignation wherein an academic appointee who is absent without an approved leave or fails to return to assigned duties after an approved leave, may be presumed by the University to have resigned from his or her appointment with the University. We objected to the vagueness of the proposed policy and the absence of proper safeguards or any mention of appropriate Senate review. The Senate was made aware of our concerns.

…Objected to UC’s imposition of increased non-resident tuition for graduate students, stating that the efforts of UCD’s administration to ameliorate this problem by reducing fees after students qualify for candidacy to the Ph.D. represents some progress but is grossly inadequate in solving the problem; non-resident graduate students are still burdened with the prospect of enormous fees, and as a result, many simply do not come to California. Recent actions by the Provost in off-setting some of the costs of graduate student support have helped in this regard.

…Is looking into possible anomalies in the Davis Professional Salary Scale (DPSS) creating concerns that faculty above step V who do not have a merit in 3 years might lose their salary increments as well as possibly suffer other unintended consequences.

…Continues to monitor the issue of health care benefits for retirees (See related article in this newsletter) as well as total benefit packages for active faculty.

…Is investigating whether the proposed reinstatement of contributions to UCRS are really required. See related comments in Ian Kennedy’s article re. meeting with UCOP representatives.

Membership and Dues Report

by Ian Kennedy

At the October meeting of the Davis Faculty Association Board, discussion centered on the financial solvency and viability of the Association. Despite some recent, modest successes in recruiting, membership in the Association over the past year has declined due to retirements. Our membership has declined from 141 in January of 2005 to 128 in August of 2006.

The financial reserves of the Association have declined by about $8000 dollars over this period. Our major expenses have been dues that we pay to the Council of UC Faculty Associations (our major lobbying organization), the salary we pay to Myrna Hays who works for us as the Executive Director of the Association, and printing of the newsletter that we used as a recruitment tool last year. We cannot, in fact, afford to send a print newsletter this time; thus you are receiving this via email. We have very little room for economizing and reducing our expenses.

Therefore, the board regretfully decided to increase our dues by a small amount for Professors and for Emeritus Professors. We will ask Professors to pay $23 per month. We will also ask Emeritus Professors to pay $35 per year and encourage those who are able and willing to do so to donate more than the set dues amount. This is the first dues increase in six years. In the hope of recruiting new members –especially younger faculty — we have decided to set the dues for Assistant Professors at $10 per month, and for Associate Professors at $15 per month.

This dues structure will ensure the financial health of the Association for the foreseeable future. However, it is incumbent upon all members to do their utmost to recruit new members into the Association to guarantee its continued vitality and health. We cannot afford to continue to lose members to retirement. Although the board was reluctant to increase the dues, we saw no other way to ensure the financial stability of the Association. Success in recruiting new members will ensure that we do not have to undergo a similar reconsideration of the dues in the near future. We appreciate your support.

Update on Faculty Welfare/UCOP Meeting on Human Resources

by Ian Kennedy

On Friday August 25th, I attended a meeting of the Council of University of California Faculty Associations at the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in Oakland. The Council was represented by Bob Meister (CUCFA President and faculty member at UCSC), Shelley Errington (UCSC) and myself. The Executive Director of Labor Relations, Howard Pripas, chaired the meeting, and other representatives of Human Resources (HR) from the President’s Office were in attendance. A representative of the Mercer Group, that has prepared analyses of executive and faculty compensation packages, was also in attendance.

Three items were on the agenda: faculty health benefits, changes in the retirement system at LANL, and the resumption of contributions to the UCRS.

Retirement System Changes: We were informed that HR in the Office of the President is setting up meetings with unions to discuss implementation of changes to the retirement system. Currently, the plan is to re-direct some of our defined contribution savings into the retirement system. As a result, there will be no change in take-home pay. Of course, there is a reduction in the total benefit since the contributions that were accruing in our savings plans will no longer show up there, but will disappear into the UC retirement system. Human resources is apparently very focused on engaging unions in making sure that all interested parties are well-informed. All of the groups of the University will start with the new system at the same time, and all groups will be affected by the same changes.

Bob Meister questioned the investment strategy that has shown lower returns than CALPERS and whether a better return on investment would obviate the need for renewed deductions from employees. We were told that UCRS follows a more conservative investment strategy that is set by the Regents.

Furthermore, Meister pointed out that during the time of zero contributions, the University itself saved about four times what employees had saved, because during this time the University made no contributions to the retirement system. He concluded that it would be appropriate for the University to offer greater contributions than employees as we face the re-introduction of payroll deductions for UCRS. Obviously, this point of view did not sit well with the HR people, and is unlikely to be implemented.

