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May 26, 1999

New budget initiative process results in allocation of $2.5 million for academic priorities

Process reflects changes made since arrival of new vice chancellor last July

By Elizabeth Irwin

Executive Vice Chancellor John B. Simpson announced today (May 26) at the quarterly meeting of the campus's Academic Senate that he will fund approximately $2.5 million in proposals for innovation in curriculum, new research initiatives, and improvements in campus technology and infrastructure to support the academic enterprise. His decisions culminate a budget consultation process that began last October as a campuswide effort to identify priorities for use of anticipated state funding for new enrollment.

Proposals that will receive funding include seven research and teaching initiatives and a major Campus Curriculum Initiative (CCI). The CCI positions the campus to create a curriculum that anticipates and reflects the changing needs of students and that addresses the issues of society in the 21st century.

"My intention is to put our resources where our priorities and our values are," Simpson noted. "UCSC already enjoys a reputation for leading-edge thinking. This investment will build on the faculty's demonstrated commitment to exceptional teaching and research, while creating an expanded curriculum that aligns well with cultural and societal trends."

Areas of potential focus for curricular development include pivotal issues, such as justice and tolerance, the experiences of emerging as well as traditional cultures, the evolving roles of men and women, and other issues implicit in a changing society. The primary use of the CCI funding will be to hire new faculty, whose teaching and research will expand existing curricula.

Since curriculum development is the responsibility of faculty, Simpson said he will name a faculty committee to assess curricular needs and make recommendations for ways to meet those needs.

Academic Senate chair and literature professor Helene Moglen commented, "I think that John made wise and thoughtful choices which clearly suggest that his primary commitment is to the academic enterprise of the university. He has chosen to move in a direction that the faculty senate certainly endorses."

Noting the specific allocations, Professor Moglen further commented, "In addition to supporting outstanding research projects in the five academic divisions, John has moved aggressively to support the diversification of the academic curriculum and to increase the funding of faculty research across the campus. These are choices that will make UCSC an increasingly distinguished institution."

Other academic initiatives slated for increased funding are a proposal from the Jack Baskin School of Engineering; a digital arts/new media initiative advanced by the Arts Division; a Humanities Division-sponsored Humanities Research Institute; a Center for the Study of Justice and Tolerance and initiatives in education, both from the Social Sciences Division; a new Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics forwarded by the Natural Sciences Division; and a proposal for increasing research grants for faculty campuswide.

In addition to direct funding for these academic initiatives, Simpson expects to provide funding for campuswide computer replacement on a regular cycle; for implementation of large electronic/database systems; for programs that give direct support for new faculty and others; for enhanced student academic support; and for review and planning for infrastructure improvements, such as intra- and inter-building wiring for communication technology and hazardous waste disposal.

Selection of these proposals was made from among 90 initiatives totaling $18 million. General principles guiding selection were found in campus planning documents, including the Millennium Committee Report of 1998 and the 1997 Report of the Chancellor's Committee for a Changing Campus. Members of the Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget (CPB) and of the Campus Academic Planning Council (CAPC) reviewed and commented on the proposals as part of the process.

"I greatly appreciate the thoughtful and very insightful contributions that my faculty colleagues made to the review of the initiative proposals," Simpson noted. "The quality of the proposals was generally excellent, and selecting from among them was a challenge indeed. The recommendations of the members of CAPC and CPB contributed greatly to the process, and demonstrated again our faculty's commitment to excellence."

More detail is available on the budget consultation Web site: planning.ucsc.edu/budget/budproc.htm.

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