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Saturday, October 31, 2020

The New Ghosts

On Halloween, we might consider the new ghosts that will soon appear. With the SAT/ACT gone, how long will it take before someone discovers "expensive private tutors" (see below) who essentially ghost-write essays for a fee? Or whose coaching comes within shouting range of ghost writing? Note that unlike the SAT/ACT, there is no proctoring of essay writing.

From EdSource: For generations, high school seniors have fretted over writing their essays for college applications, worrying how to make their personal stories stand out in the crowd and avoid hurting their acceptance chances with mediocre compositions. This year’s seniors have even deeper worries as the college application season begins.

Since SAT/ACT scores are optional or totally off the table during the pandemic, many colleges say that the personal and academic information presented in applicants’ essays will loom somewhat larger than in the past. That, in turn, is making some students double down on their essay compositions, often trying to distinguish their pandemic experiences from others stuck in online education and lockdown. In some cases, anxiety is heightened because they are not able to talk face-to-face with counselors and can’t visit drop-in writing centers...

UC requires answers to four of eight so-called Personal Insight Questions (PIQ), with each no more than 350 words. Among the possibilities are: “What would you say is your greatest talent or skill?” and “What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?” There is room for additional explanations, which UC this year says could include “extraordinary circumstances related to Covid-19.” ...

Bryan Jue, UC Irvine’s director of marketing and outreach for undergraduate admissions, said this year is “definitely different” without the test scores. UC campuses will put more “emphasis on looking at that context obviously” that students provide in their statements. He urged applicants to use the extra space provided for pandemic explanations, such as schools switching to pass/fail grading, family members falling ill or parents losing jobs. And he said students should take advantage of UC’s free online workshops on statement writing that don’t require expensive private tutors...

Gary Clark, UCLA’s director of undergraduate admissions, also said there are no fixed values to grades or essays, but he urged high school seniors to work hard on their writing responses to help reviewers “better understand our applicants as the individuals that they are. Authentic is the word I would use to describe the most effective responses I’ve read. We want to hear from the students in their voice.” ...

Full story at https://edsource.org/2020/with-test-scores-out-college-essays-count-more/641925

It's great that UC provides online writing workshops. But parents of students who can afford it will look to outside tutors who promise to outdo what the workshops provide.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Plan B for election & aftermath - Part 3

The item above from the Santa Monica Daily Press today* is a reminder of the need for contingency planning - what we called Plan B in earlier posts this month - to deal with potential turmoil after Election Day. If nothing happens - Great! In that case, Plan B can be put in a drawer and forgotten.

Stop

Quit accepting SAT and ACT test scores, court tells University of California

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 10-29-20

The University of California, which has stopped requiring applicants to take the SAT or the ACT, cannot allow prospective students to submit their scores on the standardized tests, a state appeals court said Thursday in a victory for students with disabilities. In response to a lawsuit by low-income, minority and disabled students, the UC regents voted in May to drop both tests as admissions requirements. The students had contended the tests were unfair to applicants who could not afford preparation classes and tutors, and to those whose first language was not English.

But the regents allowed individual campuses to let students submit SAT and ACT scores voluntarily in applications for 2021 and 2022, after which the university would no longer accept the scores. Regents chairman John Pérez said good scores could help applicants without penalizing those who did not submit them. Disability advocates protested that the voluntary submissions still tipped the scales against disabled students, who generally lacked access to the tests. In August, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman issued an injunction prohibiting even voluntary use of the exams during current conditions.

“Nondisabled, economically advantaged, and white test-takers have an inherent advantage in the testing process,” Seligman said. He said disabled students with the same qualifications as other applicants “are denied a potential second chance at admission” when test scores are taken into account.

The university appealed, saying a ban on voluntary consideration of the tests would harm diverse groups of students. Court intervention has “a direct effect on a wide range of students, including students from disadvantaged groups, who have prepared for and taken the SAT or ACT,” UC lawyers said. They said the university’s incoming freshman class is “the most diverse in its history.”

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued a temporary stay on Sept. 22, putting Seligman’s order on hold while it considered the arguments. But the court lifted the stay on Thursday and barred UC campuses from accepting or considering SAT or ACT scores. The court rejected the university’s claims that the order was unduly disruptive, as six of the nine UC campuses — Berkeley, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz — have already agreed not to accept the test scores this year.

Source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/Quit-accepting-SAT-and-ACT-test-scores-court-15686999.php

Note: The agitation around the SAT/ACT combined with the regents' action effectively dropping the tests in the future contrary to a recommendation in an Academic Senate report, and also regental endorsement of Prop 16, may be a factor in the poor polling on Prop 16 (which would allow affirmative action). Although Prop 16 covers such things as public contracting, the focus is on UC admissions and, at least according to polling on Prop 16, voters are apparently nervous about leaving admissions entirely to internal UC review criteria. Of course, we'll know after Tuesday where the voting public actually comes out on Prop 16.

Open

Notice from UC benefits

Across UC, faculty and staff are developing new ways of doing the critical work of the university. UC’s Open Enrollment, too, will adapt to our new normal, with a virtual benefits fair and webinars from UCPath* giving you easy access to all the details about this year’s choices and changes.

“This year has been like no other, with many challenges. Much has changed, but our commitment to providing you with comprehensive benefits remains as strong as ever,” said Cheryl Lloyd, interim vice president of Systemwide Human Resources.

Open Enrollment will take place from 8 a.m. on Oct. 29 through 5 p.m. on Nov. 24.

UC is offering the same high-quality health plans as last year, with minimal increases in premiums — ranging from $0 to $12 per month. See 2021 premiums for faculty and staff and 2021 premiums for retirees. There are a few important changes you should know about, including increases to some medical plan cost-sharing amounts, a new administrator for Flexible Spending Accounts and enhancements to legal insurance benefits.

UC welcomes all employees to UCPath – and to UC’s first virtual benefits fair

In a milestone for UC, all faculty and staff across the system will be enrolling for benefits on UCPath this year. Whether you’re new to UCPath or a long-time user, check out an Open Enrollment webinar* for tips on navigating the enrollment process and an overview of this year’s choices and changes. 

In another first, UC’s systemwide Benefits Fair opens online at ucal.us/benefitsfair on Oct. 27 and is available 24/7 until Open Enrollment closes on November 24. Explore virtual booths with resources, videos and representatives available to answer your questions. UC’s Open Enrollment website opens on Oct. 26.  

2021 highlights

Cost-sharing changes for Kaiser, UC Blue & Gold HMO and UC Care

For Kaiser and UC Blue & Gold HMO, emergency room copayments are increasing from $75 to $125 if the patient is not admitted to the hospital.

For UC Care, there are changes to member cost-sharing amounts:

The calendar year deductible remains $0 when you see UC Select providers. For other providers, deductibles are increasing to $500 (preferred)/$750 (non-preferred) for individuals and $1,000 (preferred)/$1,750 (non-preferred) for families.

The copayment for urgent care has decreased from $30 to $20. The copayment for emergency care has increased to $300 if the patient is not admitted to the hospital.

Coinsurance for preferred providers has increased from 20% to 30%.

The out-of-pocket maximum has increased to $6,100 (UC Select)/ $7,600 (preferred)/$9,600 (non-preferred) for individuals and $9,700 (UC Select)/ $14,200 (preferred)/$20,200 (non-preferred) for family coverage.

New administrator for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Discovery Benefits is the new FSA administrator, offering one account, one card and one mobile app for your Health and DepCare FSA — simply snap a photo with your phone to submit a claim or documentation.

Don’t forget — unlike your other benefits, you need to re-enroll in your Health and/or Dependent Care FSA each year.

Legal Insurance

New Diversity and Inclusion services are being added to further support the needs of UC’s diverse population, including domestic partnership agreements, funeral directives, hospital visitation authorizations, and gender identifier changes on government-issued documents.

Lower premiums for Supplemental and Expanded Dependent Life Insurance

Premiums for Supplemental and Expanded Dependent Life Insurance are decreasing an average of 7%.

Premium increase for Voluntary Long-Term Disability

Premiums for Long-Term Disability are increasing an average of $10.50 per month. Costs vary depending on age, earnings and date of hire.

Source: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2020/10/your-uc-benefits-are-here-for-you-open-enrollment-begins-oct.-29.html

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*https://www.ucop.edu/ucpath-center/_files/mypath/oe/registration.pdf

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Plan B for election & aftermath - Part 2

In prior posts, we have noted that along with UCLA's long-range planning for the coronavirus situation, there should also be short-range planning for what may or may not happen after Election Day.*

As we noted, the "worst" thing that happens is that nothing happens and Plan B goes into a drawer to gather dust.

UC-Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies has a relevant poll of "likely voters" in California out:


Note that respondents of student age are particularly likely to believe that untoward events could happen after Election Day.

Table from https://mailchi.mp/berkeley.edu/berkeley-igs-poll-2018-11-statewide-pre-election-poll-1185080?e=32044fd309

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/10/plan-b-for-election-aftermath.html

Slotting Fee?

A slotting fee is a payment to supermarkets to by suppliers to get their products on the shelves.

From Patch: (And clearly taken from a PR news release)

University of California Partnership Programs and MetLife Auto & Home, one of the nation's leading personal-lines insurance groups, today (Oct. 27) announced a multicampus program that provides personal auto, homeowners and renters insurance products to faculty, staff, alumni and students on the Davis, Berkeley and San Diego campuses...

UC Partnership Programs, which launched in June 2019, works collectively with the campuses to create dynamic multicampus and systemwide partnerships between business providers and UC campuses. The program is part of the SupplyChain500 Initiative, which aims to transform UC procurement supply chains across the UC system to deliver $500 million in annual benefits in support of the university's mission of teaching, research and public service...

As part of the agreement, and in exchange for various marketing opportunities, MetLife Auto & Home will support staff and student development, multicampus initiatives and research, among other initiatives. The five year, nearly $3 million agreement also includes an opportunity to expand the program to include other interested UC campuses...

Full story at https://patch.com/california/davis/uc-davis-included-metlife-insurance-partnership-benefiting-3-uc-campuses

Gradual

[Click on image to enlarge and clarify.]

