Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is it final? SAAS Closure: Dean sends out statement

The official word of closure from UCI Division of Undergraduate Education Sharon Salinger, emailed to "UCI Campus Community" 24 August 2009 at 6:01 pm:

Dear Colleagues, Students and Community Partners,

As a result of the unprecedented fiscal crisis facing the University
of California and the resulting permanent budget cut of 16 percent
allocated to UC Irvine Division of Undergraduate Education, a decision
was made to close Student Academic Advancement Services effective Aug.
31, 2009. Services offered by this unit including study skills
workshops, academic counseling, career planning, and tutoring will
continue under the direction of the dean of undergraduate education.

Funded in part by a grant from the US Department of Education, SAAS
programs are designed to increase retention and graduation rates of
first-generation, low-income students. Among these programs, Freshman
Summer Bridge is the most visible and engenders the most comment from
past participants for its critical role in their success at UCI and
for its lasting impact.

To minimize the effects of this closure on students, DUE plans to
partner with existing units across campus to continue services
formerly offered by the program. This restructuring plan is based upon
recommendations from an outside review team that visited UCI in spring
2008. It includes the appointment of a faculty member committed to
working with first-generation, low-income students who will be
responsible for academic oversight of Summer Bridge and other
workshops and classes. DUE will continue to partner with Summer
Session on administration and co-curricular activities for the Summer
Bridge programs. Further, if the U.S. Department of Education renews
its partnership with DUE, the restructuring will allow the
continuation of the two-unit course on Graduate Education as well as
this year's pilot program for a Transfer Summer Bridge. Moreover,
the continued partnership will result in a 62 percent increase in
Summer Bridge financial aid available annually.

DUE intends to continue to provide physical space as well as
professional staff and a peer mentor team devoted to student support.
Additionally, the Learning and Academic Resources Center within the
DUE will offer tutoring and study skills workshops for eligible
students. Watch for future announcements on the DUE website as we make
this transition.

Along with many colleagues, past and current students, and community
partners, we extend to the SAAS staff our thanks for their years of
service and their dedication to the programs: Joe Maestas, director;
Audrey Al-Hamd, associate director; Stephen Domingues, coordinator,
Summer Bridge and program development; Angelita Salas, counselor; and
Ashley Melton, administrative assistant.

The unit's closure is a regrettable consequence of these budgetary
times. DUE is confident that students still will receive excellent
support through vibrant programs and the commitment of professional
staff and faculty.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UCI Seeks Input on Different Set of Furlough Closure Days

Late Wednesday (6 August 2009), UCI administration announced in a campus email that it is seeking input on a different draft proposal to close the campus during 7 furlough days. In contrast, a faculty proposal seeks furlough day closures on a different set of 10 days. The draft proposal for which UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Michael Gottfredson are seeking feedback is as follows:
  • Close campus Dec. 21, 2009-Jan. 1, 2010: This would extend our standard holiday closure practice by three-days. Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1 would remain university holidays; the six remaining days (Dec. 21-23 and 28-30) would not be paid holidays, and eligible employees would be encouraged to take them as furlough days.
  • Close campus March 25, 2010: This precedes the March 26 Cesar Chavez holiday, creating a four-day weekend. Again, eligible employees would be encouraged to take March 25 as a furlough day.
In fact, as listeners to KUCI Subversity's 20 July 2009 show already have discovered, the University has told one union (CUE) at the bargaining table that these furlough days are in fact paid holidays. This is no doubt because affected employees will be having their pay cut monthly anyway, so if their furloughs are also to result in more reduction in pay, that would be placing them in double jeopardy!

In any case, the University does not want to hear from UCI union members, who instead are directed in the mass email to send any feedback to their own union representatives.

Both Drake and Gottfredson will answer questions at a Budget Town Hall noon-1 p.m. Thursday, 6 August 2009, in UCI's Student Center, Pacific Ballrooms C and D.

UCI Faculty Seek Campus Closures on Furlough Days

The governing body of the UCI Academic Senate has endorsed a UCSC faculty plan to make the pain from UC paycuts and furloughs visible. The faculty senate cabinet is recommending closing the UCI campus on these dates, according to a 28 July 2009 letter from UCI Prof. Jukka Heckhausen, who chairs the UCI Academic Senate, to Prof. Mary Croughan, who chairs the UC system-wide Academic Senate:

Fall quarter
  • September 21
  • November 23,24,25 (Thanksgiving Week)

Winter quarter

  • January 4, 5 (delay start of winter quarter)
  • February 12

Spring quarter

  • March 29, 30 (delay start of spring quarter)
  • May 28
The letter asserts: "A majority of the Cabinet felt that the plan makes the consequences of the budget cuts and furloughs visible to the public, the Legislature, and the Regents while at the same time limiting the negative impact on instruction." At least 74 UCI faculty members signed a petition recommending this route.

No word yet on whether this would go into effect or not.

Of course, unionized UC workers are not (as yet) subject to the pay cut and furlough plan, so how this would work with just faculty not showing is anybody's guess. UC has yet to seriously begin negotiating with campus unions on this matter.