University of California, San Diego
June 4, 2004
Enclosed you will find the latest issue of President Dynes' Our University newsletter to UC faculty and staff with an update on the recently announced "compact" agreement.
This newsletter is available on the web at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/newsletter/issue13.html .
A newsletter for the UC community from President Robert C. Dynes
This newsletter is available on the web at
Dear UC Colleague:
It's hard to believe that more than six months have already gone by since I assumed the UC presidency. As I continue to travel throughout the state, I am continually amazed – and inspired – by the breadth and depth of the incredible work UC is doing, and I am touched by the pride and dedication so many people have for UC. It is truly an honor to represent this institution as president.
As the academic year ends, I want to congratulate those students who are graduating and say that I hope the UC experience has been a rich, stimulating, and rewarding one. We wish you well, and I hope you will stay in touch with the University.
I also want to thank those of you who have written me through Dynes' Desk. I appreciate your ideas, views – both supportive and critical – and your words of encouragement. When I took this job I said that two-way communication was a priority for me, and I am glad that many of you are finding our various means of communications useful.
The budget continues to be a major focus for everyone, and this newsletter contains an update on where things stand. I believe our recently announced "compact" agreement was an important step forward for the University, though I recognize there are varying views. While neither perfect nor pain-free, the compact halts and begins to reverse what I believe was a very dangerous course for the University. Several more years of cuts could have destroyed many of our academic programs, volatility and sudden increases in fees have been unfair to students, and employees' salaries have been stagnating.
Is the compact everything we wanted? No. But it's what we could realistically achieve, and it helps build a new path forward. It provides for enrollment growth, salary increases, and a restoration of financial aid, and it offers predictability in student fees while cutting next year's proposed graduate fee increase in half. It is a floor, not a ceiling; and a beginning, not an end point. We've done three of these agreements in the past, with governors of both parties, and history shows that we do well under them – the Legislature and governor generally meet and exceed the terms of a compact. That gives me hope for the future, and I hope for you, too.
As always, thank you for your ongoing contributions and dedication to the University. Enjoy the start of your summer, and we'll speak again soon.
Robert C. Dynes
Report shows more high school students ready for UC
A recent study by the by the California Postsecondary Education Commission shows that more California public high school students are meeting the University of California's eligibility requirements. According to the report, 14.4 percent of high school students graduating in 2003 met UC's academic entrance requirements, up from 11.1 percent for the class of 1996, and above the 12.5 percent target set by the 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education. Among other things, the results suggest that UC K-12 academic improvement programs and the Eligibility in the Local Context program are successfully helping to prepare more and more California high school students for a top-quality college education. As is customary following CPEC's eligibility reports, UC faculty will now discuss with regents possible adjustments to the University's eligibility standards so as to ensure consistency with the Master Plan. More at http://www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2004/may19.htm
Study shows UC excels at enrolling low-income students
A new national study reports that six of UC's campuses enroll more low-income students than any other top university in the country, with UCLA enrolling the highest percentage, followed in order by Berkeley, Irvine, Davis, San Diego and Santa Barbara. The study, conducted by Tom Mortenson of Postsecondary Education Opportunity , compared 50 top public and private national universities and ranked them according to the number of Pell Grant recipients they enrolled. Recipients of Pell Grants come from low-income families whose earnings are usually below $35,000 a year. More at http://www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2004/apr28.htm
UC researchers recognized by prestigious National Academy of Sciences
Sixteen UC-affiliated researchers were recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in recognition of their achievements in scientific and engineering research. Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer. The 16 UC researchers were among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 13 countries elected at the academy's 141st annual meeting in Washington, D.C. No other institution in the country had more than four new members and no other institution in the world had more than five new members. More at http://www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2004/apr26.htm
UC faculty endorse UC competing for national labs
