Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of September 16, 2013

Five UC campuses have ranked among the top ten public universities in US News and World Report’s latest annual rankings – but take that with a grain of salt. As one commentator noted, the magazine’s rankings measure prestige more than academic quality or outcomes for students. The Obama administration has proposed rating universities on value and performance, something the Washington Monthly has already been doing. According to its ranking, UC San Diego and UC Riverside are numbers 1 and 2.

Even Obama’s rankings won’t solve the education problem, according to the president and vice presidentof the American Association of University Professors. If the nation were truly interested in reducing tuition, it would find the revenue by taxing the rich. News this week that the top 1% took the biggest share of income since 1928 suggests they can afford it.

United Faculty of Washington State, representing professors at Eastern Washington University, has agreed to a new contract with an innovative twist. Instead of setting faculty wages across the board for the campus, increases are designed to bring faculty up to the national averages in their particular field. One organizer for United Faculty said he expects this approach to be copied by other schools.

The UC-run Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s expansion into nearby Richmond, California, may be in jeopardy after losing out on a sought-after $1.5 billion U.S. Department of Energy contract. Instead, the mega-project is likely headed to Stanford. “It may be a coincidence,” write the article’s authors, “but recently departed Energy Secretary Steven Chu - who had previously headed the Lawrence Berkeley lab - is now a physics professor at Stanford.”

Wonder why tuition and fee at UC and other universities has skyrocketed over the past decade? Find some answers in this Washington Post blog, “The tuition is too damn high.”

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