Caption of this photograph reads, "A group of students participating in a military drill on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Westwood. Houses can be seen in the hills in the distance." The photo dates to 1929 when the campus opened or possibly later.
Monday, May 31, 2021
|Prof. Kenneth Wells. The cast of “Veteran Journeys.” From left to right: Bernardo Bermudez, Todd Strange, Patrick Blackwell, Jamie Chamberlin, Jennifer Wallace.|
From the Press-Telegram: Veterans issues, such as homelessness and mental health, are often considered taboo or difficult topics to talk about. So one UCLA professor decided to sing about them instead. Dr. Kenneth Wells, professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Semel Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine, wrote the music and libretto for “Veteran Journeys”, an opera about pressing issues facing servicemen and women once they’ve returned home from war and retired to civilian life. “Veteran Journeys” will premiere on Thursday, June 3, with a second performance scheduled for Sunday, June 6.
“One reason that I integrated a focus on art/composing with areas of my clinical and research work, is that community partners in our community-participatory research on depression emphasized the importance of arts as an engagement strategy to address stigma,” Wells said.
Wells based the opera on research interviews conducted by the RAND Corporation and UCLA. Researchers interviewed veterans and their families with 10-year follow-ups and recorded the conversations. Wells listened to these recordings while writing the opera, though he’s disguised the interviewees in order to maintain the confidential nature of the tapes...
Register to watch the opera (free) on Thursday, June 3, or on Sunday, June 6, at:
Preview at link below:
Or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFyRDosBX7Y.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Driveway Installation at UCLA Lot 36 and Veteran Ave.
- Metro contractors are continuing preconstruction activities at UCLA Lot 36 for Section 3 of the Purple (D Line) Extension. Work includes potholing, sound wall installation, fence removal, tree removal, banner placement, and driveway installation. Work will be ongoing through June 2021.
- Driveway installation on Veteran Ave is scheduled for June 2 to 7.
- South sound wall installation is scheduled for June 14 to 18.
- Work hours: Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 3:30 pm
- Intermittent lane reduction on westbound Wilshire Blvd between Gayley Ave and Veteran Ave.
- Intermittent sidewalk closures on Veteran Ave and Wilshire Blvd adjacent to UCLA Lot 36.
- Intermittent lane reduction on northbound Veteran Ave between Wilshire Blvd and Kinross Ave.
- All work has received the necessary permits and approvals.
- Access to driveways, residences & businesses will be maintained at all times unless notified in advance.
- Access for pedestrians will be maintained outside of construction zones.
- Access for the Fire Department and emergency responders will be maintained.
- Parking restrictions will be implemented in the immediate area of the work zone.
- For construction-related issues needing immediate attention, please call Metro’s 24-hour Hotline at 213.922.6934.
- During construction, some Metro bus lines could be affected, and some bus stops might be relocated.
- For information on changes to Metro service, please call 323.GoMetro or visit: https://www.metro.net/service/advisories/
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Background: The central administration is proposing a centralization of IT functions referred to as "Hub and Spoke." Many department chairs in the social sciences are concerned. Some of them feel that there will be a cost reallocation that will strain their budgets. Others fear that they will lose the ability to adapt their IT facilities to departmental needs. Some are concerned about the cybersecurity implications.
Yours truly has done a limited amount of prowling around to understand these issues. Not all schools and departments have these concerns. But obviously, many do.
Below is a letter from social science chairs that was sent to the chancellor and EVC a few days ago.
Dear Chancellor Block and EVCP Carter,
As members of the faculty who wish to see UCLA thrive, we are writing to ask that you release detailed proposals on the Bruin Budget Model, the IT Transformation (previously referred to as IT Hub and Spoke Model), and the Research Hub and Spoke Model and that you put a pause on implementation of these plans until the proposals have been made widely available and have been thoroughly discussed, including how the changes fit together.
We strongly believe that the public provision of detailed proposals (rather than the controlled release of power points and selective engagement with few faculty) will help avoid costly unintended consequences. We believe you have already learned at the various listening sessions and fora that the deans, chairs, directors, and faculty generally, have expertise that can be used to improve the plans. We make this request not out of a resistance to change per se, but rather, because we have serious concerns about both the formulation and implementation of these plans.
Our top concerns and priorities as faculty members, chairs, and center directors differ, but we enumerate below some of the issues faculty members have identified.
We have several broad concerns about the IT Transformation and the Research Hub and Spoke Model:
1) The premise behind Hub and Spoke may be false. The management literature recognizes that Hub and Spoke models slow decision making, block innovation, alienate team members, and overload leaders. The IT Hub and Spoke initiative at the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health has degraded service. The Academic Senate reports that, “The DGIT centralization created new administrative positions, centralized decision‐making, and moved local IT services, which had been distributed at departmental and unit levels, into a centralized group structure. The promise, like the currently proposed Deloitte model being considered for the rest of campus, was increased cybersecurity and efficiency. However, many faculty have experienced a decline in service levels for their non‐clinical activities and a frustrating tin ear from the new IT structure to ideas that have not originated within a more limited group of decision makers.”
2) UCLA’s prior experience has revealed centralized IT to be unresponsive to faculty needs and slow to catch up to the technological frontier.3) Our leadership is misinformed regarding network security. We request more consultation about this issue with faculty. Provided they are properly managed, multiple networks are more secure than centralized ones because they limit the scope of damage, and do not act as a visible and more easily accessible target for hackers. We are aware of no significant breaches of distributed academic networks on the central campus at UCLA. The major breaches in the UC system have been at UCSF and the recent enormous one at UCOP. We find it disconcerting that prior to the UCSF breach which cost them more than a million dollars in bitcoin ransom, their CIO was on the review team that concluded UCLA needed more centralization. We are angry and frustrated that rather than monitoring its own systems UCOP is spending resources to monitor ours, and that ITS is spending time assessing research software even though the biggest security breach – the one at UCOP which has endangered not just us but also our children, arose from using an outdated file transfer system. It is very upsetting that we have received so few details regarding this breach, although data revealed from the Dark Web indicate that this could be yet another failure associated with UCPATH. We strongly support our leadership implementing the best security realistically possible on critical administrative data. Most faculty, however, have no desire to be centrally connected to what is clearly a very tempting target for hackers.4) There has been no transparency on the financing of the IT Transformation and of a Research Hub and Spoke system. The suspicious will infer that these systems are likely to be highly expensive and that they will be financed by taxes or reduced transfers in the Bruin Budget Model.5)There has been no transparency on which units are unhappy with their IT services, making it hard to assess what the inequities are and how they should be resolved.6) While we recognize that IT security is becoming increasingly important, we fear that UCLA is not recognizing the limits to any risk assessments and insurers’ growing unwillingness to provide cyber insurance as hackers seek out those with insurance. Bureaucratic unwillingness to take risks on academic software will lead a slowdown in research and will affect adversely the time to degree of our students. Many of us already have seen a deterioration in research services because of demands for risk assessments of commonly used research software.
We humbly suggest that it would be better to establish the feasibility of centralization and Hub and Spoke models for administrative networks and computing over several years before any changes are made to academic networks and computing.
While we agree that we need a more transparent budget process which recognizes the political reality of decreased state funding, we also have several broad concerns about the proposed Bruin Budget Model:
- The system of taxes and transfers means that units cannot rely on educational funds following students. The starting point of the new budget model entrenches prior inequality in faculty and staff to student ratios. This hurts our students. It also harms our research mission because faculty recruitment and retention is harder when classes are enormous. The experience of faculty at the University of Michigan under a similar model suggests that there is no reward for efficiency.
- The model provides no guarantee that even over a period of five years taxes will not increase, thus creating disincentives for entrepreneurial activities, whether in fund raising or establishing new programs, both of which require a large fixed, upfront cost.
- The model incorporates the false premise that we are sitting on many endowed funds which we could be spending. This is an accounting chimera. Endowed funds, including those which permit graduate student support, are allocated to specific uses.
- Because units cannot rely on educational funds following students, units face the prospect of being in permanent deficit to the center. The response of units will thus be to devolve costs to individual departments but, other than SSDPs and summer session, the new model provides no guarantees to individuals departments that they will benefit from serving more students.
- The system of taxes and transfers enables the use of educational funds for administrative projects in the guise of education and without faculty oversight.
We agree that it is important to implement reforms which will make UCLA stronger and enhance our teaching and research missions. However, we do not wish to rush into a plan in haste only to repent at leisure. Details have been so scarce that it is hard to assess the appropriateness of plans which would implement major changes in how UCLA is run. The details matter. Unfortunately, the engagement with faculty before the EVCP leadership transition has been selective and at a level where there would be no knowledge of the details of day-to-day administration. Engagement now is complicated by the limits on faculty bandwidth imposed by the pandemic and more than a year of remote education. An hour-long town hall on complicated plans with no chat function and no detailed documents to read beforehand is not sufficient. Full disclosure of plan details, time for the faculty to study those details during the new academic year, and open discussions that are recorded for all to view will do much to build trust between the faculty and the administration.
We acknowledge that you and the other VCs have been communicating with faculty and been receiving input, and we thank you all for this listening. We understand that there have been changes to these programs based on our conversations. What has been lacking, however, is communication back to faculty about which concerns were taken seriously and what changes to the plans resulted. For example, have the Academic Senate recommendations on the IT Transformation been implemented? As the plans are finalized, it is time to provide a clear working version that incorporates the faculty input so we may help identify remaining or new problems arising from these sweeping administrative changes. The State of California requires a comment period for proposed change to regulations, why should UCLA not also follow the wisdom of this approach? UCLA has an outstanding team of academic experts that can and should be more involved, and who have legitimate questions regarding these initiatives that still need to be addressed.
We also urge you to consider structural reforms so that there can be real faculty oversight into determining whether the Bruin Budget Model, the IT Transformation, and Hub and Spoke Models are serving UCLA’s academic mission. Many of the answers at the faculty forum on the BBM held on 5/18/21 amounted to “trust us, we’ll get the answer right eventually”. That trust simply does not exist. Oversight by faculty from across the University and the diversity of roles that faculty serve would help ensure the integrity of the process with regards to supporting the University’s core mission.
Dora Costa, Professor and Chair, Economics
Gregory Okin, Professor and Chair, Geography
Jason Throop, Professor and Chair, Anthropology
Andrew Apter, Director African Studies Center
Susan L. Foster, Distinguished Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Christopher Evans, Brain Research Institute
Timothy Taylor, Professor of Musicology
Dan Froot, Chair, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Alex Purves, Professor and Chair of Classics
Peter Lunenfeld, Chair, FEC, School of Arts and Architecture
Jenny Sharpe, Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Gender Studies and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion for the Humanities
Gavin Lawrence, Professor and Chair, Philosophy
Tobias Higbie, Professor History and Labor Studies, Chair of Labor Studies
Carla Pestana, Professor and Chair, History
Colonel Sean M. McBride, Commanding Officer / Professor of Naval Science, NROTC Unit Los Angeles Consortium
Michael Chwe, Professor and Chair, Political Science
Greg Schachner, Associate Professor and Chair, Archaeology IDP
Abigail Saguy, Professor and Chair, Sociology
Leisy J. Abrego, Professor and Chair, Chicana/o and Central American Studies
Abel Valenzuela Jr., Professor of Chicana/o Studes and Director, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Kerri Johnson, Professor and Chair, Communications Studies
Juliet Williams, Professor of Gender Studies and Chair, Social Science Interdepartmental Program
Kathryn Norberg, Professor and Chair, Gender Studies
Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor and Chair, Asian American Studies
Grace Hong, Professor of Asian American Studies and Gender Studies and Director, Center for the Study of Women
Randall Akee, Associate Professor and Chair, American Indian Studies IDP
Willeke Wendrich, Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Digital Humanities and Director, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
Kathlyn M. Cooney, Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture, Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Cheryl L. Keyes, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Global Jazz Studies and Chair, Department of African American Studies
Friday, May 28, 2021
The LA Times has an editorial entitled "The struggle for the soul of UC" about the pressure from the legislature to cut out-of-state students at UC. In essence, the editorial suggests that since folks are angry when their kids don't get into a UC, more capacity at UC is needed, i.e., a new campus. But, says the Times, building a new campus would take a long time. So, instead, it suggests converting a CSU into a UC.
There are some problems with that approach.
1) The essence of a UC is its faculty, not a collection of buildings, and where the new faculty would come from to populate the former CSU campus is not discussed.
2) The former CSU faculty members would go where, exactly, when they were abruptly replaced by the newly recruited UC faculty?
3) The faculty-to-student ratio at a UC will be higher than at a CSU and some of the faculty's efforts go to graduate students, so you likely end up reducing the net state undergraduate capacity (UC+CSU).
4) To deal with problem #2, the LA Times suggests that maybe the community colleges should offer more BAs.
The editorial reads as though someone had an idea but didn't think it through. You can read the editorial at:
We have said many times on this blog that if California wants to rethink its higher ed policy, it needs to recreate something like the old Master Plan process, with emphasis on the word "process." Otherwise, you get ad hoc suggestions (as from the Times) and ad hoc pressures (as from the legislature) with no coherent structure.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Basically, in California, new weekly claims have been flat - see the chart above - although in the U.S. as a whole, they have been dropping.
Data (always) at https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf.
The Daily Bruin has provided a chart of new proposed UCPD policies (above). See:
Note that the proposed changes listed are abstracted from actual occurrences in which police intervene. Apart from conventional crimes such as robberies that occur on and around the campus, it might be more helpful to address how police would actually intervene in specific circumstances. For example, what should be the response to the recent event in the video below that is more likely to be linked to a college campus? If campus police don't respond to such events, presumably the LAPD would respond. What would be the difference?
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
UCLA seen from Westwood in 1952 (colorized). Original photo at:
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
From an email circulated this morning:
Almost a year ago, I announced our intention to ramp-up research activities following a two-month period of dramatically curtailed research due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and resulting city and county Safer at Home orders.
Today, I am happy to announce that, effective June 1, 2021, the Research Operational Plan (ROP) program we launched with the move to Phase 2 of our ramp-up plan (PDF) is no longer required for research and creative activities, both on-campus and in the field; ROPs are also not required for research-related travel. PIs are able to populate their activities with researchers (e.g., staff, postdocs, graduate students, undergraduate students, high school students, volunteers, visiting scholars) as they deem necessary, so long as they continue to comply with all mandates from the CDC, California Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), and Cal/OSHA, including, but not limited to, those concerning personnel density, masking, and distancing. I am pleased to be able to remove this layer of additional review.
The elimination of ROPs means that personnel density limits and the restrictions placed on undergraduate researchers in campus laboratories are now lifted. Unfortunately, travel guidance for individuals who conduct field research remains unchanged. As such, with the ROP program ending, it is vital that you communicate directly with your department chair and dean (e.g., via email) prior to making arrangements for field research and other essential travel. PIs participating in field research are still required to complete a Field Safety Plan (DOCX) for EH&S review and approval.
As a reminder, LACDPH has not relaxed its masking requirements and Cal/OSHA continues to require masking and six-foot distancing in all workplace areas at the present time. It is the responsibility of each PI to ensure that their activities are in compliance with these requirements. PIs are further responsible for ensuring that they have articulated safety plans with all personnel on their team.
I thank you for the patience you have shown this last year. Please submit any comments or questions to C19@research.ucla.edu.
Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities
From the LA Times: The year was 1969. It was a time of social protest over civil rights and representation issues. Those protests echoed at UCLA, where Mexican American students were demanding improved access to higher education, as well as greater resources devoted to the study of the Mexican experience in the U.S. Enter the university’s Mexican American Cultural Center, which was established to support research in what was then the new field of Chicano studies. In the 52 years since, that center — now known as the Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) — has grown from a small student- and faculty-led initiative to a full-blown academic center, supporting original research and publications, the maintenance of archival collections and a library.
Running the center for the last 19 years has been Chon Noriega, a professor in UCLA’s department of film, television and digital media, who has been a tireless advocate of Chicano representation. Key archives connected with figures such as Edward Roybal, who in 1949 became the first Latino elected to L.A.'s City Council since 1881 (and later a U.S. representative), as well as caches of historic documents and photographs related to publications such as the Spanish-language daily La Opinión and the 1960s-era activist newspaper La Raza (which generated an exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West), are some of the acquisitions Noriega was instrumental in bringing to the research center.
He helped launch “A Ver,” an artist monograph series that has chronicled the work of important Latino artists such as Pepón Osorio, Judith F. Baca, Carmen Lomas Garza and Gronk (born Glugio Nicandro). He also helped curate key exhibitions related to Chicano and Latino art. Among them, the highly influential “Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement,” which he organized with Rita Gonzalez and Howard Fox in 2008, as well as “Home — So Different, So Appealing,” a group exhibition of international artists, executed with Mari Carmen Ramírez and Pilar Tompkins Rivas — both shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Now, after 19 years, Noriega is stepping down as director of the Chicano Studies Research Center (though he will remain on the faculty at UCLA)...
Monday, May 24, 2021
...but you aren't invited.The Regents are meeting this week (May 27) behind closed doors. They are selecting a new student regent. The process is even more mysterious then the selection of a pope. No white smoke is released when the process is complete. And unlike the selection of a pope, when there is at least speculation as to the major candidates, the selection of a student regent is totally opaque.
You may recall that in the case of the most recent UC president selection, the Regents set up a series of open meetings at the various campuses during which input was invited.
In any case, here is the notice:
There will be a teleconference meeting, conducted in accordance with Paragraph 3 of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, of the Special Committee on the Selection of a Student Regent in Closed Session , on May 27, 2021, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Attendance is expected of Special Committee members only.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
A "town hall" meeting by Zoom and YouTube was held on May 21 concerning procedures for generally returning to in-person instruction and work at UCLA in the fall. Some of the key points are shown above. Note that although enrollments of 60 are mentioned as a dividing line between in-person and remote classes, there are procedures for exceptions in both directions. That is, classes with over 60 students can be held in person through an application procedure. And classes below 60 can be held remotely by exception. If a class is designated as in-person, there will not be a requirement for adding some kind of remote option.
All of these points are subject to LA County rules, but the current expectation is that those rules will remain relaxed.
You can see the town hall at the link below:
Or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lV1649AJL4.
Saturday, May 22, 2021
To: Faculty and Staff
In recognition of everything that UCLA employees have done to keep our institution moving forward this past year, we are very pleased to announce that all eligible, policy-covered UCLA faculty and staff will receive a 3% increase to their base salaries.
This increase will be effective June 27 for staff paid bi-weekly and July 1 for staff paid monthly. For policy-covered faculty, the adjustment to the academic salary scales will be effective Oct. 1. [Italics added.]
We know our faculty and staff have faced daunting personal and professional challenges in the last 14 months, yet you have maintained a level of dedication to excellence that has kept our university at the forefront of education, research and service. We are grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge your contributions to UCLA, particularly as we were unable to provide the typical merit increases to staff last year.
Guidelines and eligibility criteria for policy-covered staff are available on the Campus Human Resources website. Eligibility criteria for faculty will be shared in the near future. Please note that this increase does not apply to exclusively represented employees and academic personnel who are receiving separate increases in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or meeting-and-conferring under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act.
Staff may reach out with any questions to Campus Human Resources Compensation Services at 310-794-0890 or UCLA Health Human Resources at 310-794-0500. Faculty may direct inquiries to the Academic Personnel Office.
After an exceptionally difficult year, we hope that this positive news serves to lift spirits and bolster our shared resolve as we work toward our broader return to campus this fall. Thank you for your continued commitment to UCLA and to one another.
Gene D. Block
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Note: "Policy-covered" refers to individuals not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. As noted on this blog, a similar letter went out on Monday from the UC prez:
Friday, May 21, 2021
Dear Bruin Community:
We are happy to announce that UCLA is adopting several of these new allowances and expanded activities, effective immediately. Below is a summary of some of these changes (this is not an all-inclusive list, so please refer to the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) Protocols for Institutes of Higher Education for details (PDF):
Cleaning protocols have been updated to align with the less stringent CDC guidance, with a focus on thorough cleaning rather than extensive disinfection (NOTE: Spaces occupied by an individual with COVID-19 who is self-isolating remain subject to more stringent disinfection protocols).
Restaurants on campus can operate indoors at 50% capacity with up to six individuals from up to six households allowed to sit together at the same table if fully vaccinated, otherwise only up to three households can sit together. Outdoors, up to eight households can be seated together (as a party of eight) if all are fully vaccinated.
Gyms can operate indoors at 50% capacity. Hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms may reopen. Please refer to the UCLA Recreation facilities webpage for reopening dates, updated operations and hours for the John Wooden Center and Kinross Recreation Center.
In-person activities and events are still recommended to be virtual or outdoors as much as possible. In all cases, they must follow the relevant LACDPH Protocol (NOTE: These are updated capacity limits that supersede our campuswide message from May 5):
While this expansion is positive news in light of dramatic improvements in local health conditions, please note that the L.A. County Health Officer Order (PDF) remains in effect, and despite the recent announcement from the CDC and President Biden about flexibilities with masking outdoors, UCLA must continue to follow the stricter guidance of LACDPH and Cal/OSHA for wearing face masks on UCLA property. Requirements are listed below:
Thank you for continuing to follow these public health guidelines and for doing your part to keep yourselves and our communities healthy.
Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force
Immediate Past Chair, UCLA Academic Senate
Professor of History
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force
Whatever you call it, it's good news:
Or direct to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64mb_hUOb4g.