The data for new weekly claims for unemployment insurance are out. They tell a national story of gradual recovery. California data are noisier and reflect the ongoing problems EDD has in processing claims. There seems to be an improvement relative to the summer period.

As always, the latest data are at https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

UCLA History: John Dewey Gives Keynote, 1930


It's not a great photo; more like a snapshot. But the caption reads:

Dr. (John) Dewey, philosophy professor at Columbia University, passes in front of Royce Hall following the Dedication ceremony. Dr. Dewey had given a keynote address titled "Philosophy and Education." Known formally as the "Dedication of the New Campus and New Buildings of the University of California at Los Angeles", the event brought together regents, professors, students, alumni, and representatives of other educational institutions for four sessions held on March 27 and 28 (1930).

Source: https://dl.library.ucla.edu/islandora/object/edu.ucla.library.universityArchives.historicPhotographs%3A174

Dewey is remembered in part for his advocacy of "progressive education":


Or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opXKmwg8VQM  (Dewey appears toward the end of the video.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Coronavirus cluster

From the Bruin:

There is a COVID-19 outbreak in an on-campus residential building, a UCLA spokesperson said in an emailed statement Monday. The Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center reported to UCLA that three students tested positive for COVID-19 in the De Neve Birch residence hall, said UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez in an emailed statement. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed late Saturday night that the cases constitute an outbreak, Vazquez said. LACDPH guidelines define an outbreak in a university residence as three or more COVID-19 cases that occur in the same place within 14 days. UCLA guidelines do not require the university to release the location of COVID-19 cases unless an outbreak occurs, Vazquez said. 

UCLA Housing sent De Neve Birch residents a courtesy notification Saturday morning that there were three people who tested positive and were a part of the COVID-19 cluster. UCLA Housing added in the letter that LACDPH may categorize the cluster as an outbreak. The students who tested positive for COVID-19 are self isolating, Vazquez said in a separate emailed statement. The LACDPH and UCLA’s Exposure Managment Team have reached out to individuals who were in contact with the students, Vazquez said...

Full story at https://dailybruin.com/2020/10/26/lacdph-classifies-cluster-of-covid-19-cases-on-the-hill-as-an-outbreak

What does ESG do?

The Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College has a policy brief out on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing of pension funds and the like, something in which the UC Regents as trustees have engaged in recent years.

Below is a summary and conclusion. But before we reproduce them, let me disabuse you if you are thinking that CRR is some kind of right-wing or business-oriented think tank. It isn't. Its director is Alice Munnell. You can Google her name or just go to:

https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/schools/carroll-school/faculty-research/faculty-directory/alicia-munnell.html

Here is a summary:

  • Public pension plans have engaged in social investing since the 1970s in response to state mandates.
  • More recently, the plans themselves have embraced a “new” form of investing that incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
  • ESG investing is based on the notion that taking account of non-financial factors will lead to better investment outcomes.
  • Some also believe ESG investing can further socially beneficial practices.
  • The evidence suggests, however, that social investing: 1) yields lower returns; and 2) is not effective at achieving social goals.
  • Hence, any form of social investing is not appropriate for public pension funds.






Source: https://crr.bc.edu/briefs/esg-investing-and-public-pensions-an-update/  

Conclusion:

The evolution of social investing from economically targeted investments and state-mandated divestments, where public plans clearly sacrificed return, to shareholder engagement and ESG investing, where the goal, at least, is to maintain market or better returns, is definitely a step forward. But both data and theory show that stock selection is not the way to reduce smoking or slow the rise in the earth’s temperature. And focusing on social factors, at least for public pension plans, does not appear to be costless – plans earn less in returns and fail to capture beneficiaries’ interests. Most importantly for public plans, the people who are making the decisions are not the ones who will bear the brunt of any miscalculations. 

The brief is at https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/SLP74.pdf

The Regents and the Regents' Investments Committee sometimes invite guest speakers. Perhaps Munnell might be invited to some future meeting.

Here is what the former chief financial officer of UC, Peter Taylor, had to say back in 2014:

Or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTXbABD-3o4.

Let there be light - and appropriate royalties: Part 2

Edison

Over a year ago, we noted patent litigation related to so-called "Edison" bulbs which UC said were developed at UC-Santa Barbara.* One defendant, in a PR news release - SATCO - is now claiming a partial victory. Note, in reading its PR news release (below) that there still a case outstanding that has not been adjudicated. There may be less victory here than the tone of the news release portrays.

====

BRENTWOOD, N.Y., Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire:

Satco Products, Inc., a leading supplier of lighting products for the commercial, residential and industrial markets, today announced that it had received key rulings from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Appeal Board in connection with four patents at issue in a pending litigation in the Eastern District of New York ("EDNY") with the Regents of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Specifically, after receiving unsubstantiated threats of alleged patent infringement by the University of California, Satco filed a lawsuit in the EDNY seeking a ruling by the Court that the patents identified by the University of California were not infringed by Satco.  In addition, Satco filed petitions for inter partes review against U.S. Patent Nos. 7,781,789, 9,240,529, 9,859,464, and 10,217,916—which the University of California had asserted against some Satco products in a complaint previously filed with the International Trade Commission ("ITC").  In a series of decisions capped by a ruling on October 22, the U.S. Patent Office instituted inter partes review of all four patents challenged by Satco, finding that there is a "reasonable likelihood" that Satco will prevail in demonstrating that at least one claim in each of those patents is invalid. 