A recent systemwide electronic poll of more than 3,200 UC faculty members by the Academic Senate showed that faculty members overwhelmingly support UC's participation in the upcoming contract competition for management of the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories. The poll, conducted by the Senate's Academic Council Special Committee on the National Labs, showed that faculty favored UC participation by a 3-1 margin. Major reasons for supporting UC competition included the quality and national benefits of the unclassified research, and the valuable research collaborations that the laboratories have with UC faculty and students. UC continues to prepare as if it will compete for the contracts, though the Board of Regents will make the final decision once the terms of each competition are known. More at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/labcontract/
UC alumni convene in Sacramento for UC Day
On May 26th , several hundred UC alumni delegates from throughout the state traveled to Sacramento for UC Day, the annual event when UC alumni associations come together with their alumni, donors and friends to carry UC's message to elected representatives in Sacramento and discuss with them issues of concern to the University. A record number of UC advocates from across the state participated this year, visiting the offices of over 100 state legislators. During, the UC Day evening reception, several prominent California legislators received the AAUC "Legislator of the Year" award, and several of UC's top undergraduate student researchers were also honored. More at http://www.ucday.org/
UC introduces two new programs to recognize, help employees
In an ongoing effort to recognize employees for their continued dedication and many contributions to the University, especially during these times of tight budgets and no systemwide raises, UC is proposing a new one-time program that gives employees additional paid leave time. Upon completion of the University's customary internal comment period, the 2004-05 "Bonus Leave Program" will provide two additional paid leave days to non-represented staff employees not receiving a general salary increase in 2004-05. UC also recently proposed a new 457(b) voluntary savings plan that effectively doubles the amount of money UC faculty and staff may put into tax-advantaged retirement savings. Currently, the University's existing 403(b) Plan has a maximum annual contribution limit of $13,000 as set by the IRS. With the addition of a 457(b) plan, an employee who already contributes the maximum 403(b) amount could also choose to put up to $13,000 annually in tax-deferred savings in the new 457(b) plan. Implementation of the new 457(b) plan will occur as soon as is administratively feasible and is contingent upon the successful search for an external firm that can provide the required record-keeping and investment education services. More on both programs at http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/
Update on leadership changes
Searches continue for new chancellors to replace retiring Chancellor Robert Berdahl at UC Berkeley, and M.R.C. Greenwood at UC Santa Cruz who became UC's new Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in April. The search also continues for a new director of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory to replace retiring director Charles Shank. President Dynes hopes to have the Cal and Berkeley Lab searches concluded very soon, and a new Santa Cruz chancellor in place by this fall. At their May meeting, UC Regents named Gerald Parsky Chair of the Board for 2004-06, and Richard Blum Co-Chair. Regents also nominated UCLA graduate and UC Davis law school student Adam Rosenthal as student regent for 2005-06. Earlier this year, Dr. Marye Anne Fox, a nationally recognized chemist, academic leader and former chancellor of North Carolina State University, was appointed chancellor of UC San Diego. More at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/
To stabilize the University's funding over the longer term, the compact agreement UC recently reached with the governor provides baseline funding to help the University recover from years of cuts. Highlights of the agreement include annual funding growth of 3 percent for UC salary and other cost increases beginning in 2005-06, growing to 4 percent annual growth in 2007-08, and continuing through 2010-11. The agreement further provides funding for an additional 5,000 students each year starting in 2005-06, a 1percent annual augmentation for core needs beginning in 2008-09, predictability in undergraduate and graduate fee increases, and continued state support for the development of UC Merced .
The 2004-05 state budget is still being negotiated between the Legislature and the governor. At press time, the Legislature was considering restoring additional funding to UC for such things as student enrollments, K-12 outreach, a general COLA, and improved financial aid , but no final decisions have been made . It is unclear how much of the additional money will survive final budget negotiations with the governor , but it is clear that higher education will be one of the significant issues in those negotiations this year. A final budget may happen in June. Meanwhile, UC's systemwide advocacy efforts continue to stress the importance of ongoing strong state investment in UC and its many benefits to Californians.
As part of its budget discussion at their May meeting, the UC Board of Regents approved 2004-05 fees for students. Consistent with the compact agreement, resident undergraduate fees will rise 14 percent in 2004-05. The compact calls for 8 percent increases in each of the following two years, for an average increase of 10 percent over the next three years. Fee increases of varying amounts were approved for graduate, professional, and nonresident students. President Dynes has issued a letter to students and parents explaining the fee increases and their rationale.
More on the compact at
More on the budget and fees at
More on UC's advocacy campaign at
Dynes' Desk is a way for anyone to email a comment, idea, or suggestion to President Dynes. While he is not able to respond personally in most instances, President Dynes does read each email submitted. In each edition of "Our University," he will respond to a couple of Dynes' Desk emails addressing issues of broad interest to the UC community.
To submit an email to Dynes' Desk, visit www.universityofcalifornia.edu/president/desk.html . Below are President Dynes' responses to a few recent submissions.
Email: This has been the worst [budget compact agreement] that I have ever seen in my life. ... President Dynes, with all due respect, you have sold out the university, but more importantly the future of youth that are affected by it.
Bob Dynes: First, I appreciate the candor - I really do. Here is my perspective: UC has been forced to absorb dramatic cuts in state funding over the past several years. Our state-funded budget will have fallen 16 percent over four years, under the assumptions in the governor's budget for 2004-05, resulting in student fee increases, erosion of competitive pay for faculty and staff, and reductions in University programs that are critical to California and its future.
When I met earlier this year with Gov. Schwarzenegger, I told him we needed to stop this downward spiral, and that we needed some light at the end of this dark budget tunnel. The result is the compact. It is not a final budget, of course, and it doesn't meet every need we have. But it is a baseline plan that gives us some important funding stability for the future.
The compact means a return to enrollment growth after this year's enrollment reduction. It means the ability to once again pay cost-of-living increases to faculty and staff, which is crucial to keeping them and being able to attract the best. It means we will again have the flexibility to return a high proportion of new fee revenue to student financial aid. It means more predictability in the setting of student fees, and it means fee increases in the future will be used to improve the quality of the academic program, not just replace lost state funding.
Given that a number of other constituencies, from K-12 to local governments, were reaching similar agreements with the governor, the seriousness of the budget situation and the limited options we have at our disposal, and given that UC has had similar kinds of funding arrangements with the last three governors, I thought the compact was a reasonable step to take, and one that is in the longer-term interest of the University community.
Email: ... I am appalled at the new policy of not admitting qualified UC Students. Where is the outrage? People, who have lived in California for years and paid high state income and sales taxes for years, are now facing the prospect of their high-achieving children not being admitted to a UC. This is wrong. ...
Bob Dynes: Believe me, I fully appreciate the disappointment among those students who could not be admitted this year under the governor's budget proposal, and we are doing our best to accommodate them by offering a guaranteed path to UC through the Guaranteed Transfer Option program. These are very difficult times with imperfect options. I am hopeful that, with the new compact, we will once again be able to admit all eligible California resident freshman applicants beginning next year.
Email: Excellent people have been hired, but these high [administrators'] salaries do seem pretty inappropriate and outrageous. Faculty and staff haven't received so much as 1% in 2 years. It's hard to continue to feel good about working for UC when one reads news like this.
Bob Dynes: The timing of these salaries is unfortunate, since systemwide others are getting very little, but you should know that as a group, chancellors and other leaders, whose salaries continue to seriously lag the market, have received the same general salary increases as systemwide staff the last few years. We have to raise some individual salaries where a retirement or potential loss of a key person forces us to compete in the open market, and unless we raise salaries, there's no way we can maintain our national competitiveness. I believe UC employees work very hard and deserve to be adequately compensated and recognized for their contributions. Unfortunately, the budget cuts of the last few years have been so deep that we simply haven't had the means to do so. So we've been creative in finding ways to recognize and reward employees while we wait for our budget to improve, like giving faculty and staff several deferred retirement income programs (CAPs), restructuring our medical insurance rates so as to help shield employees – especially lower paid staff – from soaring healthcare costs, and giving people extra paid leave time. The new compact agreement provides funding for critical needs, including salaries, which will allow us to resume systemwide raises beginning next year.
Email: Thank you very much for your commitment to communication, especially in these difficult times for the University. Your candor and level of detail is much appreciated.
Bob Dynes: Thank you ! I think it's important to keep everyone informed about University matters, even if it sometimes means delivering unpopular news, and to encourage the free flow of information throughout the University community. I am glad to know you find these communications meaningful.
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