To: Members of the Los Angeles Division of the Academic Senate
Dear Senate Faculty:
Welcome to the 2023–2024 Academic Year! I’m excited to begin my term as Chair of the Los Angeles Division of the Academic Senate.
These past several years have been taxing (to say the least), and we are now grappling with new budgetary challenges, increased enrollment pressure and defining a new landscape in graduate education. It’s an honor to represent your concerns and interests, as I am continually awed by the amazing work of our faculty.
I’ve been so fortunate to work with and learn from Immediate Past Chair Cattelino this past year. She has been a strong and effective advocate for faculty and shared governance during her term, and I will continue her work to center and amplify the academic mission of research, teaching and service.
We welcome Vice Chair/Chair Elect Kathy Bawn to the leadership trio, whose experience as Chair of the Undergraduate Council and acumen strengthen our ability to serve and represent the members of the Academic Senate.
Thank you to Shane White for his immense contributions to the Academic Senate including an unprecedented two years as Immediate Past Chair.
And thank you to the Academic Senate’s Executive Director, April de Stefano, who collaborates closely with Senate Leadership and manages these transitions.
Beginning in October, I will be holding monthly informal “office hours” in the Faculty Club and I hope you will drop by.
Chair, UCLA Academic Senate
Academic Senate Updates
In this issue:
→ Message From Immediate Past Chair Cattelino
→ End of Partial Suspension of Divisional Senate Regulations
→ Future of Instruction Task Force Report
→ Formal Advisory Role on Budgetary Matters
→ Your Academic Senate
It has been an honor to serve you for eighteen months as Chair of UCLA’s very active Academic Senate, as a member of the Academic Council and Assembly of the Systemwide Academic Senate, and as an ex officio member of various UCLA administrative committees.
The core of the Senate’s work takes place in our committees and councils, not by the Chair. I thank the approximately 250 faculty members who served on Senate committees and councils this past year, plus more who served on the Legislative Assembly and on Faculty Executive Committees (FECS), and especially the twenty committee and councils chairs, members of our Executive Board and chairs of various joint task forces and working groups.
It has been quite the year and a half, including ongoing pandemic recovery and rebuilding, a major strike and the renewed call to improve and perhaps revamp graduate education funding and models, a student sit-in and major questions about the future of instruction, efforts to emphasize the “academic” in campus planning and budget and ongoing efforts to strengthen diversity equity, and inclusion in the Senate and beyond.
Participation by the faculty in shared governance through the Academic Senate can be an uneven experience, but I believe more than ever that it is UCLA’s and the University of California’s superpower. The faculty role in the governance of higher education is under threat across the United
States, weakened both by attacks on tenure and decreased tenure density on the one hand, and shrinking power relative to administration and other actors on the other hand.
We are fortunate here in the UC to exercise faculty authority and advisory power through the Academic Senate, and I greatly appreciate those many administrators on our campus who value and make good use of shared governance to strengthen the academic mission of teaching, research and service. None of the Senate’s work would be possible without staff analysts, who support the work of our Senate bodies in myriad ways. Special thanks to Executive Director April de Stefano, who keeps it all going and contributes her sharp analysis to the matters at hand.
UCLA and the UC occupy important positions in the higher education landscape and in the State of California. We must think big while also attending to the everyday work of our academic mission. I am delighted that Chair Andrea Kasko will lead UCLA’s Academic Senate in these efforts over the next year, bringing extensive experience with graduate education at both campus and systemwide levels, a long record of service to the faculty, and her signature combination of smart analysis, commitment to the mission and roll-up-the-sleeves hard work. We are so fortunate.
Immediate Past Chair, UCLA Academic Senate
In March 2020, the Legislative Assembly voted to authorize temporary suspension of specific provisions of UCLA Senate regulations that restrict final examinations to the method, time and place announced at the start of a quarter. The suspension of provisions of Divisional Senate Regulation 505 (SR 505) as well as Regulation A-332 due to COVID–19 allowed instructors to institute alternative methods and, as needed, times and places of final evaluations for any courses for which they are responsible.
The Academic Senate’s Executive Board voted unanimously to end the partial suspension of SR A-332 and SR 505 effective Fall 2023. The goal was to restore SR A-332 and SR 505 in its entirety now that the COVID-19 emergency declaration has ended. Thus, beginning again in Fall 2023, instructors of undergraduate and graduate courses must include, and adhere to, information about final exams in their syllabi.
The Executive Board released the final report of its Future of Instruction Task Force (PDF), which offers a framework for approaching the future of instruction that includes centering the academic in campus and instructional planning, placing research and scholarship at the center of undergraduate instruction in a more systematic way, supporting faculty, enabling experimentation from below and addressing problems of inclusive excellence.
The Academic Senate has a formal advisory role over campus and University budgets, per Regents Bylaw 40.1. This Spring and Summer, the Council on Planning and Budget (CPB) sought to strengthen this role through participation in campus-level budget reviews, led by CPB Chair Andy Leuchter. As we collaborate with the administration for increased transparency, the Academic Senate will continue to fulfill its advisory role in 2023–2024 with increased involvement of Senate committees, including Faculty Executive Committees (FECs), in the campus and school budgeting process.
The Academic Senate is only as strong as its engaged faculty. We uphold the principle of faculty governance in higher education only when faculty exercise their governing authority. We welcome you to volunteer, contact your Legislative Assembly representatives, reach out to your Faculty Executive Committee Chairs who serve on the Council of Faculty Chairs, visit the Academic Senate website, and follow us on X (formerly Twitter) at @UCLASenate.
Download this BruinPost PDF Here.