Senate to Tackle Programmatic Elements of Budget Agreement
The Senate is finalizing a plan to ensure faculty involvement in the development and implementation of 14 programmatic initiatives included in the budget agreement between UC and Governor Brown that are intended to improve efficiency, access, and student outcomes.
Senate leaders have been identifying specific initiatives in which the systemwide Senate and Senate divisions should be involved or consulted, and are asking Senate division chairs to identify appropriate review bodies and experts on each campus. Many initiatives relate to efforts already underway at several campuses, while other represent new activities and in one case a pilot program and scoping study involving only three campuses. Much of the work will occur at the campus level, although BOARS and UCEP will lead efforts requiring systemwide Senate involvement and will facilitate campus reporting as well as sharing of best practices.
One initiative requiring the significant engagement of campus Senates is a review of local curricular requirements for 75% of majors, in an effort to reduce, when possible, the number of upper division courses required for a major to no more than 45 quarter units. The UCLA College of Letters and Science undertook a similar initiative known as “Challenge 45” between 2010 and 2011.
In addition, campuses will be asked to develop three-year degree specifications for 10 of their top 15 majors and to incentivize summer enrollment. The aim is to increase the proportion of students who graduate in three years from 2.6% to 5%.
The agreement asks UC to improve the transfer path to meet the Master Plan’s 2:1 freshman-to-transfer ratio for undergraduate enrollments and to adopt systemwide transfer pathways for 20 majors.
Specific campuses will be asked to expand the use of “activity-based-costing” to enhance understanding of instructional costs, “predictive analytics” to identify at-risk students, and “adaptive learning technology” to help students master challenging coursework.
Systemwide Senate committees will revisit current policies for awarding UC credit for AP exams, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and other placement tests, and will consider adopting a common course identification system as a supplemental numbering system for UC courses. The systemwide Senate will coordinate the next phase of the transfer pathways project.
Senate Vice Chair Dan Hare notes that many of the efforts are complicated, have clear expectations and deadlines, and will require engagement from both faculty and administrators. He says Senate divisions should focus on providing faculty input where it is most needed, rather than where it may be nice to have—for example, achieving a 2:1 ratio of freshmen to transfer enrollments is largely an administrative function, but the initiatives related to establishing transfer pathways and “Challenge 45” are in the Senate’s direct purview and authority. He notes that the Senate will rely on UCOP to compile and share data, but anything resulting in a curricular change will require approval by the appropriate Senate committees using established campus procedures.
“We are responding to an unprecedented amount of detail affecting the academic enterprise that has been inserted into the budget,” he said. “The Governor and Legislature have been interested in these initiatives for a long time, and we have to ensure that the goals are achieved.”
The state will be monitoring progress and requesting reports according to specific schedules and deadlines. For example, the three-year degree work needs to be completed within a year, while campuses have been given two years to complete Challenge 45.
The 14 initiatives follow, arranged according to whether they require significant Senate involvement, affect most undergraduate campuses, or only some undergraduate campuses.
Significant Senate Involvement:
- Carry out a comprehensive review of courses necessary in 75% of majors and reduce those requirements to no more than 45 quarter units where possible
- Transfer Pathways: develop systemwide pre-major UC transfer pathways closely aligned to the Associate Degrees for Transfer established by CCC and CSU for the 20 most popular majors, with any differences clearly identified
- Transfer Pathways: identify the extent to which California’s community colleges articulate courses with the UC transfer pathways
- Review existing policies on credits for Advanced Placement courses and College Level Examination Program tests with the goal of providing credit that will help students graduate sooner
- Use Course Identification Number System (C-ID) currently used by CCC and CSU as an additional number for UC campus courses
- Prioritize the development of courses that connect students with professors across campuses and that have the professor lecture online—particularly for bottleneck courses, courses with high failure rates, and courses needed for popular majors
- Expand online programs offering certificates or master’s degrees in strategic areas with high demand to help Californians meet the workforce needs of employers, and expand enrollment in existing online programs with proven success
Less Senate involvement, but requires Involvement of all or most Undergraduate Campuses
- Achieve a 2:1 ratio of new freshman to transfer enrollments each fall at every campus, consistent with UC admission standards
- Use data and technology tools, such as predictive analytics, to identify students at risk of repeating courses, not completing on time, or in need of advising, and to close achievement gaps
- Develop 3-year degree pathways for 10 of 15 top majors on each campus; promote and encourage use of these pathways; and double from 2.6% to 5% the proportion of students on these tracks
- Work with campus advisors to keep students on track for graduation within four years, and transfers within two years
Less Senate Involvement but requires Involvement of Some Undergraduate Campuses
- Davis will pilot a study on deploying “adaptive learning technologies,” focused on improving instruction and increasing the number of students who succeed in difficult courses and persist to completion. Santa Barbara and one other campus will participate
- Irvine, Santa Barbara, and one other campus will pilot alternative pricing models for summer session to encourage undergraduates to take full advantage of existing infrastructure and instructional capacity, including more courses during the summer
- Riverside will pilot activity-based costing for the UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Three similar departments at Merced and Davis will participate in a scoping study and then implementation depending on outcome of scoping study