The UC Commission on the Future adopted a draft on Oct. 11 of recommendations intended to help the system continue to cope with increased enrollment at a time of reduced state funding.
Finding ways to have more students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in less than four years were among the 20 recommendations, speeding up systemwide reforms to administration that have been ongoing since the 2007-2008 fiscal year, according a UC Newsroom report.
The commission’s goal is to get only some to graduate early – not all UC students.
“There were lots of concerns about if you force the wrong kinds of students, too many students, into the three-year pathway, what kinds of limitations would you be dealing with,” said Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning, programs and coordination for UC and member of the commission. “The recommendation was to do this for a select set of students, not every student.”
According to the report, increasing the number of students who graduate early by 5 to 10 percent would free up about 2,000 to 4,000 spaces for more undergraduates.
Keith R. Williams, senior lecturer in exercise biology at UC Davis, is a member of the commission and one of the working group co-chairs.
“I think the goal was to find alternative sources of revenue from the state, because it was perceived it just all couldn’t come from fees,” Williams said.
The UC system often adopts the commission’s recommendations. UC President Mark Yudof and Russell Gould, chair of the UC Board of Regents, co-chair the commission.
However, some students are dissatisfied with the commission and its recommendations.
Brian Sparks, a senior international relations major, has been keeping track of the recommendations. He said a lot of the recommendations made are contradictory – such as recommendation nine, which plans to recoup the indirect costs of sponsored research.
“How do you raise tuition on people who can’t afford tuition when you’re not even recovering all the costs that are already owed to you?” Sparks asked.
Sparks said UC should recover costs before raising tuition.
“They haven’t done it, it’s been a year since the 32 percent tuition increase and they still can’t even recover their research costs,” he said. Still, commissioners reiterate that their suggestions are the result of trying to find the most feasible solutions in difficult times.
“There just is not a silver bullet application … The aim is to try and figure out what’s the combination that allows us to maintain that balancing act that we’ve been able to afford and just now is getting more challenging,” Greenstein said.
Among other recommendations, the commission outlined plans for streamlining transfer criteria and re-hauling the Assist.org website to facilitate this, exploring ways to expand online instruction and increasing non-resident enrollment. A full text of the recommendations can be seen at ucfuture.universityofcalifornia.edu/documents/meeting_materials_oct2010.pdf.
CECILIO PADILLA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.