UC Berkeley academic senate to discuss potential university leadership reforms

At its meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate will discuss a report on potential university governance and leadership reforms.

The academic senate will present both majority and minority analysis of a report produced by a committee charged to “collect, study and formulate a set of Reform Proposals concerning the Governance and Leadership of the University,” according to the majority report, published in September. The committee was established by a resolution passed by the senate in April 2010.

The majority report, signed by five of the seven members of the Senate Special Committee on University Governance and Leadership, proposed to create an expert task force to further assess ways to improve the faculty senate’s role in the systemwide policy of shared governance between university administration and the faculty senate.

In analyzing eight years’ worth of statements from the UC Board of Regents, former UC presidents and former members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, the majority report said that much of that period was “marred by the administration’s failure to conform to certain reporting requirements mandated by the Regents, and by the President’s failure to justify to the Regents the existence and purpose of a wide range of programs within the Office of the President.”

The proposed task force is a way to increase faculty participation in shared governance and to break the faculty out of its “reactive role,” which has characterized shared governance in the past, according to the report.

Yet, the two authors of the minority report, published in October, maintain that the “majority did not answer the (original resolution’s) question,” according to the report.

Committee chair Alexander Glazer, an author of the majority report and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, declined to comment prior to the presentation of the report at the meeting.

“The report does not answer why the university has fallen in public image, what high compensation and salaries and sky-rocketing tuition has done and in what ways the UC Office of the President has failed to sustain the public university,” said Wendy Brown, co-author of the minority report and a campus professor of political science.

Among other suggestions, the minority report proposes changes to UC leadership by limiting the terms of UC regents to six years, further downsizing the Office of the President and capping administrative salaries to no more than twice the average salary paid to College of Letters and Science faculty.

“It is not a question of whether the recommendations will be implemented but whether it raises important questions about the future of the university and administration and what leadership should be doing and what the current problems are,” Brown said.

The committee will present both reports at the Academic Senate meeting on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m at the Pacific Film Archive Theater.