Today’s wondering – why are so few of the speakers at "UC Drought Summit" women?

Got pointed to YAMWASGR (yet another meeting with a skewed gender ratio) this AM via Twitter.


This was in reference to a meeting in Sacramento:  Apr. 25: UC Drought Summit, free and open to public | Center for Watershed Sciences and alas the gender ratio is definitely skewed on the speaker list.  Men in Blue, Women in Yellow.

  • UC activities to reduce water use on and off campus
    • • Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources 
    • • Matthew St.Clair, University Office of the President
  • Current drought: causes, how bad is it, and will we see more like it?
    • • Amir AghaKouchak, UC Irvine
    • • Michael Anderson, State Climatologist
    • • Daniel Cayan, UC San Diego
    • • William Collins, UC Berkeley; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    • • Glen MacDonald, UCLA
    • • Daniel Swain, Stanford University
  • Drought-proofing California?
    • • Michael Stenstrom, UCLA 
    • • Jay Lund, UC Davis
  • Kenneth Baerenklau, UC Riverside
    • Roger Bales, UC Merced
    • • Charles Burt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    • • Frank Loge, UC Davis
    • • Stephanie Pincetl,UCLA
    • • Scott Stephens, UC Berkeley
  • Remarks by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, UC Davis
  • Economic consequences of the drought: agriculture, energy, forests, industry and water
    • • Katrina Jessoe, UC Davis
    • • Anthony Madrigal, Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians 
    • • Josué Medellín-Azuara, UC Davis
    • • Daniel Sumner, UC Agricultural Issues Center
    • • David Sunding, UC Berkeley
  • Endangered species and drought: science, management and policies
    • • Richard Frank, UC Davis
    • • Ellen Hanak, Public Policy Institute of California
    • • David Hayes, Stanford University; former deputy Interior secretary
    •  • Peter Moyle, UC Davis
    • • David Sedlak, UC Berkeley
    • • Joshua Viers, UC Merced
  • State policy for future droughts: groundwater, storage, marketing and conservation
    • • Jay Famiglietti, UC Irvine
    • • Thomas Harter, UC Davis
    • • Ruth Langridge, UC Santa Cruz
    • • Steve Macaulay, consultant
    • • Samuel Sandoval Solis, UC Davis 
    • • Kurt Schwabe, UC Riversidepage2image9504     page2image9928

That comes out to 26:6 in my count or 18.8% female, 81.2% male.  Now, I note – I have no idea what the “pool” looks like in this area, but such a % certainly does not look good from an outside (to the field, even though I am an insider in that this was organized by some people at UC Davis).   Once again, I would like to point out to meeting organizers, that having a diverse pool of speakers for a meeting is important for many reasons and sometimes it takes extra work to pull it off, but in my experience it is definitely worth it.

Still wondering -can UC force me to sign "patent amendment" that is "not a change in patent policy" ????

Just got an annoying email regarding patents that is a follow up to one I wrote about previously (Wondering – can UC force me to sign new patent agreement?).  I have appended the text of the email below.  I am still wondering if the University of California can actually force me to sign this agreement.  In addition, I am wondering about the competence and/or honesty of the people behind this amendment as it is pretty clear it is a major change and not as they claim in essence no change at all.  If it is really in essence no change – then what is the point?  If it is a major change why was there little if any discussion prior to the edict?

For other comments and questions about the UC attempt to force employees to sign this agreement see UC Patent Amendment: To Sign or Not to Sign? by my brother (I did not know until a Google search that he had written this post in December … I guess we need to talk more) and this post Sample language for my UC friends and
UC Patent Amendment: To Sign or Not to Sign? | UC San Diego … and Davis Faculty Association » Blog Archive » UC’s Patent Amendment …

UPDATE: someone thought the email might have been a PHISHING attack: Fwd: PLEASE SIGN NOW: UC Patent Amendment – Micronet at UC …

I find the style and tactics of UC on this to be obnoxious and bullying.  I fight for many many things for UC and UC Davis.  Being bullied into signing a amendment that is claimed to not be any change even though it is clearly a big change – not something I can support.

Here is the email, which I note, had as the header a big seal of the University of California – I assume to try and intimidate me into signing.

Dear UC Colleague,

This is your final reminder to sign the University of California’s amendment to the Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you signed when you joined UC. You have until Feb. 29 to sign the amendment through the electronic process outlined below.

The Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you previously signed requires you to promptly report and fully disclose potentially patentable inventions. You also acknowledged an obligation to assign to the University rights to inventions and patents conceived or developed while employed by the University or while using University research facilities or UC gift, grant, or contract research funds.

As a result of recent court decisions, UC’s ability to meet its various obligations associated with rights to inventions and patents are at risk. It is important that you sign an Amendment to the Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you previously signed. This amendment is not unique to UC. Other universities are taking similar action to protect their intellectual property rights.

This is not a change in the Patent Policy; it is simply an amendment that clarifies the existing Acknowledgment or Agreement in light of the court decisions.

Your electronic signature on the Patent Acknowledgment/Agreement Amendment available here will ensure that the University is able to fulfill its intellectual property obligations to research sponsors, industrial partners, the federal government and others.

The Amendment also helps to protect the University and its employees should future consulting or visitor arrangements inadvertently give rights away.

Signing the Amendment is easy. Simply write down your PIN number shown below; then click on the signature link to sign your Patent Acknowledgment/Agreement Amendment. You will also need your Employee ID number, which you can find on your earnings statement available by signing in to your personal account on At Your Service Online ( You will be able to view the Amendment prior to signing.

Personal Identification Number : XXXX Link to Sign Patent Amendment 
(or paste this URL into your browser:

Thank you for promptly signing,

Please do not respond to this e-mail.
This e-mail was sent by:
VR Election Services,
3222 Skylane Dr Bldg 100
Carrollton, TX, 75006.
VR Election Services, an independent firm, is conducting this election on behalf of the University of California. More details are available on At Your Service (

Please note: Your PIN is personalized for you and should not be shared with or forwarded to another.

Estimado colega de la UC,

Este es su final recordatorio para firmar la enmienda de la Universidad de California al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó cuando entró a la UC. Tendrá hasta el 29 de febrero para firmar la enmienda através del proceso electrónico que se describe abajo.

El Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó previamente requiere que usted informe con prontiud y divulgue por completo cualquier invención potencialmente patentable. Usted también reconoció la obligación de asignar a la Univeridad los derechos a las invenciones y patentes concebidas o desarrolladas durante su empleo en la Universidad o mientras use las instalaciones investigativas de la Universidad u obsequios, subvenciones o fondos de contratos para la investigación de la UC.

Como resultado de decisiones judiciales recientes, la capacidad de la UC para cumplir con sus diversas obligaciones en relación con los derechos a invenciones y patentes conllevan un riesgo. Es importante que firme una Enmienda al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó previamente. Esta enmienda no es algo único de la UC. Otras universidades están iniciando acciones similares para proteger sus derechos de propiedad intelectual.

Esto no es un cambio en las Normativas de Patentes; es, sencillamente, una enmienda que aclara el actual Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes, a la luz de las decisiones judiciales.

Su firma electrónica en la Enmienda del Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes aquí disponible asegurará que la Univeridad sea capaz de cumplir con sus obligaciones de propiedad intelectual ante los patrocinadores de investigaciones, socios industriales, el gobierno federal y otros.

La Enmienda también ayuda a proteger a la Univeridad y a sus empleados en caso de que futuros acuerdos de consultoría o de visitas inadvertidamente cedieran los derechos.

Firmar la Enmienda es fácil. Sencillamente escriba su Número de Identificación Personal (PIN, por sus siglas en inglés), que aparece abajo; entonces haga clic en el enlace de la firma para firmar su Enmienda al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes. Usted también necesitará su Número de Identificación de Empleado, el cual podrá encontrar en la declaración de ganancias, disponible al entrar a su cuenta personal en At Your Service Online ( Usted será capaz de ver la Enmienda antes de la firma.

Número de Identificación Personal: XXXX Link to Sign Patent Amendment
(o pegue este URL en su buscador:

Gracias por firmar con prontitud,

Por favor no responda a este email.
Este e-mail fue enviado por:
VR Election Services,
3222 Skylane Dr Bldg 100
Carrollton, TX, 75006.
VR Election Services, una empresa independiente, está efectuando esta elección en nombre de la Univeridad de California. Más detalles disponibles en At Your Service (

Por favor note que: Su PIN es algo personalizado para usted y no deberá compartirse ni remitirse a otros.

When Universities Grow in the Wrong Places

A bit of a rambling post here but here goes anyway …

Well, normally I have avoided digging in to UC Davis too much here on my blog.  Mostly because it does not really fit with the themes of evolution, open access, microbiology, genomics, etc.  Plus, overall, I really really like Davis and UC Davis.  The town is very pleasant – simple – but very nice.  I lived on my bike in the Washington DC area, taking my life into my own hands, and now living in bike town USA is great.  In fact, I even have a blog about life in Davis.  And UC Davis is overall a great place to be for me, especially with its strengths in evolution and ecology, population biology, and various aspects of microbiology.

But alas, now all is perfect here in blissville. And one thing that drives me crazy is the mind numbing complexity of the bureaucracy.  I note, I moved to Davis from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a small non profit research institute that helped lead the genomics revolution.  And mostly I have suffered annoyances of the crazy giant complex system here in silence (except for with a few colleagues here and there).  However, I have been planning to start to discuss some of these issues in public more.  And just as I was thinking about this, it seems that others are also discussing some issues with the need to reform some UC Davis admin activities.

You see, last year we got a new Chancellor (the name they use here for the head of the University).  The new Chancellor is Linda Katehi.  I have met her a few times and overall I am very impressed.  Perhaps the thing that impresses me most is that in times of somewhat bad financial struggles she has decided to take on the bloat in the administrative side of things as one of her first activities.  And it seems this is not all talk.  For example our great local newspaper, the Davis Enterprise has been running a series of articles, most by Cory Golden, on some reports and announcements from UC Davis suggesting that Katehi really will be trying to change things around here.  Alas, the Davis Enterprise is not available for free on the web for all to read.  If you want to get some really insightful stories about UC and UC Davis, you should subscribe.  It is not much and if you have any connection to Davis it is worth the money.

Fortunately for me, and perhaps for you, the Davis Enterprise has agreed to let me post extensive quotes from their articles especially as they relate to UC Davis.  I will delay a bit in posting to try and respect their need for subscribers (unlike with scientific publications, which should all be open and freely available, I do not feel that way about private enterprises like newspapers).  Anyway – I am posting below two stories by Cory Golden of relevance to the UC Davis attempts to change the way things are done here.  One is about reorganization of some administrative functions.  And one is about an outside evaluating group that just wrote a report on some of the challenges for research at UC Davis.  A third is about a campus “vision” statement put out by Katehi.

The main gist is, that UC Davis has enormous potential that is being impeded by some bureaucratic complexities and inefficiencies.  Some good quotes include:

Those included “overstaffing, ineffective personnel and playing ‘lawyer games’ to be sure that no risks threaten the organization.”

