Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Future of UC’ Category

“Starving the Beast” Screening and Director’s Talk

The DFA is hosting a screening of STARVING THE BEAST followed by a talk by that film’s director, Steve Mims, on the current situation confronting public universities. “Starving the Beast” is a documentary about the crises in education that has been receiving acclaim around the US and has served to create community conversations about the way forward. The film will show on campus on Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 PM in the Art Annex main room.

About the film: 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.

The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s Master Plan for Higher Education

On Thursday, January 26, the UC Regents will consider and likely approve their budget for the University for 2017-2018. It and the Governor’s budget, to which it is closely tied, perpetuate decades of failed privatization and persistent under funding of the University and of public higher education more generally. At UC and as compared to both 1990-1991 and 2000-2001, total per student expenditures for instruction and the State general fund contribution to per student instruction are sharply down while the inflation-adjusted contributions from students through tuition and fees are 70% higher than they were in 2000-2001 and 135% higher than they were in 1990-1991. Students and their families are paying more and getting less.

It has become conventional “wisdom” that this continuing decline is inevitable and that viable alternatives do not exist.

The report The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s MASTER PLAN for Higher Education demonstrates that there is an affordable alternative that restores public higher education in California.

“It turns out that keeping the full promise of the Master Plan-returning the state’s investment per CSU and UC student to 2000 levels (inflation-adjusted); eliminating tuition and fees for all in-state UC, CSU and CCC students; and funding seats for qualified California high-school graduates now refused access to the system-is affordable.”

“California’s two-decade experiment in privatizing higher education has failed, as it has failed in the rest of the country. Top-quality, accessible and appropriate higher education that affords opportunity to all California students has been replaced with a system that restricts access, costs students more and compromises educational quality. Exploding student debt constricts students’ futures and harms the economy as a whole. It is entirely feasible to reinstate California’s proven success in public higher education. Several reasonable funding options can be mixed and matched to make the costs remarkably low for almost all California families. Our state has the means and the opportunity. Will we recover our political will and vision?”

This report was produced by the Reclaim California Higher Education coalition, which includes the Council of University of California Faculty Associations and other organizations dedicated to affordable, accessible, and excellent public higher education in California.

A Statement of Principles for Choosing New University of California Chancellors

The Davis Faculty Association, as part of the larger Council of UC Faculty Associations, has drafted the following statement of principles concerning the hiring of new UC Chancellors.

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A University of California Chancellor must be committed both to broad access to university education and to scholarly excellence, and have a proven record of support for the value of public education. A Chancellor must recognize that, despite increases in fundraising for specific projects, efforts at privatization have failed to sustain the University’s central mission of education, research, and service for the people of California. In addition to providing intellectual vision and integrity, the Chancellor should demonstrate accountability to the principles and the public mission of the university.

To be forthright and transparent in dealings with the UC community and the public, the Chancellor must show by example the values held by the UC system:

•    By focusing on education, research, and public service, not on peripheral capital projects not directly related to the university’s primary teaching and research missions that saddle the university with high levels of debt.

•    By respecting shared governance between administration and faculty as vital to insulating academic freedom from external political and financial influence.

•    By limiting the number of out-of-state undergraduate students to maximize opportunity for Californians.

•    By reducing the number of senior managers; senior management has grown by a factor of three or four over the last 20 years while the number of faculty has remained stagnant and the number of students increased by 60%.

•    By making the administrative leadership transparent and by opening the budget to meaningful faculty review and input.

•    By implementing a cap on the salary of the Chancellor and other senior administrators, limited to a given multiplier of the lowest paid workers on campus on the grounds that a corporate salary leads to corporate attitudes, whereas a more modest salary corresponds to public service and respects the financial needs of students, faculty, and the institution.

•    By pledging not to accept any paid external board service or paid consulting with for-profit entities.

•    By developing new community outreach programs, involving the teaching and research role of campus faculty and students and, more generally, elevating the contributions of UC to the people of California.

Accordingly, the process of choosing the Chancellor should be open to the university community:

•    The short list of candidates selected by the search committee and forwarded to the President should be publicly discussed. The candidates should be invited to campus for public presentations and comments from the university community should be debated by the search committee.

•    The President and Regents should make their decision after consultation with the Academic Senate to ensure a candidate the whole campus supports.

Council of University of California Faculty Associations (September 29, 2016) info@cucfa.org

Alarming Changes to UC Regent’s Governance Structure

Today the Regents voted on sweeping changes to the way the University of California is governed.  The following articles describe some of the significance and context of this vote.

Regents Propose Centralization Without Real Justification, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, by Michael Meranze, Remaking the University

Alarming Changes to UC Regent’s Governance Structure,  July 19, 2016, Robert Meister as posted on the Council of U.C. Faculty Associations’ (CUCFA) website.

Meet your legislators

Bill Dodd currently represents the Davis area in the state Assembly, and Mariko Yamada was his immediate predecessor in that role. Both have volunteered to speak to DFA members about their experiences in the state Assembly, attitudes of legislators about UC, and about what state legislators can do to help UC. Both Dodd and Yamada are running for a state Senate seat in a race one of them will likely win, so it is important we let them know what our concerns are.

We have created an open Google Doc where people can brainstorm possible questions/ topics for discussion at: bit.ly/1StKYgH. We welcome your submissions.

Meet Bill Dodd, April 22nd at noon, in Sproul Hall room 912.
Meet Mariko Yamada, April 29th at noon, in Sproul Hall room 912.

We Supports the UC Academic Senate Resolution Rejecting the “2016 Tier Pension Plan”

On February 10, 2016, the Assembly of the Academic Senate of the University of California adopted the following resolution and sent it to UC President Janet Napolitano:

The Assembly rejects the imposition of the PEPRA cap on the University of California and the discontinuation of the current pension plan in the absence of any plan or program to fund or to provide compensating increases in total remuneration, so as to prevent harming the mission of the University of California by eroding its ability to recruit and retain the best faculty. [1]

The Council of UC Faculty Associations strongly supports this resolution and calls on President Napolitano and the UC Regents to reject this disastrous, ill-conceived and unnecessary plan.

Background:

In fall 2015, President Napolitano and Governor Jerry Brown, the so-called Committee of Two, engaged in private talks about UC’s budget and pension plan. As part of their negotiations, Napolitano agreed to a new “2016 tier” to UC’s retirement plan that would limit the amount of covered compensation that can be used in calculating retirement income based on the 2013 Public Employee’s Reform Act (PEPRA) legislation ($117,020 in 2016), which was designed to address instability and the high cost of the California Employee’s Pension System (CalPERS). In response to Napolitano and Brown’s deal, the Regents appointed a Retirement Options Task Force (ROTF) that proposed two plans for a new 2016 tier. [2]

The proposed 2016 tier and adoption of the PEPRA cap would create inferior retirement options for future faculty (who are more likely to be women or under-represented minorities), create a two-tier retirement system and further undermine total compensation for faculty. The proposals will greatly weaken the University’s ability to recruit and retain the top faculty, undermine UC’s ability to make the competitive offers necessary to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members, and increase inequities between the UC campuses while doing little to address the unfunded liability of UC Retirement Plan.

In addition, the process that led to the decision to adopt the PEPRA cap and institute a new retirement tier lacked transparency, careful deliberation, and adequate consultation with the Senate.

We continue to collect UC employee signatures in opposition to these proposed changes at: http://www.protectmypension.org/

 

[1] The full text of the resolution: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/AssemblyPensionResolution2-10-16.pdf

The full Academic Senate letter and divisional reports on the new retirement plan: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/DH_JN_ROTF_2-12-16.pdf

[2] For an analysis of the proposals, see Celeste Langan, “Retirement plan impacts entire community,” http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/12/343390/

Chris Newfield’s talk on Feb 8 at 3 pm at Student Community Center

The Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Great Mistake: How Private-Sector Models Damage Public Universities and How They Can Recover

Christopher Newfield
Professor of Literature and American Studies – University of California, Santa Barbara

Lecture:
3 to 4:30 p.m.
Multipurpose Room, Student Community Center

Reception:
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Multipurpose Room – Patio, Student Community Center

Christopher Newfield is professor of literature and American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he spent many years involved in academic planning and budget for the UCSB and UC-systemwide senate. Much of his research is in Critical University Studies, which links his enduring concern with humanities teaching to the study of how higher education continues to be reshaped by industry and other economic forces. His most recent books on this subject are Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (2008), and Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University , 1880 — 1980 (2003). He has recently completed a new book on the post-2008 struggles of public universities to rebuild their social missions for contemporary society, to appear with Johns Hopkins University Press this fall. He blogs on higher education funding and policy at Remaking the University (http://utotherescue.blogspot.com), and writes for the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Professor Newfield will discuss how nearly all public universities now accept the conventional wisdom that the era of public funding is over. This is thought to mean that universities must commercialize, marketize, financialize, and economize. This “new normal” has polarized observers: most senior officials assert that higher tuition, continuous fundraising, corporate partnerships, and sports enterprise support the public mission; faculty critics say the university will then no longer support independent thought. But both positions assume that private-sector changes will make universities more efficient. On this point, both positions are wrong: private sector “reforms” are not the cure for the college cost disease, for they are the college cost disease. This lecture offers an overview of how privatizing public colleges has made them more expensive for students while lowering their educational value, and will outline more-productive policy directions.

Petition opposing changes to the UC retirement plan

The Davis Faculty Association, via the Council of UC Faculty Associations, is a member of the UC Union Coalition. A Union Coalition petition in opposition to detrimental changes to UC pension benefits is available here:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

Please read it and consider joining in the opposition to changes that would harm the quality of the university.

Some background material about this issue:

Following unfortunate developments in the Governor Brown/President Napolitano Committee of Two, the Governor’s budget May revise, and the final State budget, the 2016 Retirement Options Task Force has been working to modify key elements of retirement benefits for faculty and other employees hired after June 30, 2016. The Task Force sent its report to President Napolitano on Dec. 15, 2015. The report will be widely released on January 15.

Although we have not seen the report, the information that is currently available indicates that it will recommend changes that are detrimental to the University and to future employees. In particular, it will concede to the President’s decision in the Committee of Two to impose a lower cap on pensionable income for future employees. This will likely be only partly compensated for by a defined contribution supplemental plan.

Available information also indicates that the report fails to oppose the offering of a full defined contribution plan, which new employees can select rather than the current defined benefits of the UC Retirement Plan.

We have already written about the harm that will be done to the University if these changes are adopted:

http://cucfa.org/2015/11/uc-task-force-considering-pension-cuts/

By reducing total compensation, these proposals will reduce the ability of UC to recruit and retain top quality faculty and staff.

Please consider objecting to these changes by signing the petition at:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

Master Plan Conference in Sacramento Sept. 26

You are no doubt aware that public higher education in California is founded on the ambitious 1960’s era Master Plan for Higher Education. Unfortunately, this plan was never fully funded by the state, and the ambitions of the plan have been greatly eroded in recent years.

In order to try to raise awareness of the history of California’s Master Plan among educators and policy makers in Sacramento, a coalition of public higher education supporters is holding a one day conference in Sacramento on September 26th. I highly recommend you try to attend this conference if at all possible. Registration is a modest $25. You can let me know you are attending by emailing DFA staff at info@cucfa.org.

Some further information about the conference is below, and the latest details will be available at the conference website.

Sincerely,
Richard Scalettar,
Davis Faculty Association Chair

STRATEGIC PLANNING CONFERENCE: Higher Education for a New Generation

As our public higher education systems raise tuition and accept fewer students in the face of chronic state underfunding, concerned citizens across California know that now is the time to stop the decline of our public colleges and universities. Providing our students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest potential is the surest way to keep our state economically competitive in the decades to come. We invite students, faculty, staff, and all Californians who are concerned about the future of California’s public high education to join us in planning for a brighter future for today’s and tomorrow’s students.

PLEASE JOIN US! Saturday, Sept 26th, 2015 * 8 am to 5 pm (8-9 am is registration) at Capitol Plaza Halls, Temple Ballroom, 1025 9th Street, Sacramento.

REGISTER HERE

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.

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