Thursday, May 31, 2018

Where things are now

The table above from the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) shows the difference between the governor's, senate and assembly version of the budget. Before the legislature can pass a budget, the senate and assembly versions must be combined into a unified compromise version. Although the three versions of the budget depend on different assumptions, the main difference is more revenue being assumed in the legislative versions which allow more spending and bigger reserves. As can be seen below, the senate version gives more to higher ed than the assembly version, although both give more than the governor proposed.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Money with a proviso

...Pension wars, UC front

Assembly Democrats have a sweet offer to help the University of California shore up its pension system, but the deal comes with a catch that would block it from offering an alternative plan that's popular with some new employees.

Democrats are offering $120 million toward the UC's unfunded pension liability. To get the money, the UC would have to refrain from offering a 401(k) style retirement plan to tens of thousands of rank-and-file workers represented by AFSCME 3299 and University Professional and Technical Employees.

Already, thousands of workers are opting for the 401(k) plans. The UC system reports that 37 percent of new employees want the 401(k) instead of a traditional public employee pension. 

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Phil Ting said the proposal is intended to ensure that rank-and-file UC employees have a retirement plan that they can count on in their golden years. He's open to retaining 401(k) plans for high-earning UC leaders who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

"We still believe that defined-benefit program is the best (for) long-term economic security. We're not moving away from that," he said at a press conference on Tuesday. "We didn't think it was appropriate for UC to move away from that model for the bulk of their employees making $60,000 a year."

Assembly leaders put their pitch in the budget proposal, and they'll try to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate leaders to adopt it.

UC workers represented by AFSCME and UPTE don't have a choice to take a 401(k). That depends on their next contract, and the UC is pressing them to accept a deal that would open new workers to defined contribution retirement plans. The unions characterize the offer as a "risky" one that could weaken the University of California Retirement Plan. 

Earlier this year, Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, offered a bill that would have let new state workers choose between a 401(k) plan and a CalPERS pension. Pensions tends to reward career civil servants, but people who don't want to spend decades with a single employer tend to have more to gain from a defined contribution plan.

Glazer's bill died in committee, where SEIU California lobbyist Terry Brennand called it a "disaster waiting to happen."

Full story at

More at the legislature - not clear what guv will do

...Colleges and universities would get more from legislative Democrats than from the governor. Both houses propose additional spending on higher education compared with Brown’s May budget plan. The Senate proposes a slightly bigger boost — $473 million over Brown’s proposal, compared with the Assembly’s $369-million effort. In both cases, the goal would be to avoid tuition increases and expand enrollments at the University of California and California State University campuses.


Chancellor Tweets

For those who do Twitter, you may be interested in knowing (or following) the chancellor's new Twitter account:


A former Fresno State University student was convicted Tuesday of fatally stabbing a 21-year-old UCLA student whose body was discovered after a September 2015 fire at her Westwood apartment.
Jurors deliberated about a day before finding Alberto Hinojosa Medina, 24, guilty of first-degree murder for the Sept. 21, 2015, slaying of Andrea DelVesco, along with the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary, according to Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila.
The panel also found Medina guilty of one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and cruelty to an animal -- the latter involving DelVesco's dog, which had to be euthanized, along with two counts of first-degree burglary with a person present involving DelVesco's apartment in the 10900 block of Roebling Avenue and another apartment across the street, the prosecutor said.
Medina is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole, with sentencing set for July 20 at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors had opted earlier not to seek the death penalty against Medina...
Co-defendant Eric Marquez, 25, was attending UCLA when he was charged with murder and two counts of first-degree burglary with a person present, but subsequently pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary and being an accessory after the fact. He is awaiting sentencing June 7.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Money well spent

From time to time, yours truly likes to point to contributions to the university that DO NOT result in brick-and-mortar construction but which add to research, teaching, or other good services academia can provide. From the Bruin:

A social science research program at UCLA received a $2.85 million grant to research social problems including homelessness, poverty, crime and education inequality.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation donated a total of $5.5 million to support the California Policy Lab, a research program at UCLA and UC Berkeley which partners with state and local governments to provide scientifically backed solutions to social problems.
The lab was established as a pilot program in 2017 with a $2 million grant from the Arnold Foundation. The foundation has called for the campuses to also donate to the lab, asking UCLA to contribute $1.85 million.
The lab is conducting research in areas such as criminal justice, homelessness, income security and employment, educational access and welfare.
The lab has partnered with organizations including the California Employment Development Department, the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and the Los Angeles Police Department. 

The grant is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which seeks to raise $4.2 billion by December 2019.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Listen to the Regents Meeting of May 24, 2018

Yours truly has preserved the audio of the final, wrap-up meeting of the Regents of May 24. You can hear it at the link below.

One report from the LA Times:

UC regents approve leaner budget for Janet Napolitano

MAY 25, 2018 | 8:20 AM  LA Times

University of California regents on Thursday unanimously approved a leaner, more transparent budget for President Janet Napolitano, moving to address political criticism over the system's central office operations.

