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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Listen to the Meeting of the Regents Jan. 16, 2013 - morning (online education)

Our previous post noted that we are going back through 2013 to post and archive audio of Regents' meetings.  See the previous post for why it is necessary to do this (and why it shouldn't be).

The morning session of January 16, 2013 was devoted largely to online higher education, essentially at the "request" of Governor Brown.

Agenda: Wednesday, January 16

8:30 am Committee of the Whole (open session - includes public comment session)
9:30 am Committee on Educational Policy (open session)
12:00: Lunch


You can hear the session at the link below:


Listen to the Regents Meeting of Jan. 15, 2013

Why are we going back in time to last January?  The Regents had been live-streaming audio of their meetings prior to January 2013 but not archiving the audio files.  So we would request the files and - once they were received on CDs sent by postal mail - archive them.  Of course, this process took some time to accomplish so the files were not immediately available after the meetings.  Unless you listened live, you had to wait, even with our eventual archiving.

Finally, the Regents - who keep pushing for high techy online ed - were embarrassed by their own primitive IT service and the fact that someone else was doing their archiving.  So they moved to both an audio and video live streaming of their meetings and archived the video.  That is all well and good except that current regental policy is to preserve the "archive" only for one year.  When we requested the audio files so that an indefinite archiving could occur, we were told that since the files were now online, they wouldn't be provided (even though they will disappear after a year).

If that sounds improper to you, it probably is - and we will pursue it.  In the meantime, we will painfully record the meetings from the "archives" before they disappear and archive them indefinitely.  You can't download the actual files; only record them.  So a four-hour session takes four hours to record.  You might note the contrast between the Regents and the Calchannel [http://www.calchannel.com/] which archives legislative hearings and other Sacramento official activities.  If you go to the Calchannel website, you have the option of downloading files or streaming them.  And there is no one year evaporation.  The Regents could use Calchannel or at least mimic its policy.  But right now, they don't for whatever reason.

If you follow California politics, you know that quite recently there was a big brouhaha in Sacramento when legislation was proposed as part of the state budget that would have ended the mandate that local governments make public documents available.  (The state must reimburse local governments for costs of mandates so dropping the requirement saved some budget money.)  When the dropping of the mandate became known, a firestorm erupted and the mandate was continued.  That episode should make the Regents and UC sensitive to the public documents issue.

Anyway, for now, below is a link to the January 15, 2013 session of the Regents. We will be posting later sessions as time permits. 

University of California Regents Meeting Jan. 15, 2013 (Compliance and Audit): Agenda

Public Comment Period
 
Action Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of October 31, 2012

A3  Discussion Plan for External Audit Request for Proposal

A4  Discussion Continuous Monitoring and Continuous Auditing – Internal Audit Partnering with Management

A5  Discussion Information Technology Expertise for Internal Audit

A6  Discussion Information Technology Model and Interim Leadership

Click below to hear the session:

UCLA History: Knudsen in the News Today

Vern O. Knudsen
Today's LA Times has an article about the shuttering of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.  Included in that article is this brief note (below) about Vern Knudson who was chancellor of UCLA in 1959-60 and after whom a building on campus is named:

...The main hall also featured metal acoustical panels and wall sconces, attributed to Vern O. Knudsen, an authority on architectural acoustics who also served, briefly, as chancellor of UCLA...

Full article at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-santa-monica-civic-20130630,0,7440128.story

Note: As I recall, the Auditorium's problems stem from one of the byproducts of the state budget crisis of recent years: the killing of local redevelopment agencies.  It's a long story but because of the intertwining of state and local finance after Props 13 and 98 in particular, the state saved some money by killing local redevelopment agencies including the one in Santa Monica.  If Santa Monica's agency had not been killed, it likely would have been used to renovate the Auditorium.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

UCLA History: Water

Nowadays, there is a trickle of water that runs through the area where the Anderson School stands.  Back in 1933, water was more plentiful in that area.

Gone

According to LAObserved, Jerry's Deli in Westwood just south of UCLA closed yesterday as the result of a rent dispute.

Story at http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2013/06/another_deli_down_jerrys.php

Rent is always a problem:

UCLA History: The Power of Higher Education

Temporary power lines supplied electricity during construction of the central campus in Westwood in 1929.  Once construction was complete, the lines were removed as can be seen below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

No Mandate for Online Ed at UC: Let's Pretend!

Our post last night that the governor line-item vetoed his own $10 million mandate in the new state budget for online courses at UC is correct in a literal sense. But what appears to have happened is that UC - which doesn't like overt mandates which challenge its constitutional autonomy - agreed that it would spend $10 million on online ed anyway if the governor would just remove the mandate language.

From Inside Higher Ed today: ...“We’ve made a commitment to provide the $10 million, so it’s not going to affect our plans,” said Steve Montiel, a spokesman for the UC president's office...

In effect, without the mandate UC can pretend to decide freely to do what the governor wants. So in the spirit of the deal, let's pretend:
video

More Night Closures in the Sepulveda Pass

Tough to get in.
It will be hard to get into segments of Sepulveda Blvd. at night during the first half of July. From the Brentwood Patch:

Kiewit is scheduled to resume work involving the night time full closure of Sepulveda Blvd. between the Skirball Bridge and Mountaingate starting Monday, July 1 for approximately two weeks between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.  
The anticipated dates of the full closure of Sepulveda are July 1-2 and July 8-13 between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
So it will be tough to get in, but maybe not impossible:
video
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Online Ed Earmarked Money Line-Item Vetoed

Michael Meranze, in commenting on the previous post, noted that among the items vetoed by the governor was language that earmarked $10 million at UC for online ed courses.  As readers will know, that earmark was in the budget bill at the request of the governor.  Other quasi-earmarks were also vetoed.  The actual language doesn't delete dollars from the UC budget - which is why I missed it in the prior post.  It just deletes specifications for how dollars are to be used.  The veto language reads:

Item 6440-001-0001
For support of University of California. I revise this item by deleting Provisions 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. I am deleting Provisions 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 because the requirements included in these provisions that the University of California expend funds for various purposes create cost pressures and unnecessary restrictions. Eliminating these earmarks will give the University greater flexibility to manage its resources to meet its obligations, operate its instructional programs more effectively, and avoid tuition and fee increases.
----

UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert blog has the story at:
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/06/jerry-brown-vetoes-own-budget-proposal-on-online-education.html

----

As it turns out, the governor conferred with UC president Yudof about his (the governor's) mercurial behavior concerning online ed.  We have obtained a kind of transcript of the gubernatorial explanation:
video

Budget Signed: Smile But Then Scroll Down

It was generally all smiles and laughter at the state budget signing this morning as the photo above shows.  Contrast that photo with the one below at the 2011 budget signing when the governor had to sign a budget - after getting no GOP support for putting a tax measure on the ballot - that assumed a phantom $4 billion in revenue to make things seem in "balance."  No smiles there.
In any case, there appear to be no surprises for UC in the budget. [But see the updated post above on the governor's veto of his own online education proposal.]  The governor line-item vetoed a small appropriation for a building at UC-Merced but the veto message says the funds are contained in another bill.  UC gets an addition to its budget of $125.1 million with stipulations about reporting certain performance measures and not raising tuition.  There are supposed to be some kind of limits on the capital budget but what appears to be involved are state-funded projects.  Such limits seem unlikely to affect projects such as the UCLA Grand Hotel which are funded initially by non-state sources but may lose money in the future that will have to come from somewhere.

The official budget figures are as below (in billions of dollars - figures may not add up due to rounding):

                2012-13      2013-14
-------------------------------------
Reserve
at beginning
of year           -$1.7        +$0.9

Revenue &
transfers*        $98.2        +97.1

Expenditure       $95.7        +96.3

Surplus**         +$2.5        +$0.8

Reserve
at end of
year              +$0.9        +$1.7   
-------------------------------------
*Note: "Transfers" = a term of art that can hide mischief.
**Difference between inflow and outflow.   

Note that the current year (soon to end) shows a bigger surplus than the coming one. There is some borrowing from the cap and trade program in the upcoming year assuming the governor's May Revise proposal is still intact.  Without counting such borrowing as de facto revenue, the upcoming surplus and reserve would be in more razor thin than they are.  Any economic bump in the road could derail this train.  So hold your applause until next June.

