Letters to the Editor

Fox Defends Her Performance As Chancellor

Dear Editor:

I’m gratified that the student editors of the Guardian recognize the importance of a full-time, fully engaged chancellor, and I’m grateful for the serious questions they raise about my service on both paid and nonprofit boards. They, and the campus community, deserve a thorough and open response, which this letter, in part, seeks to provide.

I am proud to be UCSD’s chancellor. It is not a position or commitment that I view lightly. UCSD is a first-class institution and my work ethic exemplifies that distinction.

The duties of a chancellor at a major research university — especially one that incorporates a school of medicine and associated hospitals, such as UCSD — are demanding and complex, and are not confined to a standard eight-to-five workday. The people who work with me will attest that I am focused on UCSD business from sunrise to well after sunset. I’m at work — in my office, on e-mail, on the phone or all of the above — when many of my colleagues arrive in the morning and when they depart in the evening. In the evenings and on most weekends, I attend numerous university and community events.

I’m sure that the recipients of my queries and messages — from faculty and staff to administrators in all campus areas — sometimes wish that I did not work the 12- and 14-hour days that I do.

Since my days as a student, I’ve been blessed with the energy and drive to work a little harder, stay a little longer, and dig a little deeper. This drive served me well as I moved into positions of increasing responsibility. I thrived — and still thrive — on the challenges of leading an institution, while reaping the deep and fulfilling benefits of being a wife, a mother and now a grandmother.

Our campus does indeed have a full-time chancellor. I could not serve in good conscience unless I could say that with absolute confidence — and President Robert C. Dynes and the Board of Regents would accept nothing less. My role and my responsibilities are clearly defined, and my actions — both my successes and my struggles — are visible to the campus community and the citizens of California.

My service on boards, some of which are nonprofit (e.g., foundation and government agency advisory boards), some of which pay me, is a reflection of the value such boards place on expert advice. They believe I can help them guide their organization with the insights I’ve gained as a scientist and an administrator. In return, the issues they face are issues that universities are already facing themselves, or will face in the future.

I serve on more boards than some of my peers. Many have other obligations, or enjoy other pursuits, and their level of service suits their duties and their personal schedules. I fervently enjoy being engaged, and believe firmly in the benefits of board service (even though that service often means telephone conferences at 5 a.m. Pacific time).

I am proud of the long hours I devote to UCSD, its daily operation and its long-term goals. I am incredibly mindful that other duties do not detract from that focus. And I am meticulous when it comes to accounting for my time that is spent on non-UCSD work. I’m also proud that our students pay attention to my work, and hold me (and all of us) to the highest standards of performance.

I will continue to work full-time meeting those expectations.

— Marye Anne Fox

UCSD Chancellor