The $876.4-million budget for 2018-19 reflects spending cuts of 2%, including reductions in staffing, travel and such systemwide programs as public service law fellowships, carbon neutrality and food security.

Napolitano shifted $30 million to campuses for housing needs and $10 million to UC Riverside to support its five-year-old medical school. She also permanently redirected $8.5 million annually to help enroll more California students, as required by the state.

The spending plan incorporates changes recommended by a recent state audit, which found several financial problems in previous budgets, including a $175-million unreported reserve. UC officials said the money had been allocated to university programs but was not clearly reported. The new budget specifies all sources and uses of funds.

Napolitano told regents at their San Francisco meeting that the UC budget was more complex than any she had ever seen, including those she handled as Arizona governor and U.S. Homeland Security secretary.

The budget has 466 different funds with varying restrictions on their use. Two-thirds of the total revenue is fees for assistance — such as investment and legal services — that the central office gives campuses, or money that passes through the president's office en route to others, such as state dollars for tobacco disease research.

"Our goal was to clarify and simplify the financial operations of the Office of the President, and to make them more transparent," Napolitano told regents. "And I believe we've made great progress."

In a lively discussion, regents asked a range of questions about the budget reserve, the fees for services, the use of campus housing money and the rising costs for the new systemwide information technology system, UCPath, as it goes online at more campuses.

Board Chairman George Kieffer called the new budget presentation "a remarkable turnaround" as he and other regents praised the staff for their thousands of hours of work on it.

"This is a breath of fresh air," said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ex-officio regent who is running for governor. "This is exactly the kind of engagement and transparency we need."

Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the more transparent document would put to rest ideas that the president's office was hiding money.

"This goes a long way in addressing the false notion that there was a slush fund," he said.

Regents also discussed UC's financial aid program, which, combined with state grants, amounts to one of the most generous in the nation. About 56% of undergraduates receive grants, and an additional 8% receive state middle-class scholarships.

Tuition and fees are waived for those whose families earn less than $80,000, though some regents noted that even those students struggle under California's high cost of living.

"We leave the impression that we're covering the needs of all students who are low-income, and that's simply not true," Ortiz Oakley said.

In other matters, regents voted to make it slightly easier to qualify for in-state tuition by shortening the time, from two years to one, that students under age 24 are required to show they are financially independent from parents who live outside California. They are still required to live continuously in California for more than a year and prove their intent to make the state their permanent home.

Students who qualify as Californians will save nearly $120,000 in nonresident tuition over four years. UC staff could not say how many students might be affected by the change.


Link to audio:


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Listen to the afternoon meeting of the Regents: May 23, 2018

Long meeting which yours truly has only examined briefly. Links to the audio below. But here is one version of the highlights from the Bruin:

The board governing the University of California voted Thursday to allow more out-of-state UC students to qualify for in-state status.

The UC Board of Regents approved recommendations from the UC Office of the President to loosen student financial aid eligibility and qualifications for in-state residency, after the Academic and Student Affairs committee voted unanimously Wednesday to support the changes.

Undergraduate students under 24 who can show they are self-sufficient for one year will be able to determine their financial aid eligibility and residency status without consideration of their parents’ finances and residency status, which aligns with federal and state policy. Graduate students’ residency will also be determined without considering their parents’ residency.

The board also voted to consolidate the regents’ policy on tuition waivers with the policy on residency because they both address which students qualify as residents. Under the current tuition waiver policy, UC employees and dependents who were assigned to work outside of California receive California residency, as do students who qualify for AB 540, which allows qualifying undocumented students to be eligible for state and UC financial aid, said Christopher Carter, director of student financial support at UCOP.

The updated policy will take effect in the 2019-2020 academic year, said Robin Holmes-Sullivan, vice president of student affairs.

Under previous UC policy, undergraduate students under 24 who could prove they have been self-sufficient for at least two years could determine their financial aid eligibility without consideration of their parents’ finances. Graduate students could only have their residency be considered independently if their parents had not claimed them for income tax deductions.

The UC, state and federal government usually determine financial aid with consideration of parental finances. The UC determines the residency status of an undergraduate student who is under 24 by their parents’ residency status, with some exceptions, such as veterans, students with dependents and self-sufficient students.

A student must have a physical presence in California and the intent to make California a home to qualify for residency according to both state and UC policy.

Carter said students must submit a preponderance of indicators to show they intend to make California a permanent home, such as by paying taxes in the state or having California ID or driver’s licenses.

The board voted in favor of these changes to simplify the process of qualifying for in-state status and make it understandable to students and their families. The board also wanted to simplify this process because campuses need to determine residency before offers of admission are made to satisfy the cap on nonresident enrollment and determine the revenue from nonresident supplemental tuition.

Despite unanimous support from the committee Wednesday, some regents expressed concerns about the impact of the policy change.

Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley asked UCOP for an estimate of how many currently enrolled students this policy would impact. He added he was concerned about whether incarcerated individuals in California who transferred to a facility outside of the state would be considered residents at the time of release.

Carter said he expects the policy will affect very few students who are nonresidents.

“Most students who receive a nonresident classification and were expecting a resident classification are facing a lack of financial aid eligibility and supplemental tuition,” he said. “Very few of them then actually enroll.”

Carter added the UC policy on residency status does not explicitly address issues of students who were formerly incarcerated who were transferred out of their home state and added those students would have limits on the types of financial aid they qualify for.

Following questions from Student Regent Paul Monge, Holmes-Sullivan said petitioners who are denied can appeal for the University to reconsider their residency. Students can petition from their own campus and general counsel’s office at UCOP.

Shane White, chair of the Academic Senate and professor of dentistry at UCLA, said he supports changing the residency requirements because it will enfranchise more Californians to receive a state-supported education.

“(This policy has a) small negative impact on tuition revenue, but for the folks who are affected, (it’s) a huge positive life impact,” White said. “(A proposal for such a policy) has come up at public comments many times over the years.”


Links below:

Academic and Student Affairs / National Labs:

Finance and Capital Strategies:

Governance and Compensation:

Friday, May 25, 2018

We didn't make it...

We didn't make it into the list of the top-10 universities ranked by billionaire alumni:

Harvard, Stanford, U of Pennsylvania, Columbia, MIT, Cornell, Yale, USC, U of Chicago, and U of Michigan.


Kang on Speech

Submission to the Bruin: On May 17, Students Supporting Israel at UCLA sponsored an event titled “Indigenous Peoples Unite.” Protestors entered the room and disrupted the event with enough ferocity that the panelists and audience felt silenced and intimidated.
Thankfully, no one was physically hurt. After the disruptors refused the organizer’s invitation to respectfully join the discussion, UCPD escorted them out of the room so that the event could continue. Video of the incident has circulated online, generating surprise, anger and frustration.*
UCLA is a university committed to freedom of expression as well as freedom of inquiry. Even though such commitments require us to protect lawful protest, that does not include disruptions so severe that they effectively prevent speakers from reaching a willing audience. It is one thing to persuade through evidence and argument; it is quite another to interrupt with intimidation.
Given the diversity of our campus, we will be deeply divided on some contentious subjects. How we deal with that division is the challenge. Bullying and insults might be the norm elsewhere, but our UCLA community holds itself to a higher standard – one committed to persuasion and not coercion. Our True Bruin Values require it, and we refuse to settle for anything less.
Many, if not most, of the disruptors were unaffiliated with UCLA. For those outsiders who disrupted the event, we will refer all evidence of wrongdoing to local prosecutors to determine whether they have broken the law. For those who are members of our own community, clear transgressions of university policy will also be addressed appropriately. In doing so, we will be careful about getting the facts right – and not rush to judgment – to remain fair and consistent in our procedures.
We in the administration are committed to continuous improvement. So, we will also use this event to review and revise internal processes to better manage any future disruptions that may occur. We must strive to better communicate what freedom of expression does and does not mean at UCLA, so that all parties clearly understand the rules of engagement for conveying opposing views.
UCLA expects respectful dialogue from everyone on our campus. If we do not hold everyone to that standard, then every organization, community or identity group will be subject to the type of bullying tactics we saw last week. Respectful dialogue is not synonymous with meekness or conformity; to the contrary, it is the ultimate in courage and integrity, requiring us not only to speak but also to listen. The panelists and organizers of the event showed such courage and integrity; the disruptors regrettably did not.
Jerry Kang is UCLA’s vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion. Monroe Gorden Jr. is vice chancellor of student affairs [Kang is listed as the author but the note at the bottom identifies both Kang and Gorden.]

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The games people play

From the Bruin:

California state legislators announced a state constitutional amendment Tuesday that aims to restrict the University of California’s autonomy by reducing staff salaries, the length of regents’ terms and the authority of the UC president.
The proposed amendment limits nonfaculty salaries to $200,000 per year, which would affect coaches that, on some campuses, make millions of dollars, and administrators that make hundreds of thousands of dollars. The proposal also requires the UC Board of Regents to approve higher salaries in public hearings.
Under the amendment, regents’ terms would be reduced from 12 years to four years, and the UC president would lose their voting power on the Board of Regents. The UC Office of the President would also be required to report expenditure information to the regents, governor and Legislature.
The amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and the state Senate, followed by a majority vote by the public in a ballot measure in order to pass...

Maybe not the best choice of restaurant examples

From the Sacramento Bee:

Addressing the California Chamber of Commerce host breakfast for the final time as governor, Brown launched into an extended riff about the fast casual Mexican food chain, noting that Chipotle announced this week it is moving its headquarters to California and expressing admiration for its cheap burrito bowls.

