24 July 2010


(Not that the living is particularly easy.) Sorry for the long posting hiatus, I have been mostly on the go for the last couple of months. Sadly perhaps, not much new to report on the UC front. Let's see:
  1. UCOP is pushing ahead with the idea of online education, which they view as the silver bullet for UC's woes. They seem to have no idea how expensive it is, and how much it would water down the UC brand. Not to mention that we heard no explanation whatsoever of why students would want to pay full UC tuition for online classes taught by graduate students or part-time faculty. At their latest meeting, the Regents approved a pilot program, on condition that it be externally funded from private sources. It's hard to tell who they have in mind. Perhaps some of the behemoths of online education in which UC Regent Richard Blum has so heavily invested?
  2. UCOP's second brainchild is the idea that they can save half a billion dollars in "administrative efficiencies." That's an enormous amount, and they seem to have pulled that number out of their you-know-what. As far as anybody can tell, these efficiencies will amount to more centralization, more standardization, and more over-extended and under-paid staff. While students are asked to pay more for less, staff are asked to do more for less pay. It does not take a genius to see that this will lead to lower "quality of life" on UC campuses, not just for staff, but for faculty and students as well. 
  3. Summertime is, of course, budget season in Sacramento. Nothing much seems to be happening on the Capitol, except for the Governor's idea to put State employees on minimum wage until the Legislature approves a budget. California is yet again facing a budget gap of biblical proportions, with very few ideas of how to about closing it. (Notice that the gap is biblical compared to the $80 or $90 billion budget, but only a  small percentage of California's GDP of 1.85 trillion: while not easy, one would expect that not to be impossible to achieve.) UCOP is all giddy about the promised $300 million in restored funding, an amount that would help end the furloughs, as UCOP has promised. But the Governor's proposed restoration of funding is predicated on several billion in federal aid (not coming any time soon) and huge cuts in services.