Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Faculty Governance’ Category

Statement by CUCFA and AAUP on Regent Blum’s Remarks

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations and the American Association of University Professors write to protest the following remarks made by University of California Regent Richard Blum and then supported by Regent Hadi Makarechian during the discussion of a proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance at the Board of Regents meeting on September 17, 2015:

“I should add that over the weekend my wife, your senior Senator, and I talked about this issue at length. She wants to stay out of the conversation publicly but if we do not do the right thing she will engage publicly and is prepared to be critical of this university if we don’t have the kind of not only statement but penalties for those who commit what you can call them crimes, call them whatever you want. Students that do the things that have been cited here today probably ought to have a dismissal or a suspension from school. I don’t know how many of you feel strongly that way but my wife does and so do I.”

These remarks by Regent Blum explicitly invoke his wife, U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein, and threaten negative political consequences for the University if the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance is not revised so as to be agreeable to him and Senator Feinstein. As such, they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Article IX, Section 9 of the California Constitution, which declares that “The university shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom in the appointment of its regents and in the administration of its affairs.”

Whatever varied opinions we may hold on the proposed Statement of Principles or any other matter for University discussion, we should all join in rejecting any attempt by a Regent to influence University deliberations by calling on external political forces in this manner.

The complex and competing issues involved in developing a suitable Statement of Principles Against Intolerance are matters of discussion and intellectual inquiry within the University. The purpose of academic freedom is to protect such inquiry from external political interference, and it is the duty of the members of the Board of Regents to uphold academic freedom and to protect the university from external constraints on this freedom. So it is very troubling to hear a Regent make statements that directly undermine free inquiry and the independence of the University. It is particularly disconcerting in this case, because among the central issues are academic freedom and free speech.

We understand that individual Regents, in their private capacity, like many others in the community, may hold strong views on this and many other issues. However, in their official capacity, the Regents have the responsibility to uphold the rights of University administrators and faculty to determine internal University policies through established processes of shared governance free of external political pressure and threats from any source, including the Regents’ own spouses, relatives and friends. We call upon the Regents, the President, and the Provost to provide explicit assurances that they will support and protect the independence and integrity of the continuing discussions of a possible Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

FA statement to the UC Regents about proposed new UCRS tier

Professor Celeste Langan spoke on behalf of the UC Faculty Associations at the July 22, 2015 UC Regents meeting during the public comment period. Below is a copy of her full comments:


As co-Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association and on behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, I wish to address the Regents concerning the third discussion item of the Finance Committee agenda, item F3, “Update on Final 2015-16 Budget.” The update, produced by the Office of the President, misleadingly claims that the final budget “incorporates the funding framework developed by UC and the Governor.” If you’ll recall, the “framework” of the May Revise proposed that the state make a contribution of $436 million toward the unfunded liability of the UC Retirement Plan. The final budget, however, promises only a “one-time payment” of $96 million; there is nothing in the budget that commits the state to two additional payments of $170 million. Yet even this meager one-time payment is contingent upon Regential approval of a cap on pensionable salary consistent with PEPRA (Public Employee Pension Reform Act) for employees hired after July 1, 2016.

The Council of UC Faculty Associations is opposed to the University making permanent changes in the structure of its retirement plan in exchange for a very modest one-time contribution from the State. We are especially opposed to the introduction of a full defined-contribution option. There is absolutely no justification for the proposed introduction of a full defined-contribution option; neither the Legislature nor the Governor called for the introduction of a Defined Contributions plan in aligning the UCRP with PEPRA. Yet UCOP seems bent on introducing such an option, to the point that their statement exposes their intention as a foregone conclusion rather than a possible outcome of consultation and deliberation — those elements of what we once understood as “shared governance.”

I call your attention to the third paragraph on page 3 of the F3 agenda item. First OP declares, “The President will convene a retirement options task force to advise on the design of new retirement options that will include the pensionable salary cap consistent with PEPRA. The retirement options will be brought to the Regents next year for review and approval.” But apparently the “design of new retirement options” is a fait accompli, for the penultimate sentence of that paragraph declares, “new employees will have the opportunity to choose a fully defined contribution plan as a retirement option, as an alternative to the PEPRA-capped defined benefit plan.”

Since the two minutes allotted in the public comments session is the temporal equivalent of Twitter’s 140 characters, let me ask: #What’s up with UCOP? If I had to speculate, I’d say that UCOP’s attempt to replace Defined Benefits with Defined Contributions suggests its preference for a mobile, “flexible,” precarious professoriate with a consequently short-term institutional memory — a professoriate that wouldn’t recall that only 6 years ago, the relative merits of defined contribution versus defined benefit plans were thoroughly, carefully, and widely discussed by UC constituents. Given substantial evidence that defined benefits are more cost-efficient than defined contributions in achieving the same level of benefits, it was agreed that the University of California was best served by continuing with UCRP as a defined benefit plan. Thus in 2010, when the President recommended and the Regents endorsed pension reforms, UCRP was preserved as a defined benefit plan.

Ironically, the paragraph in question concludes, “For represented groups, retirement options will be subject to collective bargaining.” Well, the UC Faculty Associations represent a good number of those faculty, members of the Academic Senate, without collective bargaining rights, and we say that UCOP has vitiated the interests of that faculty, both those vested in the current UCRP and those who will be hired after 2016. We deplore the introduction of a different tier of faculty benefits, but we firmly oppose the attempt of UCOP to introduce a fully defined contribution plan in this untoward and unjustified manner.

First round is on us, June 10th at Sudwerk

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association invites all UCD faculty to join us over a beer – or other drink – at Davis’s Sudwerk restaurant at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th. The first drink will be courtesy of the DFA.

Come discuss the issues confronting UC. We want to hear about your concerns, your suggestions, and any other input you may have for the Board of the DFA. To be effective in representing you, we need your help.

Please forward this message to your colleagues! As the University of California continues to face challenges, we need concerted action as much as ever.

Please join us on the 10th.

Deadline for input on Chancellor’s review is 4/30

This is just a reminder that the deadline for faculty to provide input into the Chancellor’s “2015 UC Davis Chancellor Stewardship Review” is this Thursday, April 30th. At this late date, the best option to respond would be via email to Davis.Chan.Review@ucop.edu.

This is an important opportunity for UC Davis faculty to provide their views as to the Chancellor’s performance: leadership ability, decision-making ability, administrative and managerial skills, commitment to shared governance, etc.

More details about the Chancellor’s review process have been provided by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate at:


Nash Prize reception and dinner

The Nash family, the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Davis Faculty Association jointly sponsor the annual Charles P. Nash Prize to honor the outstanding achievement in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare by a member of the Academic Senate or Academic Federation. This year the prize is being awarded to Eric Schroeder, Lecturer Emeritus in the University Writing Program, in a reception and dinner to be held on May 12th.

In the words of the selection committee: “Dr. Schroeder served all constituencies of the campus community unusually well, teaching and mentoring not only students but also new faculty. He is, indeed, the epitome of someone who believes in–and lives–the Principles of Community that the campus subscribes to and the principles of shared governance described in the prize call.”

Please respond by May 5th following the details in the attached Nash Prize Invitation with RSVP (PDF). For more information, call (530) 754-2262 or email Louise Uota, lfuota@ucdavis.edu.

BFA sponsored talk on September 30, 5pm, at UC Berkeley

The DFA’s sister chapter at Berkeley, the BFA, would like to extend a warm welcome to DFA folk to come to an event they are organizing this coming Tuesday. Please invite your colleagues as well.

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The New Normal: What Does It Mean to Work at the UC Today

This event will address the rise of the new managerialism at UC and its implications for faculty research, teaching, welfare, academic freedom, and the tradition of shared governance.

