Saturday, May 26, 2012

UCLA Legislative Assembly to Review Anderson Self-Supporting MBA Proposal

On June 7th, the Legislative Assembly will be taking up an appeal filed by faculty members of the Anderson Graduate School of Management regarding the Graduate Council’s rejection of a proposal to convert the “regular” MBA program to a self-supporting basis.

In the Academic Senate letter transmitting this decision to the Chancellor, it is reported that “the MBA proposal in particular revealed significant and deep divisions of opinion within the Senate faculty regarding the advisability of converting programs, and in particular a ‘cornerstone’ program, to self-supporting status. The AGSM faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal, the school’s FEC voted narrowly in favor, the Council on Planning and Budget provided an overall positive opinion, and a majority of Graduate Council members were opposed. The bylaws of the Senate specify that the Graduate Council’s opinion is final on new degree programs.” [Leuchter to Block 4-10-12].

Below are links at which you can read the Anderson proposal for the self supporting MBA and the Graduate Council’s negative decision.  As the quote above suggests, there is a tendency for outside reviewers and observers to view the Anderson proposal in symbolic terms, i.e., as part of the gradual withdrawal of public support for the academic core of UC and its replacement by tuition. The Graduate Council’s decision was reported as “3 members voted in favor, 7 were opposed, 2 abstained, and 1 registered a ‘no vote’ (7 members were absent); GSA Representatives: 3 were opposed (1 was absent).”

The Anderson faculty seems to be about 2/3 in favor of the proposal and 1/3 against – but less on symbolic grounds and more on the evaluation of the plan’s internal pros and cons and its assumptions.

The Anderson MBA Proposal is at:

The Graduate Council Report on the Proposal is at:

Note: The document above was extracted by cutting and pasting from a larger pdf file and so may not have the same formatting as the original.  Its wording is the same as the original.


Andrew Sabl said...

I think I have to differ respectfully with the opinion that "there is a tendency for outside reviewers and observers to view the Anderson proposal in symbolic terms, i.e., as part of the gradual withdrawal of public support for the academic core of UC and its replacement by tuition," and that the Anderson faculty have reasoned (pro and con) more substantively and less symbolically on this score than Grad Council has. Without having come to a firm decision on the matter, which I'll be voting on in June 7, as a member of the Legislative Assembly, I think there are weighty and substantive arguments on both sides. Of course there are ideologues on both sides as well--doctrinaire statists in the Academic Senate (I've met some), and, I surmise, doctrinaire free-marketeers at Anderson. But I don't think they represent the majority tendency on either side.

I encourage those interested in the issue to read both the Anderson proposal and Grad Council's report.

California Policy Issues said...

The comment was based on two observations. Yours truly attended Anderson faculty meetings on the earlier version of the proposal. Discussion there focused on the likelihood of the revenue forecasts being achieved and other internal school issues. I did not attend the meetings on the later version but did receive documents related to the Anderson deliberations and have talked with Anderson faculty. Again, the focus was on revenue forecasts, etc. The Grad Council report is more focused on larger issues of privatization of a public university.

Michael Meranze said...

Dan, i would have to agree with Andrew Sabl, there are many questions raised in the GC report concerning the actual claims in favor of the proposal both in academic, financial, and planning terms. Whatever position one takes in the end to dismiss the GC as concerned with "symbolic" issues (which usually translates into "merely symbolic" distorts and denies the seriousness of their position and of the implicstions of the debate.

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