"What I like about Chipotle is the limited menu. You stand in the line, get either brown rice or white rice, black beans or pinto beans," Brown said. "You put a little cheese, a little this, a little that, and you're out of there. I think that's a model some of our universities need to follow."

Brown has repeatedly prodded the state's public universities, particularly California State University, to improve their graduation rates. He said Wednesday that if they adopted a "limited-menu concept, everyone would graduate on time."

"They have so damn many courses because all these professors want to teach one of their pet little projects, but then you get thousands and thousands of courses, and then the basic courses aren't available. It takes kids six years instead of four years," Brown said. "I know that's not politically correct, or intellectually correct, because there's so much to learn," he added. "But you don't learn it all in college. You learn most of it after you leave. So, get a good basic education in whatever field you try to do it in and get out of there."...

Full story at

New UCLA Speech Rules

UCLA has established new speech rules for the campus based on an expenditure cap. Note that the new limits (described below) don't apply to speakers invited by student groups. (Many of the controversial speaker incidents around the country have involved speakers invited by campus groups.) Nor do the limits apply to someone speaking in a public place on campus, even if the university was compelled to provide considerable resources for security.

From Inside Higher Ed:

The University of California, Los Angeles, will cover only $100,000 in total security costs each academic year for speakers who are not invited by a student group, a spending cap on certain events that appears to be the first of its kind among high-profile colleges and universities.
This policy -- which legal experts say was carefully crafted to balance the First Amendment obligations of a public institution with the potentially high costs of hosting controversial speakers -- took effect on an interim basis this month.
It comes after nearly two years of hot-button individuals testing the boundaries of college free speech practices. Most notably, the white supremacist Richard Spencer toured universities nationwide last year in a deliberate attempt to rattle the campuses, but institutions have also faced protests inspired by visits from the ex-Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and the conservative commentator Ann Coulter (though in her case, she didn’t end up showing up at UC Berkeley as she publicly stated she would)...
The UCLA policy ensures that the university will pay, without any limits, for security for speakers invited by student groups associated with the institution, as long as they follow certain procedures, such as registering the event at least three weeks before it occurs, and meeting with campus police at least two weeks before.
These rules don’t apply to all events – just the ones the university deems “major,” meaning more than 350 people are anticipated to attend and there may be a security risk or a chance it would interfere with campus day-to-day activities.
For campus outsiders not brought in by a student group, the university has set aside $100,000 for the same type of events per academic year. Once that money is used up, generally a speaker would be denied. Outdoor events are still allowed, meaning (a speaker) could still shout on the UCLA grounds with a megaphone if he wanted to, but he probably couldn’t rent a space if the $100,000 budget had been exceeded...

New Council to be Formed

Be careful what you wish for
From the Bruin: Students and Westwood community members won an election to create a new neighborhood council in Westwood, according to a preliminary vote tally Wednesday.
Westwood Forward, a coalition of students, homeowners and business owners, received 2,004 votes to break away from the Westwood Neighborhood Council and form their own neighborhood council that would consider local policy and advise the Los Angeles City Council on Westwood issues. 1,481 people voted not to support the creation of the new council.
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees neighborhood councils, allows for groups to subdivide neighborhood councils based on a simple-majority vote following an application process. In December, members of the Westwood Forward coalition submitted an application, along with proposed bylaws, boundaries and a petition containing signatures from just under 1,000 individuals who favor the new council...
Editor's note: The assumption is that partitioning the current council will overcome NIMBYism and produce affordable housing for students and student-priced businesses. Given Westwood's location and high land prices, it's not clear that the eventual result won't be more high-end (unaffordable for students) housing and expensive restaurants and shopping. On verra.

Listen to the Regents: Morning of May 23, 2018

We continue are longstanding practice of archiving the audio of the Regents meetings since the Regents preserve their recordings only one year. Why they have a one-year rule remains both a mystery and a disservice.

The morning meeting began with the full board. Much of the time was devoted to public comments. Subjects by speakers included union issues including the recent strike, disabilities, antiSemitism and BDS, and Title 9 concerns. At one point, a demonstration led to the room being cleared. Subsequently, it was said that the university expects to receive the $50 million held up for compliance with the state audit (although - see below - the state auditor seems to think that UCOP has not fully complied).

At Public Engagement and Development, much hope was expressed that the legislature would come up with more money than the governor recommended in his May Revise budget proposal. The legislature still wants to maintain a separate allocation for the UCOP budget as a result of the state audit. There was also discussion of housing and other issues related to the impact of UC-Santa Cruz on the local committee.

At Compliance and Audit, it was noted that the state auditor thinks UCOP has not fully complied with the audit recommendations.



Public Engagement and Development:

Compliance and Audit:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Listen to the Regents Investments Subcommittee: 5-22-2018

As a prior post noted, the Regents Investments Subcommittee yesterday had an agenda item focused on student demands for divestment from fossil fuels and Turkey.

At the meeting, after the student presentations, the Regents discussed the issue. One Regent raised concerns about making political decisions rather than focusing on returns to the portfolio. Another said the judgments were value-based (meaning moral value) rather than political. Chief Investment Officer Bachher made ambiguous remarks but which can be read as suggesting that there was likely to be divestment.

You can hear the audio of the entire meeting at the link below:

or directly to

The discussion after the student presentations is at the link below:

It might be noted that the response of Bachher to divestment issues is different from that of his predecessor:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hello! Anyone there?

Next Governor Must Step Up on Higher Education

Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine co-chair the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. Ackerman is a former California State Senator and Assemblyman (Republican), and Levine is a former U.S. Congressman and State Assemblyman (Democrat).

Monday, May 21st, 2018, Fox and Hounds

California’s acclaimed higher education system owes a debt to many governors and legislators, but particularly two governors who championed the growth and accomplishments of the University of California, California State University, and our community colleges. The next Governor has the opportunity to join this pantheon by restoring the State’s investment in our campuses and embracing a new vision for higher education.

Edmund G. “Pat” Brown’s role is well known.  The Master Plan for Higher Education that defined the role of the three segments was adopted on his watch.  During Pat Brown’s term, new campuses were added to all three systems, enrollment increased, and California became the world-wide model for public higher education.

Former Governor George Deukmejian, who recently passed away, was typically less visible in his support for higher education but made a major contribution nonetheless.  The “Iron Duke” came into office following Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown, both of whom had somewhat rocky relationships with UC and the other institutions.

Following the passage of Proposition 13—the property tax reduction initiative—in 1978, UC took a major hit in the State Budget with per student State support dropping by about 20% by the time Deukmejian took office, State financial support for higher education had been waning under the governorships of Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown (1.0).  The entire system was at a turning point.

Then UC President David Gardener made his case to the new Governor in a luncheon meeting that also included two of Deukmejian’s key advisors.  The Governor asked President Gardener what it would take to make the system whole.  Governor Deukmejian heard him out and worked with the Democratic Legislature to boost UC funding by 31% and CSU funding by 21% in the next Budget—a bold move by a fiscal conservative...

Full op ed at

Today's Meeting

The Regents Investments Subcommittee is meeting later today. As usual, yours truly will endeavor to preserve the audio of the meeting, since the Regents keep their recordings only for one year.

Apart from the standard public comments and discussion of recent financial performance, here is a preview:


The Office of the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) is proud to be a part of the University of California, as well as the broader community of institutional investors, and view engagement and collaboration as one of its most valuable resources. In order to incorporate the theme of sustainability into its investment process and culture, the Office of the CIO is dedicated to collaborating and engaging with its peers, industry groups, public and private sectors, and with the University of California community to gain knowledge of environmental, social, and governance issues, build strategic partnerships, access new opportunities, and magnify UC’s collective voice in the pursuit of sustainability.

An example of this engagement is CIO Bachher’s February 28 meeting with the State Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange Office. The subject of this panel discussion was California, Armenia and Artsakh Trade Agreements, Civil Rights Issues, and University of California Divestiture and Budget Impacts. CIO Bachher spoke to the panel regarding UC’s investment strategy, exposure to Turkey, and partnership with American University of Armenia. The Subcommittee will hear from representatives from the Armenian Youth Federation Western Region calling for excluding investments from Turkish government-controlled financial instruments.

Another example of engagement is with Fossil Free UC, who over the past five years have been advocating to the Regents and the Office of the CIO to move away from fossil fuels. The Subcommittee will hear from a representative from Fossil Free.

The Office of the CIO values stakeholder engagement and partnering with the community throughout this process to establish the University’s leadership in environmental, social, and governance issues.

The Office of the CIO will present its approach to engagement with various stakeholders and provide a recap of the Senate Select Hearing and the Subcommittee will hear views from stakeholders regarding the discussion during the panel. 


Faculty no longer dogged by student evaluations at USC

Various studies over the years have found that student evaluations of teaching is subject to various biases. Now USC, which has been much in the news concerning other controversial matters,* is reported by Inside Higher Ed to be dropping use of student evals for faculty promotion cases.

Teaching Eval Shake-Up

By Colleen Flaherty, May 22, 2018, Inside Higher Ed

Research is reviewed in a rigorous manner, by expert peers. Yet teaching is often reviewed only or mostly by pedagogical non-experts: students. There’s also mounting evidence of bias in student evaluations of teaching, or SETs -- against female and minority instructors in particular. And teacher ratings aren’t necessarily correlated with learning outcomes.

All that was enough for the University of Southern California to do away with SETs in tenure and promotion decisions this spring. Students will still evaluate their professors, with some adjustments -- including a new focus on students’ own engagement in a course. But those ratings will not be used in high-stakes personnel decisions. The changes took place earlier than the university expected. But study after recent study suggesting that SETs advantage faculty members of certain genders and backgrounds (namely white men) and disadvantage others was enough for Michael Quick, provost, to call it quits, effective immediately. 