Speakers: Christopher Newfield and Michael Meranze

When and where: September 30, 5pm, Wheeler Hall 300


(click on the image for a larger version)

CUCFA Statement on “Civility” and Academic Freedom

On Friday Sept. 5, Chancellor Dirks of UC Berkeley circulated an open statement to his campus community that sought to define the limits of appropriate debate at Berkeley.  Issued as the campus approaches the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, Chancellor Dirks’ statement, with its evocation of civility, echoes language recently used by the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Urbana and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (especially its Chair Christopher Kennedy) concerning the refused appointment of Steven Salaita. It also mirrors language in the effort by the University of Kansas Board of Regents to regulate social media speech and the Penn State administration’s new statement on civility. Although each of these administrative statements have responded to specific local events, the repetitive invocation of “civil” and “civility” to set limits to acceptable speech bespeaks a broader and deeper challenge to intellectual freedom on college and university campuses.

CUCFA Board has been gravely concerned about the rise of this discourse on civility in the past few months, but we never expected it to come from the Chancellor of UC Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. To define “free speech and civility” as “two sides of the same coin,” and to distinguish between “free speech and political advocacy” as Chancellor Dirk does in his text, not only turns things upside down, but it does so in keeping with a relentless erosion of shared governance in the UC system, and the systemic downgrading of faculty’s rights and prerogatives. Chancellor Dirks errs when he conflates free speech and civility because, while civility and the exercise of free speech may coexist harmoniously, the right to free speech not only permits, but is designed to protect uncivil speech. Similarly, Chancellor Dirks is also wrong when he affirms that there exists a boundary between “free speech and political advocacy” because political advocacy is the apotheosis of free speech, and there is no “demagoguery” exception to the First Amendment.

Before the slippery slope of civility discourse we remark that the right to free speech is not limited to allowing the act of speaking or engaging in communicative actions to express ideas publicly, nor is it contingent on the notion that anyone else needs to listen, agree, speak back, or “feel safe.” The right to free speech is constituted through prohibitions on the infringement of speech by the state and other public institutions and officials. Moreover, while civility is an ideal—and a good one—free speech is a right. The right to free speech does not dissipate because it is exercised in un-ideal (un-civil) ways.

Second, we underline that the right to freely speak on public and institutional issues is one of the three pillars of academic freedom. Academic freedom is a specific—though not exclusive—right of professors. The three pillars of academic freedom that extend to individual members of the professorate are: (1) the freedom to conduct and disseminate scholarly research; (2) the freedom to design courses and teach students in the areas of their expertise; and (3) the right to free speech as laid out in the 1940 Statement of Principles of Tenure and Academic Freedom which in this context prohibits the professional penalization of professors for extramural speech. Ensuing from academic freedom is the right and duty of faculty to decide, collaboratively and individually, standards and thresholds for teaching and research, without interference from administrators, alumni, or donors. Those determinations are based on standards of scholarly excellence and achievement, which manifest through hiring, academic publishing, and peer review processes in which an individual’s academic record is judged by peers. Those who administer institutions of higher learning bear a responsibility for the protection of academic freedom, which includes free speech in the ways described here.

The University of California bears an especial burden to respect these rights. For the rights of academic freedom and the 1st Amendment right to free speech cohere in a way peculiar to a public university. As a public university the University of California is called upon to affirm not only the guild rights of Academic Freedom but the more expansive rights of the 1st Amendment—which after all, are possessed by students and staff as well as faculty.

On the basis of all of the above, CUCFA Board deems necessary to release the following declaration and to ask its members, and all UC faculty to press their Senates to pass it as a resolution:

Taking note of the concurrent rapid growth in non-academic administrative positions in most colleges and universities and the significant reductions in state/government funding for public universities during the last decade,

Concerned by numerous accounts across the United States of senior administrators, management, boards of trustees, regents and other non-academic bodies attempting to influence, supervise and in some cases over-rule academic hiring, tenure and promotion decisions, as well as policy and evaluatory decisions traditionally under the purview of Academic Senate and other faculty bodies,

Concerned further by the attempts of senior administrators in the UC system and at many universities across the United States to narrow the boundaries of academic freedom and permissible speech by faculty, students and other members of the university community, and, in particular by the inappropriate and misleading appeal to concepts like “civility” and “collegiality,” deceptively used to limit the “right” to free speech, and as criteria for hiring, tenure, promotion and even disciplinary procedures,

We reaffirm,

That all professional evaluations related to hiring, tenure, and promotions of either present or potential faculty are the sole purview of designated committees composed of faculty members, department chairs, and deans as peers and/or academic supervisors of anyone under review and/or evaluation,

That senior campus and University/system-wide administrators, as well as Regents and other governing boards, or donors to the university and/or its foundation(s), do not have any right to interfere in these processes, and that final decisions on appointment and promotion must be based solely on information in the candidate’s file that is related to established categories of teaching, research, and service and that has been added by established procedures of peer academic review.

That we oppose any insinuation that civility, per se, be added either formally or informally as a valid category in the academic personnel process, as well as any attempt by external parties, including donors to the university, government officials, or other forces, to interfere in any personnel decisions, especially through the threat of withholding donations or investments should certain academic policies or personnel decisions be made.


(CUCFA — The Council of University of California Faculty Associations — is a coordinating and service agency for the several individual Faculty Associations — associations of UC Senate faculty — on the separate campuses of the University of California, and it represents them to all state- or university-wide agencies on issues of common concern. It gathers and disseminates information on issues before the legislative and executive branches of California’s government, other relevant state units dealing with higher education, the University administration, and the Board of Regents.)

RSVP for Nash Prize Dinner

Faculty should have received an invitation to this year’s Nash Prize Dinner via the Academic Senate mailing list. This reminder is being sent out as the RSVP deadline approaches. Non-faculty are invited to attend too.

You and a guest are cordially invited to attend a dinner celebrating this year’s winner of the Charles P. Nash Prize: Linda Bisson, The Maynard E. Amerine Chair in Viticulture and Enology.

The dinner will be Wednesday, April 30, 2014. 6:00 PM – Reception, 6:30 PM – Dinner. At the UC Davis Conference Center, Ballrooms A&B.

Dinner is $35.00 per person. RSVP with the attached card and payment by Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Please make checks payable to “UC Regents.” For information, call (530) 754-2262 or email Andrew Crotto at acrotto@ucdavis.edu.

The Charles P. Nash Prize, funded by the campus community and the Nash family and friends, is awarded by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the UC Davis Academic Federation, the Davis Faculty Association and the Nash Family to acknowledge achievement in and commitment to promoting shared governance in keeping with Charlie Nash’s exceptional efforts in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare.

The prize is awarded to an individual who clearly represents advocacy, achievement and dedication within a body of service that exemplifies Charlie’s legacy.

Call for Nash Prize Nominations

The Davis Faculty Association, Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Nash family invite nominations of candidates for The Charles P. Nash Prize for the academic year 2013-2014.

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 interests by ensuring equitable treatment of faculty. In the spirit of Charlie Nash, such activity must be above and beyond normal committee assignments or 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. Eligibility: All members of the Academic Federation, Academic Senate and Davis Faculty Association who have not previously won the award are eligible. Previous nominees who have not received the award may be renominated. Current Nash Prize Selection Committee Members are ineligible for nomination.

The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement in the spirit of Charlie Nash. Examples of Charlie Nash’s achievements included:

* Using the machinery of the faculty governance process, often invoking the mechanisms of Academic Senate committees, to achieve equity for individual faculty members.

* Making certain that the machinery of shared governance works well, both structurally and functionally.

* Contributing to analysis of shared governance, such as the Mending the Wall report.

* Working with others to craft the Nash-Goldman report which made recommendations for changes in the personnel policy for Academic Federation employees

* Supporting legislation that allows faculty to assign their own texts and protect their intellectual property rights

* Mentoring and advising faculty to guide them in finding their way thru the merit and promotion briar patch, as well as assisting them with their personnel cases within their departments and with the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Personnel

* Serving for many years in a leadership capacity on faculty committees to advocate for faculty interests, including:

* Chair of the Davis Faculty Association board

* Vice President of External A airs on the CUCFA board

*Chair of the Davis Division Academic Senate (2 terms)

The annual prize will be awarded in a public ceremony and will include a monetary 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. Send your nomination materials to: nashprize@ucdavis.edu.

Deadline for Nominations: All nominations must be received electronically by 5:00 PM, Friday, February 1, 2014. Questions may be addressed to the committee chair (scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu).

The Committee will rely upon material presented to it; therefore it is important that the letter and list make the best case possible within the space limitation. The Nash Prize Selection Committee will review the nominations and will select a recipient from the original slate of candidates. The Committee is permitted to select one recipient for each academic year.

2013-2014 Nash Prize Selection Committee
Richard Scalettar (Chair)
Daniel L Simmons
Zeljka Smit-Mcbride
Krishnan Nambiar

What has the DFA been up to lately?

The DFA uses a variety of advocacy strategies: we meet with and write letters to campus and system-wide administrators and to Academic Senate leaders; we organize with other faculty, staff union and student groups on this campus and in other higher education sectors around issues of shared concern; as an affiliate of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), we also lobby in Sacramento, where we meet regularly with legislators and their staff and where we have helped fund and organize “Educate the State” rallies; we speak at teach-ins and educate at workshops.

Here is a brief reminder of some of the things the DFA has been up to in the past year:

• The DFA endorsed Proposition 30 (a tax increase to fund public education) and opposed proposition 38 (a conflicting tax proposal) and distributed information that explained these positions.

• The DFA, through CUCFA, was a vital part of the opposition to SB 520, Senator Steinberg’s bill that could have at one point required UC to purchase MOOCs through private companies such as Coursera and Udacity. CUCFA President Bob Meister participated in a number of panel discussions about MOOCs that spring – usually the main opponent on those panels to Coursera founder Daphne Koller and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun – with a message of support for faculty led innovation in the effective use of information technology, online materials, and hybrid approaches to enhance undergraduate teaching; with an emphasis on the importance of a campus and classroom-based vision of learning and intellectual exchange for all students, including the most disadvantaged; and with a message of concern about the ability of outsourced MOOCs to meet the needs of students for a quality education.

• CUCFA, through its unionized Santa Cruz chapter, challenged UC’s Coursera contract, which asked faculty to sign over all intellectual property rights to their lectures when Coursera did not require this. The DFA has a long history of defending against attempts by UC to take ownership of their lectures from faculty.

• UC planned to cut central funding of campus healthcare facilitators. The DFA opposed this, along with other FA chapters and other campus groups. UC agreed to continue funding the healthcare facilitators. We work to preserve UC benefits and pension.

• The DFA rejected the draft campuswide freedom of expression policy and asked that it be recast to more accurately reflect the rights and protections for free expression which are so valued on a university campus, as well as the history that UCD students have in the responsible and safe voicing of their opinions. The DFA is always concerned with safeguarding rights of academic freedom and political speech.

• The DFA noted the lack of assistance from the Student Disability Center in finding space to accommodate student exams. While instructors have an obligation to provide recommended academic accommodations, it is required of the University, not the instructor, to identify space or personnel to monitor accomodative examinations.

• Last fall, the DFA co-sponsored a series of multi-campus gatherings of faculty to discuss actions and interventions in defense of the public nature of the University.

• The restructuring of the university has led to a massive and costly expansion of senior administrative positions on campus. System wide, there are now more management positions than regular teaching faculty. Increasingly, significant policy decisions are made by administrators with inadequate direct experience and insufficient faculty input. We seek to reverse this process and make Davis again a faculty-led campus. We support the merit and promotion system and equitable salaries.

For more information on our activities, browse the rest of this website. If you have colleagues who are not current members of the DFA who you think support the ideals of the organization, please encourage them to join at http://ucdfa.org/join/

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