SAN FRANCISCO — UCSF will begin looking at different ways to address its unique financial and administrative challenges with the approval of a new advisory board for the campus.
The idea for the board was presented to the UC Board of Regents at its meeting Wednesday by a working group, led by Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, which was created to explore changes to the campus’ structure. Among the working group’s recommendations to the regents was creating a volunteer board of experts for the campus that would inform and guide decision making for the campus’ future, a proposal that was approved by the regents.
According to a report prepared by the working group, the new advisory board would “work with the chancellor and her leadership as a strategic partner, ask and frame the right questions and provide UCSF with access to extraordinary expertise.”
“A great board will help us think through our strategy and help us make a well informed decision,” Hellman said at the meeting.
The working group and the regents both agreed the advisory board would remain within the UC system’s governance structure. Under this structure, the regents would continue to hold fiduciary responsibility and the UCSF chancellor would continue to have the final say on campus administrative decisions.
“At the end of the day, you (Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann) are responsible, and the buck stops with you,” said Regent Eddie Island at the meeting.
Since January, the working group has interviewed eleven institutions that have been deemed by the group to be similar to UCSF or undergoing similar governance changes.
Among these institutional models studied and considered was the transformation of a campus into a public corporation, such as the UC Hastings College of the Law, which retains significant autonomy from the UC system. The working group, however, decided to support a model for a school integrated within a system — like The Ohio State University or the University of New Mexico — that would have an advisory role or delegated authority from its board of regents or governing board.
In addition to a redesigned governance structure, the working group also proposed financial changes that could buffer the UCSF campus from financial instability, something other UC campuses might experience. But despite these proposed changes, the campus will not become financially independent from the university.
The regents also expressed concerns over the possible privatization of the campus, but Desmond-Hellman maintained that despite the changes and the creation of the advisory board, the campus will remain public.
“There is a fierce commitment of UCSF inside and outside that we will remain a public institution,” Desmond-Hellman said. “Our public mission is at the heart of UCSF. Abandoning that mission is an option we do not wish to consider.”