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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

News and Updates

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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Starving the beast

4:30pm, Thursday, April 13
Art Annex main room

“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.”

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DFA Statement on Betsy DeVos Nomination

Jan. 26, 2017

“The nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education raises alarms that the new administration will fail to support college access and affordability for millions of current and future college students. Her nomination signals a blatant disregard for not only the magnitude of college debt plaguing our students but also the widespread fraud that has been exposed in the for-profit sector across the country. It also reveals an irresponsible resistance to protecting students from sexual assault, gun violence, ensuring the rights of immigrants, and students with disabilities. […]”

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UC Davis: New Chancellor and L&S Dean

Likely you are all well-informed about the recent announcements of a new Chancellor for our campus and a new Dean for a restructured and, to some extent, reunified College of Letters and Science.

Chancellor-designate Gary May

Dean Elizabeth Spiller

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Video of the “Future of the University” Chris Newfield’s presentation 

on 2/1/2017 at Berkeley

Professor Christopher Newfield, UC Santa Barbara, speaking on The future of the public University. His February 1, 2017, talk is based on his recent book “The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them.”

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CUCFA President Stan Glantz met with UC President Janet Napolitano on Feb. 7, 2017.

They discussed the “$48 Fix” and the CUCFA letter to President Napolitano about President Trump’s Executive Order (see item below).

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CUCFA Letter to President Napolitano about President Trump’s Executive Order

Feb. 7, 2017

“Dear President Napolitano,

“We applaud your clear denunciation of President Trump’s executive order restricting the ability of individuals from certain countries to re-enter the US as ‘contrary to the values we hold dear as leaders of the University of California.’ We also applaud the reaffirmation of UCOP’s commitment ‘to support all members of the UC community who are impacted by this executive action.” We see this as a natural and necessary extension of your November 30 statement committing UC to “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community and will direct its police departments not to undertake joint efforts with any government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.’ […]”

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CUCFA Support for SB-201 allowing UC GSRs to unionize

Feb. 21, 2017

“Re: UC Faculty Support SB-201 (Skinner)

“Dear Senator Skinner,

“We of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) wish to alert you to the fact that many faculty support SB 201 (Skinner), which would allow UC’s Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) to unionize. We affirm the right of all employees to organize and we also affirm the importance of Graduate Student Researchers helping to shape the contract stipulating conditions of their work. […]”

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Creating a Debt Free College Program

January 2017

Legislative Analyst’s Office report considers design and cost of a “Debt Free College” Program.

“The Supplemental Report of the 2016-17 Budget Act directs our office to provide the Legislature with options for creating a new state financial aid program intended to eliminate the need for students to take on college debt. The reporting language envisions a program under which the state covers all remaining college costs (tuition and living expenses) after taking into account available federal grants, an expected parent contribution, and an expected student contribution from work earnings. Though not specified in the reporting language, our understanding of the intent is for the program to focus on resident undergraduate students attending public colleges in California.”

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Political Litmus Tests Have No Place in Higher Ed

The following statement was released Feb. 24,2017 by Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP president, and Hank Reichman, AAUP first vice-president and chair of Committee A on Academic Freedom.

“Shortly after the 2016 election, the AAUP warned that we could be facing the greatest threat to academic freedom since the McCarthy period. It now appears that such a warning was not misplaced. Extremists in the administration, Congress, and several state houses have created an atmosphere in which “alternative facts” reign supreme, and which encourages the introduction of legislation that threatens the core principles of our democracy.

“The latest examples of extreme legislation come from Iowa and North Carolina. In Iowa, a bill has been introduced that would prohibit the hiring of a professor or instructor at a public university or college if his or her most recent party affiliation would “cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent” the percentage of the faculty belonging to the other dominant party.

“In North Carolina, legislation (since tabled) was introduced that would require tenure-track and tenured faculty members to “reflect the ideological balance of the citizens of the state,” so that no campus “shall have a faculty ideological balance of greater or less than 2 percent of the ideological balance” of North Carolinians. […]”

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Remaking the University: Higher Education after the Inauguration
Feb. 27, 2017
Michael Meranze

“The month since the inauguration has made it crystal clear that universities and colleges are going to face a wide range of challenges and attacks in the next few years. […]

“It is important to recognize one thing as we contend with this new era: the now traditional tendency of colleges and universities to mirror and incorporate the leading trends of the contemporary business and financial order will not protect its core functions of teaching and research. […]

“Colleges and universities will have to confront more directly their own role in the increasing inequality of American society. […]

“A new social contract that preserves access, funds quality, and ensures academic and intellectual autonomy must be developed and fought for. […]

“Until, and unless, higher education can reclaim a social purpose beyond return on investment it will be blow in the wind in the face of the challenges of the present moment.”

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UC Structural budget issues: State funding short-fall, tuition increases, and non-resident enrollment.

Although the California budget and UC budget discussions are relatively low-key this year, there remain fundamental, unsolved structural problems. One manifestation of these appeared in the UC Davis 2020 Update reported upon in our previous newsletter. The State insists that UC enroll more California undergraduates, while it refuses to fund them and works to limit both non-resident enrollment and resident tuition. The implication is that UC quality is not among the State’s highest priorities. Recent statements from the Systemwide Senate leadership take the opposite tack of putting funding, whatever its source, first.

Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant Remarks to the University of California Board of Regents January 2017

Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant Remarks to the University ofCalifornia Board of Regents September 2016

Thus the Regents, the Office of the President, and the Senate are each in their own way inside-the-box enablers of the State’s addictive habit of underfunding of the University. For an alternative, see The $48 Fix.

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Regents Agenda Item B4 for Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017 ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICY ON NONRESIDENT STUDENT ENROLLMENT

“The President of the University recommends that the Regents adopt the following Policy on Nonresident Student Enrollment, effective beginning with the fall 2017 entering class:

[…]

“3. Nonresident undergraduates will continue to be enrolled in addition to, rather than in place of, funded California undergraduates at each campus. That is, campuses wishing to increase nonresident enrollment may not reduce enrollment of funded California students to accommodate this growth.

“4. For the University of California system as a whole, and at every campus that currently enrolls less than twenty percent of its undergraduates from outside California, California residents shall continue to represent a minimum of eighty percent of all undergraduate students.

“5. For individual campuses whose nonresident undergraduate enrollment (including new freshman and transfer students and continuing students) in academic year 2016-17 exceeds twenty percent of total undergraduate enrollment, the proportion of nonresident undergraduates enrolled in the future may not exceed the proportion in 2016-17. On these campuses, any growth in the number of nonresident undergraduates enrolled will be accompanied by, at minimum, a proportionate increase in enrollment of California resident undergraduates.”

[…]

LA Times
UC proposes its first enrollment cap – 20% – on out-of-state students

“Last year, lawmakers threatened to hold back $18.5 million if the public university system did not put a cap on students from outside California. On Monday, UC finally acted, proposing a 20% systemwide limit on nonresident undergraduate enrollment and vowing to continue to give Californians top priority. Nonresident students numbered 34,673 in fall 2016, 16.5% of the system’s 210,170 undergraduates. The limit would be the first of its kind for the 10-campus public research university. But UC officials hope it will be enough to get state officials to release the funds. […]

“Faculty members are not enthusiastic, said UC Academic Senate Chairman James Chalfant. They oppose an ‘arbitrary quota,’ he said, that could force UC to turn away the best and the brightest and forgo additional needed dollars. The group has presented an alternative that would impose enrollment limits only on campuses at which the expansion of nonresident students hurts Californians and only after UC is given enough funding to maintain its quality.

“‘We do understand why this is happening,’ Chalfant said. ‘But we’re disappointed because we think the conversation should be about how those [nonresident] revenues benefit all students, rather than some fixed number.’ […]

“Under the proposal, which the UC Board of Regents will consider next week, the system’s three most popular campuses would be allowed to keep but not increase their proportions of nonresident undergraduates – 24.4% at UC Berkeley, 22.9% at UC San Diego and 22.8% at UCLA, Klein said. The proportion of nonresident students at the other campuses ranges from 18.9% at UC Irvine to less than 1% at UC Merced. Those campuses each would be allowed to grow up to 20% so long as the systemwide limit was not exceeded, Klein said.”

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Inside Higher Education

Could Trump Cut Berkeley’s Funds?
Feb. 3, 2017

“Experts said they don’t think the president has the authority to do so.”

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Chronicle of Higher Education
U. of California Leader Advises Patience as the Trump Era Dawns
Mar. 2, 1017

“President Trump ‘can tweet, but Congress needs to act, and those are very different things,’ [President Napolitano] said. ‘Just reiterating that message over and over again is important.’ “

“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/

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