Defined Benefit Plan Issues: Meister also raised the issue of the long-term viability of the defined benefit plan. He noted that, as it stands, the benefit plan can be seen as re-distributive and generally favors employees who are long-term employees of the UC system, those who enjoy a long lifetime, and those who are higher-paid. To some extent, the retirement system may be subsidized by shorter time employees and those who are less well-paid. If at some point these employees demand the right to opt out of the defined benefit plan, contributions for the defined benefit plan will necessarily increase. The net result of such changes would likely be a general deterioration in support for the defined benefit plan which may slowly atrophy. Representatives of the HR department acknowledged Meister’s logic; however, they declared unwavering support for the defined benefit plan and did not see that there would be any danger to its continued viability.

Questions re. LANL Reorganization: The reorganization of the retirement system at LANL has raised questions about the potential for conflict of interest between the incoming chair of the UC Regents Richard Blum and his position in an investment company that will handle the spin-off of retiree investments at the laboratory. The Office of the President claimed that a conflict of interest probably did not exist, because negotiations were strictly between the University and the Department of Energy, and did not include any investment company that may handle the spun-off retirement system investments.

Health Insurance and Benefits: As members by now probably know from reading e-mail, we expect to see an increase in health premiums in the lower double digits, of the order of ten percent or slightly greater. We learned that this is likely to continue for at least another year, if not longer. It was stated that the previous couple of years have seen a dip in the rate of increase in health premiums, and we can expect a greater rate of increase in premiums in the next few years. The University will be offering a debit card to pay for co-payments and out-of-pocket expense; payments will come out of pre-tax earnings. This was good news.

It turns out that the university’s contribution to medical benefits is diminishing, from about 88 percent of costs to some lower levels in the future. This means, of course, that the gap will be covered by employees. Hence, it seems that the increase in premiums is not only due to increasing health costs that affect everybody – they may also be due in part to a reduction in the university’s contribution to our health benefits.

Retiree Health Benefits: I raised the question of retiree health benefits and asked for a guarantee of their continued viability. We were told that the University pays for retiree health benefits out of general funds. Although there is a line-item in the State budget for retiree health benefits, apparently this has rarely been funded by the Legislature so that the University has met the cost of retiree health benefits from its own funds. We were assured that the University will continue to support retiree health benefits, but we were also told that the organization of this plan and its structure will be reviewed in the next few years. Exactly what that means was not certain. However, I take it to mean that if costs continue to rise at double-digit rates, there may be some review of co-payments and contributions from retirees. At this point, we do not know when, how, or if the scheme may be restructured.

Future CUCFA/UCOP Meetings: Finally, at the conclusion of the meeting we agreed to establish a regular schedule of meetings with the next meeting probably in November. It would be useful for members with questions or concerns to convey them to the DFA Board; we will then be able to communicate them to CUCFA and UCOP.

Retiree Health Benefits

by Charles P. Nash

Around November 1 of each year the status of retiree health benefits becomes a matter of immediate concern to the Emeriti members of the various Faculty Associations and the Emeriti Associations on all the UC campuses. In the abstract, it should also be of interest and concern to virtually everyone on the University payroll.

The UCD Emeriti Associations (UCDEA) and the UCD Retirees’ Association annually hold one or more joint meetings at which representatives from UCOP discuss the current state of health care funding, and try to gaze into the future. At such a meeting on May 11, 2006, Mark Esteban, Director of Health and Welfare Policy and Program Design, reported that the federal Government Accounting Standards Board had recently issued a new policy requiring pension plans—including those of the State of California and the University of California–to identify their unfunded liabilities for retiree health benefits, and ultimately propose ways to address them. He mentioned that at the time the sum in question was something like 10 billion dollars!

On behalf of CUCFA I sent him a letter pointing out that Retiree Health Benefits are a pay-as-you-go item in the UC budget rather than a contractual liability of the retirement system, so maybe UC could escape through that loophole. He wrote back saying that unfortunately, such was not the case. The new standards require UC to comply, beginning with the release of its 2007-08 financial reports, and UC is currently working with its Health and Welfare Actuary, Deloitte Consulting, to plan its compliance with the new policy.

At the CUCFA meeting in Oakland that Ian Kennedy is summarizing in this Newsletter the University representatives reported that Annuitant Health Care is currently funded via a 2.4% payroll tax levied on the budget of every unit in the University. That was a somewhat puzzling revelation because CUCFA’s lobbyists had long since noted that the UC budget submitted by the Governor in January frequently had in it an item labeled something like “adjustments to cover the cost of increased annuitant health and dental benefits.” It ranged from $1.7 million in 2000-01 through $34.4 million in 2004-05 to $521 thousand in 2005-06. At the most recent joint meeting of the two UCD annuitant organizations held on October 23, 2006, I asked Mr. Esteban to clarify this matter. He said that although it is true that UC often requested money for those purposes, it was very rarely appropriated. This year they did not even try.

At the October annuitants’ meeting it was reported that this year UC will provide health care benefits to more than 300,000 members, including dependents and retirees, at a total cost of more than one billion dollars. UC’s overall non-Medicare health care costs for 2007 increased by 11.7% vs. 6.4% in 2006. The state appropriated just over 7%, causing the sharp increase in the out-of-pocket health care costs of active employees that were recently announced. For annuitants affiliated with Medicare the overall cost increase was even larger—13.7%.

Ian Kennedy reported that at the Oakland meeting the CUCFA representatives were assured that the University would continue to support retiree health benefits, but “the organization of the plan and its structure will be reviewed in the next few years.” There can be no doubt that many different employee constituencies, including CUCFA and the Council of UC Emeriti Associations, will be looking over their shoulders during that review.

2005-06 Legislative Session Wrap-up

(reposted from http://www.cucfa.org/news/2006_oct16.php)

CUCFA was very active this legislative session. What follows are updates on the bills that we acted on and discussed with legislators.

The Budget:
This year the state budget was reasonably generous to UC, providing funding above the minimums specified in the 2004 compact between UC and the Governor. UC will receive $3.077 billion, an 8.2 percent increase ($234 million) above the 2005-06 budget. Some of this money is to be used by UC to provide all faculty and staff with an average 4% compensation increase; this is higher than the 3% increase that had been expected, but is only a small step considering UC employee salaries are currently 15% behind comparison institutions.

The state’s budget also buys out UC’s planned $75 million in student fee increases; systemwide student fees (not including campus specific fees) for 2006-07 will stay at the 2005-06 level of $6,141 per year for undergraduates and $6,897 for graduate students. Nonresident undergraduate fees do take a 5% hit, increasing to $25486, while nonresident graduate student fees (one of CUCFA’s priority issues) will stay at $23,669.

There was considerable drama surrounding the funding of UC’s enrollment growth. UC and CSU had successfully advocated a reformulation of the marginal cost formula (the amount of money the state funds each institution for each new student enrolled). The new formula was due this year, but, because the Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Governor’s Office came up with disparate proposals, the legislature was proposing to continue using the old formula. Since both proposed formulas boosted funding significantly (the LAO proposed $8,574 per student, the Governor $10,103), staying with the old formula would have cost UC significantly. In the end the state funded UC for 2.5% growth at the new level of $9,900 per student.

This year, the budget also included language related to UC’s executive compensation practices.

The Issue of UC’s Executive Compensation:
UC’s relationship with many in the public and thus with some legislators soured this year when media reports (starting in the San Francisco Chronicle in November of 2005) revealed gross mismanagement with the way UCOP had handled total compensation of some top executives in Oakland and at individual campuses. This resulted in a flurry of legislation (e.g. SB 1117, SB 1181, SB 1571 and AB 775) designed to make UC’s executive compensation practices more transparent to the public.

CUCFA was supportive of the idea of greater transparency in executive compensation. However, because these were issues that UC had promised to fix when they previously came to light in 1993, most of the proposed legislation had some form of punishment that would be triggered if UC failed to address the issue this time around. CUCFA was concerned about the possible collateral damage that could occur. Punishments that had been proposed ranged from the revocation of UC’s Constitutional autonomy, to the loss of UC’s state funding. Ultimately, the legislature included language in the budget that did not have a hair trigger punishment. It requires UCOP to disclose all compensation policies and compensation paid to senior managers.

Privatization of UC:
We delivered a letter and printed copies of the UCPB Report on The Future of the University of California to members of the California Senate and Assembly sitting on education budget committees. The report (available here) details the dramatic decline of public funding for UC and shows how little it would cost the state to restore UC’s character as a publicly funded institution. In the cover letter accompanying the report, CUCFA President Bob Meister argued that the executive compensation scandal is a result of the privatization of UC, as are recent distortions of research, hiring and firing, and that privatization weakens UC’s historic ability to serve as an engine of greater social equality.

CUCFA was an early supporter of Matt’s Law (SB 1454, Torlakson) which makes hazing a crime with misdemeanor penalties for people or organizations who haze and felony penalties for hazing which results in death, or serious injury. It would also allow the person who was hazed to bring a civil action against the perpetrators of the hazing. We did ask that the proposed law be amended to reduce the scope of potential civil liability to those people who have day-to-day contact with the perpetrators. The bill was amended along those lines and eventually passed into law.

Other issues we followed:
In previous legislative updates we described Assemblymember Keith Richman’s ongoing efforts to force state employees, including UC employees, into defined contribution retirement plans instead of having a defined benefit option. Richman’s effort this year, ACA 23, died in the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security.

We have also previously described our opposition to “student bill of rights” proposals. This term had another attempt to pass such legislation (SB 1412, Morrow) that died on its way to the Senate Committee on Education.

A proposal to create an Office of Intellectual Property (AB 2721, Mullin), which could have further complicated the already contentious issue of intellectual property in its attempt to maximize financial return to the state, died in the Senate Committee of Governmental Organization.

Let us introduce you to the DFA

Let us introduce you to the Davis Faculty Association, a member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). Independent of UC, we lobby on your behalf. If you find our goals and actions to be in your interest, we hope you will join (using the attached form). Below is but a brief preview of our activities; we invite you to learn more by exploring our web page at www.ucdfa.org. Current members, please share this information with your colleagues (in your department, with whom you serve on committees and/or jog or play tennis, etc.) and talk to them about why the DFA is important to you.

Did you know that the Office of the Provost recently appointed a professional “Investigations Coordinator”? Bruce H. Hupe now conducts investigations that in the faculty arena hitherto were done by academics such as Associate Deans or current or recent Department Chairs. The academics now review the Investigations Coordinator’s exhaustive report and make the recommendation to the Chancellor required by UCD 015 III-D-6-b regarding alleged university policy violations. The DFA is monitoring this administrative change in academic culture.

Did you know that a recent Chair of the P&T Hearings Subcommittee has stated: “The University is always represented by counsel. Faculty have lawyers only in about half the cases”? He estimated the cost of legal representation as being in the range of $25,000 to $50,000, leading to a decidedly unlevel “playing field.” (See “Mending the Wall” on the Senate web site.) In this climate we think that it would be foolish for an individual under investigation to meet with Mr. Hupe without having a third party present–preferably an attorney. By all reports Mr. Hupe is a highly competent and thorough investigator, and therein lies the rub. Faculty members tend to embellish when just a simple “yes” or “no” answer would suffice, and a good cop loves such behavior.

Did you know that the campus administration seems to be escalating its actions in the Faculty Code of Conduct arena? The report of UCD’s P&T to the Representative Assembly last fall noted that in one disciplinary case the sanction originally recommended by the Chancellor and agreed to by the Hearings Committee included a one-quarter suspension without pay, but the Chancellor later reneged. We learned from the affected individual that because APM 016 astonishingly states that Demotion is a lesser sanction than Suspension, the Chancellor was going to demote the (now-retired) faculty member from Professor, Step II to Assoc. Professor, Step III. To prevent such foolishness from ever happening again, the systemwide Academic Senate must revisit APM 016 ASAP.

Did you know that the Chancellor also overturned the recommendations of P&T in the Szabo case now publicized in the Sacramento Bee? The DFA is concerned about such actions in which shared governance is ignored. We are considering appropriate DFA action and will keep our members informed.

Did you know that faculty members can get advice from the DFA regarding rules and the process affecting promotion and tenure? We also serve as a source of information and assistance to faculty who feel they are not being treated fairly in such actions. We have conducted forums on these matters in the past and may in the future.

Did you know that you could lose your job if you overstay a leave? A revision of APM 700 proposes that if an academic appointee is absent without an approved leave or does not return to assigned duties after an approved leave, the University may presume that the academic appointee has resigned. While faculty should not be making excessive or inappropriate use of leave, the proposed policy is vague and does not contain proper safeguards or specify appropriate Senate review. The DFA Board wrote to Academic Senate Chair Simmons asking to draw the attention of the Academic Senate to these issues. [The letter is on our web page.]

Did you know that annuitant health care is not funded by the UCRS? Rather, it requires a line item in each year’s general fund budget appropriation, and its long-term future is currently under study by the Human Relations staff in the UCOP. A CUCFA committee will participate in the review of their findings and inform our members.

Did you know that the Regents are planning how to reinstate UCRP contributions? Plans being discussed include a multi-year contribution strategy under which contribution rates will increase gradually to 16 percent of covered earnings. Both employee and employer would contribute, but the employee’s share is yet to be determined. The change may be effective as early as July 2007 subject to future budgets. We will keep our members informed.

Did you know that new regulations regarding diversity in merits and promotions were added to the APM? Alarmed at the possible effects of this change, the DFA board questioned Vice Provost Horwitz about these regulations (210-D). She responded: “These are not new requirements.  Rather . . . when faculty do engage in these efforts, which support the campus strategic plan, these efforts will be recognized in the department letter. . . . Implementation of the new language will not alter current criteria for assessing research. . . .The intention of the language… is to be more specific about activities that support the commitment to diversity, not to give those activities more weight than efforts that do not specifically support the commitment to diversity. . . .The campus strategic plan outlines the importance of increasing our diversity with respect to faculty, staff, and students.  The new language . . . also outlines the responsibility of the dean and of the department chair to maintain an affirmative action program that is consistent with University affirmative action policies.   In fact, deans and department chairs are evaluated on this responsibility.   However, there is no language in APM 210 or in any guidelines to committees reviewing faculty that include the expectation that every faculty member will be an active contributor to diversity; and I am not aware of any discussion indicating that, over time, such contributions will be expected of everyone.” [The full letter is available on our web page.]

Did you know that the DFA belongs to the Council of UC Faculty Associations? By far the largest independent dues-supported organization representing the faculty at UC campuses, CUCFA coordinates activities of the Faculty Associations on a statewide level, acts as collective bargaining agent for faculty at UC Santa Cruz, and maintains an independent lobbyist (Jim Bruner at Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe) in Sacramento. CUCFA tracks legislation of interest to faculty, monitors the UC budget as it moves through the Legislature, and lobbies strongly for faculty salaries. All of these efforts are supported by voluntary dues from faculty.

Did you know that CUCFA communicates independently on major issues facing the university? In mid January, CUCFA President Robert Meister sent a letter to the Regents stating: “It may sometimes be necessary to pay higher salaries to attract top people from the outside, but UC should not encourage its present administration to measure their own worth by the standards of the external market as the Mercer Report suggests they already do. We doubt, moreover, that they would want market standards to be consistently applied: if it is true that UC pays too little to attract top people to administrative positions, this is not a reason to pay more to the people we already have.” Subsequently, Meister wrote an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle denouncing the privatization of UC by the administration and board of Regents. In addition, CUCFA Vice President Charles Nash wrote to the state Senate Education committee prior to their first hearing on UC compensation issues informing its members of the sorry state of faculty salaries and the weakening state of UC in the very competitive academic recruiting market. [See full text of these letters on our web.]

Letter to Dan Simmons Re: APM 700-10

To: Dan Simmons, Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
From: Ian Kennedy, Chair, Board of the Davis Faculty Association
Subject: Formal review of draft APM 700-10
Date: May 8, 2006

The Davis Faculty Association Board is aware of the current formal review of proposed changes to APM 700, 710, 711 and 080. While many of the provisions in these are related to medical leaves and medical separations, the proposed new section APM 700-10 is much more general. This addition to the APM section on leaves adds the new concept of “presumptive” or “constructive” resignation.  It proposes that if an academic appointee is absent without an approved leave or does not return to assigned duties after an approved leave, the University may presume that the academic appointee has resigned from his or her appointment with the University. While we certainly agree that faculty should not be making excessive or inappropriate use of leave, we are concerned by the vagueness of the proposed policy and by the absence of proper safeguards or any mention of appropriate Senate review.

This section was specifically noted in the Academic Council comments during the informal review last year, when it was referred to as  700-16. The August 3, 2005 Council letter by Chair Blumenthal contained the following comments:

“In addition, I wish to point out that during my own review of these policies, I noted that the proposed revision of APM 700-16, suggesting that the chancellor may make a final decision on a separation, contradicts the Standing Orders of the Regents and Senate Bylaws governing early termination, which require that the Divisional Privilege and Tenure Committee be notified prior to the intended action, and that the affected faculty member be given the opportunity for a hearing before the Privilege and Tenure Committee. This represents a major oversight in the draft policy that will need to be rectified.”

“There should be a specific minimum cutoff point designated for an absence without leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings.”

“The thirty-day response limit is too short for an action as serious as termination.”

The April 25, 2005 UCEP letter comments:

“The APMs should include explicit language outlining appropriate  Senate involvement in the separation procedures for faculty falling under  these provisions.”

“The APM language should explicitly state that the right to grieve such an action should automatically trigger Senate review through Senate Privilege and Tenure committees.”

“In addition, we believe it would be useful for the APM language to designate a specific, minimum cutoff point for an absence without  leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings.  This would help prevent proceedings from being triggered if an individual forgot to deliver official notification about a conference trip.  Members made suggestions of both 30 days and 3 months for a cutoff period.”

To DFA Board members, it appears that the new draft APM 700-10 falls far short of incorporating the suggestions from the Academic Senate. The language is vague and still does not specify the appropriate Senate role. If adopted in its present form, the policy would allow widely varying interpretations and selective enforcement. The potential for misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict is evident.

The DFA Board wishes to draw your attention to these issues as the Academic Senate deliberates changes to the APM. We believe that this is a matter of concern for all Senate members, and we trust that the  Senate will give it due consideration.

Ian Kennedy, Chair
Davis Faculty Association

Horowitz Responds to DFA Letter

March 18, 2006 email (standard text is the original DFA letter, blue Arial text is Prof. Barbara Horwitz’s response).

Professor Kennedy

I apologize for the lateness of my reply to your inquiry of Jan. 28th.  As indicated in my responses to each of your questions below, I do not interpret the revised languages in APM 210/240/245A as altering the criteria for merit or promotion.

Prof. Barbara Horwitz
Vice-Provost, Academic Personnel
University of California at Davis
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Vice-Provost Horwitz:

We write on behalf of the Davis Faculty Association to inquire about three revised regulations to the Academic Personnel Manual — 210-1-D, 240, and 245 Appendix A. The revisions reflect the University’s commitment to diversity, which we applaud. We do have questions about their implementation, especially implementation that affects the merit review and promotion of faculty.

First, we would like to know whether there are new requirements for the Chair’s letter on behalf of a member of the Chair’s department, and if so, what those requirements are.

Reply: These are not new requirements.  Rather,  they represent an  mechanism to ensure that when faculty do engage in these efforts, which support the campus strategic plan, these efforts will be recognized in the department letter — as would other efforts consistent with the campus strategic plan.

Secondly, we have read some statements which indicate that research considered relevant to diversity —  an example we have seen cited is research on “diets that are more predominant in certain ethnic groups” — will be considered a contribution to the advancement of diversity, and so a “plus in a borderline merit.”  Is that accurate? We would like to know whether implementation of these revised regulations will alter current criteria for assessing research.

Reply: The implementation of the new language will not alter current criteria for assessing research.  In the case you mention above, a department letter would want to explain the significance of the research in the same manner that the impact of any research project is reviewed.  If, for instance, the research on diets that are more predominant in certain ethnic groups, has a health implication for  these ethnic groups, that would be significant to know, but  the quality of the research itself would be assessed using the same criteria that would be used for research on other topics.  The fact that there is a focus on diets that predominate in certain ethnic groups would not tip a borderline merit.  The intention of the language in APM 210-D is to be more specific about activities that support the commitment to diversity, not to give those activities more weight than efforts that do not specifically support the commitment to diversity.

Thirdly, we have a similar question, based again on some statements we have read, about how the implementation of the revised regulations affects assessments of teaching. We have read that “teaching models designed to help underrepresented students learn the topic better (e.g., allowing students to go at their own pace, re-do and re-learn material, etc.)” and “attending training about how to include more diversity issues in class” will be considered a contribution to diversity and so a “plus in a borderline merit.”  Is that an accurate statement of the way the revised regulations will be implemented? Will the revised regulations alter assessments of teaching, and if so, how?

Reply: The examples you give are examples of efforts to deal with diversity, but they will be evaluated as we currently evaluate teaching and service — i.e., with respect to quality, effectiveness, and impact.

Fourthly, we wonder how implementation of the revised regulations will affect assessment of university and public service. Will service relevant to diversity be assessed differently under these regulations than it has been until now?

Reply: Previously, some department letters were explicit about teaching or service that was relevant to diversity and some were not.  The new language would provide the department with a chance to acknowledge and notice those contributions that are relevant to diversity.  Again, they would not count more than other signficant contributions.

Finally, we have read statements suggesting that, over time, contributions to diversity will be expected, and we request your guidance on this matter.

Reply: The campus strategic plan outlines the importance of increasing our diversity with respect to faculty, staff, and students.  The new language of APM 210 also outlines the responsibility of the dean and of the department chair to maintain an affirmative action program that is consistent with University affirmative action policies.   In fact, Deans and department chairs are evaluated on this responsibility.   However, there is no language in  the APM 210  or in any guidelines to committees reviewing faculty that include the expectation that every faculty member will be an active contributor to diversity; and I am not aware of any discussion  indicating that, over time,  such contributions will be expected of everyone.

I hope the above answers your questions — if not, let me know.

Thank you for your attention.

Ian Kennedy
Chair, Davis Faculty Association

Legislative Update

by Eric Hays and Charles Nash

During the legislative session that began in January, CUCFA will be lobbying state legislators on at least three fronts: (1) Faculty Recruitment–if UC is to retain its identity as the world’s premier public university system, faculty salaries must be returned to parity much sooner than the ten-year horizon envisioned in the Mercer Report that was considered by the Board of Regents last November. Happily, several influential legislators are already aware that UC is losing faculty at an alarming rate and has great difficulty hiring competent replacements; (2) Graduate Student Fee Relief– non-resident graduate student fees are pricing UC out of the market for extremely talented (mainly foreign) students in all fields. According to the budget presently under consideration, UC would waive the non-resident portion of the fees for students who are advanced to candidacy, but by itself that measure is unlikely to have much of an immediate effect on the recruitment of the students in question; (3) Privatization–state budget cuts have virtually forced UCOP to turn to the private sector to try to maintain the stature of the institution. CUCFA is greatly concerned that too heavy a reliance on successful fundraising in the private/alumni sector could give the state an excuse to continue to underfund the university’s core needs.

