Tuesday, May 20, 2014

UC Regents Compliance and Audit Committee Last Week

yes, it's highly detailed- but important stuff happens there, for instance:

Discussion of a campus (unnamed, don't know which one) that did not conduct biennial physical inventory

Regent Zettel points out one section of that campus alone has a unit with $48 million of equipment that was not inventoried according to the biennial schedule- Zettel mentions management corrections needed.

The UC controller said:
-blame it on transition in personnel
-short staffing
-no overlap in staff

There also was discussion of a lack of sub awards reporting for some research funding discovered by PWC- but they only briefly mention it- and did not list out detailed excuses for the 'why it happened'.

A couple other small items on financial aid covered in it, too.

Remember: Years ago, UC campuses hired consultants and admin to downsize via Op Ex and other similar titles at other campuses. They said that doing that work would allow for the admin to accurately pick where to cut staff, who to make into 'individual contributors', who to tap for supervisors, managers, greater efficency would be achieved. Yet, we are hearing again and again that the short staffing is causing problems for tasks that are well known, regularly scheduled at campuses...

You can see the short 'open section' of the compliance and audit meeting at the 01:13:45

(btw It looks like Lt Gov attended this section of the meeting along with part of the buildings and grounds committee that follows the compliance meeting.- So, he was there. Who knows if he talked with other regents behind the scenes about that U Penn, Callen reports on the Master Plan...)
Related to the above-- a section of a recent Remaking the University post:

As we are reminded here, despite all of the rhetoric about the "cost disease" associated with teaching, universities and colleges have been engaged in for decades in shifting their hiring from full-time tenure track faculty to part-time and full-time non-tenure track faculty. Just as striking is the documentation of the extraordinary growth of what the AAUP calles "full-time nonfaculty professional." The AAUP indicates a category "that includes buyers and purchasing agents; human resources, training, and labor relations specialists, management analysts; loan counselors; lawyers; and other nonacademic workers." Perhaps even more telling (given that it is not clear how many of these positions are filled by IT or student support personnel) is that according to at least one leading survey of administrative positions, since the late 1970s the number of administrative job titles has grown by 139% and the percentage of academic dean titles has dropped from 38 to 21%. (8)

To be sure, these categories are imprecise. But that is part of the problem. Despite the heroic efforts of Charlie Schwartz, we simply don't know the actual number of people in particular jobs on the different campuses, how many of them work directly in instructional or research support capacities, how many are front-line student services etc. And the reason we don't know that is because UC's personnel systems are not set up to make that clear.

the reference to Schwartz relates to this attempt to bring it up to President Napolitano here... (and, also remember that Napolitano has said repeatedly that she has delegated the power away to each of the Chancellors with regard to what happens at the campuses)

The faculty are unaware of the UCB SISC (staff infrastructure steering committee in the early days) initiative that had system-wide implications?, UCB career compass? Similar projects at the other campuses under different names. You can find them easy enough. No one brought it up in the comments?

The UC Path expenses have completely fallen from the radar-- Brostrom mentioned in passing in finance committee last week that UC Path is now scheduled to roll out in January 2015- it was originally scheduled to roll out in July 2013. Costs? Delay costs? No one asked. Not on the radar....

Peter Taylor and Regent Zettel already attended the launch and open house for UC Path at UCR - they did photo ops on it- but it will not launch until Jan 2015?

Admin bloat is difficult to get the numbers on - by design?
Big money goes out for these projects, bonuses are paid, people claim the completion of these projects as accomplishments while climbing the admin bloat salary ladder...but the projects-- upon completion-- don't work or fall seriously behind?

Newfield says in another post that he hears staff who talk about a state constituency that is wary, leery, resistant to full funding for public higher ed...

Perhaps if the staff who (in public comment at the UC Regents meeting last week) mentioned the job descriptions not matching job titles, lack of logs for equipment maintenance; (the death of a custodian on a lift at I house- he was cleaning the place for a posh alumni event btw); or, the staff who mention that there have been thousands of OSHA complaints system-wide since 2010; perhaps if the staff who are talking about that could be in the same room (sitting down in attendance not servicing talks, seminars) with staff who attend these talks and complain about a lack of state funding - maybe then UC would get more coherent on an approach to the state about how to fund UC and what to fund at UC. The UC community might then look less --- fill in the blank.

Seems like 'the Faculty' need to have a tool to track high priced admin projects and find out when, why,if they are or are not working properly while they launch. Some faculty for these initiatives are part of the 'stakeholder' or 'steering committee' meetings- but the information is not flowing or being picked up by the rest of the faculty (likely b/c the faculty are busy with their research). The money for those projects could go to instruction- so it is not outside their interest and certainly not outside their ken.

If there were an interactive tool that the faculty could 'drop into' to find out about major $ initiatives (the progress, completion, status, number of personnel working on it) when they have a free moment - that might be a very worthwhile thing and might improve a trust level b/ween admin and... everyone else.

But maybe the majority of faculty don't have power to do anything about it anyway.
PS There was a noticeable lack of diversity (in experience, job titles, etc.) in the participants at this Napolitano staff chat event- it is a shame. Perhaps more than 'a chat' is necessary.

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