In short, to continue our mixed metaphors, the rainy day fund reserve won't protect us from much more than a sprinkle.  We will have to rely on the smiles in that case:


Getting More Moody(‘s)

Yesterday, we noted how a lawsuit by a former UCLA basketball player had led Moody’s to lower the credit outlook for the NCAA.  More generally, Moody’s seems to be all over higher ed and now getting into the MOOC business.  According to Moody's, big-name universities should be happy with MOOCs and lesser ones should be sad.  From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The spread of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, is “credit positive” for universities that offer them but “credit negative” for a majority of lesser-known institutions that lack a prominent brand name, according to a report published on Monday by Moody’s Investors Service.  The announcement comes a year after the credit-rating agency predicted that MOOCs could improve the financial prospects of large research universities while presenting challenges to smaller institutions and for-profit colleges...

Full story at http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/moodys-says-moocs-could-boost-a-universitys-credit-rating/44519
 
Maybe it’s best not to be Moody:


Is this the worst song ever written or what?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The State Budget Will Be Signed Tomorrow

From the governor's office:

Governor Brown to Sign State Budget Tomorrow


6-26-2013

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will be joined tomorrow by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Pérez as he signs the Budget Act of 2013 (AB 110) in Sacramento.

The Governor will also sign ABX1 1 (Pérez) and SBX1 1 (Hernandez-Steinberg), which, in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act, will help ensure health care coverage for Californians.

When: Tomorrow, Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Where: California State Capitol, Governor's Council Room, Sacramento, CA 95814
NOTE: Immediately after the signing event, Department of Finance officials will hold a briefing to discuss details of the 2013-14 state budget. The briefing will be held in the Department of Finance conference room, located in Room 1145 of the State Capitol. Both the signing ceremony and the briefing are open to credentialed media only. The signing ceremony will be webcast at: www.calchannel.com.

Source: http://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18113
====
We're not expecting surprises regarding the UC budget.  But we will report on what happens. Meanwhile, we will await tomorrow:


UCLA MBA Goes Self-Sufficient

From UCOP:*

UC president approves UCLA Anderson's proposal for self-supporting M.B.A. program


University of California President Mark G. Yudof has approved a proposal by the UCLA Anderson School of Management to convert its full-time, state-supported M.B.A. program to self-supporting status.


Yudof's decision — outlined in a June 24 letter** — applies to the financing of the school's flagship M.B.A. program, where the full costs will now be covered solely by student tuition rather than a combination of state funds and student tuition and fees.


In other respects, including issues related to academic content and quality, the M.B.A. program remains integral to the campus and is subject to the same policies and regulations that govern UCLA's professional schools.


Yudof's approval comes after an extensive review process in which both the faculty of UCLA Anderson and the Legislative Assembly of UCLA's Academic Senate voted to support the proposal. Yudof underscored that UCLA Anderson and all its programs will be expected to retain the characteristics of a public research university and to "operate as do all other academic units at UCLA."


"We are very grateful to President Yudof for his thoughtful consideration and approval of the UCLA Anderson proposal," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. "It recognizes our need to adjust to new state funding realities while ensuring that the M.B.A. program preserves the academic quality and access for needy students befitting a public institution."


Among the conditions Yudof placed on the M.B.A. program's change in status is a stipulation that the program continue to ensure that student financial aid is offered for "financially needy students at a level commensurate with other UC full-time State-supported M.B.A. programs."


The conversion of UCLA Anderson's M.B.A. program to self-supporting status benefits not just UCLA Anderson but the entire campus. It frees up more than $8 million that will be used to support campus-wide undergraduate programs hurt by major reductions in state support.


"The UC system has been hard hit by state budget cuts, and I'm pleased that we've been able to offer an innovative solution that is a win-win for both the university and for UCLA Anderson," said Judy Olian, dean of UCLA Anderson. "This new financial model will provide students with tuition predictability and enable the school to invest in program innovations while redirecting state support to other needed priorities at the university."

**http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/UCLA/document/Yudof_Letter_MBA_Program99.pdf

UPDATE: The LA Times version of the story is at:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-business-20130626,0,4422034.story
It includes the following:

...Anderson school officials have said that donors have promised multimillion-dollar donations if the self-supporting plan goes forward in the expectation that the MBA program will become more innovative once it becomes financially independent from state support... 

UPDATE: The Business Week version notes that the systemwide Academic Senate attempted to table the plan:  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-26/ucla-wins-right-to-take-mba-program-private

...Yudof’s approval comes nine months after a UC Academic Senate panel suspended its review of the UCLA plan, saying the program failed to meet any of the four criteria required for a program to become self-supporting at UC...

UC Sues the Banks

From Bloomberg: Bank of America Corp. and Barclays Plc (BARC) are among more than a dozen banks sued by the Regents of the University of California over claims they manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate.  The university system filed an antitrust complaint in federal court in San Francisco. It accuses the banks of fraud, deceit and unjust enrichment, among other claims, and it seeks unspecified damages for either paying inflated interest rates or receiving deflated interest rates on its Libor-linked investments. “The defendant Libor banks in this case engaged in illegal and improper conduct and engaged in a criminal conspiracy that caused harm to public entities and hundreds of millions of people around the world,” the University of California said in yesterday’s complaint..
Michael O’Looney, a spokesman for London-based Barclays, declined to comment on the lawsuit..[REALLY: That's his name!]  ...The case is Regents of the University of California v. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), 13-2921, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)...  
Full story at:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-26/bofa-citi-sued-by-university-of-california-over-libor.html

For those who haven't lost their marbles, here is a little ditty to go with lawsuit:

The Gay Marriage Decisions: What Do They Mean for UC?

As the preliminary reports and analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage appear, you may be wondering what effect it might have on U.C., particularly with regard to benefits.  Or maybe you are not wondering since you know that U.C. has provided dependent benefits for domestic partners.  There is actually an effect through the federal tax system.  The now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) meant that the IRS did not recognize gay marriages, even in states where such marriages were permitted.  Thus a spouse/dependent in such a relationship, even if eligible for, say, coverage under his or her spouse's health insurance (at UC or elsewhere) had to pay taxes on the value of that coverage.  With DOMA gone, presumably such benefits to dependent same sex spouses will now receive the same tax-favored treatment that was afforded under federal law to opposite sex spouses.

The Supreme Court avoided ruling on California's Prop 8 ban on gay marriage.  However, a lower court had voided the Prop 8 ban - which was the route by which the case reached the Supreme Court - so presumably gay marriage will now resume in California.  (There may be some local variation initially but it will be possible for gay couples to marry in the state and thus receive federal tax-favored treatment for benefits.)  It is unlikely, however, that domestic partnerships will be recognized as marriages by IRS, particularly since formal marriage will now be an option for gay couples.  Thus, gay couples under UC benefit plans that are currently in domestic partnerships and that choose not to get married won't receive federal tax-favored treatment.  At least, so says yours truly - a non-lawyer and non-tax expert.  (So be warned.)

UPDATE: The governor has told the counties to resume or begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Story at http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/06/jerry-brown-tells-california-counties-to-issue-gay-marriage-licenses.html

Someone Noticed Newco

Some readers may recall coverage on this blog of the most recent Regents meeting (May) in which an entity at UCLA to be known as Newco was created to license university-developed technology.  One small newspaper - the East Bay Express - has now given the new entity some (negative) attention and points out that there was little coverage of the issue in the news media.

In a unanimous vote last month, the Regents of the University of California created a corporate entity that, if spread to all UC campuses as some regents envision, promises to further privatize scientific research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories. The entity, named Newco for the time being, also would block a substantial amount of UC research from being accessible to the public, and could reap big profits for corporations and investors that have ties to the well-connected businesspeople who will manage it. Despite the sweeping changes the program portends for UC, the regents' vote received virtually no press coverage. UC plans to first implement Newco at UCLA and its medical centers, but some regents, along with influential business leaders across the state, want similar entities installed at Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz, and other campuses. UC Regents Chairwoman Sherry Lansing called Newco at UCLA a "pilot program" for the entire UC system...

UC administrators also say they have established sufficient safeguards for Newco and that UCLA's chancellor and the regents will have oversight over the entity. But if last month's regents meeting in Sacramento is any indication, UC oversight of Newco may be less than robust. Several regents, in fact, objected to creating an oversight committee that would keep tabs on the new entity... Many of the UC Regents are also close friends of investors who want greater access to university inventions under more favorable terms, and who want the university to subsidize early-stage business expenses and take financial risks by investing in technology startups... The most vocal advocate for Newco at UCLA has been James Economou, the campus vice chancellor of research and a doctor at UCLA Medical Center who holds a faculty appointment in UCLA's Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. In several presentations to the regents, Economou has stressed that a Newco-type entity would patent greater numbers of faculty inventions and create more financial deals with the private sector, and that the university would benefit from the revenues and wealth this generates...

Full article at http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/public-research-for-private-gain/Content?oid=3619535&showFullText=true

Our earlier blog coverage is at http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-name-seems-to-be-taken.html

Change in Mood(y's)

Inside Higher Ed and other news media are reporting that the credit rating agency Moody's is downgrading the outlook for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because of a lawsuit filed by Ed O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player (photo).

From the absolutely 100% reliable Wikipedia:

Edward Charles O'Bannon, Jr. (born August 14, 1972 in Los Angeles, California) is a retired American basketball player, who was a power forward for the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team on their 1995 NCAA championship team, where he was known as "Ed-O". He was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the ninth overall pick in the 1995 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft, but played only two seasons in the NBA before playing another eight years professionally in six different countries...

O'Bannon was named as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on behalf of its Division I football and men's basketball players over the organization's use for commercial purposes of the images of its former student athletes. Specifically, the suit argued that upon graduation, a former student athlete should become entitled to financial compensation for future commercial uses of his or her image by the NCAA...

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_O%27Bannon

The Inside Higher Ed story is at http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/06/26/moodys-downgrades-ncaa-credit-outlook

Meanwhile, UCLA is in a good mood concerning the affairs of the NCAA:

UCLA Takes NCAA Title:The Bruins beat Mississippi State 8-0 to become the national champions.
Source: http://centurycity.patch.com/groups/sports/p/ucla-takes-ncaa-title

But I'm sure the folks at NCAA are in a bad mood today - probably not the mood below:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Follow Up on Affirmative Action

Yesterday, we posted an entry about Prop 209 admissions data in preparation for the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on affirmative action in university admissions.  Now that the decision is out, the media reports generally say it will have little effect.  Since California has Prop 209 restrictions in place already, it is assumed that there will be zero effect in California.  Your non-legal expert is unsure that zero is the right number.  As noted yesterday, the decision had the potential to affect private universities - due to their acceptance of federal funding - and public ones outside California.  Suppose it turns out that when the dust settles on this decision - a process that will apparently occur in lower courts - following affirmative action policies is made more difficult or in someway impeded in the privates and non-California publics.  In that event, the UC disadvantage in attempting to follow diversity policies under Prop 209 could be lessened.  If there are any legal types that would like to intone on this speculation, they are invited to do so.

The LA Times' version of the decision of the Supremes is at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-court-affirmative-action-20130625,0,3357283.story

It might be noted that two other cases decided by the Supremes and involving employment discrimination claims happened to occur at universities.  The decisions made such claims more difficult to pursue.  A summary and links can be found at:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/06/25/universities-play-role-2-supreme-court-employment-law-rulings

Monday, June 24, 2013

Berkeley's Grand Project Seems Similar to UCLA's

From the San Francisco ChronicleUC Berkeley's plan to sell special football seats to pay off nearly half a billion dollars in stadium debt has long inspired skepticism, as if Cal were setting up a lemonade stand to finance a home mortgage. True, each of those chairs at the newly renovated Memorial Stadium costs $40,000 to $250,000 and is yours for 40 or 50 years. But even Cal officials, who had said they would sell all 2,902 pricey seats by this month, grew skeptical of their own claims last fall. The latest figures show sales have stagnated at 1,857 seats. Declined, in fact. Sixteen buyers gave their seats back this winter, stopping payments and cutting short their ownership deal. None of that surprises longtime critics of the stadium renovation...
Blog readers will see the similarities to UCLA's Grand Hotel project.
It's coming soon to a parking structure near you!  
There is one difference.  
UCLA has blended its project with other enterprises.
So the Grand Hotel will always officially seem to meet its business objectives.  
Berkeley just wasn't creative enough in doing its stadium.
All you need is money - or creativity:

Prop 209 Data



Prop 209, approved by voters in 1996, banned affirmative action in university admissions and public contracting.  It followed an earlier move in 1995 by the Regents to ban affirmative action and, in fact, made their decision redundant.  (They later revoked the decision, an action that had no effect once Prop 209 was enacted.)  The Contra Costa Times has a retrospective article on the subject because of the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action that could extend to private as well as public universities since the former accept federal funding.  The chart above comes from that article and focuses on admission rates at UC-Berkeley.

 
You can see a video of the Regents’ action at the link below:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

UCLA History: UCLA marching song (to tune of “Strike Up the Band”)

UCLA Marching Band in 1946
Exactly how “Strike Up the Band,” which had its origins in a 1927 musical, was reworded by George and Ira Gershwin for UCLA in 1936 is told in http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/20/local/me-gershwin20

Here is an old recording: [Lyrics begin at 1:14.]
 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Something to look up

In May 2012, the Daily Bruin ran this photo of Prof. David Paige holding a model of the Moon in connection with discovery of lunar ice.* Now comes word that tonight, the Moon will appear oversized in the skies. See http://bit.ly/131yxTA for details.  So look up.

*http://dailybruin.com/2012/05/08/ucla_professor_and_his_team_discover_ice_below_the_surface_of_mercury039s_poles/

Friday, June 21, 2013

405: The Drama Continues

From LA County Supervisor Yaroslavsky:

Work this week on two overpasses across the 405 Freeway is prompting night closures of both bridges and the freeway. The Skirball Bridge is being closed nightly from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. so that girders can be installed to form the bridge’s deck. That work continues tonight and Friday night, and is set to conclude by Saturday morning. Because of the size of the girders—the largest weighs 128,000 pounds—the northbound freeway running from Getty Center Drive to the 101 Freeway will be closed as well so that motorists aren’t endangered. Ramps in the area start closing tonight and Friday as early as 7 p.m., with lane closures beginning at 10 p.m. The entire northbound stretch will be closed from midnight each night, reopening at 5 a.m. the following day...
It doesn't seem to end:
video

On Second Thought

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, major universities are have second thoughts about having commercial MOOC providers handle their online courses.

Colleges looking to expand their online course offerings have often enlisted help from education-technology companies. A college might buy a learning-management system from Blackboard, e-tutoring software from Pearson, and so on. Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based company that specializes in massive open online courses, recently became the latest technology firm to offer services aimed at credit-bearing online programs at large universities. Now the provosts in a consortium of major research universities are considering whether their group should build its own online infrastructure that would enable the universities to share courses, digital resources, and data without ceding control to outsiders...

Full story at http://chronicle.com/article/Universities-in-Consortium/139919/

Suddenly, the “free” services offered by the commercial providers apparently don’t look so good and the universities are willing to let them take back their offers:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In a family way

Families may not be what they once were, back in the day.  But Inside Higher Ed today carries a story about an effort by the American Council on Education (ACE) to deal with worklife-family balance for faculty.  Readers will know of such changes in the faculty promotion system such as "stopping the tenure clock" for child birth.  However, the effort described in the article notes that ten university presidents or chancellors have signed on.  Curiously, only one is from the UC system - Linda Katehi of UC-Davis.

As it happens, one of the issues the revamped UCLA Faculty Assn. hopes to work on in the coming year is that very topic. In the meantime, Chancellor Block might have an interest in being a signatory to the ACE effort.

The Inside Higher Ed story is at http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/06/20/new-effort-promote-faculty-work-family-balance

The ACE statement is at http://www.acenet.edu/leadership/programs/Pages/National-Challenge.aspx

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

MOOP – A Modest Open Online Proposal

In prior posts, we have blogged about MOOCs - massive open online courses (MOOCs).  But now comes a proposal for a MOOA:

As colleges begin using massive open online courses (MOOC) to reduce faculty costs, a Johns Hopkins University professor has announced plans for MOOA (massive open online administrations). Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, says that many colleges and universities face the same administrative issues every day. By having one experienced group of administrators make decisions for hundreds of campuses simultaneously, MOOA would help address these problems expeditiously and economically. Since MOOA would allow colleges to dispense with most of their own administrators, it would generate substantial cost savings in higher education... Asked if this "one size fits all" administrative concept was realistic given the diversity of problems faced by thousands of schools, Ginsberg noted that a "best practices" philosophy already leads administrators to blindly follow one another's leads in such realms as planning, staffing, personnel issues, campus diversity, branding and, curriculum planning. The MOOA, said Ginsberg, would take "best practices" a step further and utilize it to realize substantial cost savings...

Ginsberg has named his MOOA "Administeria," and plans to begin operations in early 2014.  He admits that widespread use of MOOAs could result in substantial unemployment among college bureaucrats. However, he noted that their skill sets make them qualified for work in such burgeoning industries as retail sales, hospitality, food services, event planning, and horticultural design.


Of course, the proposal opens up the possibility of wider applications.  We could have a MOOG – massively open online governorship – so that one governor could handle all 50 states.  After all, the idea of separate governorships is just a relic of the colonial period and the original US constitution.   Why should we be using old 1780s forms of government in the 21st century?

There could also be MOOLLs – massively open online legislative leaders.  (How many does the country really need?)  The possibilities and the potential cost savings are virtually endless.  Isn’t anything on line virtual?

Full disclosure: Prof. Arleen Leibowitz of the Luskin School of Public Affairs brought the MOOA proposal to my attention.

Don’t you wish you had thought of these idea?!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It Ain't What it Was

Westwood in 1929 wasn't very exciting, either.
The LA Times reviews attempts to revitalize Westwood and notes at one time it was a commercial center. 

For decades, Westwood Village was the heartbeat of Los Angeles nightlife while downtown languished in solitude. Westwood had the movie theaters, fancy restaurants and bustling street traffic, and downtown was known as a quiet and intimidating place to be after dark. These days, a humbled Westwood finds itself in the unexpected position of turning to a resurgent downtown for ideas. Of the more than a dozen movie theaters that once stood in the village, all but three have closed down. A count this week found that about a quarter of the storefronts on the main boulevard are vacant. After numerous failed revitalization attempts over the last two decades, Westwood is now looking to some of its neighborhood rivals for inspiration. Village leaders see how the arts have helped pump new life into downtown as well as formerly sleepy areas like Culver City. With a new focus, Westwood is moving away from its past as an entertainment and upscale shopping mecca. Backers see the 21st century Westwood as a magnet for arts and culture, filled with galleries, museums, performance space and trendy food...

Full article at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-westwood-village-20130618,0,7278089,full.story

Note that to the extent that UCLA creates itself as an internal city - with its own Grand Hotel - the surrounding neighborhood gets no spillover effects.  Students can live on campus and buy meals and other supplies without leaving.  With the Grand Hotel, the same will be true for visitors to campus.  So no one should be shocked, shocked at the results.

Bad PR

There is the old saying that all publicity is good, as long as they spell your name correctly.  Maybe not in all cases, however...

From the LA Times:

A controversial policy group singles out teacher training programs at UCLA and Loyola Marymount as hardly worth attending. But the schools say the report is flawed.

 

A new front is opening in the education wars as a report released Tuesday derides California's teacher training schools as among the worst in a nation full of substandard programs.The study by a controversial Washington, D.C.-based policy group singles out UCLA and Loyola Marymount University, among others, as hardly worth attending. Both have strong reputations within the field. The report, issued by the National Council on Teacher Quality, is getting attention as a new annual offering among the education ratings published by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine's ratings of high schools and colleges already are much debated. "It's widely agreed upon that there's a problem" with teacher training, said L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy. "The report points out that California has an acute set of problems." ...  UCLA participated but questioned whether the advocacy group looked deeply enough... The National Council on Teacher Quality is known for taking sides in heated policy debates. For example, it strongly favors using student standardized test scores as a substantial portion of a teacher's evaluation...


Full story at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0618-teacher-training-20130618,0,5100253.story

Anyway, here's some advice when someone says bad things about you


UPDATE: A more detailed article on the report can be found at
http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/critical-report-on-teacher-preparation-programs-sparks-debate/33721#.UcGUUtjbCLs