Archive for February, 2011
Events in Wisconsin and elsewhere have already had impact on the University of California. In this regard, the message in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education is worth noting:
Proposals are being made in other states that include curtailing sabbaticals, or eliminating tenure. Fortunately, many of these issues are not on the table at UC in part because of the past efforts of CUCFA, AAUP and others to educate the legislature. However, as many of you are aware, there are aggressive moves to privatization of certain sectors of the University along with changes in research funding procedures (e.g. flow of overhead funds) that may have important and unintended consequences. Take a look at the article – some notable quotes from it are:
In this economic environment, measures to rein in the faculty are a reflection of lawmakers’ notion that higher education has not done its part to control its own spending or limit tuition increases, says Frederick M. Hess, a higher-education expert with the libertarian-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
Cary R. Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, believes higher education will see more legislative attacks on matters that colleges themselves should regulate, and questions whether lawmakers are right to micromanage campus policies: “Do we really need legislators deciding if Sally should get a sabbatical next year?”
But he put part of the blame on professors, saying faculty members have worked for too long in isolation and done a poor job of communicating how many hours they actually put in.
Keeping track of what is happening in Wisconsin and at the University of Wisconsin — will there be UC parallels?
Currently Wisconsin’s financial problems may be viewed to be as dire as California’s on a relative scale. Depending on what is included as debt, our state tax-supported debt is currently ~$1,800 to ~$9,800 per person compared to ~$1,500 to ~7,600 for Wisconsin. In response to Wisconsin’s financial situation, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has proposed what some call his “nuclear option”, which has the effect of eliminating 50 years of relatively peaceful collective bargaining. With regard to the University of Wisconsin, there are also actions being initiated that support privatization of the University of Wisconsin – see the following article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Other information and perspectives may be found in the University of Wisconsin clipsheet:
The Walker recommendations have gone though the Wisconsin state finance committee (by a 12 to 4 vote). Setting aside the arguments for 1) contributions to the Wisconsin retirement system (public employees will be asked to pay about 5.8% of their salaries toward pensions, up significantly from 0.2%), 2) health benefits (employees will pay for 12.6% of their monthly health care premiums, up from between 4% – 6% percent), and 3) pay raises (would be limited to inflation), there are additional aggressive arguments made for privatization of the Madison campus. The following is abstracted from the links noted above:
University Of Wisconsin Leaders Ask Governor Not To Spin Off
“University of Wisconsin leaders have asked Gov. Scott Walker not to spin off the flagship UW-Madison campus from the rest of the system, saying the rumored move would create unnecessary competition that would hurt all the Wisconsin colleges.” Officials with the UW system “have spent years trying to persuade the Legislature to grant them more autonomy and flexibility in spending decisions.” But now, “with Wisconsin now controlled by a Republican governor, Senate and Assembly, the idea of running the state’s largest university more like a profit center could take off.” “It also could be a first step toward turning the school into a political pawn should subsequent administrations see things differently.”
As you are aware, similar concerns have been expressed regarding the UC system. The DFA, through the system-wide Council of UC Faculty Associations, has long been involved in the debate. See, for example, the Faculty Association article at:
Also, today’s Sacramento Bee has an Op-Ed written by Stan Glantz, professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and vice president of the Council of UC Faculty Associations. Constrained by length limitations of the paper, it does introduce the issues:
The Davis Faculty Association and Davis Divisions of the Academic Senate and of the Academic Federation have extended the nomination period for The Charles P. Nash Prize to 5:00 PM, Friday, February 18, 2011. The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement and commitment in promoting shared governance and advocacy for faculty interests and welfare. The Prize is awarded annually to a member of the UC Davis Academic Senate, the Davis Faculty Association, or the Academic Federation whose actions demonstrate an exceptional and extended commitment to shared governance and/or promoting faculty beyond academic obligations, typically spanning a period of time or one’s career. Nominations are sought from any member of the academic community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, departments or units. The annual prize will be awarded in a public ceremony and will include a $1,000 honorarium. There is no restriction on the prize recipient with regard to the use of the prize.
Nominations should be addressed to the Nash Prize Selection Committee. Letters of nomination accompanied by a one-page list of relevant accomplishments must be submitted electronically by 5:00 PM, Friday, February 18, 2011 deadline. Send your nomination materials to the committee chair at email@example.com.
Additional information regarding the prize may be found at:
Nominations must be received electronically by 5:00 PM, Friday, February 18, 2011.
Questions may be addressed to either of the committee co-chairs (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).