Chancellor's Friday Letters

Priorities: Brains Over Bars

Priorities: Brains Over Bars

January 8, 2010

Dear Friends,

A ray of light shone on the future of California as Governor Schwarzenegger boldly proclaimed this past Wednesday his intent to change California’s constitution to require a greater percentage of our state budget be spent on higher education than prisons.

Fiat Lux, indeed!

The Governor’s proposal underscores that the funding model that has sustained the world-renowned University of California is broken, and that California must realign its priorities to sustain a vibrant future. His proposal ignites a conversation that we must move with alacrity to craft a solution for high quality, affordable and accessible public higher education that is indeed becoming an endangered species in California.

The Governor’s idea made headlines and editorials around the US and even abroad. From the NY Times, LA Times, Sacramento Bee, and San Francisco Chronicle, to the Chronicle of Higher Education and National Public Radio, among many others, the press treatments consistently indicated that ” yes this is great idea, but…”

And the ‘but’ alludes to a variety of concerns that will get vetted in a robust public discussion. And who knows, improvements could and should occur with such discussion, and even better ideas may emerge. But as the LA Times stated in its editorial, “We could not agree more with the Governor’s expression of priorities.”

During the debate that will ensue, it is important to remember that this is the only current idea that provides a vision and a plan to get there, and while some will opine all the reasons why we can’t do it, the real question is whether we can afford not to do it?

Why is this so?

When implemented, this proposal will help create a more predictable, secure, and appropriate revenue stream for UC operations. This idea will be helpful to students and their families as they plan for the costs to them of a UC degree, and will also allow us to continue to recruit and retain the very best talent to our faculty and staff.

But really, it is so much more than that.

Sustaining excellence among our faculty, staff, students and programs is a shared asset that leads to innovations and an improved economy from which all Californians will benefit. It will also help to keep high quality education more affordable for future generations of students.

What promises to be a lively and important discussion is that while we are named the University of California, we are in fact the University for California: for its people, economy, environment, education, agriculture, healthcare, cultures, arts and humanities, social progress, and quality of life.

We are the University for the hopes, dreams, and promise of all Californians – first generation immigrants to multi-generational Californians.

We are the University for California’s past, present and, most importantly, the future.

Best regards,


Tim White


The World Really Cares About Abscisic Acid and Ardi

When the journal “Science” put out the list of Top 10 scientific breakthroughs for 2009, UCR had two things to brag about. Assistant Professor Sean Cutler was one of the players in the plant cell research named as a top discovery. UCR alumnus Tim D. White led the research team that discovered “Ardi”, thought to be a 4.4 million-year-old human ancestor.


Engineering Milestone

Bourns College of Engineering is celebrating a 20th anniversary with a lecture series looking at the next 20 years of science and engineering. The series begins Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m.


Dancing Genes in Coachella

UCR’s Palm Desert Graduate Center is offering desert dwellers a chance to hear top faculty members in actions, starting with Prof. Norm Ellstrand on Jan. 20 with “The Dance of the Genes.”


Wondering what else is going on at UCR? It’s all listed at http://www.happenings.ucr.edu

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5201
Fax: (951) 827-3866

E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu