The Commission was charged with developing a new vision for the university within the context of the university's mission and budget, while reaffirming our commitment to quality, access and affordability. UC will continue to play a vital role in sustaining California's economy and cultural life, operating strategically and as efficiently as possible within available resources.
UC's long-held governing principles of maintaining access, affordability and the highest levels of quality in instruction, research, public service and health care have guided the policy decisions of this great university. In today's budgetary climate, these principles are becoming, in essence, what economists call "competing goods": One cannot be altered without affecting the value of others. Even a world-class research institution such as our own does not have the resources to maximize all competing goods simultaneously.
In the past, many policy decisions at UC were made one at a time, often without considering the impact of changing one variable upon the others. Going forward, we must take a competing goods approach: Each solution will affect others to follow. Any increase in support in one area inevitably has opportunity costs for other priorities.
The Commission and its five working groups identified multiple positive attributes worthy of promoting, and placed balancing the budget as a priority. Some of these "competing" attributes included:
- Graduation in 3 or 4 years — maximum flexibility in degree programs, dual degrees, majors and minors
- Low fees — high financial aid — enhanced student support services
- Access to all qualified California residents (freshman, transfer) — high proportions of graduate and professional enrollment
- Small classes and student mentoring — highest levels of research and scholarship
- Instructional delivery costs — low student-faculty ratios — state of the art classrooms and class laboratories
- Competitive positioning for research funding — public service outreach
- Competitive faculty and staff salaries
The overarching task was to define an overall balance among these priorities that is consistent with UC's mission, commitment to quality, and best serves California.
The working groups — which focused on the size and shape of UC, its education and curriculum, access and affordability, and funding and research strategies — were composed of a wide spectrum of members drawn from the Regents, faculty, students, alumni, administration, staff and other experts not affiliated with UC. Much of the expertise lies with our extraordinary faculty. The working groups were in close consultation with the Academic Senate for recommendations pertaining to curriculum and other core faculty responsibilities.
The Commission and working groups relied on previous and ongoing studies by the Office of the President, Academic Senate, campuses, and faculty researchers in their deliberations. Implementation of recommendations was subject to traditional review by the Academic Senate in the areas for which it has delegated authority. For recommendations in all other areas, the Academic Senate had full opportunity for consultation and review.