'I'm Done'

“He just said, ‘I’m done. I can’t continue to allow a substantial portion of the faculty to be subject to this kind of bias,” said Ginger Clark, assistant vice provost for academic and faculty affairs and director of USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching. “We’d already been in the process of developing a peer-review model of evaluation, but we hadn’t expected to pull the Band-Aid off this fast.” 

While Quick was praised on campus for his decision, the next, obvious question is how teaching will be assessed going forward. The long answer is through a renewed emphasis on teaching excellence in terms of training, evaluation and incentives.

“It’s big move. Everybody's nervous," Clark said. "But what we've found is that people are actually hungry for this kind of help with their teaching."

SETs -- one piece of the puzzle -- will continue to provide “important feedback to help faculty adjust their teaching practices, but will not be used directly as a measure in their performance review,” Clark said. The university’s evaluation instrument also was recently revised, with input from the faculty, to eliminate bias-prone questions and include more prompts about the learning experience. 

Umbrella questions such as, “How would you rate your professor?” and “How would you rate this course?” -- which Clark called “popularity contest” questions -- are now out. In are questions on course design, course impact and instructional, inclusive and assessment practices. Did the assignments make sense? Do students feel they learned something? Students also are now asked about what they brought to a course. How many hours did they spend on coursework outside of class? How many times did they contact the professor? What study strategies did they use? 

While such questions help professors gauge how their students learn, Clark said, they also signal to students that “your learning in this class depends as much as your input as your professor’s work.” There is also new guidance about keeping narrative comments -- which are frequently subjective and off-topic -- to course design and instructional practices. Still, SETs remain important at USC. Faculty members are expected to explain how they used student feedback to improve instruction in their teaching reflection statements, which continue to be part of the tenure and promotion process, for example. But evaluation data will no longer be used in those personnel decisions. 

Schools and colleges may also use evaluations to gather aggregate data on student engagement and perceptions about the curriculum, or USC’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, Clark said. They may also use them to identify faculty members who do “an outstanding job at engaging students, faculty who may need some support in that area of their teaching, or problematic behaviors in the classroom that require further inquiry.” 

Again, however, SETs themselves will not be used as a direct measure in performance evaluations...

Full story at

Monday, May 21, 2018

Another poll on higher ed

From Inside Higher Ed: A pair of surveys last year from the Pew Research Center and Gallup showed deep skepticism about higher education among Republican respondents.
While subsequent, less publicized surveys painted a more complex picture, many college leaders and academics remain worried about whether Republican scrutiny could lead to (more) budget cuts or policy crackdowns.
New America is the latest on the scene with the release today of its second annual survey on Americans’ attitudes about higher education. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank tweaked several of the questions this time around. But both installments found that respondents largely believe it’s easier to be successful with a college degree than without one. And Republicans were generally positive about higher education and even their tax dollars going to support it, according to the new survey...
The main take-away here may be the sensitivity of polling results to the framing of questions.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Footnote to History

Since we are in the midst of gubernatorial election season, here is a footnote to history that connects to UCLA:

Do you remember the 2002 gubernatorial election? Maybe not. Anyway, incumbent Democratic Governor Gray Davis was running for a second term in the midst of a major budget crisis sparked by the dot-com bust. In addition, he had proctored over a state electricity crisis that led to rolling blackouts following an ill-designed electricity deregulation scheme. In short, Davis was not too popular.

At that time, we had partisan primary elections, unlike the current top-2 system. So Davis' rival in the general election was definitely going to be whatever candidate the Republicans chose. Davis figured that former LA mayor Richard Riordan would be the most formidable opposition candidate, so he ran ads in the Republican primary attacking Riordan as a flip-flopper. Riordan won and an investment banker, William Simon became the Republican candidate in the 2002 general election. In the end, Davis won 47%-42%, not a very good showing for an incumbent seeking reelection and a foreshadowing of Davis' recall less than a year later.

So what's the UCLA connection. From the Bruin:

Economics professor Bill Simon receives My Last Lecture Award

UCLA professor and 2002 California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon often dresses up as famous economic figures like J.P. Morgan for his classes.

“A couple years after I ran for governor, a friend of mine asked me, what are you going to do now?” Simon said. “I said I’d like to get dressed up like Julius Caesar and go in front of a bunch of freshmen, slam my helmet on the table and say ‘veni, vidi, vici’ – I came, I saw, I conquered. If they start laughing, maybe I’m in the right place.”

Simon, a professor in the department of economics, received the My Last Lecture Award at a ceremony in De Neve Auditorium on Tuesday. The award, created by the UCLA Alumni Scholars Club in 2010, honors a student-nominated professor and gives them the chance to lecture on a topic they would want to talk about if it were their last lecture on Earth.