Executive Compensation
From the university’s point of view, this session of the legislature has thus far been dominated by fallout from revelations concerning compensation practices at the highest levels of the UC administration, both in Oakland and on several of the campuses. The trouble began last November, when the San Francisco Chronicle began running a series of articles disclosing the various ways that high-level UC executives are being compensated above and beyond their published salaries. These articles were picked up and expanded upon by newspapers around the state-large and small–and clearly got the attention of faculty and legislators. In February the Senate Education Committee held two informational hearings on UC compensation practices (broadened to include other things, such as the settlement packages awarded to some departing executives) at which UC President Dynes, other university officials, and several regents were grilled and admonished by the committee members. The Committee will revisit the subject on March 22.

In the public comments portions of these hearings passionate representatives of all the labor unions in the UC alphabet testified that in every instance their salaries lagged significantly behind the prevailing wages for their trades or professions. Out of respect for these individuals CUCFA provided the Committee with a written statement rather than oral comments (see earlier post).

The Committee was particularly outraged because the same issues– inadequate policies, frequent exceptions to policy, and a general lack of transparency in executive compensation matters–had supposedly been addressed 14 years ago after Californians learned that the regents had approved a deferred compensation and retirement package for the departing UC President, David Gardner, that was worth close to $1 million. In 1993 the then-retired former Legislative Analyst, A. Alan Post, studied UC’s executive compensation policies/practices and produced a report full of recommended changes, many of which UCOP promised to adopt. In the current Senate Committee hearings President Dynes confessed that many of those changes had never been implemented.

Accordingly, several legislators are talking about forging a “hammer” they can drop on UC if it does not change its ways. To date, three bills speaking to UC’s executive compensation problems have been introduced. The first, SB 1117 (Denham, R, Merced ), threatens to revoke UC’s Constitutional autonomy if UCOP does not comply with a list of transparency and reporting requirements. We have told Sen. Denham’s staff that CUCFA will not support any bill containing such a provision.

The second, SB 1181 (Maldonado, R, Santa Maria), would have the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) publish a biennial report on Academic and Executive salaries in all three segments of California higher education, including data on the total compensation of executive-level and senior-level administrative positions on both the system and campus levels. If any segment fails to cooperate with CPEC the Legislature would appropriate no funding to that segment in either the Budget Act or otherwise. We cannot support this bill because it threatens to punish everyone on the UC payroll for the shortcomings of individuals over whom they have no control.

The third bill, SB 1571 (also by Maldonado), does not have a “hammer.” It would require all three segments to post on their respective Internet web sites their policies for setting and adjusting compensation for all their employees and to report the total compensation of executive-level and senior-level administrative positions on both the system and campus levels. This is a measure that CUCFA could well agree to support if it goes anywhere.

CUCFA distributed two letters at the first of these Senate Education Committee meetings, held on February 8, 2006. One was the text of a letter sent by CUCFA President Robert Meister to Gerald Parsky, Chair of the Board of Regents, dated January 16, 2006. In it Meister asked the Board not to continue with a planned reduction of regental oversight of UC executive compensation at a time when legislators and the public were demanding more stringent oversight of UC executive compensation policies.

The second, addressed to the Committee Chairman, Sen. Jack Scott (D, Pasadena), was signed by CUCFA Vice-President Charles Nash. It focused on the continuing erosion of faculty pay even in the face of these executive compensation excesses. The letter began: “Bluntly stated, the UC Regents’ announced goal of bringing all UC salaries to parity in 10 years is an invitation to a train wreck. The CPEC projections for 2005-06 noted that without increases, UC’s average faculty salaries would trail those of our national ‘Comparison-8’ institutions by approximately 16% at the Full rank, 19% at the Associate rank and 14% at the Assistant rankŠ The so-called ‘compact’ between the state’s public universities and the Governor will do nothing whatever to address this problem. Their agreed-upon budget growth rates of 3-4% per year cannot close the gaps evident from the CPEC study noted above because historically, the salaries of the comparison institutions have been increasing by slightly more than 4% annually.”

Student Fees
Just before the window for introducing new legislation closed, several bills were introduced that could in one way or another affect UC’s ability to establish or collect (mainly undergraduate) student fees. The bill texts are available on legislative websites, but because most of them have yet to be assigned to committees no legislative staff analyses have been posted to date. CUCFA generally steers clear of student fee issues, but as these bills work their way through the system one or more of them might give us a chance to discuss the recruitment problems posed by UC’s high non-resident graduate student fees

Defined Contribution Plan
One of our highest priorities during the past year had been monitoring Assemblyman Keith Richman’s efforts to impose a defined contribution plan on all future public employees in California, including the University’s. Richman (R, Granada Hills), with the backing of Governor Schwarzenegger, threatened the legislature with a ballot initiative if it failed to enact his proposal. Ultimately, that particular bill went nowhere because it arguably failed to protect police and firefighter death benefits, and the public employee unions used that flaw to scuttle it.