SATCO, a leading supplier of lighting solutions, received key rulings from U.S. Patent Office and Trademark Appeal Board

The recent setbacks for the University of California follow earlier losses it sustained in its continuing effort to extract royalties from numerous companies in the LED lighting industry.  As explained in Satco's complaint in the EDNY, the University of California has mounted what it calls a "patent monetization campaign," which is being funded by a private investment company in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.  This campaign was kicked off on July 30, 2019, when the University of California filed the ITC complaint mentioned above against five retailers.  That same day, the University of California began sending threatening letters to numerous retailers attaching copies of its ITC complaint, and demanding payment of royalties.  Yet, after months of litigation and letter-writing, the University of California mysteriously withdrew its first ITC complaint, and on May 26, 2020 the ITC terminated the investigation in its entirety.

More recently, it has refiled a substantially similar complaint with the ITC, based on the same patents and additional ones.  Satco intends to vigorously defend its products in the 2nd ITC matter.

Satco is represented by Scott J. Bornstein, who serves as Co-Chair of the Global Intellectual Property & Technology Group and the Global Patent Litigation Group at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, along with Shareholders Nicholas A. Brown, Heath J. Briggs, and Stephen M. Ullmer, as well as Robert P. Lynn, Jr. and Stephen W. Livingston of Lynn Gartner Dunne, LLP.

"We are pleased with the orders from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and look forward to finally resolving all claims made by UCSB," Bornstein said.

SATCO Products, Inc., established in 1966, is a privately held New York based company that offers a wide variety of lighting products to an international lighting and electrical market. Including, LED, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, HID and energy efficient lamps as well as decorative and functional lighting fixtures sold under the NUVO brand.  For more information on SATCO, visit www.satco.com

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/satco-receives-key-rulings-from-us-patent-and-trademark-appeal-board-301159662.html

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*https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/07/let-there-be-light-and-appropriate.html

Plan B for election & aftermath

We noted at the tail end of a posting yesterday that it would be good if UCLA (and other UC campuses) had a "Plan B" in case of untoward events surrounding the election - a week from today - and its aftermath.

Apparently, two nearby jurisdictions - Santa Monica and Beverly Hills - are making such plans:

From the Santa Monica Mirror:

Santa Monica police say they will increase their presence in preparation for any potential unrest surrounding the upcoming election.

According to Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Lieutenant Joseph Cortez, the department has no intelligence to indicate Santa Monica will be a place of unrest but said “we also know that things can change rapidly and are actively monitoring the situation.” 

The SMPD says that beginning October 30, Santa Monica will see an elevated police presence throughout the city. 

“Over the last several weeks, the Santa Monica Police Department has been working with our local and regional partners in preparation for any unrest surrounding the election,” Cortez said. “Our visibility should not cause alarm and is dedicated to swiftly intercede with any type of criminal activity.” 

According to police, the City of Santa Monica and the SMPD have plans in place that include “a robust staffing model” and have coordinated with the Office of Emergency Management to have an activation plan for the entire City. The Department could not immediately be reached for more information surrounding these plans. 

The announcement by the SMPD comes days after the City of Beverly Hills announced they will be shutting down Rodeo Drive on election day saying it is “planning for the worst.” ...

Full story at https://smmirror.com/2020/10/santa-monica-police-to-increase-presence-ahead-of-election/ 

Depending on how the election turns out, on court decisions, and on who-knows-what, there could be problems. The "worst" that happens with making a Plan B is that nothing unfortunate occurs and that the plan can be put in a drawer and forgotten.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Winter

From an email circulated this morning: 

Dear Bruin Community:

Throughout the first few weeks of fall quarter, UCLA students and instructors have brought their signature creativity and energy to remote classes, and our community has come together for virtual welcome events, student organization and club activities, and unique editions of This is Bruin Life and Volunteer Day. While working, learning, and growing in a remote environment has its challenges, I am grateful for all of the ways in which our community has continued to make the UCLA experience meaningful.
I am writing today to share our plans for winter quarter instruction, which have been informed by requirements from the L.A. County Department of Public Health (PDF) and recommendations from UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force. In order to protect our community and limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, UCLA will continue the plans we put in place for the fall, offering remote-only instruction with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions. A list of classes to be offered in winter quarter will be available tomorrow through the Schedule of Classes and MyUCLA.
On-campus student housing also will continue to operate at the same reduced levels, primarily serving those with no alternative housing options. The most current information is available on UCLA Housing’s COVID-19 information page.
I understand that this news will be disheartening to many of you, especially our new Bruins who are eager to experience life in Westwood. It is disappointing to me as well. We were hopeful that we could expand instruction to include more in-person classes next quarter, but given the continued spread of COVID-19, and in line with strict county public health mandates, we must maintain a reduced population and limit person-to-person contact on campus. Please know that we remain committed to ensuring that students can make progress toward their degrees and to providing resources and tools to those who are teaching and learning remotely. We encourage any student who may be facing financial hardship to reach out to our Economic Crisis Response Team for assistance.
For international students, federal immigration authorities have not yet issued guidance on winter quarter visa and entry restrictions, but all international students still will be able to enroll for winter quarter remote instruction. The UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will reach out to international students to offer further guidance on travel, visas, and enrollment as soon as we receive sufficient information from the federal government on winter visa rules. We strongly encourage our international students to wait for guidance from the Dashew Center before making any plans to travel to the United States.
For students, staff, and faculty who will be on campus this winter quarter, infection control measures and protocols outlined on Bruins Safe Online will remain in place. I would like to acknowledge and thank the students and staff who are serving as Public Health Ambassadors and who have been great advocates for health and safety in our community.
We will keep you updated if future changes to county public health directives allow us greater flexibility in bringing students, staff, and faculty back to campus. You can visit UCLA’s COVID-19 resources site for the latest information on UCLA’s response to the pandemic.
UCLA’s mission of education, research, and service is more critical than ever, and the last few months have shown that we can continue to serve this mission well even in the midst of a global crisis. We must remain optimistic; we will bring more Bruins back to campus as soon as we can. Until then, thank you for your resilience, your adaptability, and all you are doing to keep our great institution moving forward.
Sincerely,
Emily A. Carter

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
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We continue to note that it's great to plan for winter and spring. But we also need a Plan B for what might occur after November 3. Let's hope someone is working on it.

Norman Thrower

Just about a year ago, we took notes of two UCLA centenarians, Norman Thrower and Toshi Ashikaga.* Quite recently, we noted the passing of the latter.** Now we hear about the passing of the former.

Robert Kerr, The Guardian, 10-25-20

My father-in-law, Norman Thrower, who has died aged 100, was professor emeritus in the department of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. From relatively humble beginnings, Norman became one of the world’s most famous cartographers.

In 1957, Norman joined the geography department at UCLA, where he authored, co-authored and edited 11 books, and more than 150 other contributions on cartography and associated geographical discoveries. He served his profession, UCLA and the state of California in many capacities, including as president of the Sir Francis Drake Commission (1975-81), which organized celebrations for the quadricentennial of Drake’s landing in California in 1579.

Born in Crowthorne, Berkshire, to Daisy (nee Bayley) and Gordon Thrower, a chef at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, Norman failed his 11-plus and did not go to secondary school.

After winning drawing competitions and attending art school at the University of Reading, he joined the British army aged 21. His artillery division was redeployed to India, where he trained as a cartographer at the Survey of India to draw topographic maps in support of the war effort in Europe. The maps were based on aerial photographs taken over Europe then flown to India, with the return flights bringing back the completed maps. This covered the period of Operation Crossbow, one of the goals of which was to identify V-1 launch ramps using binocular imaging, including in northern France before D-day. The experience played a crucial part in Norman’s post-military career and the development of new mapping techniques introduced in his PhD for illustrating the three-dimensionality of the surface.

Norman first met Betty Martin, an officer in the US Army Nurse Corps, in 1945 when her boat docked in London, though they had been pen pals for a number of years. Norman and Betty married in 1947 and, later that year, arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia, living in veterans’ housing while Norman did a BSc and an MSc in geography at the University of Virginia, where he was influenced by Erwin Raisz, an internationally renowned cartographer. With their first two daughters, they then moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where Norman gained his PhD. A final move, to California in 1957, saw the birth of their third daughter.

His best known book is Maps and Man (1972), now Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society (1999). Later works focused on advances in 17th- and 18th-century cartography by Edmund Halley and Samuel Pepys. And, finally, an editing of A Buccaneer’s Atlas: Basil Ringrose’s South Seas Waggoner, with Derek Howse (1992), a compilation of captured maps of Spain’s Pacific ports whose value to the British crown saved many buccaneers from hanging.

Betty died in 1997. Norman is survived by his daughters, Page, Anne and Mary, and five grandchildren.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/oct/25/norman-thrower-obituary

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 One of Norman Thrower’s hand-drawn 3D landscapes. 

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/10/one-hundred.html

**http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/10/toshi-ashikaga.html

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Dean McHenry: Some UCLA, UC-Berkeley, and UC-Santa Cruz History (& Some EPIC History)


Background
Dean McHenry was born on October 18, 1910 in Lompoc, California.

Education
Dean McHenry graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a student body president, then studied his way up the coast, receiving a master's degree from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.

[See below this item for what this account leaves out.]

Career
Dr. McHenry had a respectable academic career in political science. After teaching government at Williams College and political science at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. McHenry returned to the University of California at Los Angeles in 1939 as a member of the political science faculty.

Over the next 19 years he turned out a steady stream of scholarly works, among them ''The American Federal Government'' and ''The American System of Government'' and with time out for a couple of academic appointments in Australia and New Zealand emerged as an adept administrator at U.C.L.A. In addition to being department chairman, he had a nominally chuckling stint in charge of social sciences as Dean Dean McHenry.

As a tenured professor, Dr. McHenry might have remained at U.C.L.A. until retirement if his old Stanford roommate Clark Kerr, a longtime Berkeley professor, had not been named president of the University of California system in 1958. When Dr. Kerr asked for help, Dr. McHenry agreed to be his academic assistant and later dean of academic planning.

Those were heady days for academic planners in California, and as the university's representative on the group that drafted California's master plan for higher education in 1960, Dr. McHenry played a major role in devising what became an acclaimed and oft-copied three-tier system formed to guarantee a low-cost college education for every high school graduate in the state.

At the bottom of the academic pyramid were an array of two-year community colleges for less qualified students. In the middle was a network of four-year state colleges, like San Francisco State and Fresno State, open to students in the top third of their high school graduating classes, and at the top, for those ranked in the top eighth of their classes, were the six elite units of the University of California, among them U.C.L.A. and Berkeley. When the state authorized three new university campuses, at Irvine, San Diego and Santa Cruz, Dr. McHenry, who was in the thick of the planning, was named chancellor of the Santa Cruz campus.

At a time when the University of California was being increasingly criticized as an impersonal ''multiversity'' more interested in research than teaching, Dr. McHenry and Dr. Kerr used Oxford, Cambridge and Dr. Kerr's alma mater, Swarthmore, as the models for a campus of eight semi-autonomous residential colleges, where students would have close, continuing contact with their professors.

Leading architects were hired to construct the buildings at Santa Cruz, carefully placed to avoid disturbing the towering redwoods on the spectacular 2,000-acre campus overlooking Monterey Bay, which helped Dr. McHenry's recruitment of an impressive faculty drawn from Ivy League colleges and elsewhere. When the university opened in 1965, the dawn of the flower child era, the formula for laid-back education proved so popular that Santa Cruz attracted the cream of California's students and became the cynosure of the counterculture.

Dean E. McHenry, an academic pioneer who turned his vision of a campus with a redwoods vista, a Pacific view and a no-fault grading system into a counterculture magnet and an educational gem, died on March 17, 1998 at a hospital in Santa Cruz, California. He was 87.

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The academic biographies of McHenry often leave out this element of his career:

Dean McHenry and the 1934 End Poverty in California/Upton Sinclair Campaign

Upton Sinclair was a Socialist American author who wrote nearly 100 books, the most famous of which is The Jungle (1906) which exposed horrendous conditions in the meat-packing industry. Dean McHenry was an avid reader of his novels. In 1934 Upton Sinclair registered as a Democrat and ran for governor of California. He won the primary by a landslide, but an intense media campaign, which inaugurated the modern media's role in electoral campaigns, contributed to Sinclair's defeat.

In 1934, Clark Kerr and Dean McHenry were young and idealistic UC Berkeley graduate students. Kerr, whose Master's thesis at Stanford University was on self-help cooperatives, invited Dean McHenry to Los Angeles, where he worked as a field agent for a summer helping to establish self-help cooperatives for unemployed people. This was part of EPIC [End Poverty in California]. Dean McHenry had been raised a Republican and belonged to the progressive wing of the Republican Party. He switched to the Democratic Party partly to support Upton Sinclair as governor and also because he was disillusioned with the emerging reactionary forces within the Republican Party...

McHenry remembered:

"I was in favor of social insurance and in favor of a better tax system than we had in California. (We didn't have an income tax in California at that time.) We were pretty desperate, you know, by mid-1934. There weren't very many signs of recovery adn California hadn't changed politically very much, despite the fact that Franklin Roosevelt was presient and there was some New Deal legislation that was rolling. But I think a lot of young people are idealistic. I had always been interested in utopias. There even was a Utopian Society at the time which was joined by many, many people. We thought there might be some better society that was possible. And Sinclair raised those hopes a good deal."

When he returned to Berkeley in the fall, McHenry served as Chairman of the Planning Committee for the Northern California Division of the EPIC Young People’s League and helped gather a cadre of key Northern California politicos and thinkers who would advise Sinclair as governor, if he got elected. Dean McHenry discusses his role in the Upon Sinclair/EPIC Campaign in his oral history conducted by the Regional History Project at the UCSC Library.

"In the 1934 campaign, I had been fairly close to many of the Sinclair people . .  It was the EPIC campaign, and by far the most fascinating campaign in the history of California probably ever, but at least in my time. . . I was not really an insider in the Sinclair campaign . . . I spoke for the Democratic ticket and advocated Sinclair’s cause in a great assembly in Wheeler Auditorium at Berkeley in the fall of 1934. President Sproul presided, and there was a spokesman for Merriam and a spokesman for a third party candidate called Raymond Haight and then I spoke for Sinclair on the Democratic ticket. That, so far as I can remember, was the only public appearance I ever made in that campaign..."


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Despite what you read above, McHenry was not without fault:


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Listen to the Regents' Health Services Committee Meeting of Oct. 20, 2020

The Regents' Health Services Committee met last Tuesday. During public comments, speakers referred to layoffs, nurse staffing, the Hawaiian telescope, bicycles, and mandatory vaccinations. EVP Carrie Byington reported on the coronavirus and UC Health. During the discussion, Regent Makarechian noted that the different campuses' health system used different accounting systems so that it was not possible to compare one with the other in terms of financial results. Big buck million dollar+ salaries were approved. There was a general presentation on pandemics around the world. The state legislative and budgetary situation was discussed for UC Health. Finally, there was a presentation and discussion about diversity and equity in UC Health education.

Because of a change in the Blogger system, we can no longer embed a direct audio player into the postings. However, you can hear the audio of the meeting at:

Friday, October 23, 2020

More Testing

From an email circulated yesterday:

Dear Bruin Community:

As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community, we provide this update on UCLA’s plans for expanded COVID-19 testing and community screening. As you likely know by now, testing — when performed regularly and in conjunction with other interventions, such as face covers, appropriate distancing and frequent hand-washing — is one of the best tools we have to quickly identify, contact trace and isolate those who have COVID-19.
Currently, undergraduate students living on and off campus in University-owned housing, students living in fraternity and sorority housing, and those Housing professional staff who have regular interaction with students, are being tested weekly. Effective the week of October 26, all members of the campus community, excluding the Health System, who are living, learning or working on campus — and are present on campus at least once per week — will be tested for COVID-19 on a regular schedule, most weekly. This testing is free and is mandatory for most groups. Additionally, students living near the campus and not participating in on-campus working or learning are highly encouraged to participate in weekly testing.
Details of the requirements and procedures can be found in the revised Community Screening Protocol (PDF) available on Bruins Safe Online. Key elements of the testing include:
  • Two campus locations: Covel Grand Horizon Ballroom on the Hill and Collins Court in the John Wooden Recreation Center at Bruin Plaza. You can choose to test at either location
  • Convenient registration, scheduling and test results via mobile device
  • A self-administered mid-nasal swab test that is simple to perform
  • Results delivered in 24 to 48 hours via secure link
A list of answers to testing FAQs is available on the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center website.
All those who fall within cohorts listed in the revised protocol will soon receive an email notification with detailed instructions. Weekly reminders will be texted or emailed to you with links to schedule subsequent tests. For employees without email, coordination for testing will be organized through their supervisors.
In the next few weeks, UCLA will also launch a mobile testing unit so that those Bruins who live in the vicinity of campus will have the opportunity to access free, convenient testing without having to come to the campus. Additionally, the mobile testing unit will be available on a central campus location for testing until 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. Details, including a full schedule and list of locations, will soon be available on the Ashe website.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding as we work together to minimize the spread of the virus and manage through the pandemic. If you have any questions about testing requirements, please email covid19@ucla.edu.
Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Monroe Gorden, Jr.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Michael S. Levine
Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel

New Transit Option to UCLA Starts Summer 2021

LA Metro is starting a ride-sharing service in various areas with a start-up fare of $1. One of the areas will be the zone above around UCLA. Basically, small vans (so multiple passengers) will pick up passengers on demand in the zone. The $1 fare will eventually likely be increased.

More information is at https://www.metrolacampaigns.net/.

For a news article, see: https://www.dailynews.com/2020/10/22/metro-micro-transit-board-approves-1-fares-first-service-areas-for-ride-hailing-program/

Toshi Ashikaga

Presentation of Distinguished
Service Award: 2019

We have received word that Toshi Ashikago, a member of the UCLA Emeriti Association's Executive Board, has passed away at age 102. She received the Emeriti Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2019. Those familiar with the book exchange in the Faculty Center may know that she was in charge of the exchange.

As part of the UCLA Centennial celebration, a video was made in her honor:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFor68i18yQ

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Greater than Forecast

We already noted in a prior post that the state controller found that general fund revenue for the first quarter of this fiscal year (2020-21) ran ahead of forecast values by over $7 billion. Note much of the extra revenue came from the personal income tax. That tax's due date was delayed until July. Of course, the forecast was adjusted to that circumstance. Nonetheless, the income tax was largely based on pre-coronavirus income, mainly calendar year 2019.

We have also noted that the estimates of the Dept. of Finance (DOF) do not necessarily agree with those of the controller. Finance says that discrepancy is because agencies lag in reporting incoming revenue to the controller. That explanation, however, is not entirely satisfactory when we are talking about the difference between actual and forecast values because presumably the controller's forecast should take the delay into account.

In any event, both the controller's figures and DOF's figures for the first quarter are shown on the able below. Both agree that more money was received than expected. Both agree that the difference was largely due to income tax receipts. But the DOF has a larger discrepancy than does the controller, with that gap largely due to different sales tax forecasts. Note that the story about delayed reporting doesn't quite jibe with the fact that DOF had lower expectations for sales tax receipts than the controller. All of this suggests deficiencies in state accounting that someone ought to be looking at. 

Still, it's better that more money has come in than expected according to both sources.

General Fund Revenue: July-Sept. 2020 ($Billions)

Agency       Source     Actual     Forecast     Difference

----------------------------------------------------------

DOF          Income      $38.9        $32.3        +$6.7

Controller   Income      $39.1        $32.5        +$6.7


DOF          Sales        $6.7         $5.1        +$1.6

Controller   Sales        $6.7         $6.6        +$0.1 


DOF          Corp.        $6.9         $6.5        +$0.3

Controller   Corp.        $6.9         $6.5        +$0.4


DOF          All         $54.1        $45.4        +$8.7

Controller   All         $54.4        $47.1        +$7.2

----------------------------------------------------------

Note: "All" includes other taxes and sources of revenue apart from income, sales, and corporation taxes.

Source: http://www.dof.ca.gov/Forecasting/Economics/Economic_and_Revenue_Updates/documents/2020/Oct-20.pdf and https://sco.ca.gov/Files-ARD/CASH/September2020StatementofGeneralFundCashReceiptsandDisbursements.pdf

Threat

We have previously noted that we hope the powers-that-be at UC are thinking about a plan for a chaotic post-election situation. Somewhat related is a post-election consideration of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) notes in a recent publication that about $25 billion under the ACA flows into California to fund expansion of health insurance coverage to the uninsured. These funds do not all directly go into the state's general fund budget. (See the LAO's table below.) But if the ACA is declared unconstitutional or even sharply curtailed, the result in California - which was aggressive in expanding coverage - would be a jump in the uninsured population. In such a scenario, it is likely that in one way or another, the state's already stressed budget would be reallocated toward maintaining coverage - and thus away from UC.

There would also be secondary negative effects on the UC health system. What would actually happen would depend in part on the outcome of the election at the national level. 

The LAO's analysis is at:

Sluggish

As judged by new weekly claims for unemployment insurance through the end of last week (Oct. 17), the national economy continued its sluggish recovery. 

California is again processing and reporting claims and has done the reporting retroactively. Whether the public announcement in California of a pause in processing discouraged the filing of claims during the pause is unclear, however.

The national data are depicted below:


California data are below (not seasonally adjusted):

We have noted in prior posts of allegations of fraud in California's program. As if to underscore the problem, a recent article in the LA Times notes that a rapper wrote/sang a song called "EDD" (California Employment Development Dept. which runs the unemployment benefits system) about defrauding the system. He was then arrested for doing just that.*

All in all, sluggishness seems to describe both the California and U.S. recovery.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Maybe not the wisest choice

The Bruin suggests a poor choice was made in purchasing a messaging program: 

Buy what you need, not what you want. It’s a lesson UCLA would benefit from learning.

The university recently paid $259,200 for a campus-wide subscription to Slack, a workplace communication platform. UCLA Slack was released on Sept. 21 in what could be described as a “soft launch,” since students were not notified of the new platform.

The sizable purchase comes at a time when the University of California faces a nearly $2 billion loss in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UCLA alone lost $653 million between March and August – the highest financial loss of all UC campuses. Not to mention, many Bruins face critical financial distress and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The university’s purchase of Slack represents an unnecessary splurge that wastes valuable funding administrators are quick to say they don’t have. Rather than throw money at an app many may not use, the university could have used those funds to help students meet more dire needs. Administrators may be removed from their students’ realities, but they would be wise not to make the same mistake moving forward.

After all, a free messaging app is irrelevant when you don’t have the money to pay rent or buy food.

Many students already use GroupMe, a free messaging platform with similar functionality as Slack, and UCLA-provided licensed Zoom subscriptions for both social and academic communication. With these two platforms already employed in full swing, Slack doesn’t bring anything new to the table...

Full editorial at https://dailybruin.com/2020/10/19/editorial-uclas-slack-subscription-splurge-wastes-funding-for-students

Yours truly did a quick peruse of the Slack website and, indeed, it doesn't seem to add much to existing capabilities.

Standing Out - But Not In a Good Way

California last month exhibited the third highest unemployment rate behind Hawaii and Nevada (tourism states). The not-so-good data for the state are noisy due to the coronavirus situation, but in broad terms the poor result is consistent with other indicators. Poor economic performance is not good for the state budget, even if it appears that the budget may be doing better than forecast when it was enacted.

The latest release of state unemployment estimates is at:

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf

Longer-Term Approach

[Click on chart to clarify.]

 An email circulated yesterday linked to the organization chart above and announcement below:

COVID-19 RESPONSE AND RECOVERY TASK FORCE

When the COVID-19 virus spread into Southern California in spring 2020, Chancellor Block and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carter commissioned the Future Planning Task Force, chaired by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Dean Ron Brookmeyer, to advise campus leaders on UCLA's short-term response to the pandemic. That task force’s charge ended this summer.

As the pandemic has lingered, it has become clear that a longer-term approach to UCLA's pandemic response is warranted. In September 2020, UCLA established a new organizational structure that brings together a broad array of voices from across our institution to counsel campus leaders on pandemic-related decision-making. This new body, co-chaired by Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck and Immediate Past Chair of the Academic Senate Michael Meranze, will be known as the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force.

Full source at https://www.adminvc.ucla.edu/covid-19/response-and-recovery-task-force

The link above provides more detail task force.