T Notes from the Academic Senate Chair

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T Notes from the Academic Senate Chair
University of California Academic Senate
Notes from the Academic Senate Chair
William Jacob
[email protected]
Dear colleagues,
As you know, one of my duties as Chair is to
offer remarks at each Regents’ meeting. I’ve
used this forum to introduce and explain
some of the topics that are always important
to the Senate. In the fall, I spoke about the
critical role of graduate education in UC’s mission and how the UC
faculty’s teaching, research, and service roles are intertwined. In
January, I turned to the Senate’s rich shared governance tradition
of developing initiatives to improve undergraduate education, the
component of the UC mission that is most visible to California’s
citizens and political leaders. I explained that the Regents have
delegated to the Senate the authority to set the conditions for
admission, prescribe course content, and establish degree requirements, so that every aspect of an undergraduate’s academic
career at UC is in effect a Senate responsibility. At the March
meeting, I talked about research.
My not-so-hidden agenda is to provide a principled foundation for the University’s engagement with California legislators as
they enter the national conversation about the value of higher
education. A major element in this conversation is accountability
metrics, and our State legislature has proposed new
“performance measures” for the University. The metrics relate to
such indicators as time-to-degree, the university’s relationship to
K-12, access and diversity, and transfer. As the University’s faculty, we must join this conversation by reasserting the importance
of public values and emphasizing the strategies already tested
and found to work.
Q&A with
President Napolitano
he Senate Source recently asked
President Napolitano, who completed her sixth month as UC President on March 30, for her views on some
of the most important issues facing the
Senate Source: What attracted you to the
position of President of the University of
President Napolitano: I have spent much
of my life in public service. As governor of
Arizona, I was a champion of the state’s
public universities, and I became familiar
with higher education issues nationally as
chair of the National Governors Association. After serving as a Cabinet secretary for more than four years, I was asked by a search firm
if I might be interested in being a candidate for the presidency of
the University of California system. As I learned about the mission,
accomplishments, complexities and needs of the UC system, I came
to believe I could make a difference as the president of this great
university. The prospect of making a difference within an institution
that has such great impact – from California to the nation and
across the world – is what attracted me to the UC presidency.
What was notable in your interactions with faculty during your campus visits?
Over the past 15 years, UC’s four-year graduation rate has increased from 45% to 60%, and the two-year rate for transfers has
grown from 30% to 50%. These changes are partly the result of
increased selectivity in admissions, but they also result from multiple collaborations between the Senate and the administration.
Jointly, we developed admission requirements that identify students who can succeed; established requirements and academic
support systems for adequate progress; ensured that prerequisites are based on realistic assessments of what students need
to know in order to succeed at the next level; and provided access
to required classes, including in summer sessions. These projects
constitute the regular workload of divisional Senate admissions
committees and undergraduate councils, groups who need to
inform our future efforts.
I hope that Senate colleagues will continue to insist that the
college experience should not necessarily follow a straight and
predictable path, and that we must preserve opportunities for
students to study a broad array of subjects, change majors, and
take extra time to realize their academic passions. A century ago,
the nation took a great leap forward by making high school education a basic goal for all. But perceived “workforce needs” placed
Seeing faculty in action, in classrooms and labs, was invaluable. I
found the reach and quality of faculty work amazing and inspiring. I
learned a lot about the depth and breadth of the university’s teaching and research missions from our conversations. I was struck by
how much of our faculty’s work is interdisciplinary. And I quickly
came to appreciate the faculty commitment to service, community
and shared governance.
Continued on page 4
Continued on page 2
What would you like to address and achieve before the end of your
first year? Has this changed since you took office on September
30? How can the Senate help you attain these goals?
At the top of my list is a long-term budget agreement with the state.
Fiscal stability is essential for ensuring excellence across the board.
That will require a combination of efficiencies, adequate state funding and predictable tuition levels. Successful implementation of the
initiatives I have launched is also a critical priority. I’m excited about
a new initiative aimed at strengthening relationships between UC
and Mexico.
Since becoming president, I have come to value the importance of shared governance. I rely on Senate insights and assistance in accomplishing shared goals. Two examples of productive
collaboration: the Senate’s central role in the rapid response to the
Moreno Report and George Johnson’s co-chairmanship of the Transfer Action Team.
Access the
the Senate
Senate Source
Source online
online at
at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/news/source/
Continued from page 1
What do you consider to be the major issues and challenges facing the University over the next 5 to 10 years? How can the Senate
help address these challenges?
Cost, capacity and community encompass some of our greatest
challenges as we fortify the University of California’s ability to teach
for California and research for the world. A major challenge, as
always, is to ensure that UC has the resources necessary to support the faculty’s excellent teaching and research. We also must
control costs to keep a UC education affordable for students
across the economic spectrum and expand capacity. Technology
can – and will – expand capacity and, if wisely implemented, improve learning.
Challenges facing the world are our challenges, too: sustainability, social mobility, the role of technology, and health. These are
challenges we should and will take up on behalf of California, our
nation and the world.
The legislature tends to be interested primarily in undergraduate
education. How do you plan to convey to the legislature and the
public the value of graduate education and UC’s research mission?
We must be prepared to fight every day to protect and nurture excellence. Graduate education and research are foundational to UC
as one of the leading public research universities. Yet too few Californians are aware of the benefits of UC research, or of the centrality of graduate education to the research mission, and the impact
of both to the undergraduate experience. One effective way to
make the research mission real to policy makers is to take researchers to them. In March, for example, I joined Nobel laureate
Randy Schekman of UC Berkeley and other faculty and graduate
researches in meeting with legislators as part of UC Graduate Research Day in Sacramento. We have to tell our story over and over,
in many different ways. We’re doing that, and looking, always, for
better ways to communicate the impact of UC teaching and research.
The Senate views the student-faculty ratio as a cornerstone measure of excellence, and is concerned that the ratio has been rising
as campuses struggle to recruit and replace faculty in proportion
to growing student numbers. How can we ensure this measure of
quality is maintained?
Growing our faculty is among our highest priorities, and it is part of
our efforts to make sure as many resources as possible are focused on the core missions of the University – education, research
and service. Part of this is achieving efficiencies wherever possible
with regard to other costs.
In your view as of now, how can the University continue to fulfill its
commitment to the Master Plan provision to admit 12.5% of the
state’s public high school graduates in the face of severe State
budget cuts? What do you see as the implications if UC supports
enrollments that are not consistent with state funding?
UC has been a good soldier in continuing to honor the Master Plan
commitment without commensurate funding. Now it’s time for the
state to do its part by increasing enrollment funding. This is a very
high priority in our current budget work. As evidenced by the Assembly budget proposal, it’s a high priority for many members of
the Legislature as well. Beyond funding for the students we already
have, we need to make the case to the state that building capacity
is essential. I look forward to working with the other segments of
California higher education to make this case.
What are your priority goals for your transfer initiative? What is
your current thinking about how you will work with the Senate to
achieve these goals? Has this evolved since you arrived at UC?
I’ve been very impressed by how the Senate has stepped up on this
issue, with George Johnson co-chairing our transfer action team. Senate Chair Bill Jacob has been a consistent supporter of transfer education, and is very effective on these issues in Sacramento. My goal is to
make the transfer process smoother for students and increase their
overall success. In addition, I'd like to broaden the number of colleges
that we draw from, to increase opportunity for students and to bring
more of the rich diversity in the community college system into UC. One
area of joint interest to the Senate is continued work on streamlining
requirements so that students can prepare for multiple UC campuses
and even for CSU without duplicated or unnecessary coursework. Here
we need to balance the desire for simplicity with the importance of
sound preparation. Our transfer students need to enter prepared to
graduate, and to graduate in a reasonable time frame. But I think we
can simplify our requirements without sacrificing those goals. So I will
be looking to the Senate for help on that.
In the context of UC’s federated structure, what can you do as President to support a diverse student and faculty population at UC?
I hope I can help by being a champion and advocate for our values and
by being a very visible spokesperson for the importance of higher education. I can also seed new ideas – something I’m trying to do, for example, with the one-time funding I provided to expand services to undocumented students and to provide additional support for graduate
students and post-doctoral fellows pursuing diversity-oriented research. I believe the transfer initiative will provide other opportunities
to expand access. We hope these steps will help increase diversity.
UC’s decentralization is a strength: It means we have sources of innovation, of good ideas and good programs. From OP we can identify
strong programs and best practices on all of the campuses and help
spread those to other locations.
In your time at UC so far, have you formed any expectations about
consultation with the Senate? What do you hope for from active consultation with the Senate?
I am always enriched by my consultation with the Senate. Hearing from
those who are actually doing the instruction and research that are the
heart of our institution is critical. And, of course, I defer to the Senate
on matters relating to instruction, curriculum, the evaluation of academic merit and all the other areas that are squarely within the domain of the faculty. We will likely disagree from time to time. But even
in those cases, I am better for hearing faculty opinions. ■
President Napolitano is sharing monthly email messages with faculty,
staff, and students to help foster ongoing dialogue with the UC community. The monthly emails will give the president an opportunity to
share her views on important issues facing the university. They will
also allow faculty, staff and students to hear directly from her and
engage with her regularly.
Faculty, staff and students began receiving a one-time email
invitation in late January to opt in to the monthly messages. Ongoing
receipt of the monthly email is voluntary; and recipients can opt out at
any time. Employees who may have missed the president’s invitation
may sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://www.ucop.edu/
Campus Senates to have
Critical Role in Analyzing
Climate Survey Results
enate leaders were standing by on March 19 when Provost
Aimée Dorr and Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity,
and Inclusion Gibor Basri briefed the Regents on the data produced by UC’s massive campus climate study. The data
[campusclimate.ucop.edu) for all ten UC campuses, the Office of the
President, non-campus Agriculture and Natural Resources locations,
and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was released simultaneously with the presentation to the Regents. Only a very small group of
administrators—and even fewer Senate leaders—had seen the data
before it was public, and the work of analyzing it is just beginning.
Concurrent with the release of the data compiled by the consultant who conducted the survey in identical formats for every location,
the 13 location heads issued a joint statement in which they pledged
“to create and nurture in every corner of the University … an ethos of
respect for others and inclusion of all.” They characterized the survey
as “a starting point, not a finish line” and looked ahead to detailed
analysis of the data at each location in order to “reinforce what is
working ... [and] also to address head-on what is not.”
Each location will use its distinctive local processes to conduct
its data analysis. Divisional Senate leaders will need to assert the
Senate’s vital interest and readiness to engage with the data, says
Academic Council chair Bill Jacob. On some campuses, he notes, the
administration has actively sought Senate involvement, even asking
Senate leaders to begin reviewing the data prior to its release, but
most Senate members first saw the data when it was released to the
public. Jacob stresses the critical role faculty play in establishing campus climate, which makes it essential that the Senate actively participate – and be seen as doing so – in shaping the campus response to
the data.
Story continues in link
Professional Degree Fee Policies
Undergo Second Round of Review
he Senate has expressed substantial concerns about a pair of
proposed policy revisions covering high-fee professional degree programs.
The concerns follow systemwide Senate reviews of the separate
but related policies on Self-Supporting Graduate Professional Degree
Programs (SSGPDPs) and Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition
(PDST) now being developed by the Academic Planning Council, a
joint Administrative-Senate body that advises the UC provost.
PDSTs are fees charged on top of regular tuition to students
enrolled in state-supported professional degree programs to support
the additional cost of those programs. SSGPDPs are graduate professional degree programs that receive no state support, and charge
fees that together with non-state sources (philanthropy, for example)
fund all the direct and indirect costs associated with the program for
the department and campus. Both programs target students seeking
professional training rather than academic Ph.D.s. SSGPDPs have
traditionally served students who are already working professionals.
Some campuses are looking at expanding the self-supporting model
as a way to generate additional revenue and serve more students.
Self-supporting programs and their fee levels are approved by
the president, while the authority to levy PDST and specific PDST levels belong to the Regents and are implemented by the president after
Regential approval.
Story continues in link
Senate Takes Leadership
Role on Transfer Issues
he Academic Senate is helping lead UC’s response to a range
of issues and concerns about community college transfer as
state policymakers, President Napolitano, and others call on
the University to make the transfer path less complex, increase the
transfer graduation rate, and expand its reach into a broader range
of community colleges.
Many of the issues reflect the Senate’s long held commitment
to the transfer path, access, diversity, and student success. Some
reach into the heart of the UC faculty’s authority over academic matters, including their responsibility for courses and curriculum and
the conditions for admission and degrees. Now, as a joint SenateAdministration Transfer Action Team prepares to issue recommendations for improving the transfer path, the Senate is reviewing its
own successes and considering ways to tackle remaining transfer
admission goals and challenges.
Some of the impetus behind the University’s recent work
around transfer comes from state policymakers who argue that it
would cost less to educate more students at community colleges
during the lower division years. Some policymakers and advocates
have also criticized UC and the other higher education segments for
not accepting more transfers or providing a clear enough path to
transfer admission. The UC Academic Senate continues to play an
active role in these conversations, informing government officials
about what the University and the Senate have done, and helping
shape new policy to ensure it has a positive impact on student access and educational quality.
In November, Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools
(BOARS) Chair George Johnson testified at a State Assembly Higher
Education Committee hearing on transfer admission together with
faculty, student, and administrative representatives from the other
higher education segments. At the hearing, the UC contingent emphasized that UC increased its commitment to enrolling community
college transfers over the last decade, despite significant budget
cuts. They also noted that the proportion of transfer students at UC
who come from underrepresented minority groups has risen, and
that transfer students at UC perform as well as four-year students
after they arrive; both groups have about an 85% graduation rate. In
February, BOARS held its regular meeting in Sacramento to discuss
current topics in transfer admissions with staff members from the
legislature, the Governor’s office and the Department of Finance.
Story continues in link
Chair Jacob speaks at the Board of Regents meeting in January 2014
Continued from page 1
many low-income students into vocational
programs, circumventing social mobility by limiting what they were
invited to learn. Today, higher education will face a similar problem
if we narrow the curriculum to speed more students through prerequisites. Expectations for increased graduation rates must be
flexible and allow for a responsible spread—not a single number.
Over the past decade, the Senate has led a series of initiatives to
update UC’s admissions policies and processes in order to move
the university away from the evaluation of applicants by grades
and test scores alone to holistic review, which considers multiple
aspects of preparation. The Board of Admissions and Relations
with Schools has brought the Regents three major initiatives: the
14 comprehensive review criteria that require campuses to judge
an applicant’s accomplishments in the context of opportunity; the
restructured eligibility policy that increases from 4% to 9% the pool
of students in each California high school guaranteed admission;
and the expectation that all UC applications receive a holistic review.
Each initiative emerged from the Senate after a process of
sustained deliberation and engagement with the administration.
Each is based on the premise that in selecting students to admit to
UC we must use every possible mechanism to identify talent. Today, UC enrolls more first generation and Pell grant students than
any selective public or private institution in the nation by a large
margin. As we continue our efforts to increase diversity, we must
recognize that much of our progress could not be sustained if we
reverted to the formulaic, numbers-driven eligibility and admissions processes of the past.
Most American universities have admission requirements similar to
UC’s, but no other system regularly reviews high school courses to
ensure they meet preparation standards. Now, a faculty-led effort
has made California the first state to align explicitly its expectations for postsecondary education preparation with the Common
Core State Standards in Mathematics and Language Arts. These
will provide greater depth in student preparation and reflect a national vision of college and career readiness. The Intersegmental
Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS) has also incorporated
these new standards into the “a-g” requirements for UC and CSU
admission, and into a joint statement of competencies in mathematics expected of entering freshmen. But these projects will take
time to perfect, and a rushed set of accountability metrics that
force us to move students through the systems quickly could derail
the progress we have made.
The legislature is taking a greater interest in transfer admission,
and we are hearing more about course articulation (the process by
which a specific course at one campus is recognized as equivalent
to a course at another). California’s three segments of higher education are decades ahead of the nation in this area. Early this year,
the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE)
was in the limelight for a moment as it announced a “passport”
project that will allow students to transfer three general education
courses across institutions in four states. This is an important accomplishment for the states involved, but I note that California did
the same thing 20 years ago – but better – when the academic
senates of the three segments, working together through ICAS,
created the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum
(IGETC). The senates work collaboratively to keep IGETC up to date,
and last year added an alternative version of IGETC for students
planning to major in STEM fields. The California legislature named
IGETC one of the two general education options for the SB 1440
Associate Degrees for Transfer. The WICHE initiative is a good
mechanism to improve transfer, but we should remember that it is
also based on a model UC pioneered two decades ago. As the state
establishes metrics for evaluating higher education, we should be
sure that these accomplishments are recognized.
As we review our work in undergraduate education, especially
as improving economic circumstances provide more support for
innovation, we should not forget what has already worked. We must
move forward deliberately, in a way that is informed by our past
successes, not hastily or reactively. The Academic Senate has
learned what works through decades of collaboration with the administration and with our colleagues in the other segments. These
insights need to be part of the renewed public conversation about
the role and direction of California higher education.
Fiat Lux, Bill
Faculty Survey on LowCost Textbooks
The California Open Educational Resources Council is working on
behalf of ICAS to increase the number of open access low-cost
textbooks for students in California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and University of California institutions.
The three UC faculty members on the Council are asking all UC
faculty to respond to an online survey about their experiences
and attitudes related to open textbook resources, by April 25.
Read more about the Council and the survey here.
Other News
► BOARS-UCOPE Statement on the Importance of Writing at UC
► UC's Capital Outlay Program, Memo from Chair Jacob to Execu-
tive Vice President Brostrom and Vice President Lenz
► UCAF’s Public Records Act/Freedom of Information Act Toolkit
Under Senate Review
Click here for a comprehensive list of current and past review items
and check the Tracking Log for the progress of all issues.
► Proposal to Amend Senate Bylaw 55 - Round 2 (Comments due
April 25, 2014)
► University of California Policy on Copyright and Fair Use
(Comments due May 21, 2014)
► Proposed Revised Whistleblower Protection Policy and Academic
Personnel Manual Section 190, Appendix A-2 (Comments due May
23, 2014)
► Proposed Revised Policy on Supplement to Military Pay - Four
Year Renewal (Comments due May 23, 2014)
► Compendium Revisions (Comments due May 23, 2014)
THE SENATE SOURCE is published periodically during the academic year by
the Systemwide Senate to inform UC faculty about the activities of the
Senate. Your comments are welcome: [email protected]
William Jacob, 2013-2014 Academic Senate Chair
Michael LaBriola, Editor
University of California Academic Senate, 1111 Franklin Street, 12th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607
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