Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Got Cultural Change?

Yes, UC is resistant to change-yes, UC is full of professional foot draggers- that is the problem!!! We have to be truthful, even when it is really painful to say it.
From my own experience-- I have to say that at UC there is indeed " 'cultural' support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks" and far worse-- I guess we will just have to agree to disagree with Chris Newfield's comments to the contrary- see his post below at the bottom--

Anyway, below is a compilation of posts about the supposed $500 million dollar savings UC hopes to achieve and present at tomorrow's UC Regents meeting.

We have questions though:

Does the $500 million savings include savings on avoiding future legal fees and payments that could be paid out in future years to students, alumni, patients, staff etc for data security "issues", breaches, identity theft, HIPAA fines etc. due to educational IT security incidents? Are they projecting future savings in part based on what they have had to pay out thus far without the necessary streamlining of enterprise systems? Or are they solely talking about administrative costs, software purchases, and IT staff etc?

And are the Regents going to fund a system-wide Data Stewardship-Security Council to monitor the security of these new streamlined system-wide HR and financial systems? A Stewardship Council that is not housed at UCOP or funded by UCOP directly. Wouldn't it be great to have a Data Stewardship Security Council that has students, staff, alumni, faculty on it -- a sort of watchdog group that the Regents fund and that is impartial and unbiased and looking out for the interests and privacy rights of the entire community?! Up to this point, such groups have been headed up by IT and other senior admin types who may not be the best judge and jury of their own work-- if you get my drift... How 'bout it Regents?

University of California Plans to Slash Spending
May 18, 2010

By CARI TUNA

The University of California was set to unveil plans for a sweeping financial and administrative overhaul that could reduce annual operating expenses by more than $500 million, as the much-scrutinized public university system moves to deal with a widening budget shortfall.

Under the efficiency plan, which will be presented at a UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, the system intends to streamline, consolidate and standardizeoperations across its 10 campuses. Among other things, UC plans to roll out common supply-procurement and human-resources systems to replace individual campus systems.

Other measures include accelerating energy-efficiency projects, consolidating information-technology operations and loaning campuses money for equipment leases in lieu of more-costly third-party loans.

The overhaul followed steps taken by universities nationwide to cut administrative fat amid falling state funding and withering endowments.

In total, UC’s plan was expected to save more than $500 million from its $20 billion annual budget within five years of implementation, including at least $100 million from supply procurement, UC officials said.

The plan will also result in administrative job cuts, though officials declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated, citing the early state of the restructuring.

“We’re forced to make some fundamental changes in the way this place operates,” said Peter Taylor, UC’s finance chief. “We don’t have a choice.”

[UCCUTS]

Robin Garrell, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and chair of its faculty body, welcomed an operational overhaul. “This is an area where there certainly are opportunities to save money with little impact on academic programs,” Prof. Garrell said. But, she added, “I would be wary of a one-size-fits all model,” especially for cutting administrative jobs, because “each campus has its own needs and character.”

Nationwide, in fiscal 2009, which began July 1, 2008, for most states, state funding for higher education fell $2.8 billion to $77.9 billion, though the drop was largely offset by $2.3 billion in stimulus funds, the State Higher Education Executive Officers, a nonprofit policy association, reported.

The UC system is closely watched as the nation’s largest university system by budget, and it has been hit particularly hard by California’s fiscal troubles.

Over the past two fiscal years, California has cut funding per student by 22% to $7,570, UC officials said. Adjusted for inflation, state funding per UC student has fallen 54% since the 1990-91 fiscal year, they said.

According to the State Higher Education group, excluding federal stimulus, total state and local funding for higher education in California fell 24% per student between the 1990-91 and 2008-09 fiscal years, compared with an 11% drop nationwide.

The budget shortfall for UC, which has around 230,000 students, has grown as a result. The budget gap is projected to rise to $1.2 billion for 2010-11 from $1 billion for the 2009-10 year, according to UC officials.

In response, UC has cut $232 million in operating costs over the past two years by laying off 1,900 workers, furloughing employees and cutting academic programs, among other measures. Some of the moves, including raising undergraduate fees 32%, have sparked student protests across the state that at times have turned violent.

Even with higher fees and a possible $305 million restoration in state funding, UC remained $237 million in the red for the coming 2010-11 fiscal year, officials said.

UC officials are considering other proposals to shore up its finances. One is to offer online courses for university credit, which drew sharp criticism from a group of UC Berkeley faculty last week.

Some fear such online courses could undermine faculty control over curricula and degrade instruction quality, said Wendy Brown, a political-science professor and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association.


source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704314904575250710618322500.html?KEYWORDS=CARI+TUNA
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U. of California to Propose Administrative Overhaul to Save $500-Million

By Josh Keller

The University of California will propose a vast administrative overhaul this week that it hopes will save more than $500-million annually in a bid to restore severe cuts in state support.

