Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UCLA Sociologists Take a Stand on UC Funding Priorities

My Colleagues at UCLA Sociology have taken a gutsy stand on what the future UC funding priorities should be. I agree with their points and I bet that 98% of the UCLA economics department would also agree. You don't have to be Bill Clinton to anticipate that the median voter among the UC faculty (across the 10 campuses) will not like this proposal. It has a whiff of elitism but ask yourself; what would Larry Summers do? If his next job is President of the UC (I'm kidding), would he keep the status quo?

UPDATE: I found this interesting quote at the bottom of the blog entry from above:
"What a pity that some UC faculty seem more interested in crowding aboard the life-raft than in working together to prevent the ship from sinking."

This made me feel a pinch guilty. Am I part of mad scramble kicking aside "women and children" as I try to save my own ass and escape the Titanic alive? In this case, what does "working together" mean? Not complaining about the huge paycut and the prospect that the cut will persist for more than 1 year? What is the co-operative solution here? The UC must confront that it has too many objectives that it tries to achieve all at the same time. It has not prioritized. People would like to see clear signals from President Yudoff on how we will maintain "excellence". Such signals would calm people down and reduce the concern that UC has a long run problem. Some people are talking about self-fulfilling Prophesies. If excellent faculty leave and we can't recruit new risk averse excellent faculty from other universities, then the UC will sink. To stop a "bank run", a bank has to signal that it could pay back people's deposits if the people want their money. But, when people know they can get their money back then they no longer panic and the bank run ends. How do you build confidence that an institution will remain excellent? Raw $ is one such signal but clear leadership is another.