UCR

Chancellor's Friday Letters



A ‘stunning’ week


A ‘stunning’ week

January 14, 2011

Dear Friends,

The Horrid.

The Expected.

The Deserved.

That has been our week here.  The palpable sense among our students, faculty and staff as we end this second week of our winter term is one of apprehension, uncertainty, anger and worry.  There is a strong resolve about the importance of our efforts today and for our future aspirations, yet there is a fragrance of fragility.

First, the horrid:  the events in Tucson bring once again many legal and social issues into the fore.  But first and foremost, all of us at UCR join the millions of others expressing outrage, and extending our condolences and support to the victims and their families, friends and co-workers.  We express our sorrow for those who were lost and our support for those who were wounded, so that they may heal.  We also salute the many heroes in Tucson who intervened to minimize the carnage and its impact.

This attack focuses the national debate again on mental illness, constitutional rights of the first and second amendments, and society’s rightful expectation that we have to find a better way to protect the public at large as well as individuals committed to public service.  The answers, if found – not the hypotheses and vitriolic assertions – will be complex and take time.

This attack against two of the three branches of our government, as well as the children and elders who were gunned down, I trust will lead to reforms that protect peoples’ rights but also improve society’s inherent safety.  Americans deserve nothing less.  Our University, among others, will be an important venue for thoughtful research and discourse on these important matters.

Regarding the expected, California’s lingering budget crisis has again reached out and slapped the University, along with most other entities that are supported by state revenues.

The maddening part of this is California has a wealth of resources, but for a variety of reasons the state’s spending and investments are not well-aligned with core needs and priorities…in other words California is not poor, but it is broke. Moreover, education and research have proven over and over in this country and across the globe that they are not a cost, but rather an investment that produces economic vitality. Although we are currently being treated as part of the problem, the incontrovertible truth is that we are part of the solution.

We now look to a new administration in Sacramento to solve this ongoing drag on California.  As you have heard, the UC is targeted with a stunning $500 million reduction for 2011-12.  While it hasn’t yet been translated down to the individual campus level, we are imagining it to be in the $35-40 million range for our campus.  We also will help ourselves as we turn every stone to eliminate unnecessary costs and raise revenues from other places.

Leadership across the university has been anticipating this development, and while it is premature for me to identify specifically the areas it will impact the most, the magnitude of this budget reduction will most certainly negatively affect the student learning experience.  In the past few years, during other budget reductions, we have done everything possible to avoid affecting students; this time around I deeply regret that I don’t yet see a viable alternative.  At UCR we have done lipectomies and ostectomies, and are now forced to engage in myectomies.

Finally on the good news:  the deserved – a stunning achievement by our faculty at the University of California, Riverside.  Ten individuals have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is an honor bestowed by their peers because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

And, oh yes, a bit of UCR swagger…this was more faculty elected than on any other UC campus, including those twice our size.

Kudos to Bahman Anvari (Bioengineering), Jay Farrell (Electrical Engineering), Ann Heinson (Physics & Astronomy), Bob Krieger (Entomology), Manuela Martins-Green (Cell Biology & Neuroscience), Tom Miller (Entomology), Alan Mills (Physics), Aman Ulla (Economics), Albert Wang (Electrical Engineering), and Laosheng Wu (Environmental Sciences).

Further, two of our above named faculty (Professors Martins-Green and Miller) are alums of UCR,.  Three other UCR alums were also recognized: Jack Keene and Ann Marie Pendergast currently at Duke University Medical Center, and Paul Hasegawa at Purdue.

These fine faculty are the embodiment of why, despite significant challenges, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to invest in and support excellence.  They, like our students, are the future of UCR.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim White, Chancellor

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Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/


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