Simon structured his lecture around nine lessons that he’s learned in his life, from human nature to career advice, and talked about a range of topics, such as the importance of exercise, Mark Twain quotes and the role of self-deprecation when presenting...

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

LAO vs. Governor

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has issued a rosier scenario than found in the Dept. of Finance's projections (i.e., the governor's projections) contained in the May Revise. Not all the LAO's assumptions are in the rosier direction, but net they are. The legislature's majority may be less concerned about the details and more focused on the general message - which is that there is more to spend, short term and long term, than the governor would like. So, as we have noted in prior posts, there may be more allocated to UC in the budget to be passed by the legislature in June than the governor has designated - particularly if (as is very likely) UC does not raise tuition. Of course, the governor could use his line-item veto to remove what he doesn't want. In recent years, however, he has tended to reach a deal with the legislature rather than make much use of his veto power.

You can find the LAO report at:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

UCLA History: Moving

Moving into the new Westwood campus: 1929

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Regents Agenda

The Regents are meeting next week and with tuition increases off the table, it looks as though it will be a fairly routine affair. Some highlights:

Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured the three DOE labs, including Los Alamos which is up for bid. No mention is made of the details of the UC bid nor is there any indication of the outcome, although in previous Regents meetings it was said that the outcome would be known this month. See:

Some changes are being made in conferrral of emeriti status to senior managers, generally making the eligibility rules easier to fulfill. See:

Elaborate discussion and presentation of UCOP reserves are now included, presumably in response to the earlier state audit. It appears also that more money is going into the free speech center this coming fiscal/academic year and less is going to other presidential initiatives, as the chart above indicates. See:

Anti-Crumbling Bond?

Crowded, crumbling classrooms—will one-time cash infusion be enough to fix the University of California?

CALmatters, 5-15-18, Felicia Mello [excerpt]

Gov. Jerry Brown... added to his proposed 2018-19 budget a one-time infusion of $100 million each for UC and California State University to make campus repairs. The funds are part of a larger effort to upgrade the state’s ailing infrastructure. But they will only cover a fraction of the backlog and don’t account for the university’s long-term need for new buildings.

“He’s proposing a Band-Aid on a massive capital deficit wound,” said state Sen. Steve Glazer, an Orinda Democrat who wants to put a proposition on the November ballot asking voters to support $4 billion in bond funding* for the two universities to build classrooms and labs...

UC spends only about half of what comparable public research universities do on maintaining its campuses, a recent PPIC analysis** found. Spending plunged in 2010 and has not bounced back.

Private donations can help fund marquee projects like a new performing arts center, or profit-sharing ventures like a parking garage. But the less-glamorous task of building and maintaining classrooms usually requires public dollars, said Patrick Murphy, a senior fellow at PPIC who studies capital spending in higher education. “No one’s lining up to put their plaque on the air conditioning unit,” Murphy said...

Full story at

Statement by Glazer:
*The most recent version of the bill says $2 billion, not $4 billion:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

LAO recommendations for UC based on the May Revise

Click on image above to enlarge
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) typically does an analysis of the governor's May Revise budget proposal and its various components. Above is the LAO's recommendations to the legislature regarding UC. You can find it at:
The table above is on page 28.

UC Issues in the May Revise

In the May Revise news conference of May 11, questions about UC issues were largely directed to finance director Michael Cohen, who spoke after the governor made his remarks.

That segment of the news conference can be seen and heard at: starting at minute 42.46

Key issues that were raised were the AFSCME strike, tuition freeze, and transfers from community colleges. Earlier posts on this blog have discussed these and other matters.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Revenue Forecast: LAO vs. Governor

A previous post discussed the governor's May Revise budget proposal.* The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has now released its own revenue projections for 2018-19 which differ from the governor's. LAO actually put out two documents. One was for calendar years and contains general economic projections for 2018 for the U.S. and for California. The former should be a driver for the latter.

Oddly, the LAO's projections for the U.S. are somewhat less robust than the governor's, but its projections for California are somewhat stronger. For example, payroll employment in the U.S. grows faster in 2019 in the governor's scenario relative to the LAO's (1.7% vs. 0.7%) and unemployment is lower in the governor's scenario than in the LAO's (3.6% vs. 3.8%). At the state level, however, LAO has the same projection for payroll employment as the governor (1.4% for both) and has the unemployment rate lower (4.4% vs. 4.2%). Note, again, that these are calendar - not fiscal - years, which complicates the understanding of the link between the two types of time periods. See:

The LAO assumes about $1.5 billion more revenue than the governor for 2018-19, and it assumes the legislature will put less money than the governor proposes into the rainy-day fund. See: It might be noted that the LAO assumes a stock market "correction" (drop) in calendar 2019, which one might expect to be a negative for revenue from the income tax.

