The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 11, 2008
A visit from UC President Mark Yudof

NM_27YudofMarkMug_43727.jpgUniversity of California President Mark Yudof met with The Bee's editorial board for the first time since taking office in June.


Here are some tidbits:


On accountability:  He notes that some things you can't measure, like the kid who's turned on to Shakespeare, but "the fact that you can't measure everything doesn't mean you measure nothing." 


On UC's management style:  He sees the system as akin to "a museum without a deacquisition policy" - it has kept adding, but never subtracts anything.  He's changing that - sending some functions out to the campuses - such as the continuing legal education program that makes more sense at a campus with a law school than at the central office in Oakland.  He's also eliminated functions.  He notes: "I've cut out $60 million in a year.  What other state agency has done that?"


On budget cuts:  He sees it as his job to ensure that Californians understand that these cuts are like "a fire station closing."  He believes California is living off the 1950s and 1960s legacy of Gov. Pat Brown and UC President Clark Kerr, who championed the notion that every student should be entitled to a college education regardless of ability to pay. "I'm worried about it," Yudof said.


On how to find more money for universities: Yudof said a "high-fee, high-financial-aid" model is "not the preferred course." He noted that he'd press for the usual sources of funding: the Legislature; exposure, telling people what the UC does to improve life in California; philanthropy, federal research grants; fees; efficiencies and business savings.  Beyond that, "If we don't get some relief within five years...we'll have to reexamine the educational delivery model."  The  university may have to consider more use of technology for intro classes, not just the traditional model of a teacher in front of a classroom of students.


He's smoked cigars with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, "a hoot," he said, and finds him supportive of higher education.


We'll have more to say as an editorial board on Yudof's larger vision for higher education and the UC mission in California. Watch for an editorial on Monday.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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