Chairman’s Critique Sparks Big Plans for UC Restructuring

    In a report critical of the University of California’s operations
    released last month, UC Board of Regents Chairman Richard Blum called
    for an administrative overhaul and new oversight of university affairs,
    which he said has not occurred in 40 years.
    In the six-page report, titled “We Need to be Strategically Dynamic,”
    Blum called the system “an outmoded and dysfunctional set of
    organizational structures, processes and policies,” and subsequently
    proposed dramatic changes to make the university more managerially
    efficient. Blum’s suggestions include higher pay for faculty, funding
    scholarships to cover rising tuition and living costs, cutting
    duplicate staff positions and streamlining operations inside the UC
    administration.
    “Why is it so hard to make broad-scale progress toward our goals?” Blum
    said in the report. “I believe the fundamental problem is an overgrown
    UC administrative infrastructure that substitutes motion for progress.”
    The Aug. 22 report was released about a week after UC President Robert
    C. Dynes announced his resignation, following a tenure rife with
    bureaucratic inefficiencies and a secret pay scandal. Despite the
    timing of Blum’s release, officials from the UC Office of the President
    deny a causal link between the two.
    “Dynes has stated that he intended to spend about five years as
    president and that his desire to spend more time with his new wife was
    a further prompt to announce his resignation,” UCOP spokesman Brad
    Hayward said.
    UC Provost Wyatt R. Hume, who took over the role of chief operational
    officer after Dynes’ announcement, responded to Blum’s report with a
    letter of praise and outlined measures to be taken to address some of
    the suggestions.
    “Work already is underway on the vast majority of the issues identified
    in the papers authored by both Chairman Blum and Provost Hume,” Hayward
    said. “UC is an institution of extraordinary academic accomplishment,
    and we want to make sure its administrative systems and processes meet
    the same high standards.”
    Besides calls for more efficiency and accountability within the
    administration, Blum also focused on the need to revamp external
    relations with alumni and media as well as state officials.
    California’s budget for the UC system has dropped to 3 percent from 7.5
    percent over the last two decades, coupled with a 40-percent decrease
    in the state’s subsidy per student.
    “We cannot allow this to continue,” Blum said.
    The university keeps certain levels of money in its reserves and caps
    the amount of debt it can accumulate, both of which Blum argues should
    be adjusted to free up money for backlogged projects. In response, Hume
    appointed Executive Vice President Katherine Lapp to examine the
    current system and provide a report by November.
    Blum also recommended creating a scholarship of up to $1 billion to
    alleviate rising tuition and living costs. Hume placed UC Berkeley
    Chancellor Robert Birgeneau as head of a high-level committee that will
    report on its findings for “bold and practical alternatives” to student
    expenses in January 2008.
    Blum’s message was reinforced on Sept. 14, when the Monitor Group, an
    independent agency hired by UCOP to assist the university in improving
    efficiency, called for system wide “operational and structural
    improvements.” The new report cited many of the same problems that Blum
    addressed, including duplicate jobs, public distrust and inflexibility
    to changing conditions.
    Unlike Blum’s, however, the Monitor report uses specific examples on
    processes that need to be changed, providing the joint UC-Monitor Group
    “organizational restructuring effort” with clear goals to obtain.
    The UC system views these two reports as a welcome directive to modernize its operations.
    “Given the funding constraints facing the university, it makes sense to
    take a close look at our administrative operations and streamline them
    where possible,” Hayward said.

    In a report critical of the University of California’s operations released last month, UC Board of Regents Chairman Richard Blum called for an administrative overhaul and new oversight of university affairs, which he said has not occurred in 40 years.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal