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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

UCSB Call for Campus Response to UCOP Furlough Ruling

Dear Henry, Gene, Melvin, David [UCSB's Chancellor, EVC, Dean of Social Sciences, Executive Dean]:

As you know, there has been support on this campus for taking some furlough days during instructional days (and, as I and others argued at the town meeting, a strong argument can be made for taking all furlough days on instructional days). The 8/21 message from Interim UC Provost Lawrence Pitts (pasted in below) appears to be a direct order from UCOP that no furlough days be taken on instructional days. How will our administration respond if/when faculty decide to violate this apparent directive? I won't repeat the arguments for taking furlough days on instructional days, but I will note that this directive seems to me (and to many others) to violate our principles of shared governance, as well as individual campus autonomy.

Hoping for clarification,
Rich Appelbaum


Gerry Barnett said...

Violating principles of shared governance doesn't appear to be high on the list of mores to be careful of.

I can't help but feel that faculty arguing for instructional days off isn't a winner unless it craters the admin position and wrests control of the response to the budget shortfall.

Gerry Barnett said...

A sampler of alternatives...burn them up as you please.... more escapist fantasy...

1) Faculty recall the Academic Senate and other putative faculty governance bodies and prevent them from acting officially to support admin unilateral cuts. Refuse to supply reps to Future of UC committees or have anything to do with "show" representation fronting admin until instructional budgets are restored.

Prevents operation of admin procedures required to go through shared governance. Dispels the illusion faculty are complicit in admin decisions affecting instruction. Forces question of what UC is without academic governance. Shifts debate to faculty voice.

2) Faculty suspend university service and shift work into instruction. Even small change matters. No more meetings of the Committee on Committees, or being a faculty rep on vetting the COSO recommendations for enterprise risk management….

Make a host of admin efforts beyond inconvenient. Draw attention to expenditures incurred by convenience administration during a crisis affecting instruction. Postpone, drop, reduce--fight across the board cut that implicitly claim instruction is just one more task lost among others. Why should instruction share pain with admin crap? What’s at all equitable about that? If there's going to be pain, it should fall on admin first and hardest, not students.

3) Faculty insist that (despite Chris's arguments for taking instructional days off) the faculty will not do that and instead demands staff and admin be available *at all times during all instructional periods* to support instruction as the top priority in a time of budgetary crisis. That any change in the instructional calendar amounts to a lock out.

Align students with faculty. Force admin to make its own and staff furlough days inconvenient. Make admin force out/lockout faculty from the classroom, ceding the weather gauge to the faculty.

4) Play atonement card. Faculty atone for UC's fall from grace by offering sacrifice of UCOP on the alter of reform. Faculty reaffirm *their* primary commitment to public education at the highest level of excellence and available to all qualified Californians as a privilege of citizenship, reject michigan model, apologize profoundly to the people of the state on behalf of a UC administration that has over 20 years ignored details, aggrandized itself with titles and salaries, and in the process degraded the social contract between faculty and students and communities. Launch a faculty-led inquiry into the "Future of UCOP" as distinct from the "Future of UC", with the goal of separating UCOP from the strategic directions of UC campuses, and reconstituting the UC governance as a council rather than in the image of corporate control.

Forces Regents publicly to decide between UCOP and the faculty. If it chooses UCOP, then the Regents are complicit in dropping UC's standards and placing the primary loss on instruction. If the Regents choose the faculty, then again, the faculty has the upper hand. Up or down for the Regents... if Regents don't choose faculty, then the faculty can offer up a second public sacrifice....

5) Go public with series of moves to protect students. A new funding model for UC instruction not tied directly to each year's state budgets. Mandate that any student admitted has tuition cost locked in for 5 calendar years. New faculty led forum or community (not legislative) input on how UC might shape future instruction and degree programs to best meet needs CA will have five to twenty years out....input visible and direct to faculty.

Connects faculty with community voices w/out administrative interloping. Recasts the funding model without requiring a reorganization of UC financial structures, and it opens up a port for advocacy that legislators need to hear to support voting for funding.

black magic woman said...

What I think would be helpful (and I say this as a faculty member of a public institution in another state - but who thinks furloughs are in my future in 1-2 years)...is if the faculty in general be very clear regarding what they would like to happen this year and the near future.

If the goal is for UC to prioritize their expenditures in another way so to protect the teaching enterprise, that's one thing. If the goal is for CA lawmakers to protect UC, that's another thing.

What seems obvious is that the state is in dire straits in every institution and UC is not protected. It is unlikely that UC will get any more $$ from Sacramento in the near future, but perhaps UCOP could prioritize their expenditures differently?

Personally, (and I'm supportive of arguments to use furlough time during scheduled classes) I'm not sure how *I* would behave under the conditions the UC faculty find themselves. As a faculty member, I work year round. I do a lot of data collection in the summertime, and I have students working on dissertations year round. So I'm not sure, if we were to go to furloughs, that my work would change. I also am not sure what I would think of a 10% paycut since my salary is more than double what it was 10 years ago. I am working the same amount as I was 2-3 years ago, although I am making more $$ now.

I do like the suggestion by Gerry that UC faculty should decide not to do administrative service (or do 10-20% less of it) given the circumstances. This is difficult to implement since quite a lot of service activities (at least in my experience) have to do with students (e.g. admissions) or nurturing faculty (e.g. promotion & tenure) or campus faculty governance.

But maybe that is the very thing to do: cut back service activities to the absolute necessary minimums and with the free time, organize a proper system-wide response to UCOP.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Two things:
First, I'm really annoyed with Gerry's verbose and numerous postings who first pooh-poohs the calls for reduction in teaching hours as a part of our furloughs - which would be the most logical response to the state shortchanging *both the students and us* - saying that if we have to explain such obvious things we would lose the PR campaign etc. Now that the UCOP screws us over using precisely the kind of "logic" vented by Gerry, he tries to backpedal, naturally in equally verbose way. How about you choose your side and back it up by concise, meaningful arguments?
Secondly, since we are under Stalinist-flavour orders not to reduce our teaching hours, how about we *all* agree to take our furloughs on the days the grades are due? This will undoubtedly be noticed; it will not affect *the quality* of education (assuming it has some intrinsic value) yet it will cause some headaches to the administration and will be visible to the students waiting for their grades. We would have to explain to the students why we are doing it - many of them will be waiting for the grades at their parents' homes over breaks, hence we will have a chance of reaching a number of CA voters. The ensuing headaches would also nudge the administration to make sure the furloughs are indeed temporary, something I am not so confident about after reading Yudof/Pitts’ statements.
Any thoughts?

Kevin said...

Perhaps it would be better if the UCOP changed the *statement* about what they are doing. Make it clear that what they are doing is a paycut, not a furlough, and not allow administrators or faculty any reduction in time.

That would be unpleasant, but at least it would be *honest*, something that seems to be in short supply from UCOP.

AndrewD said...

Although Gerry is indeed having fun at this site -- see for example his dreams -- he illustrates the difficulty we are having as faculty at coming to grips with this.

UC is short of funds. That is clear. It is not a surprise. The inadequate state support for UC was abundantly clear in 2007 (and is a logical continuation of earlier patterns). It was also obviously going to get worse.

The bad news is that things are not going to improve soon. The $640 M of "stimulus" funds we hope to get this year enabled UC to accept a huge cut from the state (without there being undue wailing and gnashing of teeth); once it is spent (this fiscal year) the state is unlikely to have funds to put in its place, so things will stay bad -- or get worse! Based on previous "recoveries" the UC budget will not reach the 2007-08 level again for 3-5 more years at best (even without accounting for inflation)

Thus this is not just an immediate problem of furloughs. We must plan also for how the future will be dealt with, or (by default) cede that to UCOP etc.

Gerry Barnett said...

How does faculty advocating for taking furlough during instruction days--and winning that fight--leverage restoration of funding for instruction? Explain how that works again. I missed it.

AndrewD said...

It doesn't. The interesting experiment that has been initiated is that CSU faculty are taking furloughs during instructional periods, we are not; both of us are increasing fees significantly; which will do "better" at the next (and future) state budgets. I venture to suggest: neither!

Anonymous said...

from an initial public view, if faculty walk out against the UCOP rule, people may only see professors being lazy about teaching, and the administration preserving quality at the UC.

HOWEVER, there has been more talk about the effects on education in this budget crisis and the UC has been receiving a little more press now. a systemwide protest will easily make itself headline news. that should make it easier to demystify the general public's first thoughts on what is the matter with UC, as reporters will have to do a bit more work to get the full story.

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