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Saturday, July 31, 2021

UC President Yudof launches accountability initiative

University of California President Mark Yudof announced the creation of an accountability program designed to assess UC’s performance on multiple levels and generate reports available to the public. The first report is expected to be released this fall.

The report is intended to make the university more transparent and accessible to the public, aid in future strategic planning efforts for the University of California Board of Regents and assist in managing budgeting issues.

In a speech to the UC Board of Regents Long Range Planning Committee last month, Yudof described the program asa routine publication that sets forth measures of performance … in terms of access and affordability, in terms of student success, in terms of research impact and funding, in terms of faculty diversity and staff diversity.

The annual report will be available to the public on the Internet and will outline issues including affordability, diversity, research success and graduation rates.

“This is a way of bringing the many assessments that are conducted across the UCs together into one comprehensive report,said Daniel Greenstein, vice provost of the Department of Academic Affairs in the Office of the President.

The assessment will analyze and compare the performance of individual campuses as well as at a systemwide level. UC campuses will be compared to the “peer 8, a group of universities the UC system uses as a standard for comparisonHarvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Virginia and SUNY Buffalo.

“Accountability has been an issue growing in prominence across the nation in higher education,said UC spokesperson Brad Hayward.

In his speech to the regents, UC President Yudof cited a growing desire for accountability as being prompted by events such as the Enron scandal, Sarbanes-Oxley and the sub-prime mortgages crisis.

“The public, the taxpayers, the legislature, the parents, the students, the employees, they have a right to know what is going on in the institution, Yudof said.

The report will be conducted at both graduate and undergraduate levels and is intended to be a resource for the people of California, the board of regents as well as prospective students.

“We’re trying to give a reasonable person a fairly good and accurate overall idea of what the university is all about,Greenstein said.

Yudof is also planning to introduce narrower and more detailed sub-reports on specific areas such as research funding or scholarship availability.

“I believe that this will be a topic of great personal focus for President Yudof,Hayward said. “[Accountability] is something that we’re building at the university and we want to be as aggressive as we can in getting all the info we can out to the public.

CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. UC President ducks accountability for UC Berkeley distress. UC Berkeley’s recent elimination of popular sports programs highlighted endemic problems in the university’s management. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the UC Board of Regents and the California legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain , to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization and the academic senate..

    From time to time, a whistleblower would bring some glaring problem to light, but the chancellor’s response was to dig in and defend rather than listen and act. Since UC has been exempted from most whistleblower lawsuits, there are ultimately no negative consequences for maintaining inefficiencies.

    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, students, staff, academic senate, Cal. alumni, and taxpayers await the transformation.

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