Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers
shares a light moment with Staff Advisory Board Chair Patt Takeuchi before
the forum begins. Photo: Jennifer McNulty
October 25, 2004
Chemers talks frankly with staff at Fall
By Jennifer McNulty
Although salary increases are on the horizon, Acting Chancellor
Martin M. Chemers made clear at last week's lunch forum
with staff that there's no turning back the clock to an
era of lower student-faculty ratios and
higher staffing levels.
If the state honors its agreement with the University of California,
staff and faculty can look forward to salary increases next
year, with additional increases the following two years, said Chemers.
Hopefully the bleeding has stopped now, said Chemers,
referring to nearly $30 million in budget cuts that UCSC has
absorbed over the past three years.
But the erosion of state funding over the years has forced the
university to beef up private fundraising and be more
creative about everything from streamlining business practices
to offering online courses, said Chemers.
Were not going back to the 1970s, Chemers
said in response to a question about class sizes and student
access to faculty. Theres not that kind of money
in the system.
Although the UC systemwide student-faculty ratio has
nudged up from
17:1 to about 20:1, UCSC still places a greater emphasis on
teaching than any other UC campus, and maintaining a high-quality
undergraduate experience is a top priority, said Chemers. One
strategy under consideration is increasing enrollment in classes
with more than 70 students--the threshold at which classroom
discussion and essay exams become impractical, he said.The savings
could then be directed to retaining small classes in cases where
interaction is vital.
More than 200 people filled Kresge Town Hall for the Chancellors
Fall Forum with staff. Chemers offered an update on numerous
campus initiatives before fielding questions from the audience,
one of which was about the hiring of a permanent chancellor.
Theyre down to the short list of possibilities,
and Im still in, Chemers said to enthusiastic applause.
Among other highlights:
UCSC enrollment is expected to increase about 2 percent
Undergraduate fees will go up 8 percent next year; graduate
fees will increase 10 percent.
No layoffs will be associated with the restructuring
of business services--including staff human resources, financial
transactions, purchasing, and workers compensation--which
is on schedule with full consolidation expected next fall.
A new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection
of Hagar and Coolidge, and the campus is weighing a proposal
to extend the hours of parking enforcement to 8:30 p.m.
About 60,000 square feet of office space is just
about ready at 2300 Delaware, the building formerly owned
by Texas Instruments, and a task force is assessing the remaining
173,000 square feet of production space.
13 units at Laureate Court will be offered for sale to
faculty and staff beginning October 25.
The search for a University Librarian will get under
way this fall or winter quarter.
Chemers urged the UCSC community to vote in the November 2 election
and to participate in the annual United Way fundraising effort,
noting that UCSC faculty have the highest per-capita United
Way giving rate in the UC system.
In other news, Chemers noted that a senior management team has
been appointed to oversee Information Technology, the Academic
Information Systems (AIS) will be fully functional in January,
and the campus is pursuing legal action regarding construction
of the new Physical Sciences Building.
UCSC representatives are participating in four or five task
forces with the city of Santa Cruz to address issues such as
tourism, housing, and traffic, added Chemers. The traffic
task force is looking specifically at finding an alternative
way to access campus--not a road through Pogonip, he quickly
Online education would also help alleviate campus-bound traffic,
said Chemers, who lauded online courses as much more than videotaped
As numerous campus units grapple with new computer systems and
organizational structures, Chemers acknowledged that morale
suffers in times of change.
Uncertainty is difficult--at all levels, he said
in a lighthearted reference to his own assignment as acting
chancellor. I know its hard. During these times
of stress, take care of yourselves. Get rest. Relax. When youre
sick, dont come to work. Stay home and rest.
Chemers also acknowledged that staff workloads have increased
as positions have gone unfilled, and he encouraged staff to
prioritize the services they deliver. We need to rethink
what we need to do, he said. Dont despair.
Hang in there. Our problems are solvable, theyre not impossible.
We just have to hang in there.
Return to Front Page