Dear Bruin Community:
With the conclusion late last year of contract negotiations between the University of California and UAW-represented academic workers, we now join universities across the UC system in entering into a period of change and rebuilding.
To be sure, UCLA celebrates the ratification of the labor agreements, which place compensation and benefits for our academic workers among the very best in the nation. We also recognize that the agreements come with significant cost increases that are not factored into the budgets of UCLA’s academic units nor into the structure of research grants. This brings up short-term questions about budgeting and planning, as well as longer-term questions about UCLA’s approaches to graduate education and research.
Additionally, as Chancellor Block and I wrote previously, the strike deeply impacted members of our community, evoking a broad spectrum of viewpoints and opinions among Bruins. This prompts us to engage in a collective effort to build our community into one that is stronger and more united than before.
To these ends, we have launched three committees charged with helping UCLA chart a course in this new environment: The Joint Administrative and Academic Senate Task Force on the Future of Graduate Education; the Committee to Discuss Impacts of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the Research Enterprise; and the Healthy Climate Committee.
As these committees commence with their important work, I recognize that our faculty and academic staff may have questions that they believe require responses. For immediate questions regarding your role and how it is impacted, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the three committees is below:
Reassessing Graduate Education
The Joint Administrative and Academic Senate Task Force on the Future of Graduate Education at UCLA is being led by Susan Ettner, dean of the Division of Graduate Education; and James Bisley, chair of the Academic Senate’s Graduate Council.
The committee will address issues such as: balancing the allocation of resources for our outstanding graduate programs and other campus needs, managing graduate student support in light of the new contract agreements, determining the right size of graduate programs and evaluating how these changes might impact our work as a top public research institution. The committee will reach out to stakeholders across campus for input with the goal of providing recommendations by the end of fall quarter 2023.
Maintaining Research Excellence
Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities Roger Wakimoto is chairing the Committee to Discuss Impacts of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the Research Enterprise. Given the requirements of existing grants, there will be a need to find alternative funding sources to cover costs not anticipated in the original proposals. We are particularly aware of how this may impact early career faculty whose advancement is tied to research and who are on tight deadlines to publish their work.
This committee will examine potential short- and long-term research funding opportunities, how funding will be allocated, the structure of research support roles and potential options for advocacy at the federal level. Considering the immediate funding needs, the committee will soon make recommendations about the need for short-term bridge funding to facilitate the completion of projects in process, as well as longer-term strategies for advancing research in this new fiscal environment.
Advancing Unity in Our Community
The Healthy Climate Committee — led by Wendelin Slusser, associate vice provost for the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA; Anna Spain Bradley, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI); Linda Clowers, director of research and Bruin engagement for EDI; and Lubbe Levin, associate vice chancellor for campus human resources — aims to better understand how the experience of the recent labor dispute affected Bruins and identify what is needed to move forward together.
The group is currently identifying resources and platforms to help our community reconnect, and expects to begin its programming and other activities in the coming weeks. A selection of resources for students, staff and faculty focused on physical, emotional and social well-being topics are summarized on the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center’s website.
Change, even when it is beneficial and necessary, can be challenging. The new agreements will bring changes to UCLA, but we can collectively decide what these changes will look like. In this spirit, all three committees will seek community input as they make their recommendations. I encourage you to be part of these conversations so that the full range of perspectives and experiences of our diverse community is reflected in our decisions. You will receive updates on our progress in the coming weeks and months.
We are a resilient community, and I am confident that we will forge a new path that continues our tradition of outstanding research, strengthens us for the future, and affirms our commitment to improving our community and the world.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost