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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House For Sale at $9 Million

Regent Emerita Velma Montoya alerted me to the putting up for sale of the Carter residence in Bel Air for $9 million by UCLA which is reported in Curbed LA.  Readers of this blog will know that UCLA is proposing to sell the adjacent Japanese Garden as well as the house with much controversy about the latter.  She also gave me a UCOP analysis of the sale which can be read at the link below.

The Curbed LA article reporting the sale is at http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/ucla_lists_japanese_gardenadjacent_carter_house_for_9mm_1.php

The UCOP analysis is largely narrative although in the second to last paragraph, the anonymous author refers to "my understanding..."


More and More Getting Off Scale

The Daily Bruin today has a piece on proposals for dealing with faculty salary scales which have grown increasingly outmoded.  As the table, based on a graphic in the Bruin, illustrates, most faculty at UCLA are paid off-scale.  The University, for recruitment and retention purposes, tries to meet the external academic labor market.  In effect, since there are only so many dollars to go around, paying more than the official scale has to mean a higher student/teacher ratio than would otherwise prevail.

Percent of faculty off scale as of 10/2010:
Merced 88%
UCLA 80%
Santa Cruz 73%
Berkeley 72%
Irvine 66%
Santa Barbara 66%
San Diego 64%
Riverside 59%
Davis 52%

The Bruin article is at http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2012/02/uc_considers_new_salary_scale_system 



Unlimited Access?

Apparently not at UC-Santa Cruz tomorrow.

Organizers of the group that aims to shut down UC Santa Cruz will hold rallies at 4:30 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Thursday at UCSC, according to a release from Occupy Education. The release said a group of UCSC students, workers and community members have decided on a strike to shut down the campus starting at 4:30 a.m.
Other that emergency vehicles, residents on campus and necessary exceptions, all traffic onto campus will be blocked, the release continued...  





Update: Car plows through Occupy Education demonstrators blocking entrance to UCSC campus
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_20078788

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UC History: Clark Kerr Excerpts

Clark Kerr was president of UC from 1958 until 1967.  Below are some video clips from that era and then from an interview in the late 1990s on his views on problems facing UC.  (The first clip has been previously seen on this blog.)


Monday, February 27, 2012

Legislative Analyst Forecasts Less Revenue than Governor

The Legislative Analyst has issued a new report on the outlook for state revenue.  It is less optimistic than the forecast contained in the governor's budget proposal of January. Both the LAO and the governor assume that the governor's tax measure slated for the November ballot will pass.  Forecasting involves much uncertainty and in the case of budgeting, the economic forecast must be linked to specific taxes, another possible source of error.  Nonetheless, ultimately the legislature has to go with some forecast and, as we saw last June, it can assume phantom revenue and pass a budget on that basis with a simple majority.

The LAO report is at http://lao.ca.gov/analysis/2012/update/economic-revenue-update-022712.pdf

Anything that cuts into state revenue poses a risk to UC:

Beware! The devil's not just in the details


From Inside Higher Ed:

…The Tampa Bay Times' PolitiFact news service is reporting that (Rick) Santorum -- since 2008 -- has linked higher education to the work of Satan. In a 2008 talk at Ave Maria University, Santorum discussed the way Satan has attacked "great institutions of America."  Where did Satan start? According to Santorum, "The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first -- first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest. They were in fact smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different -- pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia a long time ago fell."…


And you thought the devil was just in the details.  Or was it the elevator?



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Questionable Advice from Our Medical Campus at UC-San Francisco

I'm not clear on the concept but I suspect there is better advice available from the UCLA med school.

There must be a better way:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

UCLA: That Was Then and This is Now



Westwood Boulevard near UCLA in the 1940s
Same scene today.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ah Ha! State Beginning to Acknowledge UC Pension Liability Claim

The State of California is about to sell $2 billion in general obligation bonds.  To do so, it must issue a prospectus detailing the terms of the bond but also the fiscal condition of the state.  The prospectus that has been issued on a preliminary basis includes information on other state liabilities including pensions.  Much of the information is about CalPERS and CalSTRS.  However, the disclosure contains the following statement on page A-82 (which is pdf page 122 at the link towards the bottom of this blog entry):

"The University of California maintains a separate retirement system. The state's General Fund does not directly contribute to the University of California's system, however the system has been advocating that the state begin to do so.)  Information about this system can be obtained directly from the University of California."

In short, the prospectus is acknowledging that a prospective buyer of state bonds should be aware that there may be a liability by the state for the UC pension.  Why make the disclosure if the UC pension liability is viewed by the state as irrelevant?

The prospectus is currently on the Treasurer's website for bond sales.  But such files are removed after the sale.  So, to preserve it, I have put it at:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BzVLYPK7QI_4ZkZoX05relpSU09IYnM4dnRCSHFOUQ

This may even go beyond ah ha.  It looks closer to Gotcha!
video


New Twists in the Pension Debate

As readers of this blog will know, the governor came up with a 12-point plan for all public pensions in California that would include UC.  To get certain elements of the plan on the ballot, he needs a 2/3 vote of the legislature.  That would require Republican support.

In this case, however, the Republicans have pledged support and it is the Democrats who are reluctant.  If all Republicans go along, Governor Brown would need about half of the Dems to go along.  But so far that doesn't seem to be happening.

The Dems are pushing a plan whereby - as part of some general pension enactment - private-sector workers would go under a pension plan run be CalPERS.  Excerpt from the Sacramento Bee:

One day after Republicans sided with Gov. Jerry Brown on public pension reform, Democrats on Thursday said they want millions of Californians to have guaranteed retirement benefits.
Senate Bill 1234, written by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would require businesses with five or more employees to enroll them in a new "Personal Pension" defined benefit program or to offer an alternative employer-sponsored plan.
The new system's investments would be professionally managed by CalPERS or another contracted organization. Employees would contribute about 3 percent of their wages through a payroll deduction, although they could opt out of the plan. Employers could make voluntary contributions into the fund.
Although the notion of having private-sector workers come under CalPERS might seem to come from the left, it was first surfaced in a convoluted proposed ballot initiative by Ted Costa whose right/populist political group kicked off the recall of Gray Davis.  (The group descends from Paul Gann who co-sponsored Prop 13 with Howard Jarvis back in 1978.)  
In short, the debate is taking a lot of twists that might not have been anticipated.  It gives UCOP and the Regents some time to work with the legislature to pull UC out of whatever emerges. Whether they can work it on out is another matter:

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/24/4287094/california-democrats-push-pension.html#storylink=cpy




Trigger May Limit Appeal of Governor's Tax Initiative

There could be as many as three tax initiatives on the November ballot.  The Field Poll just released posed all three to registered voters and reported the results.  One of the three is sponsored by Governor Brown.  Another is sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers - CFT.  (CFT is the smaller of the two teacher unions in California.)  A third is sponsored by Molly Munger, a wealthy individual.  The sponsors of all three have the financial resources to get pay signature-gathering firms to get their initiatives on the ballot.

Brown is convinced from focus groups and polling that his initiative has the best chance of winning.  He is also convinced that if there are two or more tax initiatives on the ballot, voters may reject them.  There have been efforts by the governor to persuade those sponsoring alternative measures to drop them.  However, the Field Poll suggests the CFT initiative is preferred.  Brown’s initiative comes in second; Munger’s comes in third.


(The ballot seems likely to be crowded with other initiatives unrelated to taxes and folk wisdom has it that voters tend to vote “no” on everything in such cases.  I have not seen evidence of that.  California’s most famous initiative is Prop 13 which tells you that there were at least 12 other initiatives on the ballot with it.  The most recent cases of general rejection occurred in special elections – not regular elections as we will have in November 2012 – which featured packages of interrelated initiatives linked to Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009 and 2004.)

Governor Brown’s initiative contains trigger cuts aimed at schools.  The thinking was that voters like schools and that pointing a trigger at them would compel them to vote “yes.”  But the Field Poll suggests that strategy may backfire.  Sixty-eight percent of voters don’t like the trigger. 

Note: Field did not identify the three initiatives by governor, CFT, or Munger.  Rather it read the descriptions to respondents below in random order.  However, the first one is the governor’s, the second is Munger, and the third is CFT.  

It is important to keep in mind that, except for the third initiative, the descriptions are not necessarily what the ballot language would be.  And they are not necessarily how pro and con TV ads would depict the initiatives in an actual campaign.

(One) (Another) proposition is called the “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education and Guarantee Local Public Safety Funding” initiative.  It would increase state personal income taxes on earnings over 250 thousand dollars for five years and increase the sales tax by one-half cent for four years.  It allocates 89 percent of the revenues to the k-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges, and guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments.  Fiscal impact:  Estimates of the revenue increases vary from about 5 to 6.9 billion dollars each year on average for the next four years and from 3.1 to 3.4 billion dollars in the fifth year. These revenues would be available to pay for the state’s school and community college funding requirements and address the state’s budgetary problem by paying for other spending commitments. If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on this proposition?

(One) (Another) proposition is called the “Tax to Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety and Road Maintenance Initiative.” It would add 3 percent to the personal income tax rate on annual earnings over one million dollars and adds 5 percent for earnings over 2 million dollars. It allocates 36 percent of the new revenues to the k-12 schools, 24 percent for public colleges and universities, 25 percent for services to children and senior citizens, 10 percent for public safety and 5 percent for road and bridge maintenance. Fiscal impact: Increased state personal tax revenues dedicated to public universities, school districts, community college districts and other local public services. Estimates of the revenue increases vary from 6 to 9.5 billion dollars in 2012-13 and from 4 to 6 billion dollars for 2013-14, and would tend to grow in later years. If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on this proposition?

(One) (Another) proposition is called the “Tax to Fund Education, Preschools and Child Care Initiative.” It would increase personal income tax rates for individuals earning over 7,316 dollars with a sliding scale that increases the tax rate from zero point four percent for the lowest earners to two point two percent for individuals earning over 2.5 million dollars, and would end after 12 years.  It allocates 85% to the k-12 schools and 15% to preschools and child care, and in years of stronger growth would allocate several hundred million dollars to pay education debt services.  Fiscal impact:  Increased state personal income tax revenues varying from 10 to 11 billion dollars per year initially, tending to increase over time.  If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on this proposition?

The full Field Poll is at http://www.field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/Rls2404.pdf

Some folks can't do without Trigger but maybe Brown could:
video

Update: An analysis of why CTA (California Teachers Assn.) - the larger of the two major teacher unions in California - is supporting the governor's tax plan is at:

Seeds of a New Solution for the Japanese Garden?

In case you missed it, on Feb. 21, the Daily Bruin ran an offer to UCLA from a coalition of groups to maintain the Japanese Garden that UCLA controversially proposes to sell.  Excerpts:

On Feb. 9, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block wrote a piece in the Daily Bruin stating that the sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is in the university’s best interests.  The organizations and the family of Hannah Carter who have formed the Coalition to Save the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden respectfully submit that other options are possible, and, indeed, preferable.

…On Jan. 31, the coalition convened a public informational meeting – the kind of meeting any preservation organization would have gladly convened on UCLA’s behalf had they truly wanted to “reach out to interested parties” and “preservation-minded groups and individuals.” The unanimous opposition of the nearly 100 attendees, along with more than 600 people who have since sent emails to the chancellor, signals that it is time for UCLA to take another approach.  What might a win-win situation look like?  UCLA would proceed with the sale of the former Carter residence, generating an estimated $10 million, but retain ownership of the garden. A sale of the residence would generate enough money to endow a fund to maintain the garden in perpetuity…

The coalition and UCLA could develop a management plan to address: maintenance and staffing; volunteer management; operating budget; interpretation and public access; educational mission and programmatic partnerships; and fundraising. Members of the coalition have experience with public/private partnerships.  With the City of Los Angeles, the Bel-Air Association and UCLA would address parking by developing alternative means of promoting broader public access.  Together, all partners would develop further relationships with cultural and civic organizations such as the North American Japanese Garden Association and institutions here in Los Angeles that support the preservation of Japanese culture…

On behalf of the Coalition to Save the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden, which includes the following groups: The Los Angeles Conservancy, The Garden Conservancy, California Garden & Landscape History Society, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, California Preservation Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Public Gardens Association, North American Japanese Garden Association, The Hannah Carter Family (Partial list)


The photo above is from a USC (!) website on Japanese Gardens in the local area:
http://www-scf.usc.edu/~suvarnab/final_project/primary.html

Note: Audio of the community meeting to which the item above refers is at:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/01/audio-of-meeting-on-sale-of-ucla.html

Inch by inch, there might be some progress:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let No Campus Be Left Behind (in Having a Med School)

To loud applause at the Riverside Convention Center, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday that she is lobbying Gov. Jerry Brown to find $15 million a year to help open and run the medical school at UC Riverside.
Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a letter Tuesday to the governor urging him to include the money in his annual budget so UCR can open the school in 2013…
“I am going to need your help to call on our great governor and say, ‘Jerry, you’ve got to find $15 million,’” she said. “It can be found.”  Gov. Brown was traveling to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday and his office did not have an immediate comment on Feinstein’s letter.  The medical school has been in the works for years and was originally set to open this year. But so far, UCR officials have not been able to secure ongoing state funding…


All that's lacking is money:

Pepper Suit at UC-Davis

The San Francisco Chronicle today is carrying a story indicating that students are suing UC-Davis over the pepper spray incident.  Oddly, I could find nothing in the student newspaper at Davis on the lawsuit or in the Sacramento Bee.

In any event, from the Chronicle:

UC Davis students who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during a sit-down Occupy protest sued the officers and university administrators in federal court Wednesday, claiming excessive force and suppression of free speech...  The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by 17 students and two graduates who took part in the demonstration, which was organized by Occupy UC Davis. Twelve said they were pepper-sprayed, and eight claimed illegal arrests... UC Davis spokesman Barry Schiller said, "Attorneys for the university and the plaintiffs have been talking. We hope those conversations continue." He said university officials haven't seen the lawsuit and wouldn't comment on it.


Full story at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/23/BA1T1NAV2S.DTL

Update: The Sacramento Bee now has the story at
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/23/4284433/civil-rights-lawsuit-over-pepper.html

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Too Many in the UC Lifeboat?

Mike Lofchie pointed me to this article which questions the one-system view of UC and, in particular, UC-Merced, in a period of budget stringency.

February 12, 2012, Chronicle of Higher Education

Fault Lines Form Among Campuses as Finances Strain U. of California (excerpt):

By Eric Kelderman

President Mark G. Yudof of the University of California often says that the system he oversees is one university with 10 campuses.  But some higher-education experts say the economic strains and budget cuts of the past three years are fraying the ties that hold the system together. Several campus leaders have proposed measures to increase their financial independence from the system, in some cases at the cost of the other campuses.

…Meanwhile, the system's youngest campus, at Merced, was shielded from the latest round of budget cuts, causing some people on other campuses to grumble that it is not financially viable and is weighing the system down.  None of the institutions openly suggests that it would leave the system, says David L. Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. But if the state's budget situation continues to force cuts, there could be "more drastic proposals for disentanglement," he says.

…While six of the institutions are members of the Association of American Universities­—a selective group of research institutions—the Merced campus is still struggling for a perception of legitimacy.

…Because it is still so young, system officials spared Merced from the most recent budget cuts, which caused some in the state to gripe about whether it should remain a part of the system or even remain open…

video

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bargains at UC-Berkeley

Devra Breslow pointed me to this NY Times article on how UC-Berkeley sold a million dollar artwork for $150: (excerpt)

Everybody misplaces something sometime. But it is not easy for the University of California, Berkeley, to explain how it lost a 22-foot-long carved panel by a celebrated African-American sculptor, or how, three years ago, it mistakenly sold this work, valued at more than a million dollars, for $150 plus tax.  The university’s embarrassing loss eventually enabled the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, a large museum and research center in San Marino, Calif., to acquire its first major work by an African-American artist.  The circuitous tale of Sargent Johnson’s huge redwood relief involves error, chance and a partnership of unlikely art-world figures, including an art and furniture dealer who stumbled upon the panels at the university’s surplus store; an antiques dealer who was on a first-name basis with Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles; and a lawyer whose hobby is buying lighthouses and who convinced the government that even though the art was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, it could still be sold publicly…


It's only money:

Governor's Pension Freeze for UC Deserves a Frosty Response

Excerpt from calpensions.com 2-21-12

Under the new budget proposed by Gov. Brown, the annual state payment to CalPERS drops from $3.5 billion this year to $3.1 billion in the new fiscal year.  The payment falls, at a time most pension costs are rising, because a $404 million payment to CalPERS for California State University pensions is shifted from the state budget to CSU.  The change is part of a proposal that could freeze state support for CSU and UC pensions. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said CSU would be faced with a potential burden “out of proportion” to its limited ability to control future pension costs.  “For this reason, we recommend that the Legislature reject the governor’s approach,” the analyst said in a report this month…


As prior posts have noted, the governor proposes to give us permission to use the general allocation to UC to pay for pensions – which is something UC can do with or without his permission.  UCOP and the Regents seem to think it is good politics to view his proposal as some kind of a breakthrough – which it isn’t, particularly because the governor still proposes to sweep UC into his statewide pension plan.

A better approach would be to give the plan a frosty response:

Monday, February 20, 2012

UCLA History: Former Presidents Visit

Jimmy Carter visits with Prof. Michael Intriligator at UCLA's Burkle Center (2001)
Bill Clinton visits with Acting Chancellor Norm Abrams (2006)

UC History on Presidents' Day: A Message from the First UC President

The first UC President, Clark Kerr, viewed the university as of the mid-20th century as part of the "knowledge industry."  Video below.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

UCLA History: Garden Visit

Hannah Carter visits her namesake Japanese Garden in an undated photo. As readers of this blog will know, UCLA has made a controversial proposal to sell the garden.

UC-Berkeley Still Somewhat Occupied

Apparently, various “Occupy” demonstrations are still going on at UC-Berkeley:

Protesters from Occupy Oakland converged on UC Berkeley Saturday evening, the day after 18 Occupy Cal protesters were detained when their encampment was cleared from in front of Doe Library.  About 40 protesters from Oakland marched down Telegraph Avenue, eventually reaching the International House on Piedmont Avenue at around 11 p.m. An “Occupy the Truth” conference is being held this weekend at International House, and protesters set up five tents to show solidarity with the conference. House administration agreed to let the encampment remain on the lawn overnight as long as the steps leading up to the entrance were kept clear for traffic, according to Shirley Spiller, chief financial officer for the house…

Saturday, February 18, 2012

UCLA History: From the Air

In this aerial view of Westwood and UCLA in 1965, not much is to be seen west of Westwood Boulevard once you enter the campus.  The building on Wilshire under construction now houses Occidental Petroleum and UCLA's Hammer Museum (which UCLA essentially inherited after the death of Occidental CEO Armand Hammer).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Follow-up to Prior UC-Davis Pepper Story: No no-confidence

From the Sacramento Bee:  

A motion asking for a vote of no confidence in UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi failed to gain a majority of votes needed to pass, school officials said tonight.  The motion received 312 yes votes and 697 no votes, out of 2,693 eligible voters - current and retired faculty.  Katehi's leadership came under widespread scrutiny following last year's pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis protesters…


Is not having no confidence the same as confidence?  Let’s hear what the Chancellor says:

Yet More Pepper from Davis

Somehow, the pepper spray story at UC-Davis seems unending.  From the Sacramento Bee:

By the time voting closes today, more than 2,600 faculty members at UC Davis will have had an opportunity to weigh in on whether they have confidence in Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi or whether that confidence is gone after November's pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis protesters.  Though nonbinding, the vote on competing motions before the Academic Senate is a rare judgment by faculty on a chancellor's ability to lead and could influence decisions on Katehi's future by University of California leaders…

There are four competing motions, each signed by dozens of faculty members and published on the Senate's website along with statements of support and opposition…

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/17/4270732/uc-davis-faculty-to-hold-vote.html

Of course, there could be a fifth solution: letting it go...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

China Care Bruins Program

There is an interesting story today in the Daily Bruin about the UCLA China Care Bruins Program.  Excerpt:

Six-year-old Ruby Knowlton held her arms up to Kim Tran, asking to be picked up. Smiling fondly, Tran, a second-year biochemistry student, picked the young girl up, swinging her around in a circle. From the way they interacted with one another at a mentorship event at UCLA last Sunday, Ruby and Tran could almost be mistaken for sisters. As Ruby’s “Big Buddy,” Tran has watched her grow for the past year and a half.  

The two were paired together through UCLA’s China Care Bruins club, which matches UCLA students with adoptees from China who live in the Los Angeles area...

Full story http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2012/02/students_in_ucla039s_china_care_bruins_play_039big_buddy039_role_for_adoptees/

The organization has a website at http://www.chinacarebruins.org/

UCLA History: Bear

Chancellor Young examines statue of the UCLA bear in 1984, shortly after its unveiling.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

UCLA Report Calls for Overhaul of Community College Transfer Process & Master Plan

Inside Higher Ed today pointed me toward the UCLA Civil Rights Project and its series of three reports critical of the transfer process from community colleges to four-year colleges.  One of the reports was co-authored by former UC President Richard Atkinson.

The summary from Inside Higher Ed is at:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2012/02/15/racial-transfer-gap-california-community-colleges

A press release from the Civil Rights Project is reproduced below:


CRP Calls for Fundamental Changes in California's Community Colleges

Date Published: February 14, 2012
Almost 75% of all Latino and two-thirds of all Black students who go on to higher education in California go to a community college, yet in 2010 only 20% of all transfers to four-year institutions were Latino or African American. Pathways to the baccalaureate are segregated; students attending low-performing high schools usually go directly into community colleges that transfer few students to 4-year colleges. Conversely, a handful of community colleges serving high percentages of white, Asian and middle class students are responsible for the majority of all transfers in the state. California ranks last among the states in the proportion of its college students who attend a 4-year institution, which is a key factor in the state’s abysmal record on BA attainment. In a state in which half of all high school graduates are Black and Latino, this situation spells economic disaster for the future of the state.

February 14, 2012                Contact:  310-267-5562; crp@ucla.edu
--For Immediate Release--
                   

Civil Rights Project Reports Call for Fundamental Changes in California’s Community Colleges


--Los Angeles--Almost 75% of all Latino and two-thirds of all Black students who go on to higher education in California go to a community college, yet in 2010 only 20% of all transfers to four-year institutions were Latino or African American. Pathways to the baccalaureate are segregated; students attending low-performing high schools usually go directly into community colleges that transfer few students to 4-year colleges. Conversely, a handful of community colleges serving high percentages of white, Asian and middle class students are responsible for the majority of all transfers in the state.  California ranks last among the states in the proportion of its college students who attend a 4-year institution, which is a key factor in the state’s abysmal record on BA attainment.  In a state in which half of all high school graduates are Black and Latino, this situation spells economic disaster for the future of the state.

The California Community College system is not oblivious to these problems, but the newest report by the Student Success Task Force, Advancing Student Success in the California Community Colleges, falls far short of making recommendations that can turn the situation around, and fails to address the most urgent problems. Three studies released today by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA shed light on the mechanisms underlying California’s poor record of transfer from community colleges to four-year campuses and suggest what can and must be done to improve the capacity of the community colleges to help students of color gain BA degrees.

“It is time to have an honest conversation with the people of California about making improvements in our higher education system,” stressed Civil Rights Project Co-Director, Patricia Gándara.  “Either we make bold changes in the system or we consign the majority of our students of color to a life with few prospects, and we condemn the state to a future in decline.”

The first report, Building Pathways to Transfer:  Community Colleges that Break the Chain of Failure for Students of Color, by Patricia Gándara, Elizabeth Alvarado, Anne Driscoll and Gary Orfield, examines practices in five colleges with disproportionately high rates of transfer for students of color from low-performing high schools.  The study finds that a core of personnel in these colleges have lived the experiences of these students and dedicated themselves to the goal of transferring them. To a great extent, these staff rely on the college’s outreach efforts to prepare the students even before they arrive on the campus. 

Nonetheless, the success of even these higher-transfer colleges is limited because, like most other colleges in the system, they have not fundamentally changed the structural impediments to transfer posed by years of requirements for developmental education or remedial coursework.  The Civil Rights Project report calls for increased emphasis on outreach to low-performing high schools to prepare students for success in the community colleges and a radical rethinking of developmental education, reducing the remedial coursework barriers significantly. 

Co-Director Gary Orfield notes, “We were shocked to find that in colleges where many students need intensive counseling, counselors have faculty status and less than half of their time is spent on one-to-one counseling. This arrangement makes no sense.”

The second report, Unrealized Promises: Unequal Access, Affordability, and Excellence at Community Colleges in Southern California, by Mary Martinez Wenzl and Rigoberto Marquez, provides a very detailed analysis of all the high schools and community colleges in Southern California and shows overwhelmingly that segregated high schools with weak records feed students into heavily minority community colleges where few students successfully transfer. 

The report clarifies that California high schools are extremely segregated by race, ethnicity, poverty, and language background, and those schools offer less adequate curricula, fewer experienced and qualified teachers and much lower graduation rates. If the promise of fair access to higher education is to be realized, the report makes clear, then it has to happen in the community colleges. 

“Unfortunately,” says Orfield, “the community colleges tend to repeat the patterns of the low performing high schools, resulting in few transfers—this makes a mockery of the promise of equal opportunity.”

The third report, Beyond the Master Plan: The Case for Restructuring Baccalaureate Education in California, finds that California is one of the nation’s least successful states in terms of college completion. Researchers Saul Geiser and Richard Atkinson, the state’s preeminent analysts of higher education statistics, demonstrate the very powerful relationship between BA completion rates and beginning college at four-year campuses. The Master Plan is a failure, the report concludes, and requires radical change. 

Geiser and Atkinson further stress that California remains critically short of four-year public colleges, continually failing to expand them as the population soars.  They recommend, among other remedies, that some of the excellent community colleges be given authority to grant B.A. degrees, an important expansion of capacity at a far lower price than building new four-year campuses.  

“No state has bet its future so heavily on community colleges,” Gándara notes, “but these schools need resources and major reforms. Unless we make the colleges work for all Californians, we gamble with our future.”

Click here to download Building Pathways to Transfer:  Community Colleges that Break the Chain of Failure for Students of Color
Source of Press release:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reminder: Obama Jam Tomorrow...

...But not in the immediate UCLA area.  Your commute in the afternoon could be affected, depending on where you are going.

Traffic Notice Partial Closure

Description

President Obama Los Angeles Visit When: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Where: Los Angeles Westside
Impacts: The President will be landing at LAX, then helicoptered to the VA Hospital, and finally driving to Holmby Hills. Rolling closures of streets along the route, meaning that as the motorcade passes, impacted streets and intersections will close, but open again quickly afterwards. Prolonged street closures are not anticipated. Specific details regarding the route are not available for security reasons.
Mitigation: According to the information that is available from LA City officials, UCLA is not expected to be negatively impacted to any significant degree. Key intersections will be staffed with City of Los Angeles Traffic Officers during the rolling closures.

LA Times Editorial on UCLA Hospital/Blue Shield Dispute Has a Buried Lede*

In yesterday’s LA Times – if you missed it – there was an editorial about a dispute between Blue Shield and the UCLA Hospital.  Yet beyond saying that controlling costs and being efficient are Good Things, the editorial seemed to miss the point - even though the point is it the text of the editorial.  Excerpt below:
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Blue Shield of California has suspended its relationship with UCLA Medical Center, one of the state's top hospitals, in a dispute over the cost of treating patients there. It's a disturbing sign of things to come in the healthcare industry, as insurers become increasingly resistant to the cost increases that they routinely passed along in previous years. Although the standoff is hard on the patients who've lost access to UCLA, Blue Shield is right about one thing: The healthcare industry is on an unsustainable path, and every segment must start focusing on cost control.
…Hospitals costs have risen particularly rapidly, with the average daily fee for a bed in an acute-care ward more than tripling since 2000. UCLA's reimbursements from Blue Shield have almost doubled in the last five years alone, the insurer says. That's partly because the university has been shifting onto Blue Shield some of the expense of treating patients with Medicare, Medi-Cal or no insurance. But it's a trend that even University of California officials acknowledge cannot continue.

…UC health officials say they've gotten the message; that's why they created the Center for Healthcare Quality and Innovation in October 2010 to find ways to deliver more effective healthcare services and to control costs. The university system and Blue Shield also have agreed on a new approach at UC San Francisco Medical Center that shares the financial risk of providing care for certain policyholders, holding cost increases at or below the rate of inflation. The question is how to bring that focus on efficiency and value to UCLA and the rest of the UC system. Here's hoping the two sides find an answer soon.
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In short, a key problem – according to the editorial itself – is an external one reflecting the cost shifting that goes on in the current system of national health which requires providers to care for the non-insured and to make up for government programs that provide less than full reimbursement.
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*“Burying the lede” is a common stylistic error in journalism. To bury a lede (rhymes with “bead”) is to hide the most important information within a news story instead of putting it up front where readers can find it immediately.  Source: http://www.avwrites.com/?p=15
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Meanwhile, our best advice is not to get sick:
video

Love at UCLA on Valentine's Day

The UCLA campus is so lovable that couples come to it to have engagement photos taken, as per above.

But sometimes, even at UCLA, all does not go well in affairs of the heart:


On the other hand, boy (Houdini) did get girl (the hard way) in 1919 in Santa Monica:

PS: Faithful readers of this blog will know that things can work out at UCLA, too, as we demonstrated last fall:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2011/10/modest-proposal-at-ucla.html

Monday, February 13, 2012

UCLA's Teofilo F. Ruiz awarded the National Humanities Medal, President Obama has announced

Inside Higher Ed this morning pointed me to a news item from last Friday: Teofilo Ruiz, a professor of history and of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA – whose unusual faculty webpage photo appears at left - was awarded a National Humanities Medal according to a White House announcement.  The actual awarding of the medal will take place today.

Excerpt from the official profile released by the White House: 

Ruiz has also earned accolades for his teaching, including being named U.S. professor of the year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1995 and receiving UCLA’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 2008. He describes his teaching style as “frantic, hectic.” As a graduate student, Ruiz admired professors like Carl Schorske, who could deliver an elegant well-crafted lecture from behind a podium. “I can’t do that. It’s not in my abilities,” he says. “I engage the students by combining the personal with the scholarly.”

He also doesn’t use notes. “I can’t explain how it happens. I walk into the classroom. I am in an absolute panic even after thirty-nine years of doing this. And then something possesses me for one hour and fifteen minutes and I cannot stop. I am like the Energizer Bunny.”

Profile of Prof. Ruiz as part of the announcement at http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/2011_Medalists.html#No7

Sunday, February 12, 2012

UCLA History: Mayor Speaks

Not all demonstrations on the UCLA campus during the Vietnam War opposed the war.  Above in 1966, LA Mayor Sam Yorty speaks to group supporting the war.