“Over many decades Davis has developed a culture that permeates its institutions and people, one that can best be described as risk-averse, modest and insular.”

And Katehi seems like she is going to try and fix many of them.  No – the plans are not exactly what I would do.  But more on that later.  The direction things are moving is very appealing to me.  I was not inspired by the previous leadership of UC Davis.  I am much more hopeful now and am awaiting these changes very impatiently.

Anyway – thanks to the Davis Enterprise for allowing me to post here.  And please consider subscribing to the paper.  That way you will get stories as they come out …


Reorganization ramps up at UCD

By Cory Golden

August 18th, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

UC Davis leaders have OK’d in spirit a plan to cut up to $16 million in staff positions while rolling campus information technology, human resources and finance offices into a single shared services center.

An all-staff forum about the reorganization is set for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the UCD Conference Center Ballroom.

Chancellor Linda Katehi said last week that her goals for the effort, dubbed the “Organizational Excellence Initiative,” are to redirect money to academics, student services and other priorities while improving the service given to the campus.

For now, staff members are left with questions and union leaders have growing concerns.

Among them: how many jobs will be eliminated, how positions in the proposed new center willbe filled, how fast UCD will make the changes and how much money the campus will invest in technology intended to increase efficiency.

Some answers may come from a meeting of the chancellor’s cabinet Aug. 31.

At its last two-hour meeting, last week, the cabinet decided to move forward on the outlines of recommendations made by the Atlanta-based consulting firm ScottMadden, based on more than three months of on-site assessment.

About 6,500 finance, HR and IT employees would be affected by the first phase of the project, as drawn up by the consultant.

“On the amount of savings projected, what percentage of that is from staff positions?” asked a woman in the audience during a presentation Monday to employees of administrative units that would be part of the proposed center.

Answered Karen Hull, associate vice chancellor for human resources, “Those savings reflect staff positions.”

Just how many would be cut, she said she didn’t know.

“We don’t know that for a couple of reasons,” Hull said. “One is that we don’t know for sure whether the cabinet will support the recommendation that ScottMadden has made, so that’s one big variable.

“(It) would be very misleading to connect the (estimated savings) to actual positions,” she added. “There’s a lot of dynamic changes that occur. We have natural attrition every year. We have natural turnover. We have retirements. We will not be wanting to fill any of those positions while we are forming the shared service center.

“I know that it sounds alarming — and it is alarming. These are your jobs, but I think that when we get the picture painted in a more detailed manner it will be more clear as to what will be the potential job loss.”

The consultant found that, at a core cost of $54 million a year, the campus’ human resources, information technology and finance staffing exceeded those of similarly sized organizations.

Among its recommendations: creating a shared structure with one director, improving the use of technology for timekeeping, purchasing, accounting and other tasks, and simplifying policies and processes.

The report pegged one-time or recurring costs, much of it from computer software systems, at about $19.5 million. If UCD follows its suggested timeline, the report says the university should begin saving money in less than three years.

Under the proposed model, about 80 percent of faculty, staff and student questions would be handled through self-service, either through a web portal or interactive phone system.

In what’s likely to be a controversial recommendation, the consultant suggests that the campus create job descriptions for the shared services center, then have employees apply for those positions.

“They recommend kind of an open slate. Everyone has an opportunity, and you compete for those jobs,” Hull explained, adding that the administration may yet choose another way to staff the center.

Among existing problems the consultant’s report pinpointed: large amounts of the same or similar work being done by multiple departments, excessive reviews, delayed service and multiple IT help desks. It also found “manual data collection, transcription of data, high error rates and significant rework.”

One employee at UCD might process about 1,065 invoices per year, working on paper with a long approval process. At Johns Hopkins University, which uses a shared service center model and automated system, one employee can process 45,000, the report says.

Union leaders interviewed Tuesday wondered aloud if the reorganization was an attempt to weed out their members.

Dorie Decosta, president of UCD’s chapter of the Coalition of University Employees Local No. 7, said there was a “general feeling of unrest and discomfort” among staff.

The prospect of automation replacing personalized customer service “sounds like hogwash,” she said.

“You need that element of continuity and what UCD says it stands for: caring about students, caring about staff, caring about faculty.”

Wrote Susan McCormick, president of the University Professional and Technical Employees Local No. 6, in an e-mail message, “I am getting the feeling that UC is finding ways to eliminate the highest-paid employees. They are eliminating at the top of the pay scales, those at UC the longest and those with the most knowledge.”

ScottMadden’s contract calls for a fee of $350,000, plus up to $70,000 in expenses.

The proposed reorganization comes as UCD continues to grapple with an unprecedented $150 million in state budget cuts since 2008-09. It has cut 1,062 positions: 459 layoffs or employees who had hours cut, the rest through attrition or voluntary separation.

The campus has cut 30 percent of its administration’s core budget, compared to a 15.4 percent cut for academic units.

UCD faces another $38 million to $78 million shortfall depending on the outcome of state budget talks this year.

— Reach Cory Golden at Track him at

Reports rap UCD research
By Cory Golden
August 15th, 2010

Enterprise staff writer
If UC Davis is to continue its climb in national status, it has its work cut out for it, according to a blunt assessment by an outside consultant.
While the campus has its share of advantages, including its broad research portfolio and location, it has been stymied by a risk-averse culture and a bottleneck in its research support structure, according to the Washington Advisory Group.
The advisory group, led by Eric Bloch, a former director of the National Science Foundation, interviewed more than 100 people on campus, from senior administrators to graduate students, over three days.
Many of the themes its 74-page assessment sounded were echoed in recently completed reports by two in-house “blue-ribbon” committees, one each on research and technology transfer. In an interview last week, Chancellor Linda Katehi said the campus would begin making changes in response to the three reports this academic year.
UCD ranked 36th among U.S. universities in the 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Despite state general fund cuts that could total more than $228 million since 2008, depending on the outcome of state budget talks, UCD “knows what it has to do,” the consultants write, to improve to a rank of between 20th and 30th. That group includes Northwestern University, UC Santa Barbara and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Katehi has set a new goal of $1 billion in outside research support. UCD more than doubled such funding from $295 million in 2001 to a preliminary estimate of $679 million for 2009-10.
Claire Pomeroy, the chair of the blue-ribbon committee on research and dean of the School of Medicine, called it “a new era” for research.
“There’s a pent-up desire among the faculty and the staff and the students to really optimize how our research enterprise is functioning and a recognition that we have some work to do in that area,” she said.
“The statement that we made in the blue-ribbon report on research that UC Davis is ‘less than the sum of its parts’ reflects the idea that we have incredible excellence here, and if we can just bring it together and support the people and give them the administrative support and infrastructure support, then we can really propel this university up to the next level.”
Campus culture
To reach such heights, UCD will need to undergo a personality change, the advisory group writes:
“Over many decades Davis has developed a culture that permeates its institutions and people, one that can best be described as risk-averse, modest and insular.”
While collegiality can result in the interdisciplinary research that UCD touts, it “can also have negative consequences when events and behaviors are tolerated that in other similar institutions would cause friction and result in remedies. The prime example we heard about is tolerating decision-making delays that at times may have dire consequences.”
The university has been slower than its peers to embrace partnerships with industry, described by the consultant’s report as “frowned upon by former administrations as counter to what a university is all about.”
A lack of aggressiveness has sometime been costly in other ways, the advisory group writes. For instance, UCD “seems to have missed the opportunity to expand programs in human genetics, genomics and other ‘omics at a time of explosive growth in funding in these fields. This problem must be rectified swiftly.
“UCD and its accomplishments are not as well-known as they deserve to be, in large part because of some of the cultural traits discussed,” the report says.
Andrew Hargadon, chairman of the blue-ribbon committee on tech transfer and professor of technology management at the Graduate School of Management, said he did not think the campus suffered from “collegiality to the point of complacency.” However, he acknowledged “a long history of cultural conditioning” on the campus: feeling forever overshadowed by UC Berkeley and UCLA.
“We had such a huge growth of faculty in the last decade, and the increase of research dollars as a result,” Hargadon said. “When you look at the faculty we’ve got — they weren’t there in the ’50s and ’60s; they weren’t there when that identity was being shaped.
“They would very much like to have an impact, even if it comes at the cost of driving their agenda forward.”
Research support
The main target of the complaints that the advisory group heard: the Office of Research.
Those included “overstaffing, ineffective personnel and playing ‘lawyer games’ to be sure that no risks threaten the organization.”
The office is made up of three sections: sponsored programs, which submits thousand of grant applications; institutional review boards, which govern protocols for clinical trials; and technology transfer and business development, which handles applications for patents and royalties and acts as a broker between researchers and the corporate world.
Those interviewed by the advisory group said the sponsored research group is often “overbearing,” “dictatorial” and “prone to almost missing filing dates for proposals, thus jeopardizing the opportunity to participate in important competitions,” the report reads.
The blue-ribbon committee on research, in its own 20-page reported submitted Thursday, writes that its members are “greatly concerned that UC Davis, including its research administration, has become overly bureaucratic and risk-averse, and is too narrowly focused on compliance with rules and constraints. This risks frustrating creative researchers and reducing the level of scholarly creativity and productivity.”
Said Pomeroy, “We need to find the right balance between, of course, emphasizing safety and research quality and research compliance with being at the cutting edge of discovery. I think there has been a desire to minimize risk, sometimes at the expense of efficiently processing some of the research applications.”
Additions like expanded use of technology can help speed the process, she said.
The 12-page report by the tech transfer committee recommends creating a new office that would concentrate decision-making authority for technology licensing and industry research agreements. It also urges the establishment of standards for transparency, timeliness and accountability of patenting, licensing and processing industry research agreements.
The advisory group also found that area sorely lacking: “We did not get the impression that UCD has taken this general subject of intellectual property rights and technology transfer very seriously.”
UCD doesn’t have a long tradition of spinning off businesses, Hargadon said. That means that while there are faculty who have started a business, they aren’t great in number. So those who aspire to do so must lean on the tech transfer office for help.
“There’s no hard and fast rules on tech transfer. There’s no clear value with any intellectual property,” he said. “There’s a lot of clear-cut ways to go wrong, in terms of the legality of contracts and conflicts of interest, but there’s not clear-cut ways to go right.
“It would have taken a lot of strong leadership and vision to get the process to one where the university could make bold bets and make a claim that a particular patent would have more impact if it got out than if it got out with some sort of onerous revenue obligation associated with it. As a result, the office, without that sort of leadership vision, ended up weighing compliance and weighing risk mitigation higher than was really good for the system.
“Basically, we spent more time trying to stay out of trouble than trying to launch companies.”
Increased workload
The doubling of research funding has meant a greater workload for staff. That money has increasingly come from the federal government, which has steadily imposed more stringent regulations and reporting guidelines.
At the same time, the office’s staff has been trimmed from about 90 to about 75, said outgoing Vice Chancellor for Research Barry Klein.
He said of his staff, “These are very good people working very hard for the university, but very good people working hard doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make our organization better; there are.
“If you look across the country at organizations that have these sort of hot-button service roles as we have, they are always subject to criticism. It’s impossible to be perfect,” Klein added.
“The faculty are like thoroughbreds. They want to win the race. It’s a mad dash to the finish line, but that causes a lot of tension and getting things in at the last minute and quickly, so there’s always this dynamic tension with the research office.”
Klein said being less “risk-averse” will increase the risk of violations and fines, but his staff would oblige.
“The people in my office don’t make the rules, they implement the campus culture,” he said. “And if it’s a culture that’s emerging now where you’re putting more things back to individual responsibility — having less oversight of details and assuming the departments and colleges and individuals will follow the rules — staff will move in that direction as well.”
One of the longest-serving vice chancellors for research in the UC system, Klein was due to step down in June 2009 but he said he stayed on to smooth the transition for the new chancellor, who arrived last August. His return to the physics department, announced last December, was a joint decision with Katehi.
“I was ready for a change and it was good for her to bring in some fresh blood,” Klein said.
Other findings
Among the other findings in the advisory group’s report, UCD:
** Lacks a five-year strategic financial plan;
** Needs a new strategy for technology transfer and business development;
** Suffers high student-faculty ratios in some areas;
** Should invest in technology on par with peer institutions;
** Needs a well-organized campaign to make itself and its faculty more visible if it’s to become a household name; and
n Faces a space crunch, including a lack of Biosafety Level 3 and 4 containment facilities, and should build them elsewhere if the community is opposed.
The advisory group also found that school- and college-level strategic plans were “meaningful and well-documented” but that “an institution as complex and broad as Davis requires a five- or 10-year strategy, plan and budget. No such interlinking documents exist today.”
Katehi recently unveiled a vision statement for the campus. Next, units will set out plans to meet those newly stated goals and, sometime next year, UCD will begin funding those priorities, the chancellor said.
The advisory group found it worrying that it received different financial information about research depending on who provided it.
“One wonders: What are the numbers that are at the chancellor’s disposal?” the report asks.
The advisory group also received complaints of “bloated” administration generally, despite recent cuts. UCD is rolling out a new effort this month to further reduce and reorganize its administration.
UCD paid the Washington Advisory Group $226,000, plus up to $30,000 in expenses.

— Reach Cory Golden at Track him at

Katehi details campus vision
By Cory Golden
July 30th, 2010

Enterprise staff writer
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and other campus leaders have crafted a “Vision of Excellence,” 10 months in the making, to guide the campus for the next 10 years.
The 17-page document combines many of the themes Katehi has sounded since her arrival last year, about the campus’ readiness for greater national and international prominence, with long-standing notions of UCD’s land-grant identity.
Released last week, the vision statement received a warm response from faculty, staff and student leaders reached for comment for its positive tenor, even against a backdrop of ongoing financial turmoil.
“To transform our university, we must chart a new course of action, an equally transformative vision to guide our actions and define our future,” Katehi writes in the document. It lays out goals like “foster a vibrant community of learning and scholarship” and “champion health, education, access and opportunity.” The document also describes how progress toward each goal will be assessed.
Bob Powell, chair of the Academic Senate, said the vision statement spells out change in ways both big and small.
“Before, it was about collaboration and now it’s about leadership,” he said. “It’s one thing to say you’re going to develop joint or international programs to enhance UC Davis, but this, to me, is a step above anything we were talking about before.”
Powell read one line aloud: “UC Davis will provide an efficient, professional administrative organization that is committed to serving and advancing the university’s academic mission.”
“From the outside, people would say, ‘Isn’t that obvious?’ Well, I’ve been here 26 years and it’s never been obvious,” he said. “To have that as an explicit statement is really important.”
Powell said he believed the document would go a long way toward building “grassroots support” when it falls to the colleges, schools and divisions to flesh out corresponding goals and plans to realize them.
An example of the document’s approach is its emphasis on increasing UCD’s international reach.
UCD will seek to increase the number of faculty, scholars and students from abroad and the number of students and faculty who pursue academic experiences overseas, the document says.
To accomplish those goals it will evaluate its needs in attracting, retaining and supporting international students; develop joint, collaborative international graduate programs; launch academic and clinical health research projects that tackle global challenges; strengthen and expand international alumni and global business ties; and provide the technological tools, cultural programs and student services to expand international dialogue.
Linda Bisson, professor of viticulture and enology and past chair of the Academic Senate, said the “solid” document is important for what it includes — and what it does not.
“It is different than what we’re used to because it has metrics,” Bisson said. “Typically, these kinds of vision statements are kind of just platitudes stuck together.
“This is going to sound weird,” she added, “but the change of focus that I see is that we’re not apologizing for who and what we are. Previously, things like this have read like we’re apologizing for not being (UC) Berkeley, the jewel of the UC crown.
“But this says, this is our value internationally: We’re problem-solvers — we’re a different kind of animal than Berkeley. It says we are very strong and proud of what we do — and that we’re not going to chase esoteric things when there are real things to be addressed.”
Though talk of breakthrough discoveries and spinning off research into new businesses can sometimes leave those in the humanities left wondering where they fit in, Margaret Ferguson, a professor of English and former chair of her department, said in an e-mail message that she felt that was not the case here.
“Im thrilled to say that this vision statement does speak to many of the questions that preoccupy those of us in the humanities, arts and humanistic social sciences,” she said. “These areas are mentioned early on as among the comprehensive research universitys ‘core disciplines,’ and the vision statement includes among its goals some that will particularly excite those students and faculty whose work focuses on deepening and expanding our understanding of past cultures as well as on creating new ideas for the future.”
She said she also was happy to see the goal of increasing need- and merit-based financial aid for both undergraduate and graduate students — which is “especially important for humanities graduate students, who are rarely supported by federal grants.”
Dan Wilson, chair of the Academic Federation, praised the vision statement’s emphasis on collaboration across disciplines, its promise of incentivizing success and its commitment to UCD’s land-grant role in improving the fates of the state and region.
Money, of course, remains the $228 million question mark. That may yet be the size of state cuts, dating back to July 1, 2008, depending on the outcome of the stalled state budget.
Bruno Nachtergaele, chair of the mathematics department, said in an e-mail message that he and many of his colleagues felt the document took into account their goals while also showing “the personal vision and commitment of the chancellor.”
“The recession we all suffer through is a hurdle, but not one that will stop her from promoting this vision and the long-term project of making UC Davis into the best university it can be,” Nachtergaele said.
Chair Peter Blando said in an e-mail message that the Staff Assembly was “extremely pleased to see a positive campus vision that takes us beyond the near daily concern over our job security and the university budget.
“While both are important,” he added, “staff morale is helped by providing any positive vision of the campus.”
Jack Zwald, president of the Associated Students of UC Davis, said he liked what he read, too, but was left wondering how Katehi would manage to increase the size of the university’s endowment while expanding programs. Likewise, he had questions about how UCD will be able to expand need- and merit-based aid to students.
“I think they’re going to give it a shot, but do I think it’s going to get done? I’m not overly optimistic it’s going to happen,” he said.
Wilson said the chancellor was right not to set the university’s sights lower because of the financial crisis.
“We don’t want to crawl into a shell — we want to move forward as a university,” he said.
To read the full document, see
— Reach Cory Golden at Track him at

UC Regents 3/24 public/ustream discussion of recent "intolerance" issues

Just got this announcement:

“The UC Board of Regents, at its March 24 meeting, will hold an extended public comment period and discussion of recent incidents of campus intolerance and UC’s efforts to address them.

The Office of the President will provide live streaming video of the discussion, available to members of the public and the UC community at:

The public comment period begins at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday March 24. Following that 40-minute period, President Mark Yudof, Regents Chairman Russell Gould, Interim Provost Lawrence Pitts, Senior Policy Advisor Christopher Edley and select chancellors will discuss the recent events and the actions they are taking to ensure that these types of incidents do not occur in the future.

For employees who are unable to watch the proceedings live, an archived tape will remain available at the same web address: “

Letter from #UCDavis Chancellor Katehi on "Rallies in support of higher education"

Just got a letter from UC Davis Chencellor Katehi addressed to the UC Davis community (so presumably this went out to 1000s) regarding some upcoming rallies in support of higher education and I thought it might be of interest to share it here because it may be of interest to some who did not receive it:

Dear UC Davis Community Members:

Next week’s rallies in support of public higher education provide us with another opportunity to work together on behalf of the University of California and in support of the California Master Plan for Higher Education — a visionary plan forged in 1960 that viewed higher education as a collective good and as the primary engine of social mobility.

That plan is threatened today with the state’s steady and steep disinvestment in UC, in California State University and in the California Community Colleges. I know you feel the impact of that disinvestment in very real, very personal ways.

The Governor’s January budget proposal offers us some hope, but it’s critical that we persuade lawmakers to make public higher education a funding priority. Together, we can help our state to re-prioritize.

Three advocacy opportunities are fast approaching. While on-campus responsibilities must always come first, I’m hopeful that, with attentive planning, you’ll be able to help deliver the message to Sacramento that our public colleges and universities need greater state investment.

On Monday, March 1, the UC Student Association will hold a march, rally and press conference at the State Capitol between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. UCSA leaders have asked UC President Mark Yudof and several regents and chancellors to join them in meetings with key legislative leaders throughout the day. I am pleased to do so, and am looking forward to accompanying our students to Sacramento. If you’re able, I hope you will join us and add your voice to others advocating for keeping our public university truly public. If you need transportation, our Government and Community Relations Office is working with student leaders to coordinate UC-provided buses.

On Thursday, March 4, a national day of action in defense of public higher education is being planned by a coalition of K-14 and UC and CSU students, employees and other education stakeholders. Rallies are planned at the State Capitol and throughout the state.

And on Tuesday, April 27, another advocacy day at the State Capitol is being planned by a coalition of UC, CSU and California Community Colleges advocates throughout the state. It’s hoped that a broad alliance of public higher education supporters will participate, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, business leaders and community organizers.

I hope we can continue to work together on the university’s behalf, raising issues and raising our voices effectively and respectfully. Together, we can make our best case for preserving affordable, accessible and world-class public higher education. That was the state’s vision in 1960, and that must remain its commitment today. Please join me in carrying that message to the State Capitol and ensuring that the principles of the California Master Plan endure.


Linda P.B. Katehi

UC Pres. Yudof (@mark_yudof) statement regarding California budget

Just got this in an email from UC President Mark Yudof

Statement by President Mark G. Yudof

University of California

January 8, 2010

With his proposed restoration of $370 million in funding for UC, including $305 million cut last year, the Governor has taken another important step toward putting California’s commitment to higher education back on track. These restorations, in addition to the Governor’s proposed constitutional amendment earlier this week, are clear evidence that the Governor understands the vital role public higher education plays in California.

We are pleased that the Governor’s budget provides $51.3 million to fund enrollments – an important step in light of the fact that UC currently enrolls 14,000 students for whom the state provides no funding. These funds will support student access at a time when we have overwhelming demand by UC-qualified students. We are also deeply grateful that the Governor’s proposal sustains funding for the Cal Grants program for UC students, which will enable us to continue to provide financial aid to our most needy students. The Governor’s proposal ensures that UC’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will continue to cover the system-wide fees of students who qualify for financial aid and have family incomes of less than $70,000.

While we deeply appreciate the Governor’s actions, notwithstanding the crisis in the state budget, there is still a significant gap as we seek to repair a budget that has been severely cut. The University requested $913 million to address this critical issue. We now turn to the Legislature to adopt the Governor’s proposals and to find every opportunity possible to fulfill the $913 million needed to restore UC’s funding. This money is vital if UC is to avoid declining educational quality, access and research.

Achieving a full restoration of the budget will be a challenge, given the magnitude of the State’s budget gap and the cuts being proposed for other State services. But reinvestment in public higher education is critical. We will be asking our advocates to be very active in making the case for the University. It is important that UC be able to maintain its tradition of excellence, thereby ensuring a brighter future for all Californians.

Open letter from the Academic Council to the UC (U. California) community

Just got this in my email with a comment to feel free to disseminate it widely.  So here goes:

Open letter from the Academic Council to the University of California community


We are the Academic Council of the University: we are the chairs of the ten campus divisions, as well as the chairs of the systemwide committees. We write to address the protests on many of UC campuses over the Regents’ decision to increase student fees by $2,500 per year. This decision followed budget shortfalls that have entailed significant staff layoffs and cuts to a range of student services. Faculty and staff also are suffering from significant reductions in compensation due to the current year’s salary reductions and furloughs.


We share the anguish over the policies adopted in the face of the state’s abrupt 20% disinvestment in higher education. The budget shortfall wounds the institution and community we cherish. We believe these policies are a regrettable but necessary response to the state’s actions. While we are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate their effects on the most vulnerable populations of our students and staff, we recognize that many disagree deeply, and that vigorous and vocal protest is an understandable response. The passionate advocacy of students, staff, and faculty for the University and its public mission has been remarkable.


Many of the protest activities were appropriate forms of peaceful advocacy. We are concerned, however, about activities at several campuses that disrupted our educational mission and interfered with the freedom of fellow students, faculty, and staff, to teach, learn, research, and work. We are especially concerned about group protests in which a number of individuals attempted to move past police barricades, physically threaten and throw objects at police, and surround vehicles to trap those within. These activities are unlawful and disrespectful of the rights of others, and they create a serious risk of violence for everyone in the area: police, protestors, and bystanders. A number of injuries, some serious, were sustained last week by both protestors and police officers.


We will insist, through all avenues open to us, that uses of force by police will be subject to inquiry and review, as well as the policies that govern crowd control. While we expect campus police professionals to be committed to accommodating peaceful protest, we realize that there may be failures of policy or individual action. We are committed to ensuring that the University remains a place where it is safe to teach and learn – and engage in peaceful protest.


At the same time, we wish to remind everyone of the limits of protest, and of our obligation to be civil, to show respect for different points of view, and to take personal responsibility for our own and each other’s safety. Occupation of university buildings, for example, directly interferes with the rights of other members of the community.


The problems that confront our University are daunting, and finding solutions to them will require the collective best efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Tempers will worsen and patience will shorten as these policies take hold, but we must channel our energies outwards, towards advocating for restoring funding to the University of California so that it can fulfill its mission of providing democratic access to the great research universities of our state.





Henry C. Powell, Chair

Academic Senate


Daniel L. Simmons, Vice Chair

Academic Senate


Christopher Kutz, Chair

UC Berkeley Divisional Senate


Robert Powell, Chair

UC Davis Divisional Senate


Judith Stepan-Norris, Chair

UC Irvine Divisional Senate


Robin L. Garrell, Chair

UCLA Divisional Senate


Martha Conklin, Chair

UC Merced Divisional Senate


Anthony W. Norman, Chair

UC Riverside Divisional Senate


William Hodgkiss, Chair

UC San Diego Divisional Senate


Elena Fuentes-Afflick, Chair

UC San Francisco Divisional Senate


Joel Michaelsen, Chair

UC Santa Barbara Divisional Senate


Lori Kletzer, Chair

UC Santa Cruz Divisional Senate


Sylvia Hurtado, Chair

Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools


Farid Chehab, Chair

Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs


M. Ines Boechat, Chair

University Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity


Alison Butler, Chair

University Committee on Academic Personnel


Keith R. Williams, Chair

University Committee on Educational Policy


Shane White, Chair

University Committee on Faculty Welfare


Gregory Miller, Chair

University Committee on Research Policy


Peter Krapp, Chair

University Committee on Planning and Budget

Scientists getting antsy over possible salary reductions/furloughs at University of California

Just got this via email – a letter circulating at UC Santa Cruz about the possibility of furloughs/salary reductions at the University of California. Basically the issue is that UC is having some major financial trouble due mostly to getting less money from the state of California (due to California’s financial problems). And the UC has circulated a memo saying that they are considering 4-8% pay cuts or furloughs that will reduce salary by 4-8% for ALL UC personnel.

This is a bit off putting to many since some personnel get their money from government grants not from the UC budget, but apparently to try and avoid inequality (which of course already exists) or to avoid hard decisions or for other reasons, UC is planning to have these cuts apply to everyone, even if that does not save UC money. I do find it strange that most of the people who work for/with me will get pay cuts which will lead to having extra $$ in my grants to spend. The extra weird thing is, if I cannot spend the money save from salary reductions, then UC loses money due to getting less indirect costs. I personally accept that the budget is in the toilet right now and UC needs to do some drastic things, but I am not sure if this across the board cut makes sense.
Anyway I thought the letter would be of interest to some.

We in the biomedical research community at the University of California, Santa Cruz are writing to express serious concerns about the salary budget cuts proposed as of 6/17/09. This letter represents the concerns of technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and fellows, research specialists, and project scientists in the departments of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Engineering, and Computer Engineering. We generally fall into the category of “staff”, and thus we understand that any staff salary cuts instituted in the future will affect all of us. However, it is important to understand that nearly all of us are paid by funds that do not come from the state of California, but rather from federal grants awarded by the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and grants awarded by many other public and private agencies. In many cases, the grant has been awarded to a Principal Investigator, and then is used by the Principal Investigator to pay us for our research work. In other cases, the grants are awarded directly to us to cover the salary necessary for our scientific training. So, as the majority of our salaries are not provided by the California state budget, a mandatory salary cut for our staff will not ease the University budget crisis, while it will indeed make our day-to-day living more difficult. Other effects of a mandatory reduction of our salaries are that: 1) This will actually reduce the amount of money the University receives in indirect costs from grants. 2) This will decrease the amount of income tax we pay to the state of California, further exacerbating the existing budget crisis. 3) The depletion of the funds coming into the University of California due to these salary cuts will make it increasingly difficult for the University to support its employees. 4) Lastly, the salary cut propos al may, in the longer-term, undermine confidence in the University of California system and lead talented people to move to states that are able and willing to support higher education and scientific research.

In summary, we strongly urge that no salary cut be instituted for University of California-affiliated personnel like ourselves whose salary is independent from the California state budget. Below you will find our signatures along with those of our supporting staff and Principal Investigators. Sincerely, The biomedical researchers of the University of California, Santa Cruz

See also

Plus here is a note from UC explaining their approach on reductions/furloughs:
Here is a communication from UC about the furloughs:

June 18, 2009

UC Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan Options – Questions & Answers
A summary of options for systemwide furloughs/salary reductions was sent to the UC
community on June 17, 2009. Following broad consultation, President Yudof intends to present
a specific option for approval to The Regents at their July 2009 meeting. To date, no decisions
have been made as to which option will be implemented. Below are answers to questions about
the proposals. Additional information will be added throughout this process as answers to other
questions become available and as the University approaches a decision on this issue.

Are these furloughs/salary reductions intended to be permanent?
No – the intent is for these actions to be temporary or short-term in nature, to help the University
through the current budget crisis. As indicated, the proposed duration for all three options is
August 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010 unless extended by the Regents.

Will furloughs/salary cuts apply to all employees, including faculty and represented
Yes. In order to ensure equity across the University, whichever option is chosen would apply to
all faculty and staff, except student employees. The Academic Senate has been closely involved
in consultation on these options. Implementation of the final plan is subject to collective
bargaining for represented employees. The President may recommend a hybrid Plan that
achieves the eight percent reduction in slightly different ways for the various employee groups.

If my salary is not supported by state funds, will I still have to take a furlough or salary cut?
Yes – participation is not based on the source of salary funds. Each of the options would apply to
UC employees whose salaries are funded by contracts and grants, clinical income and other
auxiliary activity, and general funds.

Will the proposed reductions apply to employees at the Lawrence Berkeley National
The intent is for whatever option is selected to apply to all UC employees, including LBNL
employees. Since LBNL is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), UC will comply with
all contractual obligations with the DOE.

W ill this be additive for the senior leaders who have already taken a five percent pay cut?
The senior UC officials who voluntarily agreed to have their salary reduced by five percent will
have their salaries reduced by a total of at least eight percent under these options.

How will the furlough/salary reduction impact vacation and sick leave accruals, UCRP service
credit and benefit calculations, and other benefits?
Under each option, the intent is to protect benefits and leave accruals to the extent possible. This
may not be possible in all situations. This issue continues to be evaluated and no final decisions
have been made yet. Approval from the Regents is required to protect UCRP benefits from being
impacted by a furlough/salary reduction plan.

I volunteered to participate in START to help the University manage the budget situation. Will
I have to take further reductions if a systemwide furlough or salary reduction is implemented?
How these options impact/relate to the START program is currently being analyzed. More
information on this issue is expected soon.

What’s the difference between the three options?
All three options are intended to achieve the same budgetary savings and have the same impact
on employee pay — each option is closely equivalent to an eight percent pay reduction. Option I
is a straight pay reduction with no changes to work hours. Under Options II and III, employees
will be scheduled to work fewer days and a number of holidays will no longer be paid holidays.

In Options II and III, will I be able to schedule the unpaid day at a time that’s convenient for
me and my department, or will the days be pre-scheduled?
This is still being looked at. The unpaid days would include a combination of University
holidays and additional days, but the precise mix of holidays vs. additional days has not been
determined. The additional days may be pre-scheduled by the University in order to manage
critical operations, for example to ensure patient care at a medical center.

For unpaid days, can I “make up” for the lost salary by using my vacation leave, sick leave, or
compensatory time off?
No. The objective of these options is for the University to achieve budgetary savings. Accrued
vacation, paid time off (PTO), comp time and/or sick leave all are forms of paid time off and
thus may not be substituted for unpaid days.

Will furloughs or salary reductions affect the health of the UC retirement plan?
The potential impact of the options on the funding status of the UC retirement plan is being
analyzed by the Plan Actuary, and this will be taken into consideration as decisions are made.

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