Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Strategy at Berkeley

UC-Berkeley has announced it has a structural deficit and has launched a "strategic initiative"  to deal with the problem. Among the steps to be taken:

  • Evaluating our workforce in relationship to our changing needs and resources. This will also entail a new mechanism for the monitoring and control of staffing levels – mirroring the discipline we have long applied to hiring of faculty. We will also review our senior administrative functions, including central units, to reduce redundancy and create new forms of collaboration. We will complete the assessment and analysis of Berkeley’s workforce and its future needs by the end of the current academic year.
  • Improving support for our teaching and research while also redesigning many of our work processes in order to achieve greater efficiency. For example, to better support our faculty’s ability to compete for research grants, we have begun an end-to-end review that includes research support activities in academic units, the Sponsored Projects Office, Campus Shared Services (CSS), and Contracts and Grants Accounting.  The shortcomings in CSS, which we have already begun to address, will continue to be evaluated; we will make all necessary changes.
  • Making new investments to expand our fundraising capacity along with other new areas for external support. In order to achieve the best results in this domain, we are also designing a campus-wide approach to philanthropy – one that will increase our endowment, expand our fundraising abilities, improve donor relations and reach out more effectively to supporters. 
  • Achieving additional revenues through our “brand,” land, and other assets. This initiative will ensure that we are earning maximum revenues from licensing and other financial agreements, while protecting our image and being true to our values.  It will also explore ways in which the wise use of our real estate and other assets can both yield revenues and help to address the ever-pressing housing needs of our faculty, staff, and students.
  • Working with the Academic Senate leadership and the deans of the schools, colleges, and Letters & Sciences divisions on the redesign of some of our academic structures. Realignment will ensure that we are excellent in all we choose to do, in our research and in our educational mission.  In some instances, this means strengthening units as is; in others, it means narrowing the focus to specific areas of excellence; and in some instances it means combining and rearranging to capture intellectual synergies and to ensure sufficient scale academically, administratively, and financially.  Even if our financial situation were better, these changes make academic sense, ensuring that all our units have a scale, and sufficient support, to mount the strongest programs. This initiative will involve extensive consultation, consideration, and testing.
  • Expanding online offerings and enrollments in University Extension, as well as professional and other master’s programs that earn revenue. In addition, over the course of the next few years, financial support for our admitted doctoral students will be improved, while some enrollments will be reduced and brought into alignment with those at peer universities in order to better support the quality of these programs.
  • Re-examining the gap between Intercollegiate Athletics’ revenue and expenses, which has widened in recent years.  To reverse this, we are pursuing major opportunities to increase revenues and donor support for scholarships, while looking at ways to reduce administrative costs and other team expenses.


Inside Higher Ed has an article about these developments at:

The goal of the strategic initiative is said to be to establish a "new normal." New normal is often a code word for a situation less pleasant than the old normal.

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