News & Views item - November 2012
The Provost of the University of California, Davis Writes a Letter. (November 4, 2012)
It's common knowledge within US academia that the University of California campuses are coping with very hard financial times. With US election Tuesday looming the Provost of UC, Davis wrote to members of his faculty on Friday.
A member of staff makes the following comment: "When I first began working at UC Davis I found that their approach to funding did not motivate developing new courses in response to demand. For instance, if a department introduced a new course that was particularly successful, perhaps because there was substantial demand for it from industry, the department got absolutely none of the additional money earned. All the money went to central areas of the campus, which cooled ardour a fair bit.
"However, that has all changed. The same dean who, five years ago, gave what he
thought were good reasons for not giving any of the money back to departments,
now argues just as energetically for the opposite point of view.
"California as a whole, not just the UC system, has become much more efficient and motivated as a result of its budgetary problems. I suspect that other US states, which have not had to consider the issues so hard, will find themselves lagging behind in years to come."
Finally on a note of optimism: "We are hoping that Proposition 30* will pass; that seems to be more likely than not."
Below is a copy of the letter posted by UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter.
*Prop. 30 would temporarily increase the sales tax by one-quarter cent, and increase taxes on earnings over $250,000. Most of the revenue would be dedicated to public education. The latest Field Poll shows the measure ahead 48 percent to 38 percent, with 14 percent undecided.