In a rare confluence that will shape the future of California higher education, the states two top university jobs are open, high-profile vacancies that position its leaders as national pacesetters because of the size and status of the two systems.
The dual searches at the University of California and California State University have generated a daunting list of desired job qualifications. The new chiefs will be expected to figure out how to meet enormous admission demands, increase student diversity, raise academic achievement, lower costs, secure stable sources of money and deal with fierce politics. All this while improving the quality and prestige of two of the nations most popular and renowned public university systems.
And this must be accomplished with limited state funding and salaries well below their comparable peers.
They probably are two of the most important institutions on the planet in terms of their role and mission, said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University who is viewed as one of the nations most innovative higher education leaders and is often mentioned as a potential candidate for the UC job.
The native Californian said he was too busy doing my job as hard as I can to even think about either position.
Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, summed up the ideal skills as walking on water with a thick skin.
The two jobs open after the recent announcements by UC President Janet Napolitano and Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White that they will step down next summer share broad similarities and significant differences.
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, and Timothy P. White, chancellor of the California State University, have both announced that they will be stepping down from their positions.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
Cal State is the largest and most diverse four-year university system in the nation, educating 482,000 students on 23 campuses who are drawn from the top 40% of Californias annual high school graduates. The system is often referred to as the job engine of California, filling many of the states most pressing workforce needs, including half of the teachers and more than half of the nurses.
The 10-campus UC system educates 280,000 students who rank in the top 12.5% of the states senior class and is Californias lead generator of PhDs, in addition to its bachelors and masters degrees. The system is distinguished by its massive and top-ranked research enterprise, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories and an overall budget of $37.2 billion, bigger than those of more than 30 states.
Both systems enroll far higher proportions of low-income and first-generation students than do similar universities in other states. But both are struggling to close achievement gaps for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students.
The UC job is probably the most complex and challenging job in higher education, said Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Assn. of American Universities, which represents North Americas top 65 research universities. It could also be a very exciting job because the platform the UC system has is enormous and enormously important.
Napolitano has been credited with using that platform to support immigrant students and sexual assault survivors. But some higher education leaders say the next UC president must step up to champion an even broader task: marshaling public support for the value of a university education amid mounting skepticism about rising costs and perceived political biases.
The UC regents recently released a list of 29 criteria for the next leader based on closed-door consultations with committees of students, staff, faculty and alumni. The top two criteria have drawn particular attention: knowledge of the academic enterprise and a demonstrated track record promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
The regents themselves are believed to be the most diverse board in UC history, with both Chairman John A. Prez and Vice Chairwoman Cecilia Estolano of Mexican descent and nearly half of the 26 voting board members Latino, African American and Asian American. Prez has said UC particularly needs to work harder to increase geographical diversity, as most students come from urban areas.
Faculty were thrilled by the regents stated preference for candidates with exceptional academic administrative experience and the highest possible degree in their field. At recent faculty town halls at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, participants lamented that regents ignored their desire for an academic in the last presidential search six years ago when they selected Napolitano, then U.S. Homeland Security secretary and a former Arizona governor.
Although many faculty eventually came to appreciate Napolitano, they said it took time for her to learn how to manage the UC system and consult with them on key issues as required by the UC tradition of shared governance, which gives the Academic Senate a uniquely powerful voice in university operations.
Other top priorities named in a UC Santa Barbara faculty survey were a commitment to academic freedom, shared governance, research, graduate education and budgetary transparency.
At both sessions, faculty members complained about the secrecy of past search processes. Regents, however, have announced that they would hold open public forums at UC Davis on Dec. 13 and at UCLA on Jan. 14.
Cal State has held four public forums, with two more planned at its campuses in San Marcos on Dec. 3 and in Fresno on Dec. 5. At a recent Long Beach forum, speakers said they wanted the next chancellor to champion full access to all eligible applicants, more faculty diversity, support for students with disabilities and increased programs for prison inmates.
For their part, UC students want a leader who is familiar with California public education and will commit to meet regularly with them, as Napolitano did, said Varsha Sarveshwar, a UC Berkeley senior and president of the UC Student Assn. Top issues, she said, include affordable housing, food security and meeting the basic needs of all students.
UC insiders say hundreds of names will probably be submitted for an initial look before the field is narrowed to serious candidates and a decision is made by regents, possibly next spring.
Potential candidates named at the faculty meetings included Crow and F. King Alexander, president of Lousiana State University who previously headed Cal State Long Beach for seven years and has made a national mark with his advocacy of greater federal partnerships and state public funding for higher education.
In an interview, Alexander said key challenges for California higher education were the enormous demand for seats in university systems with limited capacity and state funding levels that, while recovered from deep cuts after the Great Recession, remain well below levels two decades ago. While more online learning is part of the answer, he said, the state must increase funding if it wants to remain the nations beacon of affordable higher education.
Asked if he was interested in either job, Alexander said he is leaving his options open adding that his wife is particularly fond of the weather in Long Beach.
Its a great place, he said. California public higher education is kind of like the Rose Bowl the granddaddy of them all.
Crow is both widely admired for his visionary rebuild of traditional higher education models and criticized for his aggressive use of educational technology.
In an interview, he said UC and Cal State both need to figure out how to better use technology and innovation to vastly open access to both traditional college students and adult learners. He also said campuses need more freedom to launch entrepreneurial projects and partnerships that can help them raise money and lessen dependence on state funding.
Crow has used all of those approaches at ASU, building enrollment to 120,000 students more than one-third of them online in what he calls a New American University model that offers wide access over the selectivity favored by many elite universities.
The old model has run its course, Crow said. Its time for new ways to engage while not giving up one iota of quality or one iota of excellence.
Other names mentioned for the UC job include Michael Drake, who is stepping down next year from the helm of Ohio State University and who previously served as chancellor of UC Irvine and UC vice chancellor for health affairs. Under his leadership, Ohio State set all-time highs in student retention and graduation rates, diversity, applications and research expenditures while reducing debt burdens. He also launched a tuition guarantee program for each incoming class of students, a model that UC regents are currently considering. Drake could not be reached for comment.
Past and present UC chancellors and Cal State presidents may also be considered.
Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said former legislators and governors should not be overlooked because educators who came up through the ranks are not always willing to shake up the status quo as needed. UC, he said, needs a leader willing to look at the systems at-times inefficient use of facilities and relatively light teaching loads.
For outside candidates, one potential sticking point could be pay. In 2018, Napolitano earned $627,000 in total compensation and White $493,000, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education database. Drake earned $1.2 million and Crow $1.1 million, two of 17 university leaders whose pay topped seven figures. Pay at top private universities is even higher.
The challenge for all public universities is that many, many candidates view those [top] positions as patently unattractive, said Richard Chait, a Harvard University professor emeritus of higher education. Public university presidents are embroiled in a thicket of politics, constantly in the crosshairs, and the money is not there.
But Robert Anderson, president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, predicted plenty of candidates will be drawn to the California opportunities in order to make a difference in such a large, diverse state and move the needle both nationally and globally.
I really dont believe someone will come to this job for a paycheck, said Mitchell of the American Education Council. The right person will come to this job for a mission and a legacy.
- Minister Martin: We can protect our artists by covering their basic living costs - thejournal.ie - March 21st, 2021
- Clubhouse promises its accelerator participants either brand deals or $5K per month during the program - TechCrunch - March 16th, 2021
- Agenda: Is Universal Basic Income the key to tackling care leaver poverty? - HeraldScotland - March 7th, 2021
- Get creative to help artists through pandemic - The Guardian - February 16th, 2021
- The economy can't guarantee a job. It can guarantee a liveable income for other work - The Conversation AU - January 25th, 2021
- Donald Trump and Richard Nixon: 10 comparisons the Internet made to show POTUS is '10X worse' - MEAWW - January 15th, 2021
- Basic income for all: Has the Covid crisis given us a new economic model? - The Irish Times - November 29th, 2020
- Universal basic income has time come for it? Debate intensifies in pandemic - WRAL Tech Wire - November 29th, 2020
- We Need Universal Basic Income And We Need It Now - Scary Mommy - August 30th, 2020
- Prepare for the irreversible rise of non-profit activity everywhere - Livemint - August 26th, 2020
- Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day - Bloomberg - August 26th, 2020
- In the wake of Covid-19, time to consider basic income: Senate report - Investment Executive - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Tuesday, July 14 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Monday, July 13 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID illuminates global inequalities in workers' rights and working conditions - University of Birmingham - June 24th, 2020
- Why a Universal Basic Income is the solution to inequity - Women's Agenda - June 24th, 2020
- Crypto Experts Reveal Thoughts: How Will Bitcoin Perform After the COVID-19 Crisis Has Passed? - Yahoo Finance - June 24th, 2020
- A universal basic income is less attractive if it needs to be paid for - American Enterprise Institute - June 17th, 2020
- KAREN FOSTER: Pandemic pay premium for grocery store employees a flash in the pan - TheChronicleHerald.ca - June 17th, 2020
- COVID-19: UN agencies warn against rising hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean - UN News - June 17th, 2020
- Why recovery needs to have children at its centre - Social Europe - June 17th, 2020
- Basic Income activism in the United States | BIEN - Basic Income News - June 6th, 2020
- When All Men Are Paid for Existing: Universal Basic Income Has Arrived - National Review - June 6th, 2020
- Local funds model the racial reckoning and renewal central to the COVID recovery - ImpactAlpha - June 6th, 2020
- National Security at the United Nations This Week (May 8-15) - Just Security - May 15th, 2020
- What is Basic Income? | Guaranteed Universal Basic Income - May 11th, 2020
- Basic Income Guarantee | Universal | UBI - May 11th, 2020
- Coronavirus is a crisis for the developing world, but here's why it needn't be a catastrophe - The Guardian - May 11th, 2020
- Universal Basic Income: Andrew Yang Was Pushing for It Long Before Coronavirus Pandemic - PopCulture.com - May 11th, 2020
- Starvation in the time of Corona: momentum for the Universal Basic Dividend - DiEM25 - May 11th, 2020
- Is this the beginning of a Universal Basic Income? - Yahoo Finance Australia - April 11th, 2020
- How the Pandemic Could Shape the Economy In the Future - TheStreet - April 11th, 2020
- After the pandemic, will there be a new status quo? - The Corner Economic - April 11th, 2020
- UK workers hit by the economic pain of coronavirus need an income guarantee - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- The complexities of a universal basic income - Knowable Magazine - April 9th, 2020
- How Are We Going to Pay for It? - Common Dreams - April 9th, 2020
- We're all socialists now | The Interpreter - The Interpreter - April 9th, 2020
- Out of the coronavirus crisis, a new kind of Britain must be born - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- Michael Clifford: Is it now time to give some real thought to Universal Basic Income in Ireland? - Irish Examiner - April 9th, 2020
- COVID-19 kicks over the economy - rabble.ca - April 9th, 2020
- Covid-19 Unmasks the Privilege of Isolation in Rio de Janeiro and All Brazil - RioOnWatch - April 9th, 2020
- How WhatsApp is making it more expensive to spread misinformation - The Verge - April 9th, 2020
- For artists and gig workers, expanded emergency benefit access is encouraging but worries about the post-COVID-19 future remain - Toronto Star - April 9th, 2020
- Will There Be a New Status Quo After COVID-19? - Qrius - April 9th, 2020
- Common Arguments Against Basic Income Don't apply to the Emergency BI - Basic Income News - March 31st, 2020
- I've lived through plenty of social shocks this time we must learn the lessons - The Guardian - March 31st, 2020
- How a Basic Income And Jobs Guarantee Can Save The Economy From Coronavirus - The National Interest - March 26th, 2020
- Draghi: we face a war against coronavirus and must mobilise accordingly | Free to read - Financial Times - March 26th, 2020
- Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most Indian workers very hard - Livemint - March 26th, 2020
- Universal basic income: what is it, how does it work and could it help fight the coronavirus crisis? - Telegraph.co.uk - March 24th, 2020
- It's time to move mountains to protect people we need universal basic income - The Guardian - March 24th, 2020
- Italy: Urgent petition in time of Corona Virus: Expanding the Citizen's Income Scheme! If Not Now, When? - Basic Income News - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work - The Independent - March 24th, 2020
- Solidarity Economicsfor the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond - The American Prospect - March 24th, 2020
- Trump's right: Congress should give Americans $1,000 right now to fight the coronavirus recession - The Conversation US - March 24th, 2020
- Covid-19s Economic Pain Is Universal. But Relief? Depends on Where You Live. - The New York Times - March 24th, 2020
- Who the government's coronavirus economic measures leave behind - Left Foot Forward - March 24th, 2020
- COVID-19 outbreak brings attention back to informal sector - Down To Earth Magazine - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus, Surveillance And The Redefinition Of The Social Contract - Forbes - March 24th, 2020
- Commentary: We need food, medicine and safety not tax cuts and corporate bailouts to face coronavirus - The Daily World - March 24th, 2020
- New Zealand Orders Month-Long Lockdown To Halt Spread Of Coronavirus - International Business Times - March 24th, 2020
- All the Coronavirus Tribes You've Met During the Outbreak - VICE - March 24th, 2020
- Fiscal Policies to Protect People During the Coronavirus Outbreak - International Monetary Fund - March 5th, 2020
- Column: Socialism is not the American way | Opinion - Duncan Banner - February 29th, 2020
- P.E.I. Premier Dennis King talks climate, economy and highs and lows in Part 2 of his year-end interview with The Guardian - The Journal Pioneer - January 3rd, 2020
- We need to test whether our millions in education aid is actually working - Financial Post - January 3rd, 2020
- A modern method of cutting poverty: Investigating what Universal Basic Income will mean for Northern families - Mancunian Matters - December 13th, 2019
- The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership - The Guardian - December 13th, 2019
- Want to Retire in Harmony? Make Sure All Parts of Your Plan Are in Sync - Kiplinger's Personal Finance - December 13th, 2019
- Broadband for All could revolutionize wifi in UK, if it's possible - Inverse - November 30th, 2019
- Food shopping at dollar stores - Brantford Expositor - August 22nd, 2017
- How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net - CityLab - August 20th, 2017
- Universal Basic Infrastructure to help decrease India's poverty - Economic Times - August 15th, 2017
- New Zealand Fabians host Basic Income panel - Basic Income News - August 14th, 2017
- Universal basic income proponent to speak in Boise - Idaho Press-Tribune - August 8th, 2017
- Is a Well-Paying Job the next Entitlement Program? - Big Think (blog) - August 6th, 2017
- DON PRIDMORE: Be careful what you wish for... - The Guardian - August 1st, 2017
- EDITORIAL: Island needs dollars, not data, to cope with poverty - The Guardian - July 27th, 2017
- Peterborough businesses claim $15 minimum wage hike could result in job cuts - Globalnews.ca - July 26th, 2017
- 9news.com | Should all Americans receive a guaranteed income? - 9NEWS.com - July 26th, 2017