Educational Retreat

As you know, we are having an all-day retreat on Friday, December 4th.

Nicole Lezin will coordinate the retreat this year, as she has done several times in the past.  She will be soon be sending each of you an invitation to participate in an online survey about our Department’s educational mission.  Please take 10 minutes to respond to this survey.

Some of you may be contacted for follow-up interviews between now and the retreat.  If you are not contacted, but have a perspective that you want to be sure is represented at the retreat, please contact me.  I appreciate your cooperation and input in this process, whether before, during, or indeed after the retreat.

Responding To Our Budget Crisis

Click here to read the announcement in full

One of the major tasks for the retreat will be to decide upon a response to the announcement of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh, entitled “Responding to our Budget Crisis“.  You may want to take a few minutes to read the announcement by clicking on the image at right.

The announcement by the Executive Vice Chancellor stipulates that:

“Each department must submit a report to the dean by December 15, 2009, describing the steps it has taken in the above areas, what remains to be done, and how it will complete the effort over the remainder of the 2009-2010 academic year.”

Letter to Dean

Click to read the Draft Letter

I have begun drafting a letter to Dean Rosenstock to comply with this request.  You may read my draft of the letter by clicking on the image to the left. The most substantive parts of it are incomplete, and await resolution at the retreat.

To frame our discussions, several points:

  • The announcement is from the University’s chief academic officer, and it is clear that improving our educational performance is as important as budgetary issues.
  • The budget situation is also important.  To keep our Department’s budget in balance over the next several years, we will probably have to raise revenues somewhat or cut expenditures. These changes need not be drastic, but they are meaningful.
  • Many of the points we are asked to discuss are relevant primarily to undergraduate teaching.  For this reason, I suggest that we respond to the spirit of the announcement, rather than to the letter of it.
  • I see the spirit as encompassing 5 points:
  1. Ensure that our buyout program fully funds adjunct teaching in the Department.  The system of buyouts should entail no net expense to the Department.
  2. Thoroughly review our curriculum to ensure that it meets the needs of our educational stakeholders (students, employers, society at large);
  3. Cancel, consolidate, or put on a rotating schedule low-enrollment courses to free up ladder faculty teaching for the most important educational purposes in a difficult fiscal environment;
  4. Expand our educational programs that generate net revenue for the Department, such as summer school, the certificate program, and self-sustaining degree programs;
  5. Consider new initiatives such as distance learning or a summer institute.
  • We will achieve closure on what to include in my memo during our upcoming retreat.  For that reason, please be prepared to reach consensus on some thoughtful feedback—possibly including meaningful changes—on each of the points enumerated above.
  • We are not obligated to have implemented all of the changes, only to have agreed upon them.
  • I see both this memo and the budget situation that underlies it as a good opportunity to undertake a strong strategic examination of our Department’s educational mission and how we are meeting it.

As you look forward to the retreat (and I know you are looking forward to it!) please reflect on your own thoughts on each of the points above.  I will be periodically using the blog to provide food for thought on each of these issues.


2 Responses to “Educational Retreat”

  1. 1 Jack Needleman November 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    The summer institute concept should be expanded in our thinking to include short 1-3 day programs throughout the year for health professionals and others that might entail skill building or education on current managerial or public policy issues. Such efforts could be pitched regionally or nationally, and we have a distinct regional presence.

  2. 2 uclahealthservices November 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks, Jack!

    That is a great idea.

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