As promised, Richman has introduced a new, “improved” bill, ACA 23. Media reports say that because of the political fallout from last year’s voter rejection of all of Governor Schwarzenegger’s so-called reforms – including Proposition 75, a union dues political contribution-signoff bill that CUCFA actively opposed–Richman is finding the environment for his proposal much tougher this year. For example, the CALPERS Board recently voted to oppose it. We will obviously continue to monitor this bill and any others in a similar vein that may emerge as the legislative session proceeds.

Student Bill of Rights
Various bills branded “Student Bill of Rights” legislation, introduced by conservative lawmakers around the country, have been formally opposed by the AAUP as unnecessary intrusions into faculty/student relations. Last April, a version of such a bill (SB 5, Morrow) failed in California’s Senate Education Committee. Senator Morrow has introduced a new bill on the same subject, SB 1412. As one of its objectionable provisions this new bill would require all meetings pertaining to faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure to be audiotaped, with the audiotapes being made available for review by “appropriate authorities” for compliance with state and federal laws and systemwide or campus policies. We will closely monitor the progress of this bill and actively oppose it at every turn.

Bills to Watch
One fairly common legislative tactic, sometimes occasioned by the existence of rigid procedural deadlines, is the introduction of “placeholder bills” that later on get heavily amended-sometimes beyond recognition. One such bill could be AB 2179 (Leslie, R, Roseville). It proposes to change postsecondary education funding, but says neither how nor when. A similarly vague bill (SB 1819, Figueroa, D, Fremont) expresses the intent of the Legislature to enact some as-yet-undefined additional legislation related to college textbooks. (Legislators have been harshly critical of the rapidly-increasing cost of textbooks, the inescapable bundling by publishers of supplementary material such as CDs and Solutions Manuals, the frequency with which new editions are introduced, etc.)

Legislative Follow-up:
SB 724 (Scott), which allows California State University a limited ability to grant doctoral degrees, was signed by the Governor last September 22. On February 23, 2006, the CSU Chancellor’s office announced that in 2007 the system will begin offering the independent Ed.D. degree on seven of its campuses, with six more to follow in 2008.

AB 992 (Spitzer), Law Enforcement Surveillance, which CUCFA opposed as it was originally written, is now officially dead.

Eric Hays is the Legislative Coordinator of the Council of UC Faculty Associations. As such he closely monitors the day-to-day activities of the Legislature as they pertain to higher education in general and UC in particular, and reports regularly to the CUCFA and California AAUP leadership. Charles Nash is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, UC Davis and the CUCFA Vice President for External Relations. These individuals attend legislative hearings and meet frequently with key legislators and their staffs to inform them of faculty concerns. As circumstances may require, CUCFA may also be represented by James W. Bruner, Jr. and Joanne Bettencourt, lobbyists with the firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLC.

Letter to Senate Education Committee

February 8, 2006

To: The Honorable Jack Scott, Chair
Senate Education Committee

Re: Hearing on University of California
Compensation Practices, February 8, 2006

Dear Senator Scott and Committee Members:

Bluntly stated, the UC Regents’ announced goal of bringing all UC salaries to parity in 10 years is an invitation to a train wreck. The CPEC projections for 2005-06 noted that without increases, UC’s average faculty salaries would trail those of our national “Comparison-8” institutions by approximately 16% at the Full rank, 19% at the Associate rank and 14% at the Assistant rank.

Within California, the latest available AAUP survey shows that the average full professor salary at three UC campuses–Santa Cruz, Riverside and Davis–is lower than that paid by seven (mainly liberal-arts) institutions—Claremont College, Harvey Mudd College, Loyola-Marymount University, Pepperdine University, The University of Santa Clara, The University of San Diego and The University of San Francisco. In the category of research universities, the average full professor salary at USC tops those of both Berkeley and UCLA, while those at Caltech and Stanford are higher yet, by almost $25,000 per year.

In such a national and regional labor market UC campuses across the system are being forced to offer potential recruits beginning salaries that are equal to or greater than those of existing faculty members who have been on campus for four to six years, depending on the academic rank at issue. It should therefore come as no great surprise that because of this “salary compression” the system is losing faculty at a frightening rate. In recent years my own campus, UC Davis, has lost FOUR Assistant Professors of Philosophy to other universities. Faculty recruitment is both costly and time consuming, so losses such as these have a devastating effect on morale.

The so-called “compact” between the state’s public universities and the Governor will do nothing whatever to address this problem. Their agreed-upon budget growth rates of 3-4% per year cannot close the gaps evident from the CPEC study noted above because historically, the salaries of the comparison institutions have been increasing by slightly more than 4% annually. The Council of UC Faculty Associations looks forward to what will doubtless be very lively Legislative budget hearings in the months ahead.

Charles P. Nash
Vice President—External Relations
Council of UC Faculty Associations

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