Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of December 09, 2013

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Over 1,100 University of Michigan faculty members have signed a letter of protest against administrator’s plans for “shared services,” calling them “inherently flawed” because they fail to take into account “reduction[s] in faculty and staff productivity, collaborative academic culture, and the unique needs of heterogeneous academic units.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) notes that the letter “has attracted some powerful signatories, including a former associate provost, four former deans, and a former president of the university.”

UC embarked on shared services several years ago, even after protests from faculty and staff around the system. Driven by multi-million dollar contracts with consulting firms like Bain Capital, UC executives have pushed consolidation of university functions along a corporate efficiency model, wrote James Ceronsky in the journal In These Times last year.

Employees have largely opposed the plans, as UPTE’s Update reported last year, and there have been some victories, such as the massive reorganization of UC Berkeley’s library system stopped dead in its tracks after over 100 faculty signed a petition opposing it, reported the San Francisco Chronicle in mid-2012. “The faculty objected to having only two choices: ‘horrible or terrible,’” the Monday Memo noted.

This week, however, UCB Library managers are apparently moving ahead with part of the plan, soliciting public comments on a proposal to dissolve the Business Library, dispersing its books and journals – which they call the “legacy print collection” – to other locations and storage. Similar plans are in the works for other Berkeley libraries.

But not everyone is of the slash-and-burn mentality. California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newson, who serves as a UC regent, makes the case in the Huffington Post for a massive reinvestment in public education.

UC faculty and staff members have been discovering that the new UC Care medical plan might not be all it’s promised to be. A series of blog posts on Remaking the University detail concerns with co-pays and the availability of specialists and hospitals as compared with the plan it replaces, Anthem Blue Cross.

The Union of American Physicians and Dentists will represent UC student health service doctors, who sought representation to have "more input and autonomy in running the UC student health centers," reports the Daily Bruin

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