Neither the governor nor the LAO has an outright recession in the forecast although the governor - in his news conference - made the point that recessions are never put into such numbers. See:

Whatever the reconciliation of these numbers may be, the legislature is likely to see mainly the projection of more revenue than the governor predicts for next fiscal year. Thus, it may yet add some money for UC. Of course, the governor has a line-item veto. But, although his regime is ending in January, he may still need some goodwill in the legislature for his twin-tunnel water project and perhaps other matters as well. We will see...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Pension Theft - Part 2

May 10, 2018

Re: UCRS Pension Payment Thefts - Preventing

Dear Colleagues:

After reading my May 2, 2018 report: “UCRS Pension Payment Thefts,”* many of you asked what can you do to protect your account at AYSO (AtYourServiceOnline). First, how was OM’s AYSO account accessed by the hacker? The Director of RASC wrote OM (our member) “In reviewing your account history, we confirmed that on [date] your AYSO account was accessed by someone possessing your personal information, including your social security number, birth date, name, and address​. This individual requested a password reset​ and viewed your tax statements through the AYSO system. Using your personal information, that individual was able to use our authentication process and a temporary password was sent to your email account.​ Emails confirming these transactions were also sent to your email account on this date.”

The hacker did not know OM’s password, but did know OM’s SSN, birth date, name, and
address, obtained elsewhere. The hacker also apparently had gained access to OM’s email
account ​in order to 1) retrieve the temporary password, and 2) delete emails about changes
being made to OM’s AYSO account. Your email account must be secure to protect your AYSO

Today, theft of identities is very common: 50 million at Experian (2013), 3 billion at Yahoo in
2013 (disclosed in 2016, 40% of world’s population if unique accounts), 145 million at Equifax
(2017), 145 million at eBay (2014), 57 million at Uber (2016), 76 million households (half of all
US households) at JP Morgan Chase (2014), 79 million at Anthem (2015). There were 20 major
breaches in 2017 alone. UCLA’s 2006 breach, which affected OM, exposed name and SSN,
date of birth, home address and contact information​.[1]

Your name, SSN, date of birth, and home address probably haven’t changed in many years!
Unchangeable personal data is always valid, independent of when the breach occurred. Yet
this fixed personal information that you cannot change is all that is required to login to
AYSO today!​ You can not move your pension to another institution. You are dependent on
AYSO to adopt 2-factor authentication with phone so a hacker with all your personal information
can not access your account. This is now being promised for 2019.

But in the meantime you can eliminate the risks, by having your AYSO account blocked​:

1. Log in to AYSO and in the lower left corner of the main menu leave a comment for
Customer Care that you request two-factor authentication that requires them to call or
text your phone.
2. Change all document delivery from online to delivery by US Mail.
3. Check that your home address, telephone, email address, and security questions are
4. Check/change your security word. (You must remember this word.)
5. Log out.
6. Call RASC (800) 888-8267 and request that they “block” your account from all online
access by anyone, including you. Request they require that it may only be unblocked by
you, authenticated by a phone call from RASC to your phone on record.
7. Change your email password. Make sure that password is never used for any other
account anywhere and that it is a strong password that is unrelated to your other
passwords used elsewhere.
8. Adopt 2-factor authentication or “2-step authentication” if it is available for your email
account. Google offers it.
9. Each first of the month, verify that your monthly payment was deposited into your bank
and call RASC if it was not deposited.
10. To unblock, call RASC and request your account be unblocked.

Rest assured that our UCSC Emeriti Association, CUCEA (the Council of UC Emeriti
Associations), CUCRA (the Council of UC Retiree Associations), UCFW (system-wide Faculty
Welfare), and UCRS (UC Retirement System) Advisory Committee are all working to get AYSO
security improved and to get the pension payment theft victims reimbursed!

Best regards,
Todd Wipke
President, UCSC Emeriti Association
[1]On Dec 12, 2006​ OM received a letter from Norman Abrams, Acting Chancellor of UCLA:

“UCLA​ computer administrators have discovered that a restricted campus database containing
certain personal information has been illegally accessed by a sophisticated computer hacker. ...I regret to inform you that your name is in the database. ...The information stored on the affected database includes names and Social Security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses and contact information​.”

”This database contains personal information about UCLA​’s current and some former students,
faculty and staff, some student applicants and some parents of students or applicants who applied for financial aid. This data base also includes current and some former faculty and staff at the University of California, Merced​, and current and some former employees of the University of California Office of the President​, for which UCLA does administrative processing.”

Some more?

UCOP response to the governor's May Revise budget proposal:

...A statement issued by the UC’s Office of the President said the ten-campus university system “greatly appreciates” the $100 million for deferred maintenance but said it would lobby for more operating funds and did not definitively take a tuition hike off the table for the 2018-19 school year. “We remain hopeful that the legislature and the governor will provide sufficient resources to ensure that today’s students receive the same world-class UC education as did previous generations,” the statement said...

Full story at