Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2017

Nash Prize – DFA representative sought

One of the best things the DFA does every year is participate in the awarding of the annual Charles Nash Prize. You all are probably familiar with it; if not, some information about it is available at: http://ucdfa.org/nash-prize/

We need a DFA member to volunteer to assist with this. Below is a note from DFA Chair Richard Scalettar from a couple years ago asking for a volunteer for this task. He had volunteered to chair the committee the year previous and provides some information about the task. If you can take on this task, please let me know at info@cucfa.org

– Eric.


I am writing as Chair of the Davis Faculty Association to inquire if you might be willing to serve on the Nash Prize Committee.

The task is not so burdensome — reading the 5-10 applications, and 1-2 meetings to rank. The nomination deadline is early February, so the work is in the Winter quarter.

As committee chair two years ago, I can say that serving is also an interesting assignment — educating oneself about the really nice things that our colleagues are doing to promote staff/student/faculty welfare!

We only had one meeting, so that really reduces the likelihood of not being able to find a common time.  It is possible this year the choice will be more difficult and you will need two meetings, but that would do it.

Best Regards,
Richard

News and Updates for November 9, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis.

As a service to Davis Faculty Association members, this informal newsletter will be emailed to members several times a year as developments warrant. The goal is to draw attention to items of likely interest related to UC Davis, the University of California, or higher education more generally.

The Davis Faculty Association is affiliated with the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) and with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

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Topics:

MEETING WITH CHANCELLOR MAY
(DFA Board members meet with Chancellor May.)

OPEN ENROLLMENT
(Deadline 5pm, Tuesday, Nov. 21.)

OPEN ENROLLMENT AND WESTERN HEALTH ADVANTAGE
(Changes more modest than feared.)

RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE
(Work group formed. Decisions delayed until June.)

FREE SPEECH CENTER
(President Napolitano creates free speech center.)

GRAD STUDENT RESEARCHERS GIVEN RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

UCOP FUNDING IMPACTS UPDATE
(Problems with line item funding for UCOP may be corrected.)

NEGOTIATED SALARY TRIAL PROGRAM REVIEW
(If you opposed it in 2011, you probably still won’t like it.)

MICHAEL BROWN APPOINTED UC PROVOST

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MEETING WITH CHANCELLOR MAY

Members of the DFA board met with Chancellor May on Oct. 6, 2017. Co-Chair Jesse Drew described the Davis Faculty Association. Board members brought up a number of topics including the importance of public higher eduction, shared governance, free speech and academic freedom, DACA students, diversity, retiree health insurance, and issues associated with the legislatively mandated changes in the mechanics of UCOP funding. The discussion was positive, future-oriented, and cordial.

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OPEN ENROLLMENT

Members are reminded that open enrollment closes at 5pm, Tuesday, Nov. 21.

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OPEN ENROLLMENT AND WESTERN HEALTH ADVANTAGE

During the last few months, there were statements concerning the change in relations between UC Davis Health and Western Health Advantage (WHA) and the impact that would have on UC employees using WHA for health insurance. In the end, the impact on UC employees is smaller than was previously anticipated. The UCnet now states “Although UC Davis Health has ended its ownership and commercial network participation in Western Health Advantage (WHA), UC and WHA have come to a special arrangement for UC employees. Through this arrangement, UC WHA members and their families may continue to see their current UC Davis Health primary care provider (PCP) or select a UC Davis Health PCP in the future. WHA members will not have access to the Advantage Referral program, which allowed you to self-refer to specialists within WHA’s network. Instead, starting in 2018, your PCP will refer you to an appropriate provider if you require specialty care.”

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RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE

As previously reported in this space and elsewhere, UCOP threatened to remove the 70% floor for funding of retiree health. If adopted, this would pave the way for decreases in funding for retiree health insurance, i.e. increased costs and/or decreased benefits for present and future retirees.

Faced with unified and overwhelming opposition to a Regents Agenda action item that would effect such a change, OP has decided to delay any possible Regental action until after a work group on this topic issues a report — likely around June 2018.

OP comment:
Work group to be formed to study, make recommendations about health benefits for retirees

http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2017/10/work-group-to-be-formed-to-study,-make-recommendations-about-health-benefits-for-retirees.html

Senate Chair letter:
Letters on Retiree Health, memo from Senate Chair White to President Napolitano (10/17)

http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/SW-JN-Retiree-Health.pdf

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FREE SPEECH CENTER

President Napolitano creates academic center without Senate consultation and appoints advisory board with herself as chair.

UC launches national effort to promote free speech and civic engagement https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-launches-national-effort-promote-free-speech-and-civic-engagement
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu

The National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement will engage in education, research, advocacy, and fund and run a fellowship program.
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/fellows/

Although the center will not be granting degrees, it will engage in the academic activities of education, research, and providing fellowships. Based on those activities, it appears to be an academic center that warrants Senate consultation in its formation. I understand that Senate consultation did not take place.

Some observers have noted the unusual makeup of the advisory board.
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/advisory-board/

It includes Barbara Boxer, former US Senator; Tamara Keith, White House Correspondent, NPR; Anne Kornblut, Director, Strategic Communications, Facebook; Bret Stephens, Columnist, New York Times; and George Will, Columnist, Washington Post. Noting those members and considering the politicized, relatively negative news coverage of free speech issues at universities in general and at some UC campuses in particular, a possibility that comes to mind is that a goal of the center might be to encourage more favorable coverage of the official UC positions on free speech. These have been articulated by Napolitano in her statements. In the preface of their recent book Free Speech on Campus, her two advisory board co-chairs Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, and Howard Gillman, UCI Chancellor, state the similar view that “…the ability to express all ideas and viewpoints, no matter how offensive — is necessary at all colleges and universities.”

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GRAD STUDENT RESEARCHERS GIVEN RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

The Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) gave CSU and UC employees, including faculty, the right to unionize. Originally graduate students were specifically excluded. More recently TAs and Postdocs were included. With SB 201, now signed into law, grad student researchers (GSRs) will have the option to unionize. Many employees in non-managerial positions are unionized. Faculty at CSU are unionized. Faculty at UCSC are unionized, but faculty at other UC campuses have not voted to unionize.

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UCOP FUNDING IMPACTS UPDATE

Readers may recall that the legislature decided to fund UCOP as a line item rather than the normal practice of leaving it to the university to decide what share of UC funding goes to OP. In the way that the legislature chose to do this, there is a negative financial impact on core funding for the campuses. I.e. the net effect is to punish the campuses rather than the intended target, OP. There are now some who believe that this error may be corrected.

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NEGOTIATED SALARY TRIAL PROGRAM REVIEW

The program is complex and difficult to quickly summarize. In a nutshell and with considerable oversimplification, it is a mechanism by which individual faculty can negotiate higher salaries directly with the administration. Money to pay the higher salaries comes from non-state funds.

The Negotiated Salary Program (NSP) (APM 668 proposed) was proposed in 2011 and heavily criticized by the Senate and by various CUCFA-related individuals and FAs. In spite of that, a Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP) has been running for several years on three campuses: UCLA, UCSD, and UCI.

A review of the trial program is itself out for full Senate review. At Davis comments are due by Nov. 10. i.e. very soon.

The review is mixed, but in the end, the reviewing taskforce recommended that the trial continue for four more years with other campuses given the opportunity to opt in.

Review
http://academicsenate.ucdavis.edu/rfc/view.cfm?or&id=1347

Senate review from 2011
http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/RMA_CarlsonreAPM668_FINAL.pdf

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MICHAEL BROWN APPOINTED UC PROVOST

In July Michael Brown of UCSB was appointed UC Provost

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-santa-barbara-s-michael-brown-appointed-provost-uc-system

Taking a Stand Against Harassment

The DFA Board has voted to endorse the statement issued yesterday, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calling on college and university leaders to defend members of universities and colleges from campaigns of harassment: “…anything short of a vigorous defense of academic freedom will only further imperil safety. Concessions to the harassers send the message that such odious tactics are effective. They have a chilling effect on the entire academic community.” See the full statement here.

Statement on DACA

The Davis Faculty Association condemns the decision by President Trump to rescind the DACA program and views it as a direct attack on many of our students’ ability to work, study, and take advantage of the many opportunities UC Davis has to offer. This latest move by the Trump Administration takes away the futures of these students, strips these students of the protections DACA has provided, and destabilizes their lives on and off campus. We pledge to act to protect our DACA students. We fully support President Napolitano’s commitment to continue to allow California residents who are Dreamers to pay in-state tuition; to maintaining the DREAM loan program for financial aid; to offer legal services to our undocumented students; and to support campus-based student service centers. The DFA is further committed to preserving and defending UCD-specific programs which serve our valued DACA students.

Sincerely,
The Executive Board of the Davis Faculty Association

State Senate should reject Governor’s unconstitutionally nominated Regents

You have, no doubt, seen the near constant barrage of news stories critical of the way UC has been managed — the latest being articles about the state legislature withholding funding from UC in the recently passed state budget because of behavior turned up in a recent state audit such as a large hidden reserve fund, interference with the auditor’s survey, and executive compensation far in excess of compensation for similar positions at the state. The budget also redirects nearly $350 million from UC’s core mission as the legislature tries to gain direct control of UCOPs budget. And before that it was articles decrying the Regents’ spending over $250 a head on dinner
parties for themselves.

These articles demonstrate the eroded level of trust the state legislature and the people of California have in UC. We believe a large part of that erosion is because of the closed and insular method by which Regents are appointed — a method that is in direct contradiction to what is specified in California’s Constitution.

For six years, we have been writing letters to Governor Brown asking him
to obey the Constitution when nominating Regents,  letters to the UC Regents asking them to follow their own bylaws and not accept improperly nominated Regents and letters to the California Senate asking them to use their authority of approval of Regents to enforce the Constitution.

Three weeks ago, Governor Brown again nominated Regents without
following the consultation process mandated by the Constitution. Our
past efforts on this issue at least paid off this time with several newspaper articles noting the Constitutional violation

Yesterday we sent another letter to the Senate, calling on the Senate Rules
Committee to enforce the California Constitution by immediately rejecting (without prejudice) the Governor’s nominees. Regent terms begin as soon as the Governor nominates them, so these improperly nominated Regents can vote on issues at the upcoming Regent’s meeting unless the Senate Rules Committee acts quickly to reject them.

We also requested that the Constitutionally-required advisory committee
be more than a pro forma process and that the Senate declare that it will only consider Regent nominees that have been vetted through an open public process, in a series of meetings held around the state and conducted in accordance with the Bagley-Keene Act (proper public notices of meetings with opportunities for public comment).

A more representative Board of Regents would have likely done a better
job of assuring accountability of the UC Office of the President and given a higher priority to vigorous efforts to restore high quality, accessible, and tuition-free higher education to the people of California as envisioned in the California Master Plan for Higher Education. A recent report that we and other organizations released through the Reclaim coalition, The $48 Fix,  shows that this goal is achievable in California, yet there has been no discussion of restoring the Master Plan by the current Board of Regents. The fact that it is dominated by wealthy interests for whom the steadily increasing costs would not be a practical problem may help explain the lack of urgency in building the confidence of the public and policymakers needed to restore
tuition-free education at UC.

You can read our full letter to the Senate Rules Committee here.

Sincerely,
The Board of the Davis Faculty Association

News and Updates from the DFA, June 10, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis and Eric Hays.

 

Topics:
State Budget negotiations: UCOP budget may be separated from the rest of UC funding
UCOP independent investigator selected
Regents appointments
What’s the Problem at UC? by Dan Mitchell

 

STATE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS: UCOP BUDGET MAY BE SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF UC FUNDING

The state budget should be finalized next week. We are hearing that state funding of UCOP may be separated from the rest of UC’s budget, as suggested by the recent State Auditor’s report. See this Sacramento Bee article.

 

UCOP INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR SELECTED

You will likely recall that in the State audit of UCOP, UCOP was accused of inappropriate interference with campus survey responses. This was a fairly serious charge. It was previously reported that the Regents decided to hire an independent investigator to determine the facts of the incident. Regents Chair Lozano has now announced the selection.

“The University of California Board of Regents has retained former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno and the law firm of Hueston Hennigan LLP, to conduct a fact-finding review of actions undertaken by the Office of the President with respect to surveys the California state auditor sent to UC campuses as part of the recent audit of the Office of the President.”

 

REGENTS APPOINTMENTS

Governor Brown has nominated four new people to serve as UC Regents. Official announcement:

Maria Anguiano is currently a financial officer at the Minerva Project Inc., a rather unconventional, for profit, undergraduate educational institution. She has previously worked at UCOP and UC Riverside. Because of her role in the pilot of Activity Based Costing (ABC) at UCR, she is a controversial nominee. The Governor has been a strong promoter of this pilot at UCR and the smaller associated ABC pilot at UC Davis.

Howard “Peter” Guber has had a career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. He is currently chairman and chief executive officer at Mandalay Entertainment Group and co-owner of professional sports teams including the Golden State Warriors.

Lark Park is Governor Brown’s senior advisor for policy. She has had numerous positions in California state government.

Ellen Tauscher is a strategic advisor at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz, which is a large law firm and lobbying group. It was founded by James F. Baker whose son was a US Representative and whose grandson was Howard Baker, Jr., who was US Senate Majority Leaderand Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan. She is also chair of the Governor’s Military Council. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know that the Governor had a military council. See http://militarycouncil.ca.gov. She has also been undersecretary of state for arms control and a Representative in Congress for California’s 10th District, which includes Modesto.

Thus Governor Brown continues his quest to reshape the University. Starting in 2014, Brown has made six appointments to the board that do not follow the tradition of selecting most Regents from the upper layers of California business. In this group, only Guber is a person I would call a traditional choice. The positive side of this is that it has brought a welcome diversity of background and perspective to the board. This is evident in discussions at Regents meetings. The downside is that not much has been done to add people with strong experience in and orientation to the academic core of higher education. Also some of these appointments are perhaps a bit too closely associated with Brown and some of his favorite projects, e.g. Anguiano and Park in this group.

Regents nominees must be confirmed by the State Senate within one year of their nomination. In the meantime, they can serve on the board. Before the Senate floor vote, the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the nominees.

 

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM AT UC? BY DAN MITCHELL

Dan Mitchell, who is Professor Emeritus at UCLA in the Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Affairs, has a nice article that adds historical context to the issues above and others we currently face at the University.

News and Updates for June 2, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis.

FLASH: four new Regents appointed today, June 2. See next edition for comments.

Topics in this news update:
Davis Faculty Association membership building
Phil Kass to Vice Provost Academic Affairs
L&S Deans office reorganization and open positions
Senate Chair Chalfant’s comments at May Regents meeting
Regents actions at May meeting Changes to Lecture with Security of
Employment series Changes to UC Retirement Savings Program fees
Davis Division Senate budget letter
May revise of Governor’s budget
Systemwide Senate salary letter

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DAVIS FACULTY ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP BUILDING

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association encourages each member to
recruit one new member. That would greatly improve our ability to
function effectively. It is now possible to join online.

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PHIL KASS TO VICE PROVOST ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Professor Phil Kass will take over as Vice Provost of Academic Affairs,
succeeding the retiring Maureen Stanton, effective July 1.

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L&S DEANS OFFICE REORGANIZATION AND OPEN POSITIONS

Dean Elizabeth Spiller, has written to the College of Letters and Science commenting on the appointments of six Associate Deans and an Executive Dean.

Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Social Sciences
Associate Dean, Academic Senate Liaison, Undergraduate Education and Advising
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Planning
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs
Executive Assistant Dean, Finance and Administration

This does not mean a net increase of seven positions, but I’m uncertain about what the correct net increase is.

There will be internal searches for the second, fifth, and sixth of these. The others have been filled.

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SENATE CHAIR CHALFANT’S COMMENTS AT MAY REGENTS MEETING

Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant provided remarks to the University of California Board of Regents May 2017 with pointed comments on perceptions of UC vs. reality, the audit of UCOP, and other items.  Video and pdf.

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REGENTS ACTIONS AT MAY MEETING

The full Board, meeting on May 18, approved three actions. Two were UCOP budgets for 2017-18, and the other is the much-discussed non-resident cap. For more detail, see:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/aar/mayb.pdf
or for even more detail, see the agenda items here:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/may17.html

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CHANGES TO LECTURER WITH SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT SERIES

The Office of the President is now formally proposing changes to the Lecturer with Security of Employment (LSOE) series. This topic has been discussed less formally for the last couple of years with a variety of opinions expressed. Recall that faculty in this series are Senate members. Perhaps the most visible change would be to rename the title to “Teaching Professor.” Another significant change will be that a new Teaching Professor step system will be developed that is closer to that used in the Professorial series. Scholarly achievement is added to the advancement criteria.

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CHANGES TO UC RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM FEES

If you have investments in the UC Retirement Savings Program and read all of your email very carefully, you will have noticed a change in the fee structure for the Retirement Savings Funds. The administrative fees (as opposed to the investment management fees) are now being charged as a flat rate of $35/year per person. This change is disadvantageous to investors with relatively small balances and advantageous to investors with larger balances. The detailed rationale for why this change is overall advantageous is unavailable.

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DAVIS DIVISION SENATE BUDGET LETTER

The Davis Division of the Academic Senate has a letter critical of both the process leading to and the content of the budget framework letter for 2017-18 from the Interim Chancellor and the Interim Provost.

Budget Framework letter

Senate Budget Letter

And there is now a response to the Senate letter from Chancellor-Designate May and Interim Chancellor Hexter

Basically these letters reveal the stresses in attempting to address the ongoing deficit in the campus core funds budget. It will be very difficult to reverse the decrease in educational quality that has resulted from the substantial increase in students that has been made made without the necessary corresponding investment in faculty and facilities.

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MAY REVISE OF THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET

Overall the Governor’s May budget revise contained no major changes for the University. The modest base budget increase per the budget agreement between the Governor and University President is maintained. However, the May revise states “In response to the State Auditor’s review of the UC Office of the President, the May Revision sequesters $50 million in UC funding until such time that the Auditor’s recommendations and other UC commitments are implemented.” The other commitments refer to follow through on piloting activity-based costing (lack of progress at UC Davis is specifically mentioned) and in meeting transfer student goals at a few campuses.

The Regents action to increase tuition by 2.5% increases the State’s Cal Grant cost. As a consequence of that, the Governor is redirecting $4M from the University budget to Cal Grants for students attending private California institutions. The logic of this change is a bit obscure.

The May revise also contains a statement about out years. “Rising Cal Grant costs from tuition hikes will also limit the state’s ability to increase General Fund support in the future. The state has increased General Fund spending by at least 4 percent annually since 2012-while tuition has been flat. Going forward, the universities should plan for 3-percent growth annually beginning in 2018-19. If the universities raise tuition in the future, additional downward adjustments to state support may be needed to cover the higher Cal Grant costs.”

During the next few weeks, the legislature will be working to pass a budget for 2017-18. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recommends that the legislature adopt the Governor’s May revise changes. Nevertheless it is always possible that there will be significant changes before a final budget is passed and signed.

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SYSTEMWIDE SENATE SALARY LETTER

Basically the letter expresses a Senate preference for applying funds available to faculty salary increases to the base salary scales rather than splitting them between the base scales and addressing other targeted concerns such as equity, inversion, and compression. The targeted issues could be addressed with campus funds.

Starving the Beast, the March for Science, and Nationwide May 1 Actions

Dear Davis Faculty Association Colleagues,

Thanks to the many of you who came out to watch the film Starving the Beast and meet with filmmaker Steven Mims. I think we would all agree it is a valuable and well-made film. The Davis Humanities Institute reviewed the event for their recent newsletter.

If you missed the film screening, we may be able to accommodate a smaller screening. Contact the DFA if you are interested.

On another note, this Saturday April 22 is the National March for Science. The Davis Faculty Association is a co-sponsor of the Sacramento March for Science, and you can find more information on this link. Hope to see some of you there:

Finally, there is a national day of action planned for May 1 of this year initiated by numerous labor, social justice, and immigrant organizations. There is a call for university participation in support of these actions.

Feel free to forward this information to others you may know who are not currently DFA members.

Have a fun and safe Picnic Day!

Jesse Drew and Richard Scalettar
Co-Chairs of the Davis Faculty Association

Starving the Beast event

Starving The Beast
Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Steve Mims

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 4:30 PM
Art Annex Room 112 (TCS Building), UC Davis
This is a free event!

STARVING THE BEAST examines the on-going power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a ‘public good’ for society. Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education. The film focuses on dramas playing out at the University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Louisiana State University, University of Texas and Texas A&M.

Sponsored by: The Departments of: Cinema and Digital Media; French and Italian; Asian American Studies; Design; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; and the Davis Faculty Association, the Center for Regional Change, and the Davis Humanities Institute.

Upcoming DFA Board Elections

Dear DFA Colleagues,

We are reaching out to you concerning two matters regarding DFA governance.

The first is the DFA Board.  It is time for us to prepare for our annual DFA board elections for the next Academic Year.  The official procedure is that we form a nominating committee which selects candidates, followed by a vote by the membership.  Suggestions from the broader DFA membership for the nominating committee to consider are most welcome. So please contact us if you have thoughts on this (including personal willingness to serve).

The second item is chairing the DFA Board.  Several of our sister UC Faculty Associations have co-chairs, and we are considering implementing that as well, with Jesse Drew and Richard Scalettar serving in the upcoming year.  Our thinking is that this is a particularly eventful time in the UC system and in higher education generally, and having additional breadth will enable us to be more active.

Indeed, one of Jesse’s foci will be on membership recruiting.  This is obviously fundamental to a successful association.  We would also like to take this opportunity to exhort you to become involved in this as well – think about colleagues who might be interested in what we do and chat with them

Best Regards,
The DFA Board

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