UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Vice Chancellors, UCLA Faculty
Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2010-11 budget, released on January 8, acknowledges the importance of higher education to California and proposes to reinstate some of the UC funding that had been cut. The likelihood that this proposal will survive the legislative budgeting process, however, is uncertain. Even under the best-case scenario, the UC will face significant budget reductions, as well as increased costs of health and retirement benefits. We must continue to reduce costs and increase non-state revenues.
Toward this end, the chancellor has asked me to chair a Restructuring Steering Committee (RSC), which is overseeing efforts across campus to make academic and administrative operations more efficient, less expensive and less dependent on state support. The committee is following up on last year’s “toolbox reports,” and will generate and analyze new ideas. For more information about the RSC, including the charge letter and list of members, please see my website at www.evc.ucla.edu.
To aid in this project, we have engaged the Higher Education branch of the Huron Consulting Group. Huron has been effective in assisting UCLA in other projects—most recently in the assessment of and improvement to research administration. For the RSC, Huron is analyzing potential costs and benefits in a number of promising areas, such as shared or consolidated services, energy consumption, purchasing, strategic sourcing and increasing enrollment of non-resident undergraduates.
In partnership with the Academic Senate, I have launched five task forces with the dual goals of facilitating emerging forms of scholarship and achieving economic efficiencies. Task forces focusing on the humanities and life sciences are underway, and we will turn our attention to other disciplinary clusters later in the year. We have also asked a task force to recommend how to reduce state support for organized research units and other research centers that receive state funding while preserving quality. A fourth task force is considering how to encourage the development of self-supporting programs that meet UCLA’s high educational standards. Finally, I am working with the Academic Senate to appoint a task force to generate and review proposals for longer-term, large-scale restructuring in academic programs. This would include phasing out academic programs or approving interdisciplinary faculty searches, given the dramatic decrease in faculty hiring. The RSC will review the work of the task forces and forward to the Chancellor the most promising recommendations.
In addition to these cross-cutting efforts, restructuring is well underway within both the administrative and academic realms. Our divisions, departments, schools and programs have initiated many cost-saving measures and taken steps to enhance revenues. Deans and faculty are reviewing curricula in order to sharpen and protect core offerings while eliminating, reducing or otherwise modifying other aspects of their academic programs. Such changes will increase instructional efficiency and enable students to obtain the courses they need to graduate on time. To help in this process, the Chancellor is committed to providing bridge funding for critical areas of the undergraduate curriculum to sustain the number of courses while units restructure their offerings.
Many of the changes that we are contemplating require your support and participation. Our aim is not only to adjust to new financial realities, but also to improve the institution. Both academic and administrative units, all of which are intended to support our academic mission, must be as efficient and cost-conscious as possible; no area will be left out or privileged in this effort.
Finally, I want to ask for your assistance. Please look again at the toolbox recommendations to see if there are potential areas of savings or revenue-generating possibilities that have been overlooked or underestimated. I am eager to receive your suggestions, which you can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please participate in curricular review and organizational change efforts within your department or school. Keep in mind that staff members are being asked to do more with less. Also, it is crucial that we continue to share the responsibility for ensuring that our undergraduate and graduate students continue to receive a superb education.
Despite the daunting challenges we face, UCLA remains a world-class university, because of the talent and commitment of our faculty, staff and students. I wish you all the best in 2010.
Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost