UC Berkeley Budget Crisis

July 17, 2009

Departmental Stories

Filed under: — Editor @ 5:34 pm

How are individual departments addressing the large budget cuts on the UC Berkeley campus? This page documents departmental changes to address the budget crisis.

  • Classes – cut the number of classes offered and increase class sized. (e.g., Conversational Arabik, Technical Communications, Physical Education). Yudof in Chronicle of Higher Education: ” . . . we are receiving reports that class sizes are getting larger, and the availability of courses is rapidly diminishing. If you can’t get into the classes you need, it will take you much longer to get your degrees-which means it will be more expensive to graduate. So raising tuition may, in fact, ultimately save students money.” The largest cuts seems to have hit physical education. “Cal’s historic and distinguished Physical Education Program was cut 50% last year, to less than $1 million, reducing the number of classes available to the general student body by about half.  This popular program offers a variety of activity and lecture courses for ALL registered Berkeley students, not just elite athletes, but the 50% cut has severely reduced the number, variety and skill level of classes actually available to students.  These cuts are continuing in the 2010-2011 academic year, and no commitment has been made to restore full funding in future years.” See letter on these cuts.
  • Custodial Services – Reductions in custodial and general maintenance operations. Even more cuts announced on Oct. 29, 2009. “Further cuts in custodial staffing are necessitating cuts in service to campus buildings. In early November all offices will be restricted to two free custodial visits per month.”  Sweeping and mopping will be performed on only one of these visits.
  • Cuts Force [UC Berkeley] Research Units to Consolidate, The Daily Californian, August 1, 2009. “In response to deep campus-wide budget cuts, the administrative branches of many research units will be restructured under one roof, a move that some say will harm the university’s ability to conduct research.”
  • Cut lecturers. Engineering has started a policy that discourages use of lecturers that do not have permanent employment. Excepts have to be approved by the Dean. UCLA seems to be laying off lecturers, as stated in this message to the College of letters and Science (7/29/09, “notice of Lay-Off” (relayed by Charlie Schwartz on email). “As you know, severe budget cuts for the 2009-10 academic year have impacted all units on campus. We anticipate from reliable projections that these cuts will continue beyond 2009-10 and that they will be much more severe in 2010-11. The campus will need to carefully consider instructional offerings to include streamlining core courses for majors and a possible suspension of undergraduate requirements in part or in whole as of 2010-11. Given that a decision to suspend requirements has not yet been made and given that we are still in the process of streamlining departmental majors and offerings, the impact on the overall teaching budget for the College is still unknown and we need to account for a variety of possible outcomes in our planning.
    . . . “Therefore, pursuant to the terms of Article 17 of the Memorandum of Understanding for Non-Senate Faculty, I am providing you with the required one-year notice of your layoff, effective August 1, 2010. Your teaching obligations will officially cease as of June 30, 2010. Should this situation change, you will, of course, be contacted. …
  • Economics is cutting most staff services to faculty and consolidating staff with research centers. Faculty without grants will have limited access to these services and are advised to see if GSIs can do course photocopying.
  • Economy Compels UC Press to Evolve, Daily Californian, August 1, 2009. “In the midst of the financial downturn and transition to digital publishing, UC Press is following a five-year plan to increase its online presence and prevent future losses in personnel and revenue.”
  • Emma Goldman Papers cut and in danger of losing matching funds: “We have been advised that we must raise $80,000 by the end of October to compensate for these unexpected cutbacks, after which the Emma Goldman Papers must secure its entire 2010 budget from grants and individuals outside the University.  The University of California, Berkeley has informed us that it will be unable to continue its “cost-share” contribution to the Project, a prerequisite of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives (NHPRC), thus jeopardizing the Emma Goldman Papers’ largest and most consistent federal funding source.”
  • Engineering closes Center for Underrepresented Engineering Students (CUES). The current staff will not have their appointments renewed and it is not clear what the plan is for the transition. Dean Shankar Sastry issued a statement that talks to the value of integration with other student services: College of Engineering strengthens student diversity programs, July 15, 2009. CUES was one of the UC Berkeley diversity programs that makes up the Coalition for Excellence and Diversity in Mathematics, Science and Engineering  that won the 1998 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. See more details on the specific blog entry on the closure of the CUES diversity programs.
  • Engineering departments cut 27%.
  • Graduate School of Education: An award-winning Master’s program that trains elementary school teachers is cut. Earlier this semester the Dean stopped admissions on three teacher preparation programs, declaring that two of them – very highly regarded two-year programs – must be replaced, on fiscal grounds, by agierwe 15-month programs. The two 2-year programs were MACSME, our science and mathematics education teacher program, and DTE (developmental teacher education), our elementary (many subjects, called multiple subject credential) program. After a month of hard work, the faculty managed to rearrange schedules and found a way to teach almost all the courses in MACSME, and the Dean agreed to re-open admissions for next year. There are significant costs, but the program may survive. However, admissions to DTE remain “paused,” and it is a major question as to whether the program or anything resembling it can be resuscitated – so it may well be dead.
  • Information Technology cuts. Faculty Sees Reduction in Tech Support On Campus, October 8, 2009.
  • Library Cuts.  Also see the Save the UCLA Arts Library action: “UCLA Library Management, behind closed doors and without consultation with the UCLA community has decided to close its Arts Library, potentially as soon as January 2010.”
  • Library cuts: UC Berkeley administrators closed all but two of the campus’ 20 or so libraries on Saturdays this year to save money. . UC Berkeley administrators closed all but two of the campus’ 20 or so libraries on Saturdays this year to save money. The two libraries that will remain open for 24 hours during final week are Doe and Moffit. They were only able to do so with a $30,000 anonymous donation.
  • Library cuts: Destroying our libraries: A water story, Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute, October 16, 2009. “One of the most remarkable library treasures of the University of California system is the Water Resources Center Archives, a unique and irreplaceable collection of current and historical scientific, political, educational, and personal materials on California, western US, and global water history, science, and policy. The WRCA is at UC Berkeley. In a stunningly shortsighted, self-serving, and disgraceful move, those responsible for the Archives, in particular, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Division (headquartered in Oakland), have announced that the Archives may be shut down in June, unless they can find some other University home for it willing to cover the costs.”
  • Libraries Innovate to Counter Cuts -
    Tough times are taking a toll but spurring innovations in handling collections
    , Chronicle of Higher Education, November 22, 2009. “The slice was 18 percent, or more than $4-million, last year at the University of California at Berkeley, says Thomas C. Leonard, the university librarian. In California, higher education has received a succession of body blows as the state’s finances collapse, and Mr. Leonard has had to roll with some very hard punches.”I can tell really sad stories about our budget,” Mr. Leonard says. “We’re really, really hurting.” His library has lost 30 full-time employees in recent months. The money Mr. Leonard has to employ student workers has been cut by 25 percent, and the budget for library work stations has been halved. On the plus side of the ledger, the library’s acquisitions budget has been protected by order of the chancellor, according to Mr. Leonard.”
  • Mechanical Engineering withdrew faculty offer in preparation.
  • Museum cuts: Berkeley Natural History Museums (BNHM) and a few associated field stations were cut 28%.  The museums, the Botanical Garden, ARF and the Field Stations were put into one “box” and were told to come up with a some cut of 28%.  If this cut is added to the loss of additional state, gift funds and endowments, some of the museums were hit even harder.   BNHM had to lay off their administrative team at the end of November due to UC budget cuts and restructuring.The Museum of Paleontology’s combined cuts were close to 30% this year.
  • Print Services Cut. UC Printing Services (UCPS)/Campus Copy Services (CCS) can no longer sustain current operations, and they are regretfully closing the department, including the main facility at 1100 67th Street, the satellite facility in University Hall, and the Copy Center at UCOP. They will phase out our operations over the next 1-2 months, and have begun directly notifying our customers of the closure. Prior to this, departments have been forced to cut out or greatly reduce handouts. Maybe some trees will be saved? It turns out that the source of the IA loan for the deficit spending of approximately $6M for the 2008-09 academic year  came from “Printing Auxiliary Funds, Parking Auxiliary Funds, University Opportunity Funds generated from reimbursement of federal overhead, University Registration Fee Funds, UCB Foundation Short Term Investment Pool Income, Federal Overhead, and Gift Fee Funds”. Printing claims they would have been viable if these upgrade funds had not been diverted to Intercollegiate Athletics. Also see: Allotment of Printing Services’ Reserve Fund Stirs Questions: After Planned Transition to Digital Printing, Services’ Reserve Was Diverted to Other Campus Departments.
  • Research unit cuts. Cuts Force [UC Berkeley] Research Units to Consolidate, The Daily Californian, August 1, 2009. For example, staff reductions and elimination of mini-grants from the Center for Latino Policy Research for the Latino Studies Center.
  • Telephones pulled: Many departments have pulled their telephones or are asking faculty to pay their office phone bills out of grants.
  • Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning office eliminated per memo of George W. Breslauer, August 11, 2009. UC Berkeley eliminates high-level job to save money, August 13, 2009. Excerpt: “In response to the severe budget cuts now facing the campus, the Chancellor and I are reducing the size of senior administration.  This is one of several announcements of positions which will be either eliminated or consolidated.  Effective October 1, we will eliminate the position of Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.  We are taking this move with genuine regret, as teaching is a core part of our campus mission, and the Vice Provost has been able to achieve many improvements and innovations in that area. . . . The Chancellor and EVCP are committed to preserving the progress that has been made in promoting teaching and learning.  To insure that we do not lose ground during these difficult budgetary times, we have asked Christina to help us plan and oversee an administrative transition of her portfolio.   None of the basic functions of the units within this portfolio are slated for elimination.  We will announce the new reporting lines once they are finalized.”

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