We got a boost. Now we need some answers.

I’ve got the booster.  But what’s for dinner?

We noted in past postings that new UC president Janet Napolitano was to give an important address yesterday about her vision of UC.  The address happened.  But her remarks were mainly boosterism.  (So far, UCOP hasn’t put the transcript of the remarks on the web, but yours truly has seen them.)  Greatest public university,  The California dream.  Nobel prize.  Diversity.  The Master Plan.  Etc. 

And, yes, there was reference in the speech to DREAM students – that’s what seems to have been the focus of morning news stories.  She said she would allocate money for them and for grad students.  Exactly what “allocate” means isn’t clear.  Money they didn’t have already?  Money from where? (Apparently from “reserves.”)

In any case, there are some Big Issues that might have been addressed – or at least might have been said to be questions she was pondering.  Is UC in the future to be a collection of loosely-affiliated independent campuses that, say, could set their own tuitions?  Or is it to be a tightly integrated system?  Is every campus that doesn’t yet have one entitled to a med school?  A law school?  A business school?  Does every academic program have to be found on every campus?

The governor keeps telling the Regents that the State of California isn’t going to support UC in the style to which it was once accustomed and that he also doesn’t like tuition increases.  So what fills in the money gap?  The remarks included reference to efforts at efficiencies.  Does President Napolitano think efficiencies will fill the gap?  Does she think, as the governor seem to think, that online ed will do it?  Will the Regents go on approving hundreds of millions of dollars of capital projects with little oversight?  Or should budget priorities tilt toward human capital, i.e., teaching and research. 

President Napolitano referred to her learning curve and to her ongoing visits to the campuses.  Obviously, there is learning on the job to be done.  But there will be a Regents meeting in a couple of weeks.  The agenda for that meeting hasn’t been posted as of this blog entry, but presumably there will be some real world decisions to be made.  Unless you have some views on the questions above, those decisions will either be made ad hoc or will just be whatever the UCOP and campus bureaucracies serve up.  It would be nice, therefore, to hear more specifics from the new president at the November Regents meeting, if not before.  We know that UC is a great public institution.  Now let’s move on.

The San Francisco Chronicle story on the speech is at http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/5M-pledged-to-aid-students-living-in-US-illegally-4941099.php

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