Pondering the future of higher education

The Commonwealth Club of California held a fascinating and sobering panel discussion last week on the future of higher education in California, featuring University of California President Mark Yudof, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, moderated by club President and CEO Gloria Duffy.

The club’s blurb for the event was as follows:

Has California’s beacon of educational hope burned out? 50 years ago, our state produced A Master Plan for Higher Education in California. This plan was to guide the state in successfully creating a public higher education system that was the envy of the world. But with budget crises, pay cuts, furlough days and more students than ever being denied acceptance into our UC, state and community college systems, what can we do to climb out of this dark hole and back to the top of the educational hierarchy? Join us for a unique discussion among all three top leaders of the state’s public higher education system.

See it here:

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    It’s sad. CA has lost it in both K-2 and higher ed. Not good for attracting business and economic growth. UC Berkeley, UCLA and Michigan were always the top-ranked public universities, rivaling the Ivy’s for prestige. No more. Not with 700 kids jammed into a theater for chemistry class. According to the last U.S News ranking of U.S. and world universities, Cal has fallen pretty far down in the rankings. Not as far down as K-12, but we’re working on it by spending as much on prisons as on higher ed.

  • Transparency

    All said and done, UC President Yudof Approves Millions of $ To Do UCB Chancellor Birgeneau & his Cal Vice Chancellor’s jobs!
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Cal Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive ($3,000,000) outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.
    Save $3 million. Contact your representatives in Sacramento, local radio tv newspapers! please.