Thursday, June 13, 2013

UC YoYo...

see: UCOP's Peter Taylor, UC CFO writes in the LA Times: "Decentralize the UC system? It's a bad idea"

it is a response to UC Professor David N. Myers, chair of the UCLA History Dept: "Cut from the top to save UC -The search for a new University of California president offers an opportunity to slim down the office's labyrinthine bureaucracy."
Kerr was a student of large organizational structures, and he discovered among them a certain pattern: "to decentralize too much and, when that did not work, to recentralize too much, and when this also did not work, to change again -- a yo-yo process in perpetuity."

Kerr's conclusion: "There is no permanent golden mean, no single point of steady equilibrium, only constant tensions and adjustments that seem to be inherent in large organizations."

"Students, faculty and campus administrators know what the most pressing challenges are. And we are our own best advocates; we know who our students are and what our faculty can accomplish. We have loyal alumni who understand the value of excellent and accessible higher education. The UC president, by contrast, is rather disengaged from the most compelling facets of campus life.

This is not to say that UCOP could or should disappear overnight. It still performs valuable tasks such as administering systemwide research collaborations, avoiding unnecessary duplication of retirement or benefit programs, assuring that new campuses such as Merced are nurtured as they mature and advocating for the UC system with the governor and Legislature. These are serious responsibilities.

Still, one could easily envision a much smaller administrative office in Oakland to oversee the key systemwide programs, as well as a skilled lobbying shop to promote the interests of the campuses in Sacramento. Alternatively, one could also imagine instead of one president, a rotating chairmanship of a Council of Chancellors that would represent the best interests of all 10 universities (not just the biggest, UCLA and Berkeley) to the governor and regents. Above all, one could imagine greater administrative and fiscal efficiency through local control."

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