Summer 2022 Academic Senate Newsletter

Academic Senate

 

To: Members of the Academic Senate

 

Dear Colleagues:

After a busy spring, summer has not been an idle time for the Academic Senate. Please read on to learn about our campus advocacy on important issues, other UCLA Academic Senate updates, Systemwide Academic Senate updates, and ways to get involved. And please let us know what you think, alert us to issues, and stay in touch!

Thank you,

Jessica Cattelino
Chair, UCLA Academic Senate


Academic Senate Updates

Summer 2022

In this issue:


 
Your Academic Senate committees, councils, and elected and appointed leaders continue to advocate with Administration formally and informally about the following issues:
 
  • A faculty rebuilding and renewal initiative that expands faculty hiring, advances pandemic research recovery, and provides instructional support
  • Academic Senate faculty involvement in IT Shared Governance (PDF)
  • Recommendations for best implementation and use of FireEye Endpoint Security (PDF)  
  • An enrollment planning process with the academic mission and the need for more faculty at the forefront. The Academic Senate has expressed concern to senior administrators about lack of faculty consultation regarding planned enrollment growth.
  • Strengthening the “academic” in academic planning and budgeting processes
  • Appointed Academic Senate representatives serve on a number of Administration working groups, including concerning summer quarter, instructional accessibility, healthcare affiliations, and educational innovation. We can put faculty in touch with those representatives to offer your perspectives.
  • Heading into fall quarter, the Academic Senate will be studying and making recommendations about the impact of UCLA’s planned athletic conference realignment on learning and teaching for student athletes, their classmates, and their instructors.

 
We continue to make progress on our plan (PDF) in response to the Moreno Recommendations Implementation Committee Report. Relatedly, the Executive Board released recommendations (PDF) to all Senate committee and councils for the 2022-23 academic year on diversifying and emphasizing inclusion in Senate committees and leadership. Implementation is underway. This coming year, the Executive Board (EB) will develop recommendations on two additional areas, program review and judicial processes. Additionally, EB is undertaking a holistic review of recognition and compensation for Senate service to address issues related to equity and labor.
 
EB has released Principles for the Future of Instruction. These Principles are intended to guide critically important campus conversations at this time of reckoning about teaching and learning, especially in light of lessons learned during the pandemic. For the coming year, EB charged a special committee, the Future of Instruction Task Force (FITF), to review current policies and priorities about teaching and learning at UCLA through the lens of these Principles.
 
EB created a Campus Response to the Climate Crisis special committee to review and assess the climate crisis impacts and mitigation on campus, as well as educational and research programs addressing the climate crisis; develop recommendations; and promote efforts to increase the campus response to the climate crisis in the curriculum and research, with a focus on activities under faculty purview.
 
The Council on Planning and Budget released three reports about the Bruin Budget Model , which is now on hold. See especially their forward-looking high-level report identifying areas of concern including: that measuring educational activity primarily by student credit hours in the BBM will “create incentives at odds with the broader and collaborative view of UCLA’s educational mission” and decrease educational quality; that measuring research activity should be focused on the conduct and publishing of research rather than entirely on revenue generation through indirect costs from external funders; that the BBM may not provide adequate support for interdisciplinarity; that the BBM may not support excellence across a wide range of scholarly areas; that resources will be shifted from state-supported teaching; and that “the process of allocation of central funds be both transparent and subject to some form of review by the Academic Senate.” The report concludes that, in a system of shared governance, responsibility for upholding the academic mission in the budget process cannot fall on Academic Senate checks and balances alone but instead must be a shared effort with Administration.

 
We strongly encourage you to read the Final Report of the Joint Senate-Administration Mitigating COVID-19 Impacts on Faculty Working Group (PDF) and related announcement about it. We are advocating for mitigation and more structural changes to emphasize Advancement Relative to Opportunity.
 
The Academic Council of the systemwide Academic Senate endorsed the recommendations from the University Committee on Academic Freedom (UCAF) that address the freedom of campus academic departments to issue or endorse statements on political or controversial issues (PDF) and that outline processes that ensure the judicious and transparent use of statements.
 
The Academic Council has endorsed the @UCStudentDebtChallenge, a proposed information and assistance campaign initiated by faculty at UC Merced, UC Irvine, and UC Berkeley to help and encourage UC faculty, staff, and student employees who are federal student loan borrowers to use temporary new programs for discharging loans. Many UC employees, including eligible faculty, may be unaware that the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program allows employees of qualifying non-profit organizations, including UC, to have their student loans discharged if they make monthly payments for ten years (120 months) while employed. The program applies to faculty, staff, and other UC employees. The Academic Council further noted (PDF) President Biden did not extend the October 31 deadline for applying for expanded eligibility.

 
The Academic Senate is only as strong as its engaged faculty, and the principle of faculty governance in higher education can only be upheld if faculty exercise their governing authority. We welcome you to volunteer, contact your Legislative Assembly representatives (PDF), 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 Twitter at @UCLASenate.
 
Download this BruinPost (PDF) Here