The proposal, which will be presented to the system's Board of Regents on Wednesday, seeks to reduce costs by streamlining procurement, centralizing payroll and human-resources systems, exploring the feasibility of shared research computing, and adopting other common measures across the system's 10 campuses.

The system has already cut $232-million from its $20-billion annual budget over the past two years, officials said. Within the next five years, officials hope to achieve more than $500-million in additional savings. Details of the plan were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In March, Peter J. Taylor, the university's chief financial officer, told The Chronicle that adopting common financial systems would encounter cultural resistance in such a decentralized system. "The hard part isn't identifying the opportunities," he said. "It's driving the cultural change that will have to take place."

source:

http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-California-to-Propose/65602/#lastComment


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Administrative Overhaul at UC?
So reported the Chronicle yesterday, with supposed savings of $500 million. The changes involve procurement streamlining, increased software compatibility, etc. It is presumably Regents item F3, but as of this posting there are no public materials to review.

Quite gratuitiously, "Peter J. Taylor, the university's chief financial officer, told The Chronicle that adopting common financial systems would encounter cultural resistance in such a decentralized system. 'The hard part isn't identifying the opportunities,' he said. "It's driving the cultural change that will have to take place.'

UC has been talking about things like regularizing computer systems (e.g. for payroll) for 20 years. The obstacles have been No Coordination - these are complicated operational problems that require long-term effort from UCOP - and No Money. It's true that campus offices don't like unfunded mandates from on high, but contrary to CFO Taylor's remark, there is no "cultural" support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks.

On the other hand, there is a need for central administration finally to follow through on their talk, which will also entail that they not foolishly imply at the start of a process that the campus personnel who will implement any changes have been causing the problem by dragging their feet. Several of UCOP's most vocal figures now routinely address everyone below the rank of senior manager with a reflexive, defensive, arrogance that makes them look pretty silly while reducing the chances that even worthy programs will succeed.
Posted by Chris Newfield at 6:24 AM

http://utotherescue.blogspot.com/2010/05/administrative-overhaul-at-uc.html

Saturday, May 15, 2010

University of BP

Let us remember what is happening in the Gulf Coast -- to all the wildlife and innocent bystanders -- and let us also remember this warning from a couple of years ago, now that we no longer have our rose coloured glasses on:

Big Oil buys Berkeley

The BP-UC Berkeley research deal pushes academic integrity aside for profit.
By Jennifer Washburn JENNIFER WASHBURN is a fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of "University Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education."

March 24, 2007

ON FEB.1, the oil giant BP announced that it had chosen UC Berkeley, in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to lead the largest academic-industrial research alliance in U.S. history. If the deal is approved, BP will give $500 million over 10 years to fund a new multidisciplinary Energy Biosciences Institute devoted principally to biofuels research.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, UC administrators and BP executives immediately proclaimed the alliance — which is not yet a done deal — a victory for higher education and for the environment. But here's another way to see it. For a mere $50 million a year, an oil company worth $250 billion would buy a chunk of America's premier public research institutions, all but turning them into its own profit-making subsidiary.

This is shameful. The core mission of Berkeley is education, open knowledge exchange and objective research, not making money or furthering the interests of a private firm. In the last two decades, however, Cal and other universities — increasingly desperate for research dollars — have signed agreements that fail to protect their essential independence, allowing corporations excessive control over their research.

The BP deal magnifies this trend. Most corporations sponsor university research one study and one lab at a time. With the Energy Biosciences Institute, BP would exert influence over an entire academic research center (spanning 25 labs at its three public partners), bankrolling and setting the agenda for projects that cut across many departments.

What's more, BP would set up shop on campus: 50 scientists employed by the company would work on joint projects with academic scientists at Berkeley and the University of Illinois. BP also would set up private labs on these campuses, where all the research would be proprietary and confidential.

Robert Reich, former secretary of labor and now a professor of public policy at Berkeley, has warned that — because of its size and commercial scope — the BP alliance could be either "a huge feather in Berkeley's cap or a huge noose around Berkeley's neck." The question is, do rules and practices set up to safeguard academic integrity and independence stand up to a corporate deal of this magnitude?

The fine print of the plan, which UC made public only after it was leaked, doesn't create much confidence. Californians need to know that their public university is dedicated to pursuing the best science, not just science that generates profits for BP. Unfortunately, the plan indicates that narrow commercial criteria could guide much of the Energy Biosciences Institute's research.

Normally, even when university research is corporate sponsored, professors alone direct and shape it. Often, funds are assigned and research proposals are accepted through an independent, peer-review process. In the BP deal, however, the institute — with a director to be "proposed" by BP and other high-level positions to be filled by BP employees or appointees — would play a major role in setting research agendas and controlling purse strings. The plan touts the company's role: BP's "business industry leadership will strongly differentiate the EBI from other primarily academic research enterprises."

The plan also would hand unusual control to BP in other areas. A bedrock principle of academia is that campus-based research should be published. That's why Berkeley bans classified military research from campus; the open exchange of information is fundamental to the advancement of science and education. But those 50 BP scientists on campus would, according to the plan, have "no obligation to publish."

Universities also, as a rule, hold the intellectual property rights in their research, no matter how it's funded. In order to foster competition and innovation, they generally allow more than one company to use their discoveries for commercial purposes. This plan allows BP to co-own intellectual property in some instances and to receive exclusive (albeit time-limited) commercial licenses as well. The plan itself notes that such terms "deviate from standard policy" and "require exceptions to policy in order to be implemented."

Ultimately, there is an even more basic question to consider. Would the institutionalization of BP at Berkeley call into question the essential objectivity of the research generated by the collaboration? BP is clearly investing its $500 million not just in public-good research; it's hoping to advance an energy source it's already committed to commercially. Given that there is nothing in the plan that calls for truly independent selection of research proposals, can the Energy Biosciences Institute be trusted to pursue research that might prove that biofuels are the wrong alternative-energy choice? Would its social sciences arm freely investigate potential ecological and economic downsides?

UC President Robert Dynes has characterized the BP deal in telling words. "It is my belief," he said, "that we are reinventing the research university in this public-private partnership."

Five hundred million dollars is a nice chunk of change, but does any amount of money justify "reinventing" UC Berkeley's academic integrity? That's what UC officials should ask themselves before they sign this deal.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-washburn24mar24,0,6286060.story


P.S. the deal was signed...

http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-11-15/bay-area/17268477_1_uc-berkeley-oil-giant-bp-energy-biosciences-institute

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salaries Responsible for Budget Gap

Salaries Responsible for Budget Gap
Excessive Administrative Compensation Packages Demand Stricter State Oversight
By Travis Donselman
Special to the Daily Cal
Monday, May 10, 2010

While corruption can be found in all three of California's public higher education systems, the University of California can add this as another area in which it is No. 1-at least according to the California state auditor's office.

The amount of the University budget gap is half of the $1 billion or so the University doles out to its 3,650 employees who earn $200,000 a year or more. To put this in perspective, that means for each UC campus 365 people earn more than 96 percent of Californians. It also means that the "severe financial challenges," as the UC Office of the President likes to call its budget problems, are as much a product of Oakland as Sacramento.

Arguments about being competitive are as bankrupt as the UC professes to be. By selectivity, the UC Riverside's business school ranks below San Diego State's and just above Cal State San Bernardino's. Yet the $370,000 salary of the UCR business school dean is more than what the president of either campus makes. It is hundreds of thousands more than what these schools' business deans make. But we can always take President Yudof's word for it that his people are underpaid, as he claimed in his speech to the Regents in support of the fee increase...

Or we can take that of the state auditor, which released a scathing report, "University of California: Stricter Oversight and Greater Transparency are Needed to Improve Its Compensation Practices." We could also accept President Yudof's further claim that executives are not receiving pay increases were it not that the minutes from the Board of Regents meeting on July 16 show that among the executives getting perks was Mark Yudof himself!

An anachronistic constitutional amendment makes the UC autonomous of the state while giving it the benefits - public money, public land - that come with being a part of the state. As a result, it is one of five public universities without oversight and easily, the least accountable. Logic would suggest repealing that amendment. That is what Senator Leland Yee sought to do when he introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 21. "They are a state institution, a public institution. But because of the way the constitution is structured, it gives them that independence

(from oversight)," Lee told the Bay Area's own KTVU.

To be sure, legislative oversight comes with its own set of problems, the most obvious of which is a dysfunctional legislature. To this, there are no quick retorts except to note that the legislature wouldn't be running the UC. Far from usurping day-to-day operations, legislators would have power to veto fee and pay increases and investigate scandals, such as that involving current UC Berkeley administrator Linda Williams last year, where school officials admitted to misleading the public about her severance package, when she swapped one UC job for another.

The CSU and Community College systems already have oversight. Certainly, the (relative) absence of graft in these systems - by the state auditor's reckoning - is reason enough to give Yee's proposal thought. Something, after all, is undoubtedly rotten in Oakland when a university spends only $3 billion a year on instruction, out of a $20 billion budget.

You would think it was just a simple case of greed and dishonesty, but President Yudof's ... lapses ... of memory and blatant disregard of the facts is getting to the point of being almost scary. Dishonesty or insanity I know not, but when Mark Yudof starts pontificating, as he did at the fee increase vote, that, "These recommendations for the fee increase are painful, but as a leader it is important for me to be truthful and direct," you have to start wondering if the Freudians in the house aren't thinking "Hometown Buffet," or whatever it is they think when they see someone who is either an �ber-hypocrite or an obvious whack job.

Mark Yudof is right on one point. "There's a lot of disinformation out there," as he said. He would know. Most of it comes from him.

source: http://www.dailycal.org/article/109408/salaries_responsible_for_budget_gap_