The Senate Source

November 2012

Regent to Faculty: We Need your Best Ideas!

At an October 24 visit with the Academic Council, Regent Bruce Varner urged UC faculty to help the Board of Regents identify solutions to the University’s funding crisis.

The meeting focused on the future of the University, and Varner, who is vice chair of the Regents and also chairs the Regents’ Finance Committee, impressed many Council members with his broad knowledge of the challenges facing the University and the specific issues important to UC faculty.

Council members described their own experiences of the way the state budget cuts are affecting the campuses and the classrooms, and summarized what have been the Senate’s top priorities—including total remuneration, infrastructure support, graduate student funding, the deteriorating student-faculty ratio, and UC Merced.

Regent Varner emphasized that the Regents are aware of, and share, the faculty’s priorities and concerns, and are pursuing multiple avenues to invest in quality and maintain the prestige of the University. He challenged faculty to focus on revenue solutions, such as those proposed by the Commission on the Future, including increasing the mix of non-resident students to the extent possible while maintaining UC’s Master Plan commitment to state residents, as well as solutions that have not yet been identified or considered. He also outlined the President’s and Regents’ efforts to encourage the state’s business leaders to make philanthropic contributions to scholarships to support middle class students, and discussed Onward California, the campaign to educate the legislature and the public about the way UC improves the lives of Californians.

Varner received a B.A. in political science from UC Santa Barbara and a J.D. from UC Hastings, and has served on the UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees, and the CSU San Bernardino Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Regents Committees on Compensation, Long-Range Planning, and Oversight of the DOE Laboratories.

“Regent Varner clearly understands the faculty’s concerns about academic quality, total remuneration, diversity, graduate student support, and other issues,” said Academic Senate Chair Robert Powell. “He also strongly values the faculty’s contributions as researchers. He is an asset to the Board of Regents and I look forward to working with him and the other regents to find solutions to the challenges facing the University.”

The Academic Council is planning a series of meetings with individual regents this year to ensure that the faculty voice is heard.

Regent Varner at Academic Council

President Yudof, Regent Varner, Chair Powell and Vice Chair Jacob at the October 24 Academic Council Meeting