Q&A: UC Staff Advisers

    Guardian: What were you two involved in, as far as the
    search for the new UC president was concerned?

    Lynda Brewer: I was, I was an advisory member to the special
    committee to select the president — that’s what it’s technically called — and
    unfortunately there’s not a lot I can talk about because he hasn’t been
    confirmed yet by the regents and so I’m still kind of under my cloak of silence
    from the search committee.

    Guardian: Can you talk about about the process?

    LB: I think that we need to wait until he’s confirmed by the
    board until we talk much about the process, but the process included from the
    very beginning an alumni and a student regent as well as a faculty
    representative to the regent and a staff adviser to the regents.

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    Guardian: Do you feel Mark Yudof will benefit from his
    experience at the University of Texas

    LB: I think that’s a huge advantage. He also has medical
    centers, or academic health science campuses, that report to him as well as a
    Department of Energy lab, so those all have unique issues related to them and I
    think his background will be very helpful to help him acclimate to the University
    of California
    quickly. He was a top
    candidate from the very beginning because he has these unique similarities to
    our system.

    Guardian: So you expect those things to make an easier

    LB: I think so, I think coming from a single campus rather
    than a system would have been a huge learning curve.

    Guardian: What kind of hurdles are applied to a multiple
    university system as opposed to a single university system, is it just a larger
    scope to manage?

    LB: Well, no, it’s actually more complex because you want
    each campus to have a certain amount of autonomy, yet there are certain
    strengths that you can harness among the campuses to excel the system forward.

    Guardian: How do you feel it’s been managed so far?

    LB: I think that we have extremely qualified and exemplary
    chancellors at all of our campuses. So I think they have all done an excellent
    job at moving all their individual campuses forward I think that there are a
    number of things as we discussed at the regents meeting about the office of the
    president that need to be restructured. I don’t think that’s necessarily the
    fault of any president or administrative staff.

    I just think its kind of kind of a natural evolution, things
    require oversight and reevaluation as they grow. I think this is a time when we’re taking a
    real critical look at the organization. Especially if you’ve got an
    organization that’s very dynamic and you’re trying to move it forward and
    there’s a lot of growth and a lot of fingers in the pie, then it’s easy for
    things to grow and expand to a point that they may need to be looked at or
    moved off to somewhere else and I think that’s what’s going to happen in the
    administrative restructuring of the office of the president. It will be
    interesting to see with the new president coming in. You have to leave enough
    flexibility for that person to make some critical decisions too and to allow
    them to tailor the organization to a model that they have found to be
    successful with their style in the past.

    Guardian: What do you find are the most pressing problems
    right now to the common staff member?

    LB: I think that we’d be trying to avoid talking about the
    elephant in the room if we didn’t say compensation. People are concerned and
    especially it’s a tight budget year, so people are nervous about whether there
    will be salary increases, they’re worried about whether we’ll have to restart
    contributions to retirement, they’re worried about doing more with less in a
    tough budget year.

    Bill Johansen: There’s a lot of uncertainty, including the restructuring
    of the Office of the President, it’s going to have impact potentially on
    campuses if programs are shifted from the Office of the President to campuses
    and likewise in some respects it will be a preview of some restructuring
    efforts that may take place at some of the campuses to, so that’s the biggest
    thing there are just a lot of unknowns right now.

    You know this budget is not going to be easy because you
    have faculty and staff salaries, you have student fees and then you have some
    programs that actually need to get an influx of money. So any one of those is
    going to cause a lot of heartache to make a decision and some of the budget is
    so bad that everything is going to be hit.

    Lynda Brewer and Bill Johansen represent staff interests and
    perspectives